Monday, January 28, 2013

Kulon Progo Farm or Die: Chronology of Struggle

This is a timeline from when the farmers first learn of the plans to mine the area of Kulon Progo, located along the Southern coast of the island of Java, near Yogyakarta, Indonesia. The farmers and local citizens continue to struggle to this day against the corrupt and greedy mining that threatens to destroy their land and livelihood.


1 April 2007 

Farmers in villages Trisi, Kulon Progo, Banaran, Coral Sewu, Bugel, Pleret, Garongan and Coral Wuni hold the first ever meeting concerning the iron ore mining. All of them outright reject the mining and form the PPLP (Society of Farmer's Coastal Land).

1 May 2007 
Farmers from 10 villages of 4 districts, and thousands more, rally on International Worker's Day to protest in front of the Governor of Yogyakarta's home.

10 May 2007
PPLP Conduct a press conference refusing the iron mining. Meanwhile the planned exploitation of the land primarily funded by 2 foreign companies gets approval without consulting or informing the local communities.

21 May 2007 
Large rally and parade held going from village to village protesting the iron mining, speeches and protests are held along the way.

24 May 2007 
Corporate representatives for the mining companies attempt to hold a presentation in Karnag Wuni to sell the residents on why the mining is good for the community. The representatives and their premise are rejected. The representatives leave before concluding their presentation.

14 June 2007 

PT JMI publicly state plans for iron ore mining. State plans to exploit up to 1 million tons per year.

18 June 2007 
PPLP begin consultation with legal aid in order to battle the mining that will strip them of their land and livelihood.

12 July 2007 
Kulon Progo Vice Regent DRS H Mulyono states the only thing that could cancel the mining is a negative environmental analysis. That farmer's wishes or protest will have no impact on a decision to continue with plans for mining. Also states they will go ahead with the plan of 30 million tons of deposit being exploited in the coming 30 years.

17 July 2007 
PhD candidate Bambang Suwignyo states the mining will have irreversible and extreme effects on the land and on local farming. Because of the loss of iron in the soil farmers will be unable to continue growing produce there.

21 July 2007 
Parliament forms a special community to suspend the process of addressing the mining rejection letter presented by PPLP.

23 August 2007 

Thousands of members of PPLP and concerned citizens who support the anti-mining movement march to the district government office in Wates. The PPLP asks that the local government revoke permission to mine on farmers' land. The police blockade them and the protest quickly becomes a violent clash between armed police and citizens. Several hundred citizens are injured.

26 August 2007
The Indonesian Human Rights Commission contacts the Governor of Yogyakarta. Request information concerning the iron mines including detailed reports of the effect of said mining over the next 30 years and beyond on citizens who are currently farming and living in areas potentially affected.

30 November 2007
PPLP review iron mining plans. They reject all proposals.

26 December 2007 
Villagers in Trisik are manipulated and bullied into conceding land to the JT JMI Pilot Project.


1 March 2008 
In the coastal village of Bugel citizens blockade the street leading to Bugel Beach with bamboo and other roadblocks to prevent mining trucks from passing through the area as well as posting notification that the mining trucks do not have permission to use the road.

3-6 June 2008 

National Human Rights Commission has conducted and investigation and examination of iron sands mining project planned in Yogyakarta Kulonprogo. Monitoring of National Human Rights Commission produced several recommendations that explains that based on the data, project information and the facts, iron sand mining in Kulonprogo is a potential violation of human rights, in particular 1)land rights 2) the right to work, 3) the right to security, 4) the right to information, and 5) the rights of the farmers.

21 June 2008 
3000+ citizens demonstrate at the University of Gadjah Mada (UGM) in Yogyakarta to protest the close involvement of the Faculty of Forestry of UGM with PT JMI in the biased study of post-mining reclamation.

28 July 2008
Minister for the Environment releases a statement saying that they will not issue permission for mining until PT JMI presents an Environmental Impact Analysis (EIA).

1 August 2008
The National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) recommends that the president of Indonesia review the draft contract for the Kulon Progo iron mining. The review must consider the whole dimension of human rights, including economic, social, cultural, political rights.

23 October 2008
Residents of 6 villages protest against the pilot project permits issued by the regent. On the same day the Regent revokes statements made to the media about the positive response of the central government towards the iron mining plans in Kulon Progo. The protest occupies the grounds of Parliament, eventually forcing their way inside and occupying the building.

