Universiteit Leiden

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VVI Research Meetings 2022-2023

Legal Intimidation against Environmental Defenders in the Southeast Asia Anthropocene

  • Agung Wardana (Max Planck Institute)
  • Tody Utama (chair/discussant)
Wednesday 26 April 2023
Kamerlingh Onnes Building
Steenschuur 25
2311 ES Leiden

In the Anthropocene, the role of environmental defenders has been more important than ever in defending the Earth from further encroachment of its planetary boundaries. However, their struggles to protect the environment and their livehoods have made them targeted by actors whose capital accumulation and economic development models have been challenged and resisted. As a result, environmental defenders become very vulnerable to extra-judicial violence, criminalization, and lawsuits, especially Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (SLAPP). Responding to this, several countries in Southeast Asia, namely Indonesia and the Philippines, have indeed taken necessary steps to protect them from SLAPP by adopting Anti-SLAPP provisions. However, despite such adoption, the attacks on environmental defenders have continually been a persistent feature in environmental politics in the region. Based on the background above, this presentation aims at examining SLAPP practices in the region in order to understand how environmental defenders are criminalised or sued, by whom, and in what contexts. In doing so, it will focus on Indonesia, the Philippines, and Thailand.

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