Numfon Jaiwong, Cohort 2018


In Indonesia, one of the serious national issues is indigenous peoples’ rights on land and the problem of the tenure system. Over centuries of being under colonial power, land laws became combined use between western land laws and traditional land laws. In the areas where western land laws applied, land registration was completely supported with agrarian maps and surveys. While on the other hand, many Indonesian kingdoms imposed their own regulations. Many Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are working to mobilize those indigenous peoples and recall the rights for them. The land conflicts keep rising in many areas, especially for vulnerable indigenous communities. This case study explores the role of the Indigenous Peoples’ Alliance of the Archipelago (AMAN), a non-government organization (NGO) that has been working on this issue for more than twenty years. Though they have been facing many challenges, they can have successfully put pressure on the government as well as worked to support indigenous communities. This research was conducted based on a qualitative case study approach. The literature reviews together with the primary data from an in-depth interview with AMAN’s staffs, have shown NGOs’ roles on land rights issue, have been changing from a political opposition in the New Order regime to development and political engagement in a democratizing state. Adapting their roles and strategies accorded to the political situation, help Indonesian NGOs to deliver more effective works and regain thousands of hectares of land back to indigenous communities. In addition, relating indigenous land rights issue with recent global issues such as climate change may assist NGOs to expand their networks and raise indigenous people’s voices globally. Thus, Indonesian NGOs have proved crucial roles in involving to solve the land conflicts issues, as it is part of political and social development of the democratization of Indonesia.

Key words: NGOS’ roles; indigenous land rights; AMAN; Indonesia


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