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Climate action plans have to include measures to redress women disproportionately affected by deforestation and plantation expansion.

On a rainy day in April 2018, I rode a small speedboat along the Kapuas River in West Kalimantan province, Indonesia, headed for three tidal swamp villages, whose residents had protested against the expansion of oil palm plantations on their farmland and…
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Government financial support for fossil fuels, including through subsidies, presents a key obstacle to achieving emissions reductions urgently needed to address the climate crisis. Subsidies artificially reduce the costs of fossil fuel production and…
Pumpjacks at an oil well site near Epping, N.D., Oct. 1, 2018. © 2018 Jim Wilson/The New York Times/GDA via AP Images
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(Jakarta, June 3, 2021) – The harm a palm oil plantation in western Kalimantan, Indonesia, is causing to the surrounding communities and the environment demonstrates the government’s failure to enforce its own policies and laws, Human Rights Watch said in…
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Summary Peatlands are the largest terrestrial carbon store on earth, storing more carbon than all other vegetation types in the world combined. But once peatland is destroyed it releases carbon dioxide, a major greenhouse gas driving climate change,…
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Government Fails to Protect Affected Communities, Environment

(Jakarta) – The harm a palm oil plantation in western Kalimantan, Indonesia, is causing to the surrounding communities and the environment demonstrates the government’s failure to enforce its own policies and laws, Human Rights Watch said in a report…
A child carries palm kernels collected from the ground across a creek at an oil palm plantation in Sumatra, Indonesia, November 2017.
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After Pledging Reforms, UK Development Bank Should Implement Them

A United Kingdom development bank, CDC Group, has taken another step toward addressing human rights abuses at oil palm plantations in the Democratic Republic of Congo. In May, the bank committed to reforming its complaints mechanism and adopting a…
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Massive Omnibus Bill Passed With Little Public Consultation

(Jakarta) – Indonesia’s government should revise a new jobs law to meet international human rights standards, Human Rights Watch said today. The omnibus bill on job creation, which the House of Representatives passed on October 5, 2020, restricts…
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Criminal Defamation Has Chilling Effect on Media Freedom

(Jakarta) – The Indonesian police in South Kalimantan province should drop criminal defamation charges against a blogger for articles in which he interviewed indigenous Dayak leaders about a land dispute with an oil palm plantation, Human Rights Watch…
On May 4, 2020, the South Kalimantan police arrested and detained blogger Diananta Putra Sumedi (left) in Banjarmasin, charging him with online defamation, which carries a maximum penalty of six years in prison. 
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Implementing Commitments Would Protect Tens of Thousands on Plantations

Four European development banks have announced they will require a major palm oil company in the Democratic Republic of Congo to take steps to redress human rights abuses recently reported by Human Rights Watch. The 95-page report, A…
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How European Development Banks Fail the Very People They Claim to Assist

Why did you focus your research on these oil palm plantations? These plantations provide jobs for many people. But their workers are being underpaid and exposed to unhealthy working conditions. The European development banks that finance these…
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Failed Oversight Enables Labor, Environmental Harm

(London) – Four European development banks are financing a palm oil company in the Democratic Republic of Congo that is violating workers’ rights and dumping untreated waste, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The company, Feronia…
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Summary This report examines the responsibility of four European development banks for abusive practices on oil palm plantations in the Democratic Republic of Congo. These banks – BIO, from Belgium; CDC Group, from the United Kingdom; DEG, from…
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(London, November 25, 2019) – Four European development banks are financing a palm oil company in the Democratic Republic of Congo that is violating workers’ rights and dumping untreated waste, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The…
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Golfrid Siregar Helped to Protect Sumatra’s Rainforests, Villagers

(Jakarta) – Indonesian authorities should immediately and impartially investigate the death of an environmental lawyer, Golfrid Siregar, in Medan, North Sumatra, Human Rights Watch said today. After midnight on October 3, 2019, a pedicab…
Golfrid Siregar (left),  an environmental lawyer, died on October 6, 2019 three days after his unconscious body was found in Medan, North Sumatra.
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A new treaty to deepen the link between environmental protection and human rights in Latin America and the Caribbean has the potential to reduce the conflicts that lead to the murders of so many environmental defenders in the region.  The…
Bernardo, a man in his 30s, was born in a quilombo (Afro-Brazilian) community of around 60, men, women, and children in Minas Gerais State, southeast Brazil. Bernardo told Human Rights Watch that he feels powerless against aerial spraying of pesticides. “
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Government Program Should Focus on Most Vulnerable

Last week, Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo announced a moratorium on the issuance of permits for new development of state forests into oil palm plantations until 2021. The timing of the moratorium created a buzz at the launch…
Indonesia's President-elect Joko Widodo (C) speaks with journalists at city hall in Jakarta, August 12, 2014.
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Entitled to Consultation on Communal Ownership

  (Washington, DC) – A draft law before the Antigua and Barbuda Senate would deprive Barbudans of communal land where they have lived for generations, Human Rights Watch said today. The Antigua and Barbuda government should consult with the…
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