JAKARTA, 29 May 2020 – A virtual people’s congress kicks off in Indonesia today and will go on until Monday, 1 June 2020, in an effort to topple a recently passed revision to the Mining Law that is deemed to favour corporate interests over social justice and environmental protection.
The People’s Congress is initiated by an expanded coalition of communities and civil society organisations, including the “Bersihkan Indonesia” movement with the mission of advancing energy transition in Indonesia to “Fraksi Rakyat Indonesia” intending to halt the highly controversial deregulation bill (Omnibus Law) deliberations currently unfolding in the Parliament.
Today’s plenary session was attended by more than 2,000 delegates and participants from all over Indonesia, including community representatives from major islands such as Sumatra, Kalimantan, Java, Bali, Sulawesi, Nusa Tenggara Islands and the Moluccas. The sessions were broadcasted on dozens of social media channels of networks and organizations that make up the movement.
The revised Mining Law (also dubbed as “Mining Law 2020”) is widely seen as a product of a rushed process that lacks transparency and has bypassed public consultation promoted by politicians with vested interests. The new Law rewards an automatic extension to major coal mining concessions and relaxes environmental safeguards and scraps criminal punishment for corruption cases involving mining permits and operations.
Twenty five organizations that have broadcasted the sessions real-time are The Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation (YLBHI), Kanopi Bengkulu, Trend Asia, WALHI South Kalimantan, The Mining Advocacy Network (JATAM), AURIGA Nusantara, ENTER Nusantara, KIARA, Sains Sajogyo Institut, 350.org Indonesia and its affiliated channels, WALHI West Java, Greenpeace Indonesia, Legal Aid Bandung, Legal Aid Semarang, Legal Aid Yogyakarta, Legal Aid Surabaya, The Nahdliyin Front for Natural Resource Sovereignty, FoE Indonesia, Srikandi Lestari, Action for Ecology and People’s Emancipation (AEER), JATAM East Kalimantan, Legal Aid Padang, WALHI West Sumatra, dan Indonesian Corruption Watch.
Sessions will continue to take place over the long weekend and they will focus on community insights and testimonies related to the adverse impact of coal mining. Voices from Sulawesi, the Moluccas, Bali, Nusa Tenggara dan Papua, whereas the afternoon session features voices from Kalimantan. The Sunday sessions will include perspectives from Sumatra and Java, areas where aggressive coal power expansion has been taking place. The Congress will be concluded on Monday, 1 June 2020.
“The executive and legislative bodies of the Indonesian government have conspired to erase the right of adjacent communities to veto controversial and destructive coal mining in Indonesia,” Merah Johansyah, National Coordinator of the Mining Advocacy Network.
“The complete disregard for the public interest is abhorrent. The Mining Law 2020 marks the return of the authoritarian rule in Indonesia.” Asfinawati, Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation
“The New Mining Law is the by-product of political concessions and electoral promises.” Father Alsis Goa, East Nusa Tenggara
“There has been a systematic attempt by the government and the parliament to erode the rights of the people by pushing for the passing of the Mining Law revisions, the deregulation bill and the Water Resource bill.” Fajar Adi Nugroho, Student Executive Body of the University of Indonesia
“The Mining Law enables destructive forces of mining to continue unabated in many vulnerable areas in Indonesia.” Taufik, Sulawesi chapter of the Mining Advocacy Network
Nur Hidayati – Executive Director of WALHI / FoE Indonesia, +62 813-1610-1154
Ahmad Ashov Birry – Bersihkan Indonesia Coalition, +62 811-1757-246
Arip Yogiawan – Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation, +62 812-1419-4445
Merah Johansyah – National Coordinator Mining Advocacy Network,+62 813-4788-2228