Jakarta, September 6, 2012 – The REDD+ Task Force welcomes the Medan State Administrative High Court Decision dated August 30, 2012 that accepted the appeal of civil society organizations (WALHI Aceh) and ordered the Aceh Governor to revoke PT Kalista Alam’s plantation permit for 1,605 hectares land in Rawa Tripa, Nagan Raya District, Aceh Province.
“This decision is in line with our recommendation because the land utilisation permit granted to PT. Kalista Alam was based on invalidated location permit (izin lokasi) and is included in the Indicative Moratorium Map (IMM). So, we hope there will be no more mismanagement in the process of permit issuance,” said Chair of the Working Group of Legal Review and Law Enforcement of the REDD+ Task Force, Mas Achmad Santosa.
Rawa Tripa is deemed peatland area included in the Indicative Moratorium Map (IMM) located in the Province of Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam.
“Peatlands are susceptible to fires when drained, so protecting it means materializing our development goals and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions up to 41 percent,” continued Mas Achmad Santosa.
Previously, WALHI Aceh sued the Governor of Aceh and PT. Kalista Alam to revoke the Aceh Governor Permit No. 525/BP2T/5322/2011 dated August 25, 2011. WALHI Aceh’s demand to revoke palm oil plantation permit in Rawa Tripa granted by the Governor of Aceh to PT Kalista Alam was rejected in April 2012 by Banda Aceh State Administrative Court judge panel on the basis that parties involved have not gone through out-of-court settlement efforts. Some 21 villages around Rawa Tripa had also protested that the establishment of PT Kallista Alam had caused their water level in the community’s wells to drop drastically.
On July 4,2012, the Head of the Presidential Unit for Development Monitoring and Oversight (UKP4), Ministry of Environment, and National Police’s Criminal Investigation Unit (Bareskrim Polri) visited Rawa Tripa after reports of fire in the peatland area. From the visit, the Head of Aceh Police sent a letter to the Governor giving some recommendations to clarify borders of the Rawa Tripa area and revoke all plantation
permits within the Rawa Tripa area by compensating them with land in other areas or with equal value.
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Chair of Communication and Stakeholders Engagement Working Group REDD+ Task Force
Aceh Governor Zaini Abdullah has been instructed to revoke a legally problematic business permit owned by oil company, PT Kallista Alam, which operates in the carbon-rich Tripa peat swamps in Nagan Raya regency, Aceh, by the Medan Administrative Court after granting an appeal filed by the Aceh chapter of the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi).
The permit was granted to the company by former Aceh governor Irwandi Yusuf on Aug. 25, 2011, contradicting Presidential Instruction No. 10/2011 on the moratorium of new permits in primary forests and peatland conversion areas.
Walhi Aceh’s executive director, Teuku Muhammad Zulfikar, applauded the verdict, which was signed by a panel of judges led by Arpani Mansur on Aug. 30, saying it was an important ruling supporting efforts to protect more than 61,000 hectares of Tripa peatland.
“We urge the Aceh governor to immediately follow up the verdict by revoking the company’s permit, as well as evaluating all permits owned by other oil palm companies operating in the area,” Zulfikar said in a statement made available to The Jakarta Post Digital on Wednesday.
Tripa peat swamp is peatland with a depth of three meters or more, meaning it is protected under a 1990 presidential decree.
PT Kallista Alam is also the subject of an ongoing investigation by the National Police for allegedly illegally burning the protected peat swamp to convert the area into an oil palm plantation, further threatening the ecosystem of about 200 orangutans that live in the area.