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Cement factory in Kendeng karst mountains, Indonesia


Description:

Women have taken the lead in a grassroots campaign to save the Kendeng karst mountains in Central Java from environmental destruction brought upon by a new  cement factory in Indonesia.

The Kendeng  karst region is characterised by underground caves and springs. It is the main water source for farming communities living in the surrounding area.

A study from Centre for Disaster Management at private university UPN Veteran Yogyakarta found underground water sources in the area where the cement factory will mine.  The local population received information of the construction of a new cement factory plant in Rembang, Central Java  in Jun 2014, just before the event to place the first stone for the plant. After receiving this news, local people made plans to block the construction. Groups of community members arrived at the factory site with the idea of staging an action should the laying of the first stone actually take place. However, the army and police forcibly dispersed the action. During this incident four members of the protester were arrested by police. Also, two women were knocked unconscious because of being dragged and thrown about by police [13].  Specifically, the women have been the protesting leaders against the cement plant since the groundbreaking ceremony on July 16, 2014. There are many examples of their pacific demostration.  Woman have established a tent city to block the construction of the factory.  In October 2016, 300 farmers did a long march to pressure the goverment to revoke the Supreme Court decision that has ordered a revocation of the old permit.  In April of 2016, nine middle-aged women cast their legs in concrete during 36-hour protest aginst the cement plant outside the presidential palace in Jakarta [4].  They are from Samin community in Rembang, Central Java. The goal of the Saminism movement centered around non-violent tactics. The Samin community, also known as Sedulur Sikep, is an Indonesian social movement founded by Surontiko Samin in Central Java in the late 19th century. Saminism started by rejecting the capitalist views of the colonial Dutch, who predominately forced taxes upon the people of Indonesia, including the poor and and monopolized the use of forest lands for trade.  They would not pay taxes to the Dutch as they saw no reason to.  Also, they would freely cut wood from the teak forests after informing the village head (as a common forests management) [5,6,7]. For decades, the people of Kendeng karst mountain (Central Java) have tried to live a life separate from modern Indonesia. Legend has it they didn't know the country was independent until 1970. They didn't have government identification until the early 2000s, and even then they fought to keep the religion line blank if the central government wouldn't recognize their faith [9]. Currently, women of the Samin community declare themselves against the cement factory, and protest for the negative impacts the factory will cause. They argue that the plant activities would destroy the region's natural karst caves and its water reservoir. Also, they demonstrated to protect the environment, which is crucial for the livelihood of their children and community. Sukinah, one of the female leaders of the campaign said: "As a mother I give birth to children, but Mother Earth brings to life vegetation, rice and everything else that we eat. We need to take care of Mother Earth by sticking to a sustainable lifestyle." [1] "We won't be able to freely farm, because the mines will ruin our water source, the factory will pollute our village," . The media have dubbed the women "the Kartinis of Rembang", after Indonesia's first feminist Raden Adjeng Kartini [8], who was also born in Rembang.  It is no accident that the protesters are all females. As this woman leader said, ""The reason us women fight in the front is not because the men were afraid," Sukinah says. "But we are more compassionate, we fight with love. If the men stayed in the front it might turn physical and we don't want casualties. Men are more emotional, they will turn physical when provoked." [3] In contrast the company of the cement factory, Semen Indonesia's,  says "an independent environmental impact assessment gave the factory a pass". "Anyone is welcome to visit the factory and access its records of pollution levels" (corporate secretary, Agung Wiharto).  The pro factory campaings says "the factory has given them benefits, like employment for 1,200 construction laborers". The protest lost their case in both the district and high courts. So they brought the case to the Supreme Court [11]. In January 2017, Central Java Governor canceled the cement factory permits. Before that, the Supreme Court ruled the state-owned cement company began construction of its controversial plant without first conducting a thorough check of any potential impacts on the local environment [4].

Basic Data

Name of conflict:Cement factory in Kendeng karst mountains, Indonesia
Country:Indonesia
State or province:Rembang, Central Java
Location of conflict:Tegaldowo and Timbrangan villages (Kendeng karst mountains)
Accuracy of locationMEDIUM (Regional level)

Source of Conflict

Type of conflict: 1st level:Mineral Ores and Building Materials Extraction
Type of conflict: 2nd level :Building materials extraction (quarries, sand, gravel)
Specific commodities:Cement

Project Details and Actors

Project details:

The cement factory will have a capacity of 8000 tons per day

Semen Indonesia is Indonesia’s largest cement producer with a total annual output of approximately 30 million tonns per annum [2].

Semen Indonesia company also have announced its plan to invest US$200 million worth cement plant in Myanmar that will be built early in 2014 as part of its expansion into the Southeast Asian market[10].

Project area:850
Level of Investment:327,000,000
Type of populationRural
Start of the conflict:16/07/2016
Company names or state enterprises:Semen Indonesia from Indonesia
FLSmidth
Relevant government actors:Central Java Governor
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Samin community
Jaringan Masyarakat peduli Pegunungan Kendeng (JMPPK)
Semarang Caver Association [farming and local community groups in Rembang City]

Conflict and Mobilization

IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Local ejos
Neighbours/citizens/communities
Women
Local scientists/professionals
Women protest called "the Kartinis of Rembang"; Samin community; Jaringan Masyarakat Peduli Pegunungan Kendeng movement
Forms of mobilization:Artistic and creative actions (eg guerilla theatre, murals)
Blockades
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Occupation of buildings/public spaces
Arguments for the rights of mother nature
Women cement their feet, local people prayer and reciting the Koran

Impacts of the project

Environmental ImpactsPotential: Noise pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Desertification/Drought, Food insecurity (crop damage), Soil contamination, Soil erosion, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity, Air pollution
Health ImpactsPotential: Accidents, Occupational disease and accidents
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Militarization and increased police presence, Specific impacts on women, Land dispossession
Potential: Displacement, Loss of livelihood
Other socio-economic impactsCommunitarian division

Outcome

Project StatusStopped
Conflict outcome / response:Court decision (victory for environmental justice)
Project temporarily suspended
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain: In January 2017, Central Java Governor canceled the cement factory permits. Before, the Supreme Court ruled the state-owned cement company began construction of its controversial plant without first conducting a thorough check of any potential impacts on the local environment [4]. Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo said: "Several [important] items were not included in the documents, especially on the procedures and regulations on the limitation of limestone mining activities in the area’s ground water basin" However, added that the permit could be reinstalled once Semen Indonesia fulfilled the requirements demanded.

