Call for investigation of the death of Indonesian human rights defender Golfrid Siregar
Earlier this month, we learned that Golfrid Siregar, an Indonesian environmental lawyer working for our partner organisation WALHI died under suspicious circumstances. We call for a thorough and transparent investigation and have brought the case to the attention of the Indonesian embassy in The Hague and to the Netherlands' embassy in Jakarta.
In solidarity with Indonesian colleagues, Both ENDS joins 240 civil society groups around the world to call on the Indonesian government to launch a thorough and transparent investigation of the suspicious death of human rights defender, Golfrid Siregar. We are endorsing an international call on the Indonesian government to urgently protect its human rights defenders. Groups across Asia, Latin America, Europe, Africa, and others will personally deliver our collective letter of solidarity and concern to Indonesian Embassies.
On October 6, 2019, Golfrid Siregar died under extremely suspicious circumstances in North Sumatra, Indonesia. A long time environmental human rights defender, Siregar was found beaten and abandoned on the side of the road a few days earlier. Although local Indonesian police have concluded his death a common was the result of a traffic accident, the circumstances of his death raise questions. For instance, his injuries did not reflect those of being in a fatal crash or accident – his clothes and body showed no scrapes or tears, and his motorcycle was relatively undamaged. Siregar's body was found with soil and dirt, even though the area in which he was found was paved. No bloodstains were found in the area either.
As an environmental lawyer, Siregar worked with the Indonesian Forum for Environment (WALHI) on a number of high profile and controversial environmental lawsuits in North Sumatra, including sand mining, palm oil plantations, and other projects opposed by local communities. Recently, he was involved in the Batang Toru Dam project, which if built, would dispossess local communities of their livelihoods and most likely doom an entire orangutan species to extinction. Significantly, he had been involved in demonstrating a major forgery in the environmental impact assessment in the Batang Toru case, and had recently raised concerns about potentially illegal activities of local North Sumatran police in regards to their management of criminal investigations related to the case.
Threats to human rights defenders
There is an increasing trend of harassment and criminalization of human rights defenders around the world, including Indonesia. Siregar's death is a tragic example that human rights defenders in Indonesia are facing ongoing threats and intimidation for their efforts to protect Indonesia's environment and its people. In the face of such injustice and danger, we refuse to stay silent. The Indonesian government should take urgent, immediate steps to protect human rights defenders. We believe that they are their country's best and brightest, putting their lives on the line in the hopes of making their home more safe and more just.
Partnership with the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Both ENDS works together with WALHI under our Strategic Partnership with the Ministry; the Fair, Green and Global Alliance, which consists of six Dutch NGOs and an alliance of over 1,000 local civil society organisations. As WALHI forms part of that alliance, we emphasise the link between the Ministry and WALHI through our Strategic Partnership and call on the Embassy to make all reasonable efforts to procure an independent investigation into Mr Siregar's death and to actively promote stronger protections for the rights and safety of environmental and human rights defenders in Indonesia.
For more information
Read more about this subject
Together with civil society organisations from all over the world, the Fair Green and Global (FGG) Alliance aims for socially just, inclusive and environmentally sustainable societies in the Netherlands and the Global South.
News / 28 February 2018
Human Rights defenders from all over the world visit EU to call for strong measures against deforestation
This week, from 12 until 16 February, fourteen indigenous leaders and human rights defenders from forest countries came to the Netherlands to call upon Dutch policy makers to take serious action against human rights abuses, land grabbing and further deforestation in relation to large scale agriculture, timber logging and mining. The Dutch harbours of Rotterdam and Amsterdam receive enormeous amounts of soy and palm oil, both for the Dutch market and for further transport into Europe and elswhere.
External link / 1 January 2016
The six members of the Fair, Green & Global (FGG) Alliance power voices of people and communities all over the world. We aim to expand civic space, stimulate movements and invest in mutual capacity development. Collaborating with over a thousand partner organisations in countries where people and nature are under constant pressure. Thanks to the strategic partnership with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs the six member organizations can make a difference for people across the world. Read more on the FGG website!
Publication / 10 July 2019
Event / 12 May 2019, 20:00 - 22:00
Europe's future. What does it look like and, more importantly, what kind of Europe do we want?
Publication / 27 June 2018
News / 22 April 2013
Between 2010 and 2013, Both ENDS, within an alliance of Indonesian and Dutch organisations and universities, conducted a pilot project to improve the spatial planning in the district of Sanggau in West-Kalimantan, on the island of Borneo, Indonesia, to help local communities with the recognition of their land rights. We can show you a beautiful documentary about one of the villages in this district, Terusan.
