Walhi warns of social conflicts if religious organisations granted mining permits

CNN Indonesia – June 4, 2024
Open pit nickel mine in Sorowako, South Sulawesi – Undated (Reuters)

Makassar – The South Sulawesi Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi) has spoken out on the government's plan to grant mining concessions to religious social or mass organisations (ormas) which they see as having the potential to create conflicts with communities.

Walhi South Sulawesi Director Muhammad Al Amin said that religious organisations should not be present in the community to create conflicts and increase environmental damage. So, he continued, the government's offer to manage mining concessions must be rejected by religious organisations.

"I really hope that Islamic, Christian, Buddhist, Hindu and other religions organisations reject the government's offer to submit IUP [mining business permits] and do business in mining. Plus this step is like the government's effort to create conflicts between the victims of mining and religious organisations", Amin said in a written statement on Tuesday June 4.

According to Amin, it would be better if religious organisations run or manage businesses in accordance with the vision and missions of their respective organisations as protectors of the community and religious congregations. He gave as examples the fields of education, health and other services.

Amin said that if religious organisations become involved in mining business, it would far removed from the spirit, vision and mission of the organisations.

"Representing residents impacted on by mining, as well as residents who will be affected by mining, we ask sincerity that ormas leaders not run mining businesses. Continue to run charity business like at the moment", he said.

Risk of conflicts with communities

Currently, said Amin, environmental conflicts that often sacrifice farmers, fishers, indigenous peoples and women always involve companies. If religious organisations take part in mining businesses, it is predicted that conflicts will also occur between communities and religious organisations.

"That is what I mean by the government wanting to create conflicts between the community, environmental organisations and religious organisations. So this doesn't happen, that's our concern. We hope that ormas do not run businesses and other extractive businesses", Amin said.

Therefore, Walhi is asking the central board chairperson of the Islamic mass organisations Muhammadiyah, the central board of the Islamic mass organisation Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) and the head of other mass organisations to reinforce their statement by rejecting the government's plan.

"For the sake of the safety of the ordinary people today and for future generations, as well as for environmental sustainability, I ask that NU, Muhammadiyah and other religious ormas reject the granting of mining concessions and not do business in the extractive sector", he said. (mir/kid)

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Walhi Sulsel Minta Ormas Agama Tidak Berbisnis Tambang".]

Source: https://www.cnnindonesia.com/nasional/20240604145210-20-1105717/walhi-sulsel-minta-ormas-agama-tidak-berbisnis-tambang