“When We Lost the Forest, We Lost Everything”


Oil Palm Plantations and Rights Violations in Indonesia 


A decade and a half ago, lush forests with evergreen fruit-bearing rambutan trees surrounded the home of Leni, a 43-year-old Iban Dayak woman and mother of two, in Jagoi Babang district of West Kalimantan province—an area her Indigenous community has inhabited for centuries. Today, they have little land to farm and no forest in which to forage after the land was cleared to make way for an oil palm plantation run by an Indonesian company.   

Thousands of kilometers away to the west, in Sarolangun regency of Jambi province on the island of Sumatra, an elderly Orang Rimba mother of nine children, Maliau, struggles to survive off land that once sustained her people, but which has since been decimated by an oil palm plantation that began operating in the area nearly three decades ago. “Life was better before,” Maliau said. “Women could find many types of food. Some wove mats from leaves and baskets. We made lamps from gum resin. Now we cannot find materials to make these.” 

To access the special report, click link https://www.hrw.org/report/2019/09/22/when-we-lost-forest-we-lost-everything/oil-palm-plantations-and-rights-violations