IOI is continuing its efforts to resolve the long-standing land dispute between IOI Pelita and 9 local communities in the Tinjar area of Sarawak. RSPO’s Complaints Panel and Grassroots (NGO) support IOI in this process by providing guidance and advice. The resolution process has been agreed upon and outlined in the IOI Pelita Land Dispute Resolution Plan, and IOI is responsible for its implementation.
On 19 February 2019 in Miri, Sarawak, IOI launched the community capacity building stage of the IOI Pelita Land Dispute Resolution Plan. It will be conducted independently by two Sarawakian NGOs, JOAS and SADIA who formed a special entity called CICOM (Community’s Information and Communication Centre) to manage this effort.
The first objective of the capacity building program is to ensure that the affected communities understand well the dispute resolution process outlined in the IOI’s Resolution Plan. In June to October 2018, IOI conducted several sessions of the Resolution Plan socialization among all nine participating communities. This time, CICOM’s task is to assess communities’ current level of understanding and address any gaps, if such are identified. Furthermore, CICOM will provide, directly or through specialized consultants, any additional advice and training that the communities might need to be fully aware of the complexity of the dispute, its legal ramifications, risks and opportunities involved. As a result, the communities will be well-equipped to participate in next stages of the resolution process, which are: participatory mapping (Stage II) and negotiations for the final dispute settlement (Stage III).
In the course of the community capacity building process, CICOM will also identify and discuss communities’ grievances against IOI Pelita as well as the intra-community disputes related to the overlapping land claims. These claims will be subsequently validated and mapped out through the community participatory mapping (Stage II).
To launch the community capacity building program, CICOM invited all Ketua Kaum (village heads) to a workshop to explain the program, get their feedback and agree on the timing of CICOM’s visits to the individual longhouses. The workshop took place in Miri on February 19th. IOI representatives were not present in order to ensure a frank and open discussion between CICOM and the affected communities. That independence will be provided to CICOM throughout their involvement in the IOI Pelita dispute resolution process. IOI believes that the active participation of the Sarawakian civil society in the resolution process will make a difference and increase the chances for success in resolving this long-standing conflict.
CICOM and Grassroots in discussion with the Village Heads (Ketua Kaum) during the workshop.