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Inclusive Climate Action and Planning Needed after 12 Perish

On July 15, twelve people with disabilities living in a group home drowned in floods in Sinzig, Germany, because they did not manage to evacuate in time. This is not the first time people with disabilities in group homes died during a climate…
The “Lebenshilfe-Haus” or ‘assisted-living facility”, where twelve people with disabilities drowned in floods on July 15, 2021.
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Pregnancy Risks Left Out of Climate Change Planning

We have corrected the online version of this report to include an additional state government response on heat health action plans received by Human Rights Watch after the requested deadline but prior to publication. Germany has delayed…
A woman shields herself from the sun with an umbrella on a hot summer day in Cologne, Germany, July 25, 2019. 
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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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Government Ordered to Protect Future Generations

In a landmark decision issued today, Germany’s top court found lawmakers have a human rights obligation to protect people from the effects of climate change. The court ruled that a German 2019 climate change law does not adequately regulate greenhouse…
Illustration of a windmill with leaves for blades
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Proposed Measure Falls Short of International Norms

(Berlin) – The German government’s proposed law governing companies’ obligations to respect human rights in supply chains is a step in the right direction but needs improving in key areas, Human Rights Watch said today. Parliament should explicitly…
"Peter," 15, working alongside a teenage girl at an artisanal and small-scale mine in Odahu, Amansie West district, Ghana.
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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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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.