INDONESIA: Land dispute led to indiscriminate shooting against villagers in Mesuji 


Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAC-053-2012
ISSUES: Land rights, Police violence, Right to life,

Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information regarding indiscriminate shooting by police officers against local villagers on 10 November 2011 in Mesuji, Lampung. The shooting was triggered by a land dispute between local villagers in several villages in Lampung and two palm companies. It resulted in the death of Jailani, 50-years-old, and the injury of eight others.


A letter sent by the local villagers’ representatives to WALHI (the Indonesian Forum for Environment), reported that there has been a long ongoing conflict between the villagers and PT Barat Selatan Makmur Investindo (PT BSMI) as well as PT Lampung Interpertiwi (PT LIP) since 1994. The villagers claimed that 17.769 ha of land which these companies hold the cultivation rights on were not acquired in accordance with the law. Although the National Land Agency office in Lampung granted PT BSMI the cultivation rights over 10.000 ha of land, the company has only paid half of the compensation amount it was supposed to pay. Similarly, PT LIP was granted the cultivation rights in March 1997 over 6628 ha of land, but only paid compensation for half of it, 3314 ha, to the villagers. PT BSMI also has the obligation to allocate 7000 ha of its land for plasma plantation, which it has so far failed to do. In addition, villagers of Nipah Kuning, Sri Tanjung, Kagungan Dalam, Sungai Menang, Pagar Dewa and Sungai Sodong also claim that the companies managed to obtain the permit due to conspiracy with the local government. This allegation was based on the fact that there were nine people in the list of compensation grantees who actually did not have any land.

As there was no settlement in this long, ongoing conflict, the local villagers occupied the disputed land. On 6 September 2011, villagers from the six different villages came to unilaterally delimit the land. Since the villagers’ financial situation was negatively impact by the activities of PT BSMI and PT LIP, on September 9 and 11 they harvested palms on the land.

On 10 November 2011, one of the villagers was arrested by the Mobile Brigade (Brimob) for harvesting palms in the disputed land. The other villagers later attempted to release him but the police responded by shooting one of the villagers. The shooting triggered the anger of the villagers, who then burnt some area in Division II of the plantation. The police used rubber bullets to shoot the villagers, one of whom was shot on his left hand. Another suffered a serious burn injury.

Knowing two of them were injured, the villagers came to the factory which was located not far from Division II area. The police opened fire against them indiscriminately which resulted in the death of a villager who was shot in the head. Another villager had his leg broken as well as got shot. Four others were injured from the rubber bullets. The rest of the villagers got really angry and burnt PT BSMI and PT LIP’s factory as well as other facilities.

Following are the details of the victims of the shooting:

Shooting in Division II

Rano Karno 25, shot in his left hand, Sri Tanjung village
Jepi 21 Serious burn wound Sri Tanjung village

Shooting in the factory of PT BSMI and PT LIP
Jailani 50, shot in head, died Kagungan Dalam village
Muslim 16, broken leg, shot Sri Tanjung village
Robinsa 15, shot in his right ankle Sri Tanjung
Reli 27, shot in his right shoulder Sri Tanjung
Harun 15, shot in his left shoulder Sri Tanjung
Lukman 27, shot in his ankle Sri Tanjung
Mat Tahan 40, wounded Sri Tanjung

According to the Indonesian National Police Regulation No. 1 Year 2009 on The Use of Force, live ammunition should be used only to stop activities which may cause severe injury or death, threaten the decency of the police officers or threaten public safety. The Regulation also establishes that the use of lethal weapons including live ammunitions should be used as a last resort, in accordance with international human rights law which upholds that law enforcement officials may use force and firearms only in a situation where it is strictly necessary.

Indonesia is a state party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), article 6 of which guarantees the right to life of everyone. The right to life as stipulated in the ICCPR does not merely mandate the state parties to refrain from any unlawful or arbitrary deprivation of life, but also to conduct effective investigations into situations where state officials have been responsible for the taking of life. Therefore, in this case, an investigation concerning the shooting is needed in order to find out if the use of force and firearms towards the villagers met the necessity and proportionality requirement. The failure to do so constitutes a violation of the right to life.

Please write to the following authorities requesting an impartial and effective investigation into the shooting that took place on 10 November 2010. As this case was triggered by the land conflict between PT BSMI as well as PT LIP and the villagers, please also urge the authorities to ensure that measures needed to settle the conflict be ensured.


