TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - The Agrarian and Spatial Planning Minister Sofyan Djalil has confirmed that the government will protect indigenous land rights. “We will protect the rights of indigenous people. They own their land, we will regulate them,” Sofyan said in his office on Monday, March 20, 2017.
Earlier on March 15-19, 2017, the Indigenous People’s Alliance of the Archipelago (AMAN) held its fifth congress in Kampong Tanjung Gusta, Medan. At the congress, thousands of participants from various indigenous communities in regions across Indonesia urged the government to pass the indigenous people law.
The congress demanded the government to fulfill its commitment to recognizing indigenous land rights and protecting indigenous people, among others.
Sofyan said that he was not aware of any recent progress in the deliberations on the indigenous people draft bill. However, he has confirmed that the Agrarian Ministry will protect indigenous land rights. “We protect [indigenous land rights] under the agrarian law,” he noted.
The Agrarian and Spatial Planning Ministry secretary Noor Marzuki said that the government will not only recognize indigenous land rights but also the economic empowerment of indigenous people.
Noor said that memoranda of understanding (MoU) have been signed by 20 state-owned lenders and the government. “State-owned lenders will provide loans on easy terms to [indigenous] people,” he said.
Noor said that in the future, the Agrarian Ministry will issue land titles to indigenous people. Moreover, the ministry expects to maintain forest functions in the indigenous land, including the opportunity to turn them into ecotourism attractions.