• Friday, Jun 25, 2021
  • Last Update : 05:54 am

UN: Indonesia's tourism mega-project 'tramples' on human rights

  • Published at 05:45 pm April 2nd, 2021
Lombok Island, Indonesia
File Photo: A general view shows an empty beach at the tourist area of Gili Trawangan on Lombok island on March 18, 2020 AFP

According to a report, Poorer countries in SE Asia are particularly ill-equipped to limit the ‘invisible burden’ of overtourism

A tourism mega-project on the Indonesian island of Lombok has uprooted local and indigenous people, and destroyed homes, fields, rivers, and religious sites, UN human rights experts said.

The Mandalika, located in Lombok's West Nusa Tenggara province, includes a Grand Prix motorcycle circuit, hotels and a golf course, and is part of the "10 New Balis" strategy proposed by President Joko Widodo in 2016 to boost tourism revenues.

In developing the 5-acre site, "local residents were subjected to threats and intimidations, and forcibly evicted from their land without compensation," said Olivier De Schutter, UN special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights.

Businesses and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) that funded the ongoing project, failed to do due diligence "to identify, prevent, mitigate and account for how they address adverse human rights impacts," he said in a statement.

The AIIB said its operations adhered to its environmental and social guidelines, and that it had responded "swiftly" to complaints related to the project and commissioned an independent consultant to engage with the Indonesian government, businesses and local residents.

"The final report found no evidence of the alleged coercion, direct use of force, and intimidation relating to land acquisition and resettlement," it said in a statement late on Thursday.

AIIB and the state-owned Indonesia Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) have agreed on an action plan "to improve stakeholder engagement ... with project-affected people, village heads and local government officials, and more widely with civil society and the wider population of Lombok," it added.

The ITDC and the Mandalika Grand Prix Association, which are both involved in the Mandalika development, did not respond to requests for comment.

Globally, there is a growing awareness - and backlash against - the negative impacts of tourism, including environmental damage and the destruction of neighbourhoods as local residents are priced out.

Poorer countries in Southeast Asia are particularly ill-equipped to limit the "invisible burden" of over tourism, said a 2019 report from The Travel Foundation charity in Britain.

After the coronavirus pandemic devastated tourism-reliant economies of islands such as Indonesia's Bali and Thailand's Phuket, authorities are prioritising hospitality industry workers for vaccines in order to attract foreign tourists - a move criticised by human rights groups.

The Mandalika was touted by authorities as critical to create jobs and improve livelihoods in the impoverished province, but human rights activists say the project - like many other tourism developments - has hurt indigenous people most.

Facebook 50
blogger sharing button blogger
buffer sharing button buffer
diaspora sharing button diaspora
digg sharing button digg
douban sharing button douban
email sharing button email
evernote sharing button evernote
flipboard sharing button flipboard
pocket sharing button getpocket
github sharing button github
gmail sharing button gmail
googlebookmarks sharing button googlebookmarks
hackernews sharing button hackernews
instapaper sharing button instapaper
line sharing button line
linkedin sharing button linkedin
livejournal sharing button livejournal
mailru sharing button mailru
medium sharing button medium
meneame sharing button meneame
messenger sharing button messenger
odnoklassniki sharing button odnoklassniki
pinterest sharing button pinterest
print sharing button print
qzone sharing button qzone
reddit sharing button reddit
refind sharing button refind
renren sharing button renren
skype sharing button skype
snapchat sharing button snapchat
surfingbird sharing button surfingbird
telegram sharing button telegram
tumblr sharing button tumblr
twitter sharing button twitter
vk sharing button vk
wechat sharing button wechat
weibo sharing button weibo
whatsapp sharing button whatsapp
wordpress sharing button wordpress
xing sharing button xing
yahoomail sharing button yahoomail