Indonesia: MotoGP racetrack project comes under UN criticism

20-Apr-2021 Intellasia | Al Jazeera | 5:02 AM Print This Post

On the Indonesian island of Lombok, this racetrack is one of the country’s most high-profile infrastructure projects. The circuit will host major racing events when complete. And there will be new hotels, roads, and airport extensions to make way for thousands of racing fans. But slick promotional videos don’t tell the full story.

People living here say they’re being forced to rebury their loved ones because the area’s cemetery is being demolished by developers.

– (THROUGH INTERPRETER) It feels like we are not allowed to be here at all anymore. Even the bones of our ancestors are not allowed on this land.

JESSICA WASHINGTON: Houses and farmland are also in the developers’ sights. Sibwaih said this area of the construction project is on his land.

– (THROUGH INTERPRETER) This is also the MotoGP viewing area. They brag about how this area is near the beach. And so we have to leave this place.

JESSICA WASHINGTON: People have protested against the development since its early stages. Hundreds of them face eviction. And many say they’re being intimidated.

– (THROUGH INTERPRETER) They brought so many police ready to attack me and also their own security. But I didn’t go. They wanted to take down my house without any notice that very day. I tried to fight back.

JESSICA WASHINGTON: Sitya says he was offered $200 for 1.6 hectares of land and his house. He says he wants fair compensation from the state-owned Indonesia Tourism Development Corporation. The United Nations says Indonesian authorities face serious allegations.

OLIVIER DE SCHUTTER: And the land has, in effect, been robbed from the local committees of the Sasak indigenous people.

JESSICA WASHINGTON: The Indonesia Tourism Development Corporation denies any wrongdoing. And the government says the project will benefit everyone.

KARTIKA WIRJOATMOJO: We are going to make sure that all the developments in Mandalika, including the MotoGP circuit, will benefit people in Lombok.

JESSICA WASHINGTON: Mandalika is one of 10 areas around Indonesia selected by the government as a priority zone for tourism development. But critics say development should not come at the expense of human rights.

While some try to stay and protect their land, others say they had no choice but to go.

– (THROUGH INTERPRETER) Because of this MotoGP circuit, we have to leave our home, the home that we love.

JESSICA WASHINGTON: Damar says he was only compensated for some of his land. Now his family, like many others, faces the challenge of starting again somewhere else.


Category: Indonesia

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