In Indonesia, a company intimidates, evicts and plants oil palm without permits
A state-owned plantation company, PTPN XIV, is evicting farmers to make room for an oil palm estate on the eastern Indonesian island of Sulawesi.
In 1973, the company got a permit to raise cattle and farm tapioca on the now-disputed land, but it expired in 2003. After a long hiatus, the company has returned to claim the land. It says the government has promised to give it permits in the future, but has started operations anyway even as local communities resist.
The case is one of thousands of land disputes simmering across Indonesia, as President Joko Widodo attempts to carry out an ambitious land reform program.
The president has also ordered a freeze on the issuance of new oil palm plantation permits, but the level of enforcement remains to be seen.