August 9, 2017 - March 31, 2018
Yayasan Lembaga Bantuan Hukum Indonesia
This initiative sought to provide strategic support to the Kendeng Communities in their struggle against the construction of a cement factory by PT Semen Indonesia in Rembang, Central Java. This local community opposes this project that will destroy the water sources of the Kendeng mountains area which are essential not only for their farming activities, but for their survival. Despite support from President Joko Widodo and a Supreme Court ruling to revoke the license of the cement company, the Central Java Governor issued a new license allowing PT Semen Indonesia to extract limestone and clay from the mountains of North Kendeng, whose water people depend on for their livelihood.
The Kendeng community, and in particular women, have been mobilizing against this project, setting up tents on the construction site, at the offices of the Central Java Governor, and cementing their feet in front of the presidential palace. The communities have a strong case, a favorable Supreme Court judgment, presidential instructions, and Komnas HAM (Indonesian Commission on Human Rights) recommendations. However, they are facing criminalization in Central Java for the actions taken.
This SRM helped to create a conducive environment to ensure the rule of law and use this conflict as a symbolic case to address key problems of collusion of interests and weak law enforcement. Through the SRM LBH provided legal support to Kendeng community members facing criminalization; developed a counter narrative using evidence of PT Semen Indonesia’s social and environmental impacts, combined with information on the company’s influence on political elites, media, and within universities; supported communities’ mobilization; and facilitated advocacy initiatives by the community regarding their rights.