Indonesia: Training program educates displaced tsunami survivors on land rights in Indonesia

More than 40 displaced tsunami survivors and community leaders have attended a legal training program on land rights in one of the worst affected areas in Aceh, Indonesia.

World Vision, in conjunction with the local government of Meulaboh, conducted the paralegal training program for displaced people and community leaders from four villages. The workshop covered various topics including criminal and private law, agrarian law, Islamic law, and the guiding principles on internal displacement.

The workshop aimed to equip villagers and community leaders with basic knowledge on practical law-related issues that often occur within the community, with a special post-tsunami focus.

Inheritance, marriage status and land ownership are all issues after people lost their legal papers in the tsunami. Not only are the Acehnese dealing with the loss of family, but such issues are creating extra stress for as they try to rebuild.

In West Aceh, land ownership is one of the major issues since the tsunami destroyed thousands of houses and displaced more than 70,000 people. Returning to previous land is not simple. People have no legal evidence to claim property. There is also a lack of community knowledge around this matter.

"One of the solutions to minimise the problem is by providing proper knowledge about practical basic laws to the community, especially IDPs," said World Vision representative Martha Francisca.

The head of the West Aceh district court, Mr. Muchtar Amin, a keynote speaker, said that education like this is good for participants. By joining the workshop, participants are expected to have the ability to assist people in solving their law-related problems that occurred within the community.

"Later on," he said, "if any problems happen, you already could be the facilitators to solve the problem at the village level. Before the conflict is brought to the court, let's try to solve the problem peacefully within the community first."

World Vision's next training is planned for Banda Aceh municipality in early August. Training will cover the land certificate process and guiding principles on internal displacement. Participants are expected from Lhoong, Leupung, Lhoknga villages in Aceh Besar district and also some villages in Banda Aceh zone.

Report from Enda Balina - Indonesia Tsunami Response Communications Officer

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