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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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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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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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Attorney General’s Office Should Investigate Decision to Prosecute

Yesterday, a court in Ecuador found Agustín Wachapá, a Shuar indigenous leader who opposes mining in the Ecuadorian Amazon, not guilty of inciting violence. The verdict ends a 17-month ordeal that Wachapá should never have endured. …
Agustín Wachapá, a Shuar indigenous leader.
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Indigenous Leaders Could Be Jailed on Unsubstantiated Charges

(New York) – The government of former President Rafael Correa abused the criminal justice system to target indigenous leaders and environmentalists who protested mining and oil exploration in the Amazon, Human Rights Watch said in a…
Indigenous people arrive in Quito after marching for 10 days to protest new mining and water law initiatives, as well as a constitutional reform project that would have allowed for indefinite re-election of the president.
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Summary When President Lenín Moreno took office in May 2017, he inherited an economy heavily reliant on extractive industries and an executive branch that had, during the previous decade, amassed broad powers to curb public debate of…
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Pollution Protester Denies Hoisting Hammer-and-Sickle Banners

Indonesian prosecutors are seeking a seven-year prison sentence for an environmental activist for allegedly raising pro-communist banners while peacefully protesting pollution linked to a local gold mine. Prosecutors in Banyuwangi, East…
201801asia_indonesia_goldmine An illegal miner leaves a cave after mining for gold in the mountain of Tumpang Pitu in Banyuwangi, East Java November 21, 2009.
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Court Rules Jakarta’s Water Privatization Failed the Poor

In a landmark ruling, Indonesia’s Supreme Court this week ordered the government to restore public water services to residents in Jakarta after finding private companies “failed to protect” their right to water. The court ordered…
Inadequate water supply service caused by privatization of Jakarta’s water supply has forced residents of low-income areas to buy expensive drinking water from street vendors and bathe in polluted public wells.
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Parties Should Urgently Address Forestry Sector Rights Abuses

(Jakarta) – The new timber trade agreement between Indonesia and the European Union does not go far enough to curb illegal logging linked to rights abuses, Human Rights Watch said today. The agreement requires Indonesian timber exported to the EU to…
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The Indonesian government announced a new threat to the state: the Hollywood actor Harrison Ford, famous for swashbuckling roles in “Indiana Jones” and “Star Wars.” Ford, an avid environmentalist, traveled to Indonesia to film part of a television series…