Picture West Nusa Tenggara, Lombok, Indonesia credit tiket2-fly on Unsplash
United Nations (UN) rights experts have raised concerns over forced evictions of locals and indigenous peoples, and threats against human rights defenders, to make way for a $3 billion (£2.18 billion) tourism project on the Indonesian island of Lombok.
The Mandalika development project on the island of Lombok was first announced in 2008. Initial plans and partners fell by the wayside during the global financial crisis. The project is now led by the Indonesian Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC).
ITDC suggested that the project would create 58,000 jobs and help attract 2 million foreign tourists per year.
Mandalika, in Lombok’s poor West Nusa Tenggara Province, is set to be turned into an integrated tourism complex, comprising a Grand Prix motorcycle race circuit, parks, luxury hotels and resorts, including Pullman, Paramount Resort, and Club Med.
The project is partly financed by the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and has attracted more than US$1 billion investment by private businesses. The French group VINCI Construction Grands Projects is its largest investor, in charge of the Mandalika Circuit, hotels, a hospital, a water park, and other facilities.
The project has received some criticism with rumours of development projects outside of the development area being turned down, stunting growth elsewhere on the island.
United Nations Concerns
The UN human rights experts urged the Indonesian Government to respect human rights and the rule of law amid reports that the project has involved aggressive land grabs, forced evictions of Sasak indigenous peoples, and intimidation and threats against human rights defenders.
The experts also criticised a lack of due diligence by the AIIB and private businesses to identify, prevent, mitigate and account for how they address adverse human rights impacts, as set forth in the UN Guiding Principles on business and human rights.
National Commission on Human Rights
The Jakarta Post reported last October that the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) has asked the ITDC to temporarily halt the construction of the Mandalika MotoGP circuit due to reports of a land dispute with local residents.
The MotoGp circuit is 4.32km long, has a 50,000 seat grandstand and capacity for 138,000 spectators and will have a backdrop of mountains and beaches.
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