Friday, March 16, 2012

NGOs blast APRIL for violence

Civil society groups in Riau Province condemned violence shown by PT Riau Andalan Pulp & Paper (RAPP), a subsidiary and timber supplier of Asian Pacific Resource International Limited (APRIL) who violently dispersed Gunung Sahilan community’s land dispute protest on 6 March by hitting motorbikes and assaulted the locals.

Some NGOs like Jikalahari, Walhi Riau, Greenpeace SEA, LBH, JMGR, Elang, AMAN Riau, and others released a joint statement on Monday (12 Mar) condemning APRIL brutality in solving protest staged by the community of Gunung Sahilan, Kampar district, Riau Province.

The group of civil society that called Joint Secretariate for Indonesians People’s Rights Recovery came to Riau Police Headquarters here last week (9 Mar) to submit petition to investigate the incident that caused 15 residents injured and 85 motorbikes damaged.

They urged the police to interrogate PT RAPP’s employees who involved in the violence as the police normally did to community if a riot occurred.

APRIL should be responsible before the law as they provoked the riot first by preparing its 500 employees and security guards armed with machetes, and heavy machinery such as skidder to ambush and assault the residents, the joint statement said.

Gunung Sahilan community’s planted rubber in the area that becames dispute between APRIL and the residents. During the clash, the workers of PT RAPP destroyed huts and rubber planted by the residents, the NGOs said.

“We don’t see hints of legal process conducted in the field, as there is no police line in the location of incident, and there is no any witness or suspects named due to the violent action, so we urge Chief of Riau Police to take an immediate action before perpetrators and evidence are gone,” said Suryadi, director of Pekanbaru Legal Aid Institution (LBH).

Media reports said that the government officials regretted the incident and called for mediation to solve the conflict.