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Dear ___________,

INDONESIA: Land dispute led to indiscriminate shooting against villagers in Mesuji

Name of victims
Rano Karno (25-years-old), Jepi (21-years-old), Jailani (50-years- old), Muslim (16-years-old), Robinsa (15-years-old), Reli (27-years-old), Harun (15-years-old), Lukman (27-years-old), Mat Tahan (40-years-old)
Names of alleged perpetrators
Lampung Brimob officers
Date of incident: 10 November 2011
Place of incident: Mesuji village

I am writing to voice my deep concern regarding the shooting at villagers took place in Mesuji village, Lampung, on 10 November 2011. I was informed that on that day a villager was arrested by the Mobile Brigader (Brimob) for harvesting palms in the plantation area of PT Barat Selatan Makmur Investindo (PT BSMI) as well as PT Lampung Interpertiwi (PT LIP). When other villagers attempted to release him, the police responded by firing rubber bullets, provoking the villagers. In this clash, one person was shot on his left hand while another suffered a serious burn injury. The angry villagers then went to Division II area and burnt some parts of the plantation, which resulted in further shooting. At this time a villager died from being shot in the head, and another villager had his leg shot and broken. The police also used rubber bullets to shoot four villagers.

I am aware that under international human rights law as well as Indonesian law, in certain circumstances the police are authorized to use force and firearms towards individuals or groups of individuals who conduct activities threatening public safety. I am also aware that what the villagers did in PT BSMI and PT LIP’s plantation area on 10 November 2011 might amount to activities threatening public safety. However, since there were individuals who died and were injured due to police force, an effective and independent investigation is needed to ensure that the measures taken by the police met the necessity and proportionality requirements.

A well established jurisprudence in international human rights law upheld that the obligation of states in protecting the right to life includes the obligation to conduct an effective investigation where state officials have been responsible for the taking of life. This obligation is needed to secure the accountability of officials and ensure that they cannot act without impunity. The failure to conduct an effective and independent investigation in this case therefore constitutes the violation of the right to life as stipulated in article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Indonesia is a state party.

I would also like to bring your attention to the fact that the clash between police and villagers in this case was triggered by a long ongoing land conflict between the local villagers and PT BSMI and PT LIP. The villagers claimed that the two companies illegally hold the Cultivation Right on Land (Hak Guna Usaha, HGU) over a 17.769 ha of land. This is because PT BSMI and PT LIP did not pay compensation to the villagers over the 8314 ha of land they both acquired; PT BSMI failed to convert 7000 ha of its land into a plasma plantation as well as illegally expanded its plantation area, making it 2455 ha bigger. The villagers also suspect that the companies managed to obtain HGU from the government due to a conspiracy with several government officials. The villagers resorted to harvesting the palms in the disputed land due to the lack of resolution in this long conflict, as well as their poor economic situation since the coming of the two companies into their village.

Since this conflict is the main cause of the clash that took place in Mesuji on 10 November 2011, I would like to urge you to ensure that necessary measures are taken to settle the land conflict between the companies and the villagers, in addition to my request for an independent investigation concerning the shooting. Adequate compensation should be given to the villagers whose land had been taken away and PT BSMI has to convert some of its land into plasma plantation as required by the law. Any allegations regarding conspiracy between the company and the government officials should also be investigated.

Yours sincerely,



1. Mr. Susilo Bambang Yudoyono
President of the Republic of Indonesia
Jl. Veteran No. 16
Jakarta Pusat
Tel: +62 21 386 3777, 350 3088
Fax: +62 21 344 2223

2. Prof. Harkristuti Harkrisnowo
Human Rights General Director
Ministry of Law and Human Rights
Jl. HR Rasuna Said Kav. C-1 Kuningan
Jakarta Selatan 12920
Tel: +62 21 252 1344
Fax: +62 21 45555 5676

3. Mr. Ifdhal Kasim
KOMNAS HAM (National Human Rights Commission)
Jl. Latuharhary No. 4B Menteng 
Jakarta Pusat 10310
Tel:+62 21 3925 230
Fax: +62 21 3151042/3925227 

4. Mr. Joyo Winoto 
Head of National Land Agency
Gedung Badan Pertanahan Nasional Lt. 1
Jl. Sisingamangaraja No. 2, Kebayoran Baru
Jakarta 12110
Tel: +62 21 739 3939
Fax: +62 21 725 4725

5. Mr. Sjachroedin ZP
Governor of Lampung
Jl. Walter Monginsidi No. 56 Lampung
Tel: +62 721 4811166, 482688
Fax: +62 721 485311

6. Mr. H. Alex Noerdin 
Governor of South Sumatra
Jl. Kapten A. Rivai, Palembang
Tel: +62 711 410 838
Fax: +62 711 357 405, 363 789

7. Brig. Gen. Pol. Jodie Roseto 
Head of Lampung Regional Police
Jl. WR Supratman 1, Lampung
Tel: +62 721 471487
Fax: +62 721 488 222

Thank you.

Urgent Appeals Programme 
Asian Human Rights Commission (

Document Type : Urgent Appeal Case
Document ID : AHRC-UAC-053-2012
Countries : Indonesia,
Issues : Land rights, Police violence, Right to life,