UN Concerns Over $3 Billion Tourism Project In Indonesia

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.

“Farmers and fisher folks have been expelled from their land and have endured the destruction of their houses, fields, water sources, cultural and religious sites, as the Government of Indonesia and the ITDC (Indonesia Tourism Development Corporation) groomed Mandalika to become a ‘New Bali’.”

“Credible sources have found that the local residents were subjected to threats and intimidations and forcibly evicted from their land without compensation. Despite these findings, the ITDC has not sought to pay compensation or settle the land disputes.”

“In light of the dark history of human rights violations and land grabs in the region, the AIIB and businesses cannot look the other way and carry on business as usual. Their failure to prevent and address risks of human rights abuses is tantamount to being complicit in such abuses.”

“The Mandalika project puts Indonesia’s laudable commitments to the Sustainable Development Goals and its underlying human rights obligations to the test. Large-scale tourism development that tramples on human rights is fundamentally incompatible with the concept of sustainable development.”.

“The time has passed for racing circuits and massive transnational tourism infrastructure projects that benefit a handful of economic actors rather than the population as a whole. Post-COVID economies should focus on empowering local communities, enhancing their livelihoods and participation in decision-making. We urge the Indonesian Government to ensure that the ITDC respects human rights and the rule of law, as well as the AIIB and private businesses not to finance or engage in projects and activities that contribute to human rights violations and abuses.”

Olivier De Schutter, the UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights

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.

“They complained about two main problems. The first is the fact that they are on the brink of getting evicted despite [the ITDC] having not paid them for their land. The second is they claimed to face intimidation from certain parties, so they don’t feel safe.”

Beka Ulung Hapsara, Komnas HAM Commissioner

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.

Advertising and affiliate links help to support this site. We never tailor content to encourage sales with a particular company. We only partner with organisations who we believe provide a good service or product. Thank you.

Published by flyingdogtravel

Travel inspiration

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: