Justice for Kendeng, Central Java, Indonesia

Thursday, 22nd December 2016

How Law Defeated by Profit in Indonesia 

On 22 Dec 2016, KPA held a Press Conference at their office in Jakarta, Indonesia, related to the land conflict arising between the local peasants and a Cement Factory in Kendeng, Central Java, Indonesia.

In this press conference, KPA Sec Gen, Ms. Dewi Kartika led the event and sat as one of the speaker, representing the National Committee for Agrarian Reform, by delivering the following calls:

  1. To revoke the Decision Letter issued by the Central Java Governor No. 660/2012 on Environmental Permit on behalf of P.T. Semen Gresik. By this means, all activities related to the operational and construction activities of this company shall be terminated.
  2. To urge the Indonesian President in ensuring the Central Java Governor to comply with the legal decision issued by the Supreme Court issued on October 2016, and at the same time providing sanction toward the Governor whom accused of violating the law.
  3. To urge the President revoking the Governor’s Decision Letter dated 9 November 2016, no. 660, serves a new legitimization and political policy which violating the President’s Agreement toward this case.
  4. To urge the President in protecting the rights of the local people on their natural resources, which have become the local people’s sources of livelihood.
  5. Any construction activity in any other sector must not violating the development of agrarian reform policy, food sovereignty, and at the same time protecting the local people’s rights.
  6. To call the wider society in guiding and participating in this struggle and ensuring the justice for the local people of Kendeng.
  7. This press conference was being attended by numerous national media, including CNN Indonesia and detik.com, as well as the KNPA member representatives.

Quoted from the Legal representative of the local peasants attending this press conference, below is the background of the said case:

The conflict between the local people and the cement factory has actually occurring since 2010. The cement producer company was planning to build its factory in this area, with the total investment of Seven (7) Trillion IDR. The construction process was planned to be commenced on the beginning of 2017. Once the construction is finalized, the factory is predicted to produce 4,4 tons of cement per year.

The construction planning will consume 180 hectares, where 128 hectares of which will occupy the local people’s land and will force around 300 to 400 families to be evicted from their own land.

However, the executive Director of this company ensured that this investment will not spoiling the natural resources there, instead will provide more than 600,000 cubic of water each year.

This statement was immediately denied by the representative of the local people in Kendeng. Representing the voice of the people, he mentioned that this construction will cause the local farmers losing their source of income because they will lost their paddy field. They also analyzed that the Environmental Analysis Report referred by this company was delivering false data. Other negative impact from this project is to lose the national heritage sites consisting in this area.

Their years of struggle has actually producing an optimistic result. In October 2016, the Indonesian Supreme Court granted their demand and instructed the company to cancel the project. However, by 9 November 2016, the region’s Governor had issued a letter stating that the construction of this factory shall be proceeding. Contras opinions arising toward this decision, as the decision letter is not supported by a proper Environmental Analysis Report.

On the other hand, the Governor refused the statement by saying that instead of issuing a new Decision Letter, he was re-issuing the amended existing Decision Letter, which proven as a lie by the local peasants’ Legal representative after an investigation toward the letter was conducted.

The struggle is currently proceeding. Kendeng’s peasants are currently holding an action by staying in tents built in front of the Central Java’s Governor’s resident. They also hold a long march throughout 150 kilometers as their expression in fighting for their rights and to uphold justice in the country.