Environmental News from Asia:
- Two more palm oil companies in Indonesia that sued a local official for revoking their permits have had their lawsuits rejected.
- They join a growing list of palm oil firms being held to account for legal and administrative violations that were uncovered in a May 2021 audit of oil palm concessions across West Papua province.
- Four other lawsuits filed on similar grounds by other companies have also been thrown out since December 2021.
- Activists have welcomed the verdict, saying it’s an opportunity for the government to give the concessions back to the Indigenous communities who live on the land.
JAKARTA — A court in Indonesia has dismissed lawsuits filed by two palm oil companies against a district head who revoked their permits over various violations. The May 23 rulings mark the latest in a string of legal defeats for palm oil companies who lost their licenses to operate in Indonesia’s West Papua province.
PT Anugerah Sakti Internusa (ASI) and PT Persada Utama Agromulia (PUA) had filed separate lawsuits on Dec. 29, 2021, against Samsuddin Anggiluli, the head of South Sorong district in West Papua province. But the judges hearing the cases in the Jayapura State Administrative Court ruled that the revocations ordered by Samsuddin, on the basis of various legal and administrative violations by the companies, was justified.
“This ruling highly upholds the sense of justice, especially for the preservation of the environment in Papua,” Pieter Ell, a lawyer representing Samsuddin, told local media.
The lawyer representing both companies, Iwan Niode, said that the judges’ argument that the lawsuits were submitted after the deadline had passed was not valid.
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