Fires are affecting forests and peat lands in Indonesia. This is problematic because these areas are often declared de facto open areas for which the government grants licenses to concession companies. Overlapping permits can result in farmers being displaced on their own lands, tenure conflicts and the criminalization or eviction of rural communities.
To address these issues, the Epistema Institute is implementing a project to strengthen the legal empowerment of forest and peat land villages through paralegal support in the districts of Pulang Pisau (Central Kalimantan province), Musi Banyuasin (South Sumatra province), Ogan Komering Ilir (South Sumatra), and Kepulauan Meranti (Riau province). Under the project, community members are trained to become paralegals and offer legal support, village heads are trained in formulating village regulations, and lastly, the creation of head of district regulations is promoted. The project is funded through the Indonesia-Netherlands Rule of Law Fund of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Jakarta, which is managed by IDLO.
Photo copyright: Julius Lawalata