JABARTODAY.COM-JAKARTA, September 19, 2023 – In a significant development, the National Council of HMI Alumni Corps (MN KAHMI) has issued a statement addressing the ongoing crisis on Rempang Island, located in the Riau Islands Province of Indonesia.
Rempang Island, spanning 165 square kilometers and home to around 7,512 residents, is primarily inhabited by fishermen, sailors, and farmers, mostly of Malay descent. The island’s rich cultural heritage and strong sense of community have shaped it into a distinct legal entity under customary law.
In a powerful statement, MN KAHMI emphasized that the residents of Rempang and their island constitute a united legal and environmental entity, entitled to shared rights over land and water resources. This collective right enables them to utilize these resources for their livelihoods and sustenance.
The alumni association strongly condemned any acts of violence against Rempang residents who have been protesting for justice concerning their land and water resources, which are at risk of being taken over by the state.
MN KAHMI outlined the following key points in its response to the situation:
Respect for Customary Rights: The government is urged to respect the rights of customary communities over their territories, which encompass land, forests, water bodies, and resources, in compliance with existing laws.
Independent Investigation: An independent investigative team is recommended to examine the incidents of violence during the Rempang residents’ protests, which led to the detention of 34 individuals. MN KAHMI called for the suspension of the detainees.
Dialogue and Peace: The government should initiate a dialogue with Rempang residents to promote peace and offer assurances regarding the resolution of issues arising from the Rempang Eco-City national strategic project. The government is urged to ensure that the development of Rempang Island prioritizes the well-being of its residents and the sustainable use of its land.
Appeal for Restraint: MN KAHMI appealed to all stakeholders to exercise restraint, refrain from creating unrest, and avoid causing harm to the Rempang community, particularly with the 2024 elections approaching. They called for unity and collective efforts to find solutions to the challenges faced by the residents of Rempang.
This statement by MN KAHMI highlights the importance of respecting the rights and heritage of indigenous communities while also addressing issues related to development and justice.
The situation on Rempang Island remains a critical concern, and developments are being closely monitored by national and international observers.
Stay tuned for further updates on this evolving story.
National Council of KAHMI
Ahmad Doli Kurnia Tandjung, Coordinator of the Presidium
Syamsul Qomar, General Secretary