Local activists cry foul over arrest of Pinoy NGO worker in Indonesia


LRC-KsK Press Release

Date of publication: 
6 July 2010

Local activists today decried what they said were unprovoked arrests, by the Indonesian police of over a dozen participants, including a Filipina, of a training activity held in the state of West Java in Indonesia.

“We denounce in the strongest possible terms the unwarranted arrest of Ms. Jean Marie Ferraris by misguided elements of the Indonesian police, who apparently barged into a peaceful press conference being held after a training activity organized by our friends from Greenpeace,” Judy Pasimio of the Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center, a legal and policy research NGO known for its work on indigenous peoples rights and natural resources issues.

Ferraris was among a group of 13 international NGO workers who were arrested by Indonesian authorities while holding a press conference in Cirebon, West Java regarding the harmful impact of coal plants on the environment and local communities.

“Jean was merely there to share the experience of our own partner communities who are also facing the threat of coal mining and environmental degradation from coal-fired power plants. She entered Indonesia legally and was attending a legitimate activity organized by an internationally-recognized environmental NGO. Her arrest and the arrest of the other participants was completely unjustified,“Pasimio said.

“Clearly Indonesia still hasn’t completely shrugged off its authoritarian past. This latest episode evokes the time of Suharto when the coercive power of the state, through the police and the military were used to sow terror and choke democratic space. This abusive behavior has no place in a supposedly democratic country,“Pasimio said.

The arrests, were conducted by some 100 Indonesian police officers who were reportedly accompanied by representatives of the coal power plant operated by Cirebon Elektrik Power Ltd.

“We call on our government to act swiftly to effect the release of Ms. Ferraris and demand an immediate explanation from the Indonesian government. The new administration of Pres. Aquino must send a strong message to the international community that it is committed to protecting our citizens from abuses committed on foreign soil, even if it is by a foreign government, “ Pasimio added.

For reference:

Rovik Santiago Obanil
Communications and Networking Officer
Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center
Kasama sa Kalikasan
Friends of the Earth Philippines
(LRC/KsK-FoE Phils)