Protecting human rights or preserving business interests? Case research in the palm oil and logging sector

This report presents the results of a research project on the role of state and private security actors in human rights violations in the extractive industry in Indonesia. It includes the results of two case studies: one on palm oil company Asiatic Persada, owned by the Ganda Group, and one on logging company Wirakarya Sakti, owned by the Sinar Mas Group.

The two case studies, that involved fieldwork in Sumatra in July and August 2016, reveal a pernicious and deliberate erosion and violation of (human) rights of local inhabitants across the spectrum of security actors, showing that public security actors are protecting corporate interests rather than performing public functions.

The implications of these findings are considered in terms of legal responsibilities as well as access to justice, highlighting some of the challenges of non-judicial grievance mechanisms such as the IFC’s Compliance Advisor Ombudsman and the RSPO Complaints Mechanism. The report ends with a call for necessary legal and policy changes.

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