[ACTION ALERT] With their feet buried in cement, Kendeng Farmers appeal to President
The Kendeng farmers call on the President of Indonesia, Joko Widodo, to revoke the license for the state-owned cement maker PT Semen Indonesia in Rembang, Central Java. If this factory is built the effects on both the environment and the lives of hundreds of local farmers will be disastrous. Paddy fields – their main sources of agriculture and income – will be damaged and mountainous water sources under severe risk of contamination.
Please take action and sign on to their letter in solidarity: http://tinyurl.com/nx8xl4n
23 March, Jakarta – Since 13 March, over 50 local Indigenous farmers from the Kendeng mountainous area have been sitting with their feet in cement boxes in protest. Both a symbolic and literal plea to President Joko Widodo to halt the construction of a cement factory in Rembang, Central Java.
This scene is a far cry from the victory the local community celebrated in October 2016 when after over 7 years of land conflict with the state-owned cement company PT Semen Indonesia, the Indonesian Supreme Court ordered the immediate halting of further construction of the factory.
Despite the Supreme Court ruling the Central Java Governor, Ganjar Pranowo issued an environmental permit allowing the construction of the factory to continue as planned. Once the construction is finalised, the factory will produce 4,4 tons of cement per year. The President is expected to inaugurate the Factory in April 2017.
If this factory is built the effects on both the environment and the lives of hundreds of local farmers will be disastrous. Paddy fields – their main sources of agriculture and income – will be damaged and mountainous water sources under severe risk of contamination.128 out of the 180 hectares needed for the construction of the factory will occupy local peoples’ land, forcefully evicting approximately 300-400 families. Robbing them of their land, traditions and livelihoods.
The Kendeng farmers are asking for your support in their urgent appeal to the President.
The protestors outside of the State Palace are withstanding the pain and suffering because they know what lies ahead of them will be so much worse unless the President steps in.
With their feet bound in cement, their cry for help is not only for their future and that of future generations but also for a sustainable Indonesia.
TIMELINE OF EVENTS:
- 2010: The cement company invests 7 trillion IDR with a plan to commence construction in the beginning of 2017. Land conflict between Kendeng Indigenous peoples and community and the state-owned cement factory PT Semen Indonesia commences.
- 2014: PT. Semen Indonesia breaks ground for construction of the cement factory.
- August 2016: the Kendeng community met with President Joko Widodo, agreeing that an Environmental Strategic Study (KLHS) would be issued to determine the potential environmental risks/effects of the factory.
- October 2016: the Indonesian Supreme Court ruled that PT. Semen Indonesia lacked the appropriate data to prove that its cement factory and mining activities wouldn’t affect local water supply and instructed them to halt construction by revoking the environmental permit.
- November 2016: the Central Java Governor, Ganjar Pranowo issued a new environmental permit, which allowed the continued construction of the factory.
- January 2017: the Governor responded to pressure from civil society to comply with the Supreme Court ruling, and ordered by decree for the company to stop construction, however, left a loophole for them to amend the environmental report. After this decree was issued, construction continued.
- March 2017: local peasants start protesting in front of State Palace.
- Rejection of the plant has grown wider and involves not only locals but also state institutions, such as the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) and the National Commission on Human Rights.
- April 2017: President Joko Widodo is expected to inaugurate the cement factory depending on the results from the KLHS report, which is in the hands of the Environment and Forestry Ministry.
Photo source: The Jakarta Post (Antara/M.Agung Rajasa)