Indonesia: More reclamation projects challenged in court

Indra Budiari, The Jakarta Post 11 Mar 16;

A lawsuit challenging a Jakarta gubernatorial permit for the construction of artificial islets F, I and K off the city’s northern coast kicked off at the Jakarta State Administrative Court on Thursday with a panel of judges reading out the petition.

In the 38-page petition, a copy of which was made available to The Jakarta Post, fishermen, rights activists and environmentalists claim that the Jakarta governor violated various regulations in issuing the permits and demanded that the court revoke them immediately.

The petitioners believe that the reclamation was carried out without obtaining a preliminary environmental permit as regulated by Law No. 32/2009 on environmental management and protection.

The Jakarta administration is also accused of violating the basic rights of coastal fishermen — as the most affected parties in the artificial islet development projects — to access and manage natural resources in the area. The petitioners said the fishermen’s needs were not being taken into account during the construction.

“Based on Constitutional Court decision No. 3/PUU-VIII/2010, fishermen have a constitutional right to coastal and small island areas,” the petition claims.

On Oct. 22 last year, the city administration issued construction licenses to city-owned PT Jakarta Propertindo for Islet F and to PT Jaladri Eka Paksi for Islet I, and on Nov. 17 to PT Pembangunan Jaya Ancol for Islet K. The three islets are part of the 17 man-made islets planned to be built off the city’s northern coast.

Recently, Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama announced that he was considering evicting fishermen from the shoreline of North Jakarta and relocating them to the Thousands Islands, saying that they would get better catches in the regency.

The idea, however, has been strongly opposed by the fishermen, who believe that moving to the Thousands Islands would pose problems for them as the deeper sea would make it harder for them to catch fish or clams with tools as basic as those used by many Muara Angke fishermen, let alone the tougher competition with the islands’ fisherfolk.

The reclamation projects are also being conducted while the bylaw regulating the islets has yet to be passed by the city council.

During Thursday’s hearing, the petitioners also claimed that the city administration lacked the authority to issue the permits as the Jakarta coast was a strategic national area and any permit should be issued by the Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry as a representative of central government.

“Furthermore, in 2003 the ministry issued Ministerial Decree No. 14/2003 on the environment and impropriety of the northern Jakarta coast reclamation project because it had the potential to harm the area’s maritime ecosystem,” Martin Hadiwinata, one of the petitioners, told the court.

The petition says that more fish would die as a result of environmental degradation, including the occurrence of harmful algal blooms.

“With so many violations committed in the project and damage that it could bring to the fishermen and the ecosystem, the judges should revoke or postpone the implementation of the islet construction permits,” Tigor Hutapea, a lawyer from the Jakarta Legal Aid Foundation representing the fishermen, told the Post after the hearing.

Separately, Haratua Purba from the Jakarta administration’s legal bureau, said he would refute all of the arguments in the next hearing slated for March 17.

“I can’t share the details of our response. Every argument will be countered next week,” he said.

Aside from the petition against the permits for three islets, a hearing on a petition also filed by fishermen against Islet G and the trial is ongoing. In last week’s hearing, a law expert witness said it was the central government that had the authority to issue such permits.

No comments:

Post a Comment