Investigate Throroughly the Demise of Activist Golfrid Siregar
Present the State to Protect Human Rights Defenders
Jakarta—The Civil Society Coalition for Human Rights Defenders urges the state to conduct an immediate, open, effective and independent investigation related to the demise of environmental and human rights defenders, Golfrid Siregar, SH, who was also an activist from Wahana Lingkungan Hidup Indonesia in North Sumatra (WALHI Sumut). Golfrid was found early on Thursday October 3, 2019 in a very critical condition due to severe head injuries in his cranium. Golfrid was the brought to hospital, until he breathed his last on Sunday, October 6.
The Coalition regrets the Police’s attitude to hastily state the cause of late Golfrid’s demise was due to a traffic accident. The Coalition considers that there are a number of irregularities found from his death. For example, unclear location of the incident (TKP). Initially, the family obtained information from the security forces that the incident happened at Jamin Ginting flyover. Then, the TKP changed underpass Titik Kuning. We suspect that the late Golfid’s demise was not because of a traffic accident however caused by violence that resulted in death. Moreover, the case of Yohanes Balubun, an activist for Indigenous People in Maluku, whose death in 2016 was claimed by the police as a result of an accident. Meanwhile, in West Nusa Tenggara (NTB), an attempt to assassinate WALHI West Nusa Tenggara Executive Director Murdani earlier this year has also not been revealed.
As any other violence cases that lead in demise or attempted murder that happened in Indonesia and other countries, it cannot be separated from the activities of environmental and human rights defenders who fight for the rights of society and environment from threats of destructions by corporations, such as the loss of residential, livelihood, and environmental damage. Various reports from human rights organizations show that environmental and human rights defenders are very vulnerable to attacks/threats while working to expose human rights violations cases and serious environmental damage.
In the spanning of his life, Golfrid dedicated his life for various environmental advocacy works and humanity, especially in North Sumatra. Various advocacy works carried out by Golfrid and friends in WALHI North Sumatra, amongst other are assisting impacted local community due to the activities of PT. Mitra Beton in Siantar, assisting local community in Lingga Muda from forest encroachment and illegal logging, assisting fishermen in Labu Beach for the lawsuit against sand mining company, and lastly serving as the lead of WALHI legal team of the lawsuit against Governor of North Sumatra for issuing environmental permits with defendant of PT. NSHE, as well as reporting the police officers in North Sumatra Regional Police (POLDA Sumut) who stopped the investigation of forged signature case in AMDAL to Police Headquarters (Mabes POLRI) in Jakarta.
The violence that lead to death experienced by environmental and Human Rights Defenders has long happened and been increasing, Indra Pelani, Salim Kancil, Yohanes Balubun, Poroduka, and now Golfrid Siregar, as well as the attempted murder of arson experienced by Murdani in West Nusa Tenggara.
From the incident experienced by environmental and human rights defender, Golfrid Siregar, for the sake of Golfrid’s justice and his family, and for the sake of everyone’s justice, we urge:
The State must conduct investigation immediately and impartial or ensure that an investigation is conducted in reasonable grounds to believe that violation of human rights and freedom has occurred in its jurisdiction. As stated in Article 9 (5) Declaration of Human Rights Defenders passed by the United Nation on December 9, 1998;
Police officers to thoroughly investigate the demise of Golfrid Siregar, openly to the public to ensure the accountability of law enforcement process. Given the existence of conflict of conflict interest in North Sumatra Regional Office (POLDA Sumut), therefore we urge the handling of this case to be taken over by Police Headquarters (Mabes POLRI);
The National Commission for Human Rights (Komnas HAM) to immediately form fact-finding independent team, because this case was experienced by environmental and human rights defender;
Given its urgency, we also urge the state to immediately issue policies (Presidential Regulation) that ensure the protection for environmental and human rights defenders. Therefore, there won’t be any criminalization and violence act that lead to death;
Government to immediately draft policies and carry the development programs that put protection towards people’s rights to life and ecological sustainability as the main prerequisites. Therefore, for the sake of development, it doesn’t put in line the people life threaten and ecological disaster.
We also invite public in general to jointly guard the law enforcement process towards the death of Golfrid Siregar. In hope in the future there won’t be any live taken for fighting the rights of the people and environment.
For further information please reach:
Jakarta, October 10 2019
Human Rights Defenders Coalition
Wahana Lingkungan Hidup Indonesia (WALHI) – KontraS – Amnesty International Indonesia – Human Rights Watch – Yayasan Perlindungan Insani, Greenpeace Indonesia –YLBHI – ELSAM – Kemitraan – Imparsial – KRuHA, LBH Pers – HuMa – JATAM – HRWG – Solidaritas Perempuan