A court in Indonesia has dismissed a request to reinstate palm oil licences in Papua New Guinea


In what was considered a test of the government’s vow to stop such land conversions to curb deforestation, an Indonesian court on Tuesday (Dec 7) denied a plea by two corporations to renew the license for oil palm plantations in the country’s easternmost area of Papua.
The decision comes two months after Indonesia declared it would not issue new plantation licences even after a ban had expired.
The two businesses, PT Papua Lestari Abadi (PLA) and PT Sorong Agro Sawitindo (SAS), each held permissions for about 70,000 hectares of land, or seven times the size of Paris. The enterprises had filed a lawsuit against the head of the Sorong district in West Papua, claiming that withdrawing their licences had hurt them.
PLA, SAS, and another business called PT Inti Kebun Lestari all had licences covering 105,000 acres cancelled by the Sorong district chief, who is also contesting the decision in court. Mr Petrus P. Ell, a lawyer for the Sorong district chief, told a video conference after the judgement was delivered that the court had dismissed “the plaintiff’s claim in its entirety.”
The firms’ lawyer, Mr Juhari, who goes by one name, told Reuters that the judgement would be appealed. Last month, Indonesia joined 127 other countries to halt deforestation by 2030. Still, it appeared to backtrack only days later, claiming that a zero-deforestation objective was incompatible with its development goals.


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