Indigenous Women's Rights Activists Urge W20 to Protect the Rights of Indigenous Women of Lake Toba

- 26 July 2022 17:26 WIB
North Sumatran Women Against Deforestation protest in Lake Toba. (Photo/Greenpece Indonesia)
North Sumatran Women Against Deforestation protest in Lake Toba. (Photo/Greenpece Indonesia)

JAKARTADAILY.ID – A giant banner that reads "North Sumatran Women Against Deforestation" floats above Lake Toba. The banner was unfurled by a number of activists and Toba rural women.

Through this action, they conveyed a message to the participants of the Women's Summit (W20) in Parapat, how important it is to protect forests and the rights of indigenous peoples, especially indigenous women, from the threat of deforestation and land exploitation.

Sekar Banjaran Aji, an activist for Greenpeace Indonesia, said that this action is a form of conveying the aspiration that the W20 Summit meeting which puts forward issues of gender equality and discrimination, inclusive economy, marginalized women and health, should also reflect on what is happening in the forests of North Sumatra and its surroundings.

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"Many indigenous peoples, especially indigenous and rural women, have been forced to lose their living space due to land and forest grabs carried out by large companies, for the sole purpose of making profit," said Sekar Banjaran Aji, in a press release received by JakartaDaily.id on Monday, July 25, 2022.

Indigenous women in North Sumatra and almost all parts of Indonesia have long been victims of structural inequality and exploitative development that does not pay attention to gender aspects. Various development programs have led to social conflicts and environmental destruction which then override and even violate women's rights.

Women's groups are the groups most vulnerable to losing their livelihoods due to cases of forest destruction and land grabbing, and often experience violence in areas of agrarian conflict.

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Rocky Pasaribu from KSPPM (Community Initiative Study and Development Group) said that although President Jokowi had submitted 4 SK Customary Forests in Lake Toba in early February 2022, it had not yet answered the problems of indigenous peoples in Lake Toba. There are still many agrarian conflicts that have not been seriously resolved.

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Editor: Suksmajati Kumara

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