Deans to Provide Legal Support to Indonesia’s Indigenous Tribe

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appthi support sedulur sikep, penolakan pabrik semen rembang, cement plant's denial, safe the natureJakarta, (LEI/Antara) – A group of deans from the faculties of law in indonesia have experessed their commitment to providing legal support to Indonesia’s “Sedulur Sikep” indigenous tribe and the locals of Rembang Regency, Central Java.

The association’s head Ade Saptono made the statement on Monday, adding that the tribe is currently embroiled in a dispute with one of the country’s cement manufacturers.

As a part of the education sector, the association is obligated to help locals who cannot afford the services of an attorney in court.

“I have told the association’s member in Central Java to oversee further implementation of the highest court’s decision on the people’s lawsuit filed against the cement plant’s construction,” Saptono noted.

Sedulur Sikep is one of the indigenous tribe that inhabit the foorhills of Mt. North Kendeng in the Sukolilo Village, Pati Regency, Central Java. The village can be reached by road in around three hours from Central Java’s capital, Semarang.

Gunretno, the tribe’s senior member, said that the tribe has defended its land and maters, which could face devastation once the cement plant becomes operational.

The tribe, however had successfully prevented the cement plant’s construction in their village by forming a civil movement called the “Network of People who Defend the Kendeng Mountains” and had won a lawsuit in court around eight years ago.

After the win, the tribe has continued to stand by other communities who are also involved in a dispute over a cement plant’s construction, including a site in Gunem Village, Rembang Regency.

Esmi Warasih, a professor from the faculty of law of the Diponegoro University, stated that the court’s decision on a cement plant in Rembang was a progressive move, as it was intended to protect nature.

Warasih has, however, regretted the provincial government’s move of issuing a regulation that allows the firm to revise its environmental impact analysis document as a primary requirement to continue building the plant.

It would be better to not further issue a regulation that could open another door for companies eager to build a cement plant in village that lie at Mt. North Kendeng’s foothills.

Mt. North Kendeg’s foothills are a karst region spread acrross the regencies of Blora, Pati, and Rembang. The karst region has wast potential to become a cement mining site, although the plant’s construction and operations could harm the environment, displace the village community, and spark a horizontal conflict between the affected locals.

(Theo Yusuf Ms.)

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