Survey finds intimidation by security personnel in Mandalika MotoGP project

CNN Indonesia – April 12, 2023
Mandalika MotoGP race circuit project pictured from the air – Undated (Antara)

Jakarta – The Indonesian Infrastructure and Development Monitoring Coalition (KPPII) says that there was intimidation by security personnel against local residents in the Mandalika MotoGP project in Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara (NTB).

KPPII researcher Sayyidatiihayaa Afra said that they made the findings after conducting a survey involving 105 people affected by the project. The survey was carried out between December 2022 and January 2023.

"A survey of the same respondents found a pattern of systematic intimidation committed by Indonesian security forces and state actors at Mandalika", said Afra in an official press release on Tuesday April 11.

Afra explained that 70 percent of respondents felt they were coerced during the land release process. Meanwhile 84 percent of respondents were affected by the excessive mobilisation of security forces throughout the international motorbike race at the Mandalika circuit.

"Including tight restrictions on movement, the detention of people who criticised military violence, and the forced entry into residents' homes to get them to hand over their land", she said.

Based on quantitative data as well as testimonies, said Afra, the communities affected by the project continue to struggle with the severe social and economic impacts of the development project that was pushed through without their agreement.

The same survey also showed that 79 percent of respondents admitted to experiencing financial difficulties as a result of the Mandalika project.

"The loss of land, access to the sea, and natural resources has caused people affected by the project to be ensnared in a debt trap in order to feed their families and children who dropped out of school. The multi-layered impact was particularly experienced by women", she explained.

Allegations of rights violations

National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) Commissioner Prabianto Mukti Prabowo says that right from the start his institution alleged that there were human rights violations in the Mandalika project.

"Right from the start we alleged that there were human rights violations in the Mandalika case", he said.

He stated that Komnas HAM had issued recommendations to respond to the case in 2020. At that time, Komnas HAM received a complaint containing a request to provide legal protection for the intimidation that occurred.

"So at that time, Komnas HAM issued recommendations, one of which asked the government and the ITDC [the state-owned Indonesia Tourism Development Corporation] to guarantee an appropriate alternative solution for residents who had or would lose their land, as well as respecting the rights of residents and avoiding the use or involvement of security forces", said Prabowo.

According to Prabowo, the deployment of security personnel had decreased at that time, but recently it has escalated again, particularly in the lead up to international events such as the MotoGP and World Super Bike (WSBK) racing series.

"To be honest, this is one of our weaknesses. Komnas HAM's recommendations do not have coercive power", he said. (lna/chri)

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Survei KPPII: Ada Intimidasi Aparat di Proyek Mandalika".]