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Miyan Rukunuddin Ahmed (mrahmed@UNITY.NCSU.EDU)
Wed, 26 Apr 1995 22:04:49 -0400

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From: "Miyan Rukunuddin Ahmed" <>
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Subject: Indonesian logging destroys indigenous group,the BENTIAN
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A good friend of mine from Indonesia who is a graduate student in Duke (he
happened to be with the ancestry of BENTIAN in East Kalimantan) passed me a
message. He requested to groups or individual who interested in human rights
and tropical forest conservation to raise a voice against Indonesian government
sponsored "development" program (logging) destroys The BENTIAN, a Dayak people
of /east kalimantan in Borneo island.

The BENTIAN Besar district is located in the middle mahakam region of east
Kalimantan. It is home to Bentian Dayak(indigenous)rattan producers. They are
confronting the forest clearance by logging and takeover of their traditional
land by logging concessioners. Their traditinal way of rattan production are
threatened by logging and trans-settlement program. The company responsible
belongs to Bob Hasan, Indonesian's leading timber tycoon. Indonesians NGOs are
calling for international support to challenge these abuses.

In 1981, Georgia Pacific, one of the largest American timber companies built a
logging camp on traditional Bentian lands in the Anan River area, they came
close to sparking an armed conflict with Bentian when they resettled villagers
and destroyed`yed ancient grave sites and rattan fruit gardens during base camp
construction. Georgia Pacific built a corridor logging road approximately 100
km long, parallel to the Lawa River, the main transportation/communication
artery for the area. Instead o building bridges over the feeder streams to the
Lawa, the company dammed all of the feeder streams for the entire length of the
road. This severely reduced water flow to the Lawa and created malarial swamps
on the other side of the road. transportation and communication with the
outside world become increasingly difficult for the local people who were not
given easy access to logging company transportation. Due to an unsatisfactory
business climate, Georgia Pacific pulled out of indonesia in the mid-1980's and
concession areas were taken over by Bob Hasan, an Indonesian timber tycoon with
close links to president Suharto. Georgia Pacific, while it no longer conducts
logging operations in East Kalimantan, remains one of the largest purchasers
and distributors of plywood from its former concessions (now the Kiani
Lestari4ri/Kalimanis group) to the American market.

Attempting to secure the rest of their ancestral lands, the Bentian have been
petitioning the Indonesian government since 1986, completely without results.
begining in 1993, the Bentian publicly protested the destruction of their
traditional lands by logging companies and industrial forest plantations. They
have repeatedly requested a stop to the violations o human rights and
environmental destruction which have accompanied the land clearing of the first
150 hectares of h
thousands of hectares of Bentian lands scheduled for destruction. As a result
of their protests they have been met with increased repression, threats, and
intimidation from Indonesian governmental officials and security forces. On
March 29, 1994, a Bentian leader was interrogated for 12 hours by security
forces and governmental official in an attempt to force him to sign letters
voiding Bentian ancestral rights/
.. The Bentian report numerous other acts of intimidation to try to force them
to relinquish claims to their lands and rattan gardens.

The Bentian demands are:

1. Recognition of the Bentian.s land rights.
2. return of the lands of Jelmu sibak village to the Bentian people
3. Levy fines against logging companies and industrial forest plantations which
have damaged Bentian lands, and Rattan and fruit gardens.
4. Stop the trans migration/industrial forest plantation projects on Bentian
lands immediately


FAX# 62-21-345 7789

FAX# 62-21-390 9222

Please send copies of your fax to :

Jl. Pertahanan 1
Kompleks y
Samarinda, kalTim
Tel/FAX 62-541-35753

Jl. Mampang Prapatan XV No41
Jakarta, indonesia
FAX# 62-21-794-1673