Sources and Materials

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

[7] Benda, Harry; Lance Castles (1969). "The Samin Movement". Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde: 207–216, 218–240
http://www.jstor.org/stable/27863055?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents

[5] Korver, A. Pieter E. (1976). "The Samin Movement and Millenarism". Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde: 249–266
https://www.jstor.org/stable/27863055?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents

[6] King, Victor T. (1973). "Some Observations on the Samin Movement of North-Central Java: Suggestions for the Theoretical Analysis of the Dynamics of Rural Unrest". Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde: 457–481.
https://www.jstor.org/stable/27861364?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents

[9] Renaldi (2017) Does This Look Like A Barren Wasteland?
https://www.vice.com/en_id/article/meet-the-women-fighting-to-save-their-villages-from-cement-mines

[8] Raden Adjeng Kartini Biography: Women's Rights Activist, Journalist (1879–1904)
http://www.biography.com/people/raden-adjeng-kartini-37859

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

[10] Semen Indonesia to build US$200m plant in Myanmar
http://www.globalcement.com/news/item/1540-semen-indonesia-to-build-us$200m-plant-in-myanmar

[1] Kendeng Women Rise Up to Resist Cement Factory, Save Mother Earth
http://jakartaglobe.id/opinion/kendeng-women-rise-resist-cement-factory-save-mother-earth/

[2] PT Semen Indonesia’s Rembang plant is on track
http://cement.flsmidth.com/h/i/238854127-pt-semen-indonesia-s-rembang-plant-is-on-track

[3] Women of Rembang put their feet down to save farms from cement factory
http://www.smh.com.au/world/women-of-rembang-put-their-feet-down-to-save-farms-from-cement-factory-20160501-goj5q7.html

The Kartinis of Kendeng: using motherhood as a form of resistance
http://indonesiaatmelbourne.unimelb.edu.au/kartini-of-kendeng-using-motherhood-as-a-form-of-resistance/

Semen Indonesia
http://www.semenindonesia.com/

[4] Central Java Governor Revokes PT Semen Indonesia's Mining Permit in Rembang
https://www.vice.com/en_id/article/central-java-governor-revokes-pt-semen-indonesias-mining-permit-in-rembang

Kendeng farmers disappointed with new cement factory permit
http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2016/12/10/kendeng-farmers-disappointed-with-new-cement-factory-permit.html

[11] Semen Indonesia Rembang Plant to Be Fully Operational in 2016
http://jakartaglobe.id/business/semen-indonesia-rembang-plant-fully-operational-2016/

Protest against Semen Indonesia’s Rembang factory continues
http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2017/01/17/protest-against-semen-indonesias-rembang-factory-continues.html

[12] Protest against Semen Indonesia’s Rembang factory continues
http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2017/01/17/protest-against-semen-indonesias-rembang-factory-continues.html

Chronology of Resistance in Rembang City, Jawa Tengah: Street and community conflict against military & police in struggle against the construction of a cement factory (Indonesia)
https://325.nostate.net/2014/06/25/chronology-of-resistance-in-rembang-city-jawa-tengah-street-and-community-conflict-against-military-police-in-struggle-against-the-construction-of-a-cement-factory-indonesia/

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Women cement their feet protesting new factory construction in Indonesia
https://www.rt.com/in-motion/339557-protesters-cement-feet-indonesia/

325 community. Chronology of Resistance in Rembang City, Jawa Tengah: Street and community conflict against military & police in struggle against the construction of a cement factory (Indonesia)
https://325.nostate.net/2014/06/25/chronology-of-resistance-in-rembang-city-jawa-tengah-street-and-community-conflict-against-military-police-in-struggle-against-the-construction-of-a-cement-factory-indonesia/

Other documents

Source: by Natalie Stuart 15th Nov. 2016
https://file.ejatlas.org/docs/byNataliaStuart_15_nov_2016.jpeg

Source: The Jakarta Post/Seto Wardhana http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2016/10/12/rembangs-cement-factory-protesters-visit-c-java-governor.html One of nine female farmers of Mount Kendeng, Rembang regency, Central Java, is preparing to protest against cement plant development in the area by cementing her feet in front of the State Palace in Jakarta on April 13. The female farmers demanded to meet with the President to voice their concerns over the construction that would harm the environment and threaten their livelihoods as farmers
https://file.ejatlas.org/docs/2016_04_15_3157_1460690155._large.jpg

Meta information

Contributor:SM (ICTA-UAB)
Last update28/03/2017

Images

 

Source: by Natalie Stuart 15th Nov. 2016

 

Source: The Jakarta Post/Seto Wardhana http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2016/10/12/rembangs-cement-factory-protesters-visit-c-java-governor.html

One of nine female farmers of Mount Kendeng, Rembang regency, Central Java, is preparing to protest against cement plant development in the area by cementing her feet in front of the State Palace in Jakarta on April 13. The female farmers demanded to meet with the President to voice their concerns over the construction that would harm the environment and threaten their livelihoods as farmers