Local communities have faced intimidation, restrictions on movement, and detention during international motorcycle races at the Mandalika Street Circuit. IIllustration based on an actual photo to protect the identity of local activists: A.S. (March 2023)

Local community members in Mandalika have reported a heavier securitisation in the lead-up to the March 2023 World Superbike Event compared to previous motorcycle racing events held at the Mandalika International Street Circuit. This warrants a closer investigation from the AIIB, particularly in light of the third United Nations Communications from Special Procedures on intimidation tied to the Mandalika project

The Mobile Brigade Commander of the West Nusa Tenggara Regional Police Komes Pol Komaruz Zaman stated that “deployed Brimob [tactical SWAT] forces are monitoring the situation for signs of terror, riots, and natural disasters”. The deployment includes snipers, which Commander Komaruz stated is necessary “to help secure the situation for the WSBK event”.  Members of the Indonesian security forces have also been conducting anti-protest exercises at the Mandalika circuit, involving Brimob units in full riot gear practicing the use of water cannons to disperse crowds. An affected community member said: “I feel threatened because an intelligence officer visited me and told me that I should not participate in any peaceful protests for my land rights during the World Superbike Race”. 

The Mandalika communities demand a more holistic dispute resolution process, which would address the negative socio-economic impacts of the land, homes, crops and natural resources taken or destroyed due to the Mandalika project, as well as the loss of livelihoods for all affected people. 

As it stands, the Indonesian government is leading a sham dispute resolution process, which by design is only accessible to families with the resources to afford legal counsel. During both meetings held to date, the burden of proof has rested on community members who had to disclose land ownership data, instead of the ITDC which has yet to disclose a  comprehensive land survey of the Mandalika area. Instead of leading a land dispute resolution process accessible to all affected people, the governor’s office is actively pushing community members to open court cases against ITDC for them to get a final decision on land ownership and compensation, which places resource-poor families at risk of being excluded from the process altogether. 

The Indonesian government has also been responsible for intimidating project-affected people who wanted to organize a peaceful protest for their land rights during the World Superbike Race: the local governor’s staff told  prominent community organizers that “if they want to hold a protest action, they have to consider the security and safety of those who will join”, leading them to cancel plans to peacefully protest. These veiled threats should discredit the NTB Governor’s office as the institution put in charge of any dispute resolution process.

Given the devastating impacts of land disputes in Mandalika and the ongoing lack of transparency and meaningful engagement of the ITDC in any land dispute resolution process, the AIIB must make public the audit it conducted of the ITDC’s land survey as a precondition for project approval. 

Mohammad al Amin, coordinator of KPPII said: “It is unacceptable for Indigenous people to be intimidated and coerced during an international sporting event – especially by staff members from the office that is leading the ongoing sham land dispute resolution process. Affected communities have a right to freely express their opinion and to peacefully assemble to advocate for their land rights. They deserve a more accessible, transparent, and meaningful land dispute resolution mechanism”.

AIIB should work to ensure that its client, the ITDC, and the Indonesia government leads a meaningful, accessible and  effective dispute resolution process, that should:

  1. be based on the transparent disclosure of key project documentation, including the AIIB’s assessment of its client’s land survey against the bank’s safeguard requirements. 
  2. be based on an independent holistic evaluation of the negative socio-economic impacts of the Mandalika project – not only in terms of land lost, but also in terms of lost income and livelihoods due to the destruction of communal agricultural and natural resources, inability to access the sea and beaches, and restrictions on operating small businesses in the Mandalika project area – in order to provide effective remedy to project-affected people. This evaluation should receive input from local civil society and be disclosed prior to the beginning of any dispute resolution process.
  3. involve all affected community members in the Mandalika project area and area of project influence, including those whose land has been acquired with no or inadequate compensation; those who have been involuntary resettled and living in unsanitary and difficult conditions for over three years; those who have been permanently resettled and lack clean water and access to livelihoods; those who have had to leave Mandalika to seek employment elsewhere due to the project; and all others whose livelihoods has been negatively affected by the Mandalika project. 
  4. involve local community-based organizations and civil society organizations who have been supporting project-affected people. 
  5. ensure an environment free of reprisals, given the intimidation of project-affected people by government officials, intelligence officers, and security forces. 

The AIIB must take seriously any reprisals or excessive use of force against Indigenous Sasak communities in the Mandalika project area and area of project influence, which includes the Mandalika circuit.

Koalisi Pemantau Pembangunan Infrastruktur Indonesia
ASLI Mandalika
LBH Mataram
Indonesia for Global Justice
Satya Bumi
WALHI Sulawesi Selatan
WALHI Nusa Tenggara Barat
WALHI Jawa Barat
Just Finance International