BALI COMMUNITY FIGHTS TO SAVE STOLEN STATE LAND
The community of Nusa Ceningan is struggling with a legal battle to reclaim their lawful rights to their island’s harbor and public land. The State owned land was illegally certified as private property in 2005 and the social and legal battle for the land has been underway ever since. The case is being brought to Bali’s high court in the coming weeks, and the solidarity collation, SPACE (Solidaritas Pendukung Aksi Ceningan), has been formed to support the people of Nusa Ceningan in bringing this serious case of community land rights to public attention.
The land is not only the small island’s main harbor, it is also where the local community gathers for children’s activities and ceremonials events, and local farmers dry harvested seaweed, which is the island’s major source of income.
In 2005, unbeknownst to the local community, I Wayan Naka, an outsider from the neighboring island of Nusa Lembongan, made an agreement with local officials to certify the land as private property. The community of Nusa Ceningan have done their utmost to resolve this conflict through peaceful negotiation, but with no resolution in sight they were forced to seek legal justice.
In 2009 and 2010, with funds gathered from the island’s local farmers and families, the people of Nusa Ceningan brought the case to the regional courts of Klungkung, where they were represented by one of Bali’s local legal aid foundations PBHI (Perhimpunan Bantuan Hukum dan Hak Asasi Manusia) or the Association for Legal Aid and Human Rights. The people of Nusa Ceningan won the case on behalf of the State on March 22nd, 2010. The land certificate holder has rejected the court’s decision and now the case is being brought to Bali’s high court as a closed court case.
The leader of the island’s local disaster management team Mr Sita explained “This land has been used by our community for decades, we know that it emerged from the sea and it is actually State Land, this has been confirmed by the Klungkung Court. We need the public support to make sure the State land is not lost forever” expressing the community’s deep concern about the case.
SPACE (Solidaritas Pendukung Aksi Ceningan) includes several of Bali’s major local NGOs and is growing all the time. The coalition has published a website www.NusaCeningan.org, which provides information about the case and a portal for raising support for the Nusa Ceningan community’s mounting legal fees. SPACE is organizing a series of public awareness raising events about the issue including demonstrations, community events and press conferences.
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If you would like more information about this topic or to schedule an interview with key members of the Nusa Ceningan Community contact SPACE (Solidaritas Pendukung Aksi Ceningan): info@NusaCeningan.org