Customary communities in motion: politics of indigeneity in contemporary Indonesia
By: Dr. Noer Fauzi Rachman (Padjadjaran University, Bandung, Indonesia)
In 1999, Aliansi Masyarakat Adat Nusantara (AMAN / Indigenous Peoples' Alliance of the Archipelago) was established in Indonesia. AMAN provides a unified national movement and platform for the struggles of indigenous communities against systemic land dispossession and other forms of discrimination. AMAN uses the term masyarakat adat (literally: indigenous / customary community) for “indigenous peoples” as defined by the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and campaigns for their visibility and their rights, including rights over their customary territory.
In 2012, AMAN submitted a constitutional review against Law 44/1999 on Forestry to the Constitutional Court. In this presentation I will analyse the significance and consequences of this counter-hegemonic legal manoeuvring, which succeeded in producing an important ruling that state customary forest should not be part of state-owned forest. This is a new landmark in Indonesian forestry law, establishing the constitutional norm of the status of the indigenous / customary community as rights-bearing subject and the owner of its customary territory.
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