The 17 January 2017 will be the last day for Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo to revoke the environmental permit of cement mining activities in Mt. Kendeng, Rembang District, Central Java. Last year, the Supreme Court had granted the request of judicial review, filed by Kendeng people and the Indonesian Forum for Environment (WALHI) against PT Semen Indonesia. The day will show the stance Ganjar is picking, whether to abide the law or continue to support the big capital.

The day will also commemorate exactly one month since Kendeng people set up a tent in front of gubernatorial office as a symbol to fight injustice towards Sedulur Sikep, better known as the Samin, a traditional community that has lived in Rembang and other areas for decades. The protest hadn’t been without repressive actions from security force (once the tent was ruined by security forces), however, the fighting spirit remains unrivaled.

Indeed, the following legal actions regarding cement mining activities in Mt. Kendeng must be closely monitored. After Kendeng people won the petition in Supreme Court, Ganjar had contradictorily issued a new permit for the cement factory registered as No. 660.1/30 on 9 November 2016 on Mining Activities of Raw Materials and Construction and Operation of Cement Factory, which was an unlawful act, an ignorance towards the law. This followed by a criminalization of two Kendeng protesters by the end of December. The protesters, Murtini and Sutrisno, were summoned by Central Java Police in accusation of identity and signature fraud on the petition against PT Semen Indonesia.

Furthermore, Ganjar’s creation of study team to reevaluate the process of the cement factory construction also raised suspicion from activists as a way to get away from Supreme Court’s order, which clearly instructed the governor to countermand PT. Semen Indonesia’s environmental permit in Rembang. The ruling also indicated that the factory construction in Rembang has been shadowed by misappropriation in its construction process. The ruling is as follows:

  1. Entirely granting the plaintiffs’ requests
  2. Renouncing the gubernatorial decree No. 660.1/17 Year 2012 on 7 June 2012 on environmental permit of mining activities by PT. Semen Gresik Tbk. in Rembang District, Central Java.
  3. Obligate the defendant to repeal the Central Java Decree No. 660.1/17 Year 2012 on 7 June 2012 on environmental permit by PT. Semen Gresik Tbk. in Rembang District, Central Java.

Kendeng protesters had also met with President Joko Widodo in August 2016, which resulted in an agreement that an Environmental Strategic Study (KLHS) to analyze the carrying capacity of Mt. Kendeng coordinated by Presidential Staff Ofice (KSP) for one-year period. During this process, all forms of activities around Kendeng (including the cement factory’s) must be stopped. Furthermore, on 17 November 2016, the KSP held a meeting with Central Java representatives including its governor to reaffirm the cease of activities in Kendeng. In the meeting, the government guaranteed a dialogue process during the making of KLHS.

Ironically, during this process Ganjar continued to take contradictory measures including the issuance of new environmental permit, claiming it as an amendment. Whereas, the permit revocation by Supreme Court has ruled in article 40 verse (2) of 2009 Law Number 32 on Environmental Protection and Management that “in terms of revoked environmental permit, the business permit and/or activities are cancelled.” This means the entire activities carried out by PT Semen Indonesia are called off without exception, even if the company changes its name. The step taken by Ganjar can be considered as against the law for the ruling is final and binding.

As previously discussed, besides having the potential to cause land eviction, the cement mining activities could also damage Watuputih groundwater basin area (CAT) of Mt. Kendeng that has been providing water supply for at least 153.402 Rembang farmers. Besides, the cement mining could cause an ecological disaster such as drought and pollution. This concern is strengthened after President Joko Widodo declared Watuputih as one of protected groundwater basin as part of karst ecosystem with ecological and hydrological functions through a Presidential Decree No. 26/2011.

By referring to Indonesian agrarian constitution, the earth including soil, water, and all natural resources within it are the wealth that must be protected by the government and is profusely provided for justice and the prosperity of the people according to Article 33 of 1945 Constitution and 1960 Agrarian Law.

