An Indigenous tribe in Indonesia is at risk of losing vast swathes of ancestral forest after a court threw out its lawsuit against a palm oil firm, rights groups say.
The Awyu tribe, whose roughly 20,000 members rely on the land for their subsistence, had sought to freeze the operations of PT Indo Asiana Lestari (PT IAL) in the eastern Indonesian province of West Papua.
But on Thursday a Papuan court upheld the firm's concession permit, which allows for the potential clearance of more than 39,000 hectares (96,000 acres) of Indigenous forest land.
"The decision... is bad news for Awyu Indigenous People who are struggling to defend their customary land," the Coalition to Save Papuan Customary Forests, made up of 10 environmental NGOs, said in a statement Thursday.
The company's general manager did not respond to an AFP request for comment.
Palm oil is a billion-dollar industry in Indonesia, which is the world's largest producer and exporter of the commodity used in everything from chocolate spreads to cosmetics.
The environmental coalition claimed that PT IAL's maps did not acknowledge local clans and environmental assessments did not involve Indigenous communities.
The coalition also claimed opponents of the firm's plans faced intimidation.
"I am extremely sad and disappointed because our legal struggle appears to have been in vain. But I'll never back down," plaintiff Hendrikus Woro, an environmental activist from the tribe, said in a statement.
His lawyer Tigor Hutapea of the environmental NGO Bentala Rakyat Heritage Foundation said the court had made the "worst ruling" he had ever read on the enforcement of environmental law.
"The judges ignored the presented evidence. The judges did not have an environmental law perspective, and the judges narrowed their reasoning," he told AFP Friday.
The court ruled PT IAL's permit was valid, rejecting the tribe's argument that the concession had been granted based on a flawed environmental impact analysis, said Hutapea.
Hutapea said his client will appeal against the decision.
Indonesia produces about 60 percent of the world's palm oil, with one-third consumed by its domestic market.
The European Union agreed last year to ban palm oil imports linked to deforestation.
Artificial Intelligence Analysis
The objective of this text is to bring attention to the Awyu tribe in Indonesia who is currently at risk of losing their ancestral forest after a court ruling.
State-of-the-Art and Limitations:
The current state-of-the-art shows that the Awyu tribe is in danger of losing their land and resources due to a court ruling that upheld the permit of a palm oil firm, allowing for the potential clearance of the forest land. The limitation is that the court ruling cannot be reversed and the tribe is unable to reclaim their land. Whats New and Why it Will Succeed:
Nothing new is presented in this text. Target Audience and Impact:
The target audience of this text is environmental NGOs and organizations who are working to protect the land and resources of Indigenous communities. The impact of this text is to bring attention to the plight of the Awyu tribe and to encourage action to protect their ancestral lands.
The risks involved in this situation are that the Awyu tribe is unable to reclaim their land and resources and that they will be unable to sustain their traditional way of life if the palm oil firm is allowed to continue to clear their land.
No cost or timeline is given in this text.
No success metrics are given in this text.
Score for Ability to Interest DARPA: 0/10
This text does not present any new information or solutions that would be of interest to DARPA.