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EU/Indonesia: Timber Agreement Flawed

The new timber trade agreement between Indonesia and the European Union does not go far enough to curb illegal logging linked to rights abuses, Human Rights Watch said today.

The agreement requires Indonesian timber exported to the EU to carry a certificate showing it was harvested legally, but does not address whether harvesting the timber violated local community rights. Nor does it address corruption in the issuance of timber licenses, which robs Indonesia of billions of dollars in revenues annually.

“The EU-Indonesia timber trade agreement should help combat illegal logging, but there is still a long road ahead before either side can claim to trade only in legal timber,” said Joe Saunders, deputy program director at Human Rights Watch. “Indonesia’s certification process needs to be reformed to ensure that timber isn’t taken from community lands without consent and adequate compensation.”

On November 7, 2013, Human Rights Watch released the Indonesian language version of its report “The Dark Side of Green Growth: Human Rights Impacts of Weak Governance in Indonesia’s Forestry Sector,” and formally submitted the report to Indonesia’s Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) in Jakarta. One finding is that Indonesia’s new timber legality certification system, incorporated into the EU-Indonesia trade agreement, is inadequate to address the pervasive land rights violations and corruption that have plagued the forestry sector.

For the complete article, please see Human Rights Watch.