25 October 2008
Occupation of the Parliament building by locals ends in no resolution and disappointment for the farmers. Citizens return home to farm their land.

27 October 2008 

300 hired thugs escorted by local police invade the local villages, going from village to village destroying and burning down posts (resting
places for farmers spread intermittently among the fields so they can rest in the shade when exhausted) as well as 1 home and 1 shop. Police deny assisting in or allowing the destruction to happen. This was done in an attempt to force the villagers into fighting and following the perpetrators off the land so they (the farmers) would be arrested.

17 November 2008
Reports of crops failing near the Pilot Project begin.

21 November 2008
Road blockades erected to again prevent mining vehicles to pass.


18 January 2009 
Locals begin to rebuild from the destruction committed. Each post rebuild can cost as much as 1 month's wages for a local farmer.

17 March 2009 
Citizens block the highway in village Daendels to prevent the visitation of the Minister of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries.

25 March 2009 

PPLP send a letter detailing complete information of the mining project as well as the complaints of the farmers to the president of Indonesia as well as several ministers. (They receive no reply).

30 March 2009 

The Sultan of Yogyakarta makes a public announcement that the iron-mining project has been realised.

21 July 2009
Thousands of citizens protest the lack of action on the part of the police about the arson and destruction committed by hired thugs in October 2008.

31 July 2009

PPLP and other local farmers again submit in full detail their reasons for rejecting the mining on their land. They once again outline the negative impacts economic, agricultural, cultural, and social.

9 -20 August 2009
People post bulletin boards and signs all over the various villages detailing the corruption, the mining plans, and the reasons for rejecting said mining.

24 August 2009 
The Environmental Impact Analysis (EIA) begins in the Kulon Progo area. Residents march the streets with signs and banners that read, “30 Years of the fate of coastal residents s at stake. EIA Team Work with professionalism and objectivity.”

20 October 2009 
PPLP and other citizens gather at the Regency government office in Wates. There has been arranged a meeting between the farmers, the government and the mining company. Although many farmers held an official invitation to meeting most are denied entry, some because of affiliation with PPLP. Meanwhile large masses of citizens are facing a police barricade outside and denied entry. 11 hours into the meeting there was a clash between Police and unarmed farmers and local citizens. The police shoved with their shields but farmers continued to fight back with their bare hands. The police began wildly opening fire. People picked up rocks and hurled them at the police. Police fired tear gas repeatedly into the crowd. The local citizens were forced back into the street by the tear gas but the pole continued to fire even as people retreated

10 November 2009 

Farmers again protest in Jogjakarta against the corruptibility of the government and of the mining project.

18 November 2009 
5 government experts in law, development, economics and finance, governance and social and human resources study the iron-mining projects. One of the experts, Musodo, states the mining will completely wipe out the livelihood of local people, creating massive unemployment across the board.

2 December 2009 

Tukijo is accused of defamation against the mining company for requesting along with farmers in Bedoyo village data and information about the land and questioning whether or not there is manipulation of the data carried.

10 December 2009 

PPLP and other local citizens celebrate Human Rights Day by protesting. Signs including ones stating “People will not cease to fight, we still reject the mines” and dozens like it are erected throughout the Kulon Progo villages.

29 December 2009 

PPLP and citizens march to Kulon Progo parliament building. They demand the elimination of the Special Committee Kulon Progo for mining.


April 2010 
Residents send a letter rejecting the iron-ore mining plan to the President of Indonesia

May 2010

Residents sent a letter to Parliament that requires Parliament of Yogyakarta to investigate allegations of scandal in the legislative drafting process.

15 December 2010 

Action Rally against iron sand mining coincides with the assessment of the EIA documents.

16 December 2010

Direct action to stop people disturbing the public actions carried out by unscrupulous government officials without the permission of residents.

17 December 2010 
Action of the people and farmers in Gupit to close the mining pilot Project after 3 years of operation without heeding the interests of the environment.

9 February 2011 

Mediation by the National Human Rights Commission in the village of Bugel, make a recommendation for context mediation to assess the interests of all partied involved.

1 May 2011

Tukijo kidnapped by local police. (See Timeline later in this zine for more information about Tukijo)

13 July 2012 

Though this concludes this particular timeline, the struggle continues to this day, with ongoing legal action, protests and community projects both against the mining and illegal detainment of fellow farmer Tukijo.

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