Indonesien: Dewi Rana Amir

The poverty and long suffering of farmers and indigenous peoples that I have seen has planted in me the principle that justice must be fought for them."

— Dewi Rana Amir

Dewi Rana Amir (born 1973) is a trained legal advisor from Central Sulawesi, Indonesia. She chairs the legal aid organization, YBH Bantaya, in Palu, the capital of Central Sulawesi. YBH Bantaya promotes the right of indigenous communities to manage and benefit from their land and natural resources and encourages local communities to critically examine the government’s forestry and agricultural policies. It also helps local people defend their lands or negotiates on their behalf in instances of unfair land appropriation by the government or corporations.

Dewi Rana Amir has been working with farmers and traditional communities in the Indonesian Central Sulawesi province since 1998, helping them settle land disputes with the state and private entities. For decades, thousands of hectares of cultivated land and ancestral forests in the region have been forcibly taken over by either state or non-state actors, who have converted them into large plantations, transmigration areas, national conservation parks or industrial sites. Most of the farmers whose lands were taken ended up working as wage laborers for the companies that took over their land. Traditional communities have lost the land passed down by their ancestors for many generations. "The poverty of indigenous peoples that I have seen has planted in me the principle that justice must be fought for," Dewi says. YBH Bantaya focuses on areas where agrarian disputes occur, such as in the regencies of Donggala, Poso and Banggai in Central Sulawesi and the Mamuju Utara regency in West Sulawesi. It has assisted in organizing indigenous peoples’ protests against the government or corporations that have unfairly taken over their land and has worked to empower local civil society through civil rights education. For instance, YBH Bantaya has involved farmers and community members in paralegal activities and encouraged them to regularly discuss issues related to agriculture and human rights. Local activists and community leaders are trained in important agrarian issues and policies so that they can give advice to their own communities. "By this we hope that the awareness of people at grassroots level of their rights to manage and benefit from the natural resources in their areas will grow," Dewi explains.

YBH Bantaya