Each Thursday activists from the Victims Solidarity Network for Justice (JSKK) and the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) hold a silent protest to push the government to settle past human rights abuses in Indonesia.

The National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) in Indonesia has stated that human rights defenders continue to receive threats and criminalization. Last week in Jakarta, Protection International participated with Komnas HAM to shine a light on the current situation of human rights defenders in the country.

The Jakarta Post reported that “though Indonesia’s democracy began after the fall of Soeharto’s dictatorship in 1998, there has not been a significant improvement toward protection of human rights activists” (Human rights activists remain prone to threats: Komnas HAM). For example, human rights defender, Raden Mas Aji Kusumo spent over three months behind bars for staging a rally against the construction of an apartment building over concerns about environmental degradation and Salim Kancil was beaten to death last September for organizing a protest against invasive sand mining in his village in Lumajang.

HRDS from JSKK and Kontras in front of the Presidential Palace on 24 March. Photo Credit: The Jakarta Post

Photo Credit: The Jakarta Post

Indonesian human rights defenders are risking their freedom when speaking out, helping others and defending the environment. While the Komnas HAM commissioner, Siti Noor Laila, stated “In the democracy era, freedom of speech is guaranteed by the Constitution, crimes against human rights activists must never happen” (The Jakarta Post).