Three months since March 2020, is a difficult time of challenges fully due to the covid-19 pandemic that plague almost all countries, including Indonesia. This epidemic not only attacks human health, but also has an impact on economic aspects. Space for all humans is limited to prevent transmission of the virus. Don’t want to infected and infect others, these difficult times were utilized by the Golat Simbolon indigenous people to develop their farming business.
For almost three months they have been living at fields or what they usually called “Tombak” to strengthen their food foundation. In addition to planting coffee, they also are planting corn and tubers. But unfortunately, on their concentration period to survive on the covid-19pandemic, they were intimidated forestry official.
On Wednesday, May 27th, 2020 three members of the Golat Simbolon indigenous people community who were planting coffee and other crops were arrested by four persons who claimed to be officers of the Forestry Management Unity (Kesatuan Pengelolaan Hutan)region XIII, Dolok Sanggul and one of the Samosir Regional Forestry Police Official. Officers accused them of cutting down trees and stealing wood in the State Forest Zone. However, the allegations were denied by the three community members, because they worked in customary areas that were owned for generations and had never cut wood in those areas.
Before the tragedy of the arrest, there had indeed been logging in the adat area by other parties who were not members of the indigenous people community. They did not want the forest in their customary area to be cut down carelessly, finally they decided to hold the wood and bring the felled wood to the village. But not long ago, unscrupulous forestry officials asked them to return the detained wood on the grounds that they had received permission from the forestry sector. The wood will be used to build covid-19 posts in other villages
For the reason of the covid-19 post, the community finally returned the felled wood. The reason they hold the wood is that illegal loggers no longer cut down trees in their customary territory. Because, as indigenous peoples they also have customary rules to preserve land and forests. The arrest sparked the anger of other members of the indigenous community, in a group, around thirty people; they descended from Sijambur to the forest office in Samosir. They asked their friends to be released
After the arrest of members of the indigenous community, they felt criminalized and intimidated by the forestry by calling them forest loggers. Finally, the community agreed to make a banner in their customary territory which contained a decision of the Constitutional Court's decision NO.95 / PUU-XII / 2014 who live for generations in the forest and are not intended for commercial purposes. "
The Constitutional Court's verdict actually stated that indigenous peoples were not the object of the Law on Prevention and Eradication of Forest Destruction (P3H). So that the arrest of members of the Golat Simbolon indigenous community who are farming in their customary territories is a form of criminalization.
As a effect of the action, on Friday, June 5, 2020, around seven unscrupulous forestry officers and forestry police officers with long-barreled weapons suddenly entered the spear shouting. "GETTING UP" "GETTING OUT" "GETTING DOG OUT". The sound of a long-barreled gun blaring. Spontaneously some members of the Golat who were in the fields were afraid and hiding while calling other friends over the phone. Not many people were working in the fields because on that day there was a distribution of social assistance from the Ministry of Villages to be affected by Covid-19. Only two mothers and one fifth grade elementary school lived there. Forestry officials shouted at them and accused them of cutting down trees.
The action made residents shocked, angry and felt threatened. They deeply regretted the actions of the person who was very arrogant to intimidate and terrorize indigenous peoples. During this time the Golat Simbolon indigenous people have always tried to prohibit other parties from cutting down trees in their customary territories. Indigenous peoples believe that it is their customary territory, because it has been managed down by their ancestors. In the past, part of their customary territory was indeed managed by PT Inti Indorayon with eucalyptus plants. At that time the community also rejected the customary area they were given to PT IIU. But at that time, in the new order era, everyone who opposed would be accused of being anti-development and intimidated. That is why since October 2016, indigenous peoples have asked President Jokowi to release their customary territories from the Forest Zone. They also met the Ministry of Environment and Forestry Ministry twice, Mrs. Siti Nurbaya, in her office. And the Minister promised to immediately release their customary territories waiting for the Samosir District Government to issue a Local Regulation on Recognition and Protection of Indigenous Peoples.
It ‘s very unfortunately that the arrogant actions of these forestry institutions. Therefore, in the near future the indigenous people plan to request protection from President Jokowi and request that the Agrarian Conflict Resolution Acceleration Program be truly implemented so that their rights to live and work in indigenous territories are truly fulfilled and protected by the state.
The Samosir Regency Government also cannot remain silent in this case. The government must guarantee the right to life and the right to feel comfortable in carrying out their daily activities. Actors who intimidate and terrorize indigenous peoples with weapons must be dealt with and removed. ***