Indigenous communities resisting dams in Indonesia claim they face repression, rights abuses

In October 2014, when developers entered Seko and Central Seko to begin preliminary work on a 480-megawatt hydroelectric dam, the communities living there say no one asked their permission. ​The area, in the Seko Subdistrict of North Luwu, in the southern part of Indonesia’s Sulawesi Island, is home to indigenous peoples including the Pohoneang, Hoyyane and Amballong. Without seeking consent from these communities, contractors entered the area and planted stakes around the project’s borders and the survey area, locals say. This resulted in the developers having to pay a ritual fine of ten million rupiahs (around US$ 750) and a water buffalo to the local communities. This ritual-fining incident was followed by efforts by the communities to persuade the company not to pursue their activities within the villages’ traditional landholdings.

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