Alarm Bells and Local Fury
Alarm bells are ringing. A number of local civil-society organizations have already written to the President of Indonesia, the Minister of Environment and Forestry, the Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources, the World Conservation Union (IUCN), and many others to oppose the proposed projects.
But given the money and power of those pressuring for the new projects, there is great worry that they will be pushed through regardless.
Beyond these protests, a civil lawsuit has been lodged by nine community groups (known as GeRAM) living in the Leuser area. Abu Kari, a local community leader and one of the GeRAM plaintiffs, tells ALERT his views:
“I’m furious. We call upon President Jokowi to intervene immediately. When the forests of the Leuser Ecosystem are opened and disturbed we suffer from fires, flooding and landslides. Too many people have already died from this, and now we see more foreign projects behind plans to destroy our homes, our families and our livelihoods.
We have had enough and we will fight this. If we lose the Leuser Ecosystem we lose our one chance at long-term economic development. We could even lose our lives, and those of our families and friends.
We beg President Jokowi to uphold environmental planning laws in Indonesia. We are in court now to fight for the Leuser Ecosystem and we invite the people of Aceh, Indonesia, and the world to join our fight.”