Seeking for Justice: The Uncertain State of Protection for Environmental Human Rights Defenders in Indonesia Report on the Situation and Violation of Environmental Human Rights Defenders in Indonesia (August 2018-December 2018)

Five months since ELSAM launched a report on the situation of environmental human rights defenders in Indonesia,1 cases of human rights violations against environmental human rights defenders in Indonesia continue to occur. It is not so clear how frequently those violations occurred. However, some of the news about the issue were enough to grab public attention. One of them was the Supreme Court’s verdict against Budi Heriawan a. k. a. Budi Pego.

The Budi Pego case is interesting and is an excellent example of the protection of environmental human rights defenders in Indonesia. Budi Pego, who received a prison sentence for 10 months on January 23, 2018, filed for a cassation. Some consider this a clever move because indeed the Supreme Court is the only high state institution at the ministry level that has adopted Article 66 of Law Number 32 Year 2009 on Environmental Protection and Management (PPLH) through the issuance of SKMA No. 36/II/2013. According to Article 66 of the PPLH Law, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court mandates judicial decisions that favor environmental human rights defenders of human rights such as Budi Pego. However, in reality, Budi was sentenced for 4 years.2 This verdict is clearly a dark cloud that haunts the work of civil society in fighting for the protection of environmental human rights defenders.

Through this report “Waiting for Protection that is Not Coming”, ELSAM shows a glimpse of the obstacles and progress of the protection of human rights defenders over the past five (5) months. Although being carried out in a short span of time, the second report on the situation of environmental human rights defenders seeks to present sufficiently detailed data, parsing the complexity of human rights violations against human rights defenders from August to December 2018. In addition, in this report ELSAM also presents the latest development, in this case the Government of Indonesia, in protecting human rights defenders from the Environment. Together with the latest data on human rights violations against human rights defenders over the Environment, ELSAM hopes that this small contribution can provide some additional ammunition for the struggle for the protection of environmental human rights defenders at large.

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