Indigenous community Sedulur Sikep honored with Human Rights Award for their fight against environmental destruction and standing up against multinational companies like HeidelbergCement

Press release, 17 December 2018

Samin_JakIndonesia: The community of the “Friendly Minded” receives the prestigious Yap Thiam Hien Award for their efforts to protect the environment. The Sedulur Sikep fight against the impending land grab and environmental destruction by the cement industry, i.a. the German HeidelbergCement AG.

Gunarti, a mother of three, farmer and environmental activist, had inspired many people in Germany last year with her authenticity and her energetic commitment towards the environment. Her home region, the Kendeng Mountains in Java, Indonesia, is threatened by plans of the cement industry. This is why Gunarti traveled all the way to Germany, where she spoke at HeidelbergCement’s shareholders’ meeting.

She told people in Germany about the vital water sources in the Kendeng Mountains, the life in the villages and the struggle of their indigenous eco-community, Sedulur Sikep (“the friendly minded”, also called Samin).

Now the Sedulur Sikep (Samin) have been awarded the most prestigious Human Rights Award in Indonesia, the Yap Thiam Hien Award. They share the prize with environmental activist Eva Bande. “They have made a major contribution towards protecting the environment. They are honored for helping to preserve Mother Earth, “said jury member Yosep Stanley, explaining the decision at the awards ceremony in Jakarta on December 12.

For more than ten years, Sedulur Sikep, as part of the civil initiative JM-PPK, has been defending their fertile land against the greed of cement corporations. Although production in Indonesia already reached overcapacities, more and more cement plants are to be built. Indocement, majority-owned by HeidelbergCement, is also planning a new cement plant at Kendeng.

The Sedulur Sikep / JM-PPK are well known for their non-violent protest. Famous forms of protest activities was a long march, where members of the group walked for hundreds of kilometers, court cases and the public cementing of their feet. This form of protest was picked up by supporters in Heidelberg this year and last year in front of the shareholders’ meeting of HeidelbergCement. The goal was to create the public awareness of the dramatic consequences of cement production. As a result, numerous media reported on the topic:

Recently, the Kendeng Mountains were also topic in the ZDF documentary Planet e:—der-heimliche-klimakiller-100.htm

We congratulate our friends from the Kendeng Mountains for their honors with the Yap Thiam Hien Award! We will continue to fight together with you for the preservation of the environment and against its destruction through greed for profit. Salam Kendeng! Lestari!

Solidarity Network Save Kendeng

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