STOP Human Rights and Environment Activist Criminalization

Thursday January 14, 2021, the Lake Toba environmental and human rights activist Alliance conducted a solidarity action for Sebastian Hutabarat. This alliance consists of the Community Initiative Development Study Group (KSPPM), the Samosir Regency Farmers Union, indigenous community groups, and several youths, students of Samosir Regency.

This demonstration started at 11.00 WIB in front of the Samosir District Attorney. Dozens of demonstrators held banners reading “Stop Criminalization and Intimidation of Human Rights and Environment activists”. Then in turn, the participants in the action delivered their orations. Angela, the action coordinator, said that this action was a form of support for Sebastian, who was undergoing criminalization. According to us, what happened to Sebastian today is an attempt to silence him by certain parties. So that we deeply regret the criminalization experienced by Sebastian Hutabarat, said Angela

The same thing was also conveyed by Rocky Pasaribu. Sebastian’s detention was a step backward for Indonesian law enforcement. Today Sebastian, but tomorrow it can be me, it can be us. So that if we leave this, Sebastian Sebastian will be affected by the other. Actually, Article 66 of Law No. 32/2009 on environmental protection, environmental management, clearly states that environmental activists should not be subject to law. But unfortunately this law seems meaningless, because activists still experience a lot of criminalization, said Rocky

Jonter Simbolon, a representative of the Golat Simbolon indigenous community, also said that the environmental damage that occurred in Samosir Regency had a huge impact on their lives as farmers. An erratic climate is often one of the factors that cause crop failure. We also urge the government from the central to regional levels to re-evaluate the permits of environmental destroying companies in the Lake Toba area, especially in Samosir Regency. Meanwhile, Agustinus Situmorang, a representative of the Samosir Regency Farmers Union (STKS), said that as farmers we will continue to fight for environmental sustainability. And we deeply regret the arrest made by law enforcement against our colleague Sebastian. There are still many more worthy of being caught than Sebastian.

The action which lasted for more than two hours was closed with the reading of a statement by Sandres Siahaan, the staff of the KSPPM Samosir region. As for the demands of the alliance concerned with Human Rights and Environment activists as follows:

  1. Requesting and urging the Government from the central, provincial and regional levels to stop the criminalization of environmental and human rights activists in Indonesia, including in the Lake Toba area.
  2. Request and urge the District Court to act fairly
  3. Requesting and urging the Samosir Regency Government to supervise the permits of environmental destroying companies.
  4. Requesting and urging the Government and Stakeholders to provide a safe and comfortable space for civil society who questions about industrial management in the environmental area in accordance with Law Number 32 of 2009 concerning Environmental Protection and Management (UU PPLH)
  5. Requesting related agencies not to protect or not to take sides with companies that destroy the environment, both legally and illegally.
  6. Requesting and urging the Government and law enforcement to seriously handle acts of arrogance and thuggery in Samosir District.
  7. Requesting and urging the Samosir Regency Government to immediately make efforts to restore the environment and conserve forests in Samosir Regency
  8. Requesting and urging the Samosir Regency government to accelerate the process of issuing Village Regulations (Perda) on the Protection and Recognition of Customary Law Communities (PPMHA) because indigenous peoples are an important element in saving the environment.

By; Sintia Simbolon (KSPPM Staff)

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