Farmer’s rights is also guaranteed by 2013 Law Number 19 on Farmer Protection and Empowerment that ensures their access to soil and agricultural land. The rights of Rembang farmers is also protected by 2009 Law Number 41 stipulating the land protection of sustainable food, where other development activities must insure the protection of existing agricultural functions.

The permit issuance for cement factory construction by Central Java government in Mt. Kendeng without considering its impacts entirely on social, culture, economy, and ecology aspects is an action that deprive the rights of Rembang people, the people who have lived and have been dependent their livelihood for decades on Mt. Kendeng. Now this source of livelihood is continuously being subsided for the sake of economy and cement export.

For the record, Indonesian cement export production has shown a surplus in national level. Based on data from Industrial Ministry, cement production experienced oversupply by 25 percent of national’s needs. In line with that, the Indonesian Cement Association (ASI) also stated that the oversupply has reached by 25-30 percent on domestic level from the total consumption of 65 million tons. In addition, the shareholding of Semen Indonesia is private by 51 percent and 49 percent by public; which makes the claim that Semen Indonesia as national interest irrelevant and in need to be reevaluated. Not to mention the way and how the extractive cement industry surround Mt. Kendeng has overlooked the principles of social justice and ecological continuity.

It is the country’s obligation to place the people and farmers of Mt. Kendeng as citizens who have agrarian rights as owner, user and guardian of natural resources; the earth along with the soil and water must be respected. The licensing given to Semen Indonesia and other cement factories shows the policy basis of current development, which stresses more on economic development and prosperity, yet ignores the principles of social-ecology, equalization and natural resource sustainability.

Having considered the aforementioned facts, we call all of the people especially the Javanese to keep monitoring the Supreme Court’s ruling to ensure the agrarian justice for Kendeng people and demand the Central Java governor to revoke the environmental permit. The public must watch Ganjar Pranowo and his team as to prevent other insubstantial actions to happen.

We, the Civilian for Kendeng Justice (Masyarakat Sipil untuk Keadilan Kendeng), urges:

  1. Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo as licensor to abide Supreme Court’s ruling by immediately revoking the gubernatorial decree No. 660.1/17 Year 2012 pertaining environmental permit for PT. Semen Gresik (Persero) Tbk. in Rembang District, Central Java;
  2. The revocation of derivative license of Environment Permit No. 660.1/17 Year 2012 including business and construction permits. Therefore, the entire process of cement mining activities in Rembang District must be put on stop;
  3. Ganjar Pranowo must stop his political tricks in denying court’s ruling including the efforts which pointing at criminalization upon farmers and people of Kendeng who refuse the factory construction of Semen Indonesia in Rembang District;
  4. Remind the consequence of disobedience of law as regulated in Article 111 (1) PPLH Law correlated to Environmental Law No. 660.1/30 Year 2016;
  5. President Joko Widodo must guarantee and ensure its sub-ordinates to oblige Supreme Court’s ruling, protect agrarian and environmental rights of Rembang people, and sanctions the governor for its effort to deny the law and agreement between the president upon Rembang case;
  6. The President and Home Affairs Ministry to immediately revoke the environmental permit issued on 9 November 2016 that legitimates the operation of cement factory in Rembang both lawfully and politically;
  7. President Joko Widodo, Governor and Regent must guarantee the priority of fulfillment and respect towards the rights of Rembang people upon their agrarian resources (soil, water, air, and the entire natural resources) as the source of continuity and sustainability as farmers as ruled by the constitution;
  8. Demand the President of Indonesia, Indonesian Police, Central Java Police to stop criminalization towards Rembang people;
  9. All forms of development to boost economy must be in line with other development plans and holds the principles of justice, welfare and sustainability and the principles of agrarian, food sovereignty and the protection of farmer’s rights (women and men);
  10. Calling the public to safeguard and be part of the fight along with Kendeng farmers, and ensure that the agrarian justice is fulfilled.


Jakarta, 16 January 2017



Masyarakat Sipil untuk Keadilan Kendeng


*The original version of this joint statement is in Bahasa Indonesia. You can access it through this link: