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Women Environmental Human Rights Defenders: Threats, Regulations and Recommendations for Protection


Women have a significant position in the struggle for the fulfillment of environmental rights. Women environmental human rights defenders (WEHRDs) often become advocacy leaders at various events and locations with numerous roles; leading resistance, providing aid (legal or otherwise) to farmers and indigenous communities, and some using their bodies as a medium of non-violent resistance. WEHRDs’ awareness to fight is based on their relationship with nature, especially regarding their source of livelihood and domestic role. When environmental damage occurs, women experience multiple layers of vulnerability because their family’s water and food sources become polluted and their access to livelihoods becomes limited or even completely lost.

The ELEVATE program is implemented by KEMITRAAN to improve the ability of WEHRDs in Indonesia to contribute safely to the gender-sensitive environmental policy-making process and seek access to justice through the strengthening of state-based protection mechanisms and capacity empowerment of WEHRDs and civil society organizations. For this reason, this research has been conducted to provide contextual data and descriptions regarding the profile and forms of threats and attacks against WEHRDs, as well as the response of the state and state institutions to these attacks. One of the main points of analysis in this research is how the legal framework can weaken or strengthen protection for WEHRDs, as well as legal and non-legal recommendations to the government, and recommendations for civil society networks in strengthening protection.

We would also like to express our gratitude to Rakhma Mary as the primary researcher and author of this report and also various parties who have provided input on this research, including the KEMITRAAN Team, Komnas Perempuan, Komnas HAM, LPSK and civil society networks that work with women human rights defenders. We hope that the results of this research can support the struggle and collective work to protect human rights defenders in Indonesia, especially WEHRDs who are increasingly pressured by various projects and investment plans.

Jakarta, October 2023

Laode M. Syarif

KEMITRAAN Executive Director