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18 Aug 2022

Just Finance International (Netherlands)

Indonesia: AIIB's Mandalika project continues to uproot Indigenous communities despite UN condemnation

AIIB’s Mandalika project in Indonesia force thousands to leave their homes “What can you do when they point guns at you?’’ - 18 August 2022

A large-scale tourism project in Indonesia’s Lombok Island has become a nightmare for the coastal Indigenous Sasak communities. Hundreds of families have been forced by the government and armed security forces to leave their homes for temporary resettlements unfit to support their livelihoods, while others who stand up for their rights to land, a life of traditions and rightful compensation, still face intimidation and reprisals three and a half years after the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) started financing the project. [...]

The newly constructed road, paved with financing from the AIIB, a multilateral development bank headquartered in Beijing, which passes by the Muluq village and ends at the beach where the fisherfolk communities live, is just the beginning of a new phase of land acquisition for the Mandalika project, according to construction workers. [...]

The Muluq fisherfolk and families are devastated, and are trying to grasp with the loss of communal coconut trees, a vital source of income which can generate an annual income of over $1,400 USD. In trying to make sense of the violent land clearing that is unfolding in front of their eyes, the Muluq villagers are demanding an explanation from the security forces. However, the security forces responded by pointing loaded weapons at those who raise their voice, an intimidating act that immediately silences the villagers into submission. “What can you do when they point guns at you?’’, say the villagers. [...]

AIIB’s response, however, has been to merely state that the project meets AIIB’s standards, without insofar as to disclose its own land audit and detailed social impact monitoring reports, which are a common practice by other international financial institutions for high risk – category A – projects.

The AIIB, in the view of civil society organizations who have assisted the affected Sasak communities in Mandalika since the bank began implementation of the project, has denigrated the concerns raised by project affected communities, independent experts and civil society organizations, by refusing to address the human rights violations against the backdrop of long standing conflicts in Mandalika. [...]

Part of the following timelines

Indonesia: Human rights experts challenge government and companies involved in new tourism mega-project amid alleged indigenous and human rights abuses

Indonesia: AIIB's Mandalika tourism project continues to uproot Indigenous communities despite UN condemnation