Image credit: Israeli armored unit stands in the Negev by Government Press Office (Israel) is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.
One of the research aims of NILSC is to engage in collective, inter-disciplinary research projects, underpinned by outside funding. This collaborative approach to research in international law and security will serve to deepen our understanding of the problems and enhance the impact of our work.
Security of Transnational Flows of Natural Resources in Indonesia – a Study into the Role of Private and State Security Actors in Protecting the Interests of the International Extractive Industry and their Impact on the Human Rights and Security of Local Communities
The Co-Directors of NILSC (Nigel White and Mary Footer) were awarded funding (100,000 Euros) from the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) to undertake research within a consortium also consisting of SOMO (a Dutch NGO) and Inkrispena (an Indonesian NGO), both specialising in business and human rights. The project ran from July 2016 to January 2017 and the final reports were submitted and accepted by the funders. Further impact work is being undertaken and an academic article has been published, which draws on the research project.
By viewing security as a form of transnational flow that accompanies the flow of licit and illicit goods and services, the project examined the connectivity in ‘security’ that is provided in the land-based natural resources and commodities sector by state (military and police) and private security providers (local, national and international), so as to determine their impact on the fragile situation in Indonesia, especially on the human rights of civilians and workers connected to the natural resources sector. This was achieved through a systematic desk-based evaluation of state and private security in Indonesia and its regulation and, specifically, through the deployment of fieldwork in two case studies in Jambi province, Sumatra, featuring logging and palm oil production, to assess the extent and impact of state and private security providers on human rights at a local level.
The fieldwork in this project used qualitative techniques, where the main corpus of data was gained by conducting in-depth interviews with the stakeholders on experiences, practices and perspectives on company security. The project used the evidence gathered to generate policy recommendations so as to improve the regulation of both state and private security providers and their compliance with human rights standards. It also made proposals that address the responsibility of multinational corporations in the Indonesian natural resources sector to respect human rights throughout their supply chains, including the prevention, mitigation, and remediation of human rights abuses committed by private or state actors protecting the interests of the company.