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Letter of Statement Indigenous Peoples Suku Balik regarding the Development of Indonesia’s New Capital City and Rejecting the Destructive Development of Indonesia’s New Capital City

By Infokom AMAN Kaltim 09 March 2023


Day by day the mobility of the Government is getting higher in organizing the development of the Nusantara City, Capital City of Indonesia. The government is trying to carry out with maximum force so that moving the capital of Indonesia can be faster, the activity is very visible from the construction equipment that. Especially in Sepaku District which is included in the Core Development Area, the Government(Jokowi, President of Indonesia) is targeting that on August 17 2023 the State Agenda will have been implemented in the new Capital City of Indonesia and the official transfer of government to Sepaku, Penajam Paser Utara Regency.

Behind the process of building the Capital City of Indonesia, a bit of a serious story from the Indigenous Peoples Suku Balik of Sepaku that has received less attention from the government in building and fully expanding on a large scale is the Indigenous Peoples Suku Balik that has inhabited the area for generations. But recently these indigenous peoples Suku Balik of Sepaku have actually lived in the shadows of fear and deep trauma mentally, where this national scale development threatens the peace they have had so far.

Sibukdin, the Leader of Indigenous Peoples Suku Balik of Sepaku, said that he was haunted by feelings of anxiety and felt half hope and almost gave up fighting for the rights of indigenous peoples in the village of old Sepaku, he said that the operation of the Sepaku dam (intake) project had been unstoppable, forcibly displacing residents’ land around the Indigenous  settlements.  They were not even given a choice from the government parties to reject it, and even threatened, if they refused, the options given were only to sue in court. Indigenous peoples have no power, landowners are forced to surrender the land being evicted and paid as desired by the owner of the project, which is supported by the government, in February 2023. The government again carried out socialization, said that it would carry out a river normalization program, as well as inviting residents, for notification of further socialization on 16/02/2023, there are twenty-two people from the indigenous community whose houses were affected by the normalization project, including Sibukdin’s house, so that they are increasingly frightened and have trouble sleeping every time imagining how cruel the process of developing the Indonesian National Capital is, which so far many have considered this New Capital of Indonesia project like heaven that fell on earth. Kalimantan, even though it is the opposite of what has happened to the indigenous Sepaku Lama who have inhabited this place for generations.

On February 13 2023, Sibukdin, the Indigenous Leader of Indigenous Peoples Suku Balik of Sepaku and Jubaen, the Indigenous Leader of Indigenous Peoples Suku Balik of Pemaluan, agreed to a joint meeting by inviting all leaders and indigenous peoples affected by Development Project of the New Capital City of Indonesia, gathered to make a declaration in the form of Minutes of Mutual Agreement.


The Meeting of the Indigenous Peoples Suku Balik Old Sepaku And the Indigenous Peoples Suku Balik Pemaluan

On Monday, the thirteenth of February two thousand and twenty three, a customary meeting has  held by the Indigenous Peoples of Suku Balik which was attended by elders and community of  the Indigenous Peoples Suku Balik  Old Sepaku and the Indigenous Peoples Suku Balik  Pemaluan in the house of the Leader of Indigenous Peoples Suku Balik Old Sepaku, Sibukdin. This meeting was held to discuss about  the condition of indigenous peoples after the Sepaku District was designated as the capital city of Indonesia. As well as coupled with plans for the construction of intake dams and river normalization programs that have been socialized to the public that the villages and houses of indigenous peoples around the dam and included in the dam plan will be evicted. Hereby the indigenous peoples in the joint meeting forum stated the following points;

  1. The indigenous Peoples Suku Balik in area of  New Capital City of Indonesia rejects the village eviction program
  2. The Indigenous peoples of Suku Balik agreed not to be relocated or transferred to another area by the government
  3. The Indigenous peoples of Suku Balik refuse to eviction ancestral historical sites, graves or certain places that are believed by the indigenous people Suku Balik to be sites that have been passed down from generation to generation
  4. The indigenous peoples Suku Balik strongly refuse to be moved or separated from their ancestral lands
  5. The Indigenous peoples Suku Balik in the Sepaku district reject the change in the name of the village and the names of the rivers that we have controlled so far.
  6. The Indigenous Peoples Suku Balik  asked the government to immediately formulate a policy for the recognition and protection of the Indigenous Peopels  Suku Balik in Sepaku district
  7. Asking the government to pay special attention to Indigenous Peoples Suku Balik who are affected by development activities in the Indonesian capital city for the environmental impact and social impact felt by the Indigenous Peoples Suku Balik in the Sepaku District
  8. The indigenous people of the balik tribe refuse and are irresponsible if there are figures (someone) or groups who on behalf of the Indigeneous Peoples Suku Balik make agreements related to policies of  the new capital city of Indonesia without directly involving the Indigenous peoples Suku Balik.

Thus, we made the minutes of the meeting with the Indigenous Peoples Suku balik in Old  Sepaku, which was attended by the Indigenous Peoples Suku balik Pemaluan , in truth, through customary deliberations, a joint agreement so that it could become an official statement of the attitude of the Indigenous Peoples Suku Balik  at the location of the New Capital City of Indonesia.

We thank you for your attention in this direction. The signatures of the participants who attended the meeting are attached as an integral part.


destruction of the area around indigenous peoples’ housing

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