Solidarity with human rights defenders Haris Azhar and Fatia Maulidiyanti

Haris Azhar and Fatia Maulidiyanti before a black background © KontraS

Nov 27, 2023

Over 100 organizations, including Rainforest Rescue, are calling on the Indonesian government to stop the criminalization of human rights defenders Fatia Maulidiyanti and Haris Azhar.

More than 100 human rights organizations from Indonesia and around the world have called on the Indonesian government to end the criminalization of the human rights defenders Fatia Maulidiyanti and Haris Azhar. Rainforest Rescue has signed the appeal. 

KontraS - Solidarity for Human Rights Defenders Fatia Maulidiyanti and Haris Azhar



“The Gold Hunt” issue

The two human rights defenders have been charged with defamation under the Electronic Information and Transactions Act. The law is increasingly being used to suppress freedom of expression and criticism. The charges are based on statements made in a video entitled “Lord Luhut is behind the economic and military relations in Intan Jaya! A general of the secret service is also involved!!” 

In the video, the two defendants discussed a report by Amnesty International Indonesia, “The Gold Hunt”, covering a previously unexploited gold deposit, the Wabu Block in the Intan Jaya district of Papua, Indonesia.

The Wabu Block and Grasberg gold mine

The Wabu Block belonged to Freeport McMoran and Freeport Indonesia until 2018 and is only 40 km away from the Grasberg mine. Grasberg is the largest gold mine in the world and notorious for its environmental destruction. In 2018, the Indonesian state took over Wabu Block with the plan to mine gold there in the future. There has since been an increase in military action and violence in the Intan Jaya district.

In the aforementioned video, the two defendants spoke about the possible economic involvement of high-ranking politicians and military officers in companies that may soon be mining Wabu Block’s gold.

Major problems in the Papua provinces of Indonesia are closely linked to the exploitation of natural resources. It is an alarm signal when it is no longer acceptable to publicly discuss the backgrounds of environmental destruction.

The joint statement was also published in English on the Forum Asia website.

About the defendants

Fatia Maulidiyanti was the coordinator of the human rights organization KontraS (Commission for Disappeared Persons and Victims of Violence) from 2020 to 2023. Haris Azhar is co-founder of the Lokataru Foundation. They are accused of slandering Minister Luhut Panjaitan. Fatia and Haris have had 28 hearings since April 2023. During the reading of the indictment on November 12, the lead prosecutor recommended to the court that the two be sentenced to 3.5 and 4 years in prison.

Update on January 8, 2024

According to The Jakarta Post on January 8, 2024, the court acquitted Haris Azhar and Fatia Maulidiyanti on all charges. Haris and Fatia's comments on YouTube about Minister Luhut Panjaitan's involvement in planned gold mining in Wabu Block did not constitute criminal defamation.

The court considered it proven that PT Toba Sejahtera, in which Minister Luhut Pajaitan holds 99% of the shares, is involved in mining in Papua. Furthermore, within their consideration, the panel of judges stated that the word ‘Lord’ was not categorized as a component of defamation. KontraS titled its January 8 news update: “WE WON! FATIA AND HARIS WON! THE INDIGENOUS PEOPLE OF PAPUA WON! Acquittal Verdict for Fatia and Haris as a Fresh Air and Hope to Democracy”

This page is available in the following languages:

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Stay in the loop on rainforest conservation issues with our free newsletter!