President Joko Widodo alias Jokowi met with the Indigenous People’s Alliance of the Archipelago (AMAN) at the Presidential Palace on Wednesday, March 22, 2017. Jokowi at the meeting gave his backing to the passage of draft indigenous people’s rights bill, as well as the establishment of the indigenous people task force. Also attended the meeting were the Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya and the Office of Presidential Staff chief Teten Masduki.
To push for the passage of the draft indigenous people’s rights bill, Jokowi said that he will prepare and submit a presidential letter (Supres) to the House of Representatives (DPR). “The task force should also be formed soon because the task force could help with conducting verification processes to hand back land [to indigenous people],” President Jokowi was quoted as saying in a written statement issued by AMAN on Wednesday, March 22, 2017.
Jokowi has also instructed the Home Affairs Ministry to step up preparation of decrees on indigenous people, as well as to push for the establishment of local regulations on indigenous people. “Because local regulations and decrees can expedite the process of indigenous people land hand-back…” he said.
The government is currently preparing 18 decrees on indigenous forests after it issued the same to nine indigenous communities in late December last year. “It’s very small in number considering the available land, but hand-backs cannot be done before local regulations or regency decree is issued,” he said.
According to Jokowi, the forest should be handed back to indigenous people for a better management. “I’ve seen it myself.”
AMAN secretary-general Rukka Sombolinggi has welcomed President Jokowi’s support for draft indigenous people bill and indigenous people task force. “After the meeting, Aman and the Office of Presidential Staff promptly met and took steps to ensure the task force is formed,” Rukka said.