News / 12 December 2017
We are outraged and saddened to hear that Hernán Bedoya, a brave Colombian community leader and human rights defender, has been brutally murdered. After numerous threats to his life and despite all the best efforts of local groups to provide him with protection (such as bullet proof vests, cell phone etc.) he was shot dead by paramilitaries last Friday the 8th of December, while riding home on his horse.
News / 7 October 2018
We are very proud that our director Daniëlle Hirsch has been included again in the ‘Sustainable 100’ (an annual ranking list published by Dutch newspaper Trouw), and has gone up more than 40 spots compared to last year! Danielle was included in the list because of the many things she does with her organisation as a whole, but she got the higher ranking for the way she combines her criticism of the destructive role of the Netherlands as a trading nation and large cause of CO2 emissions in the world (often supported by the Dutch government), with a constructive attitude when it comes to finding alternatives and solutions.
News / 20 September 2019
We are shocked and alarmed by the news of a planned raid into the headquarters of an environmental organisation in the Philippines. Although the raid has not materialised until now, we are deeply concerned for their wellbeing.
External link / 10 December 2018
An Open Letter to States and Development Financiers on the need to ensure that development interventions support the realization of human rights, safeguard human rights defenders and guarantee meaningful public participation
News / 14 March 2018
We are shocked and alarmed by the news that the Philippine government has declared a list of 600 people to be communist terrorists. On the list are mostly indigenous leaders, environmental activists and human rights defenders. Among them are some of our partners, and we are deeply worried about them and the other people on this list.
News / 6 March 2018
On Friday, March 2, the director of DESA, David Castillo, was arrested in Honduras on suspicion of involvement in the murder of Berta Cáceres, exactly 2 years ago. The Honduran government refused for a long time to not only detect the actual murderers, but also the intellectual authors of the murder of Cáceres.
News / 9 December 2016
As we celebrate both the 30th anniversary of the UN Declaration on the Right to Development (December 4th) and Human Rights Day (December 10th), Both ENDS joins with communities and civil society groups around the world to call on development finance institutions, governments, and businesses to take 3 steps to stand up for Human Rights in development.
News / 28 September 2018
We congratulate Joan Carling, member of the permanent commission on indigenous peoples of the UN, for having received the Lifetime Achievement Award as 'Champion of the Earth' by the UN Environment! This is the UN's highest environmental honor, given to six of the world's most outstanding environmental change makers once a year.
Event / 8 June 2018, 16:00 - 18:00
The International Institute of Social Studies, Both ENDS, IUCN National Committee of the Netherlands and Mama Cash invite you for presentations by Joan Carling, indigenous leader and women's rights activist from the Philippines and member of the permanent commission on indigenous peoples of the UN, and Jan van de Venis, Human Rights Lawyer at JustLaw, about the experiences of indigenous leaders in the Philippines, in a world of increasing oppression and human right violations against environmental activists.
Covering an area of 5.5 million km², the Amazon rainforest is the largest rainforest in the world. At least 12% of the forest has been lost in the last decades, and deforestation is still continuing at a rapid pace. Illegal logging, land grabbing and intimidation for agriculture, animal husbandry and mining are daily business, and impunity rules. Recent developments, such as the election of the new Bolsonaro government in Brazil, make the future of the Amazon region and the people living there even more uncertain than it already was.
News / 20 October 2016
This week, Laura Zuniga Cáceres, daughter of Berta Cáceres*, visits the Netherlands. She will talk with the directors of the involved departments of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, participated in a colloquium about indigenous right of Leiden University and meet with several Dutch NGO's. Both ENDS asked this brave young woman about the situation in Honduras and her motivation to continue her mother's work.
Blog / 21 January 2020By Michael Rice
Photo Blog - Like many communities in Indonesia, life in Semanga Village, West Kalimantan, revolves around a river. The 90 or so houses follow the curving bank of the Sambas River, each with a path down to a small pontoon where fishing traps and baskets are stacked and boats are tied.
News / 1 December 2018
On Thursday, November 29, seven suspects of the murder of Berta Cáceres (in March 2016) were found guilty. Members of the indigenous human rights organisation COPINH, of which Cáceres was the leader, and close relatives of Cáceres herself see the ruling as the first step towards justice for her murder and the recognition that the company DESA is co-responsible for this. They also point out, however, that the process was permeated with corruption, intimidation and other abuses from the very beginning, and that the masterminds behind the murder are still walking around freely.