Some 20 thousand peasants marked the 50th commemoration of Indonesia’s National Farmers Day and passage of the country’s first agrarian law Sept. 24, with mobilizations to demand a new agrarian reform program. In actions promoted by over 40 organizations nationwide, protesters demanded the government to implement reforms promised by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in 2007. Indonesia, a country where 25.6 million family farmers only have an average of 0.4 hectares, has implemented market-based reforms mandated by the World Bank, without aiming to achieve food sovereignty, justice or land rights, the movement charges.
Demonstrators went to the presidential building in Jakarta to demand immediate redistribution of 9.6 million hectares, and creation of a committee on agrarian conflict to review regulations that go against peasant rights. Protest leader Henry Saragih said that any reform will only be valid if it involves peasants. “We have to make sure that we are the beneficiaries and we get the right to land in order to produce food,” he said. (Radio Mundo Real, Sept. 27; Jakarta Post, Sept. 25)
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