AURIGA -  Bengkulu, 18-21 December 2019 —Auriga Nusantara, together with Walhi Bengkulu, held the first consultation for preparing an environmental defender's security protocol. This activity invited civil society groups from every province in Sumatra.

Environmental defender safety protocols seem to be urgently needed at present given the increasing of threat to environmental defenders in recent years. Not only physical violence that even leads to death, threats to environmental defenders can also be psychological threats or intimidation, damage to reputation and criminalization as well.

One clear example was when a vehicle belonging to the convoy of Acting Governor of Aceh hit a resident in Beutong during his visit to PT EMM site in 2019. In the same year, Golfrid Siregar, advocate and activist of North Sumatra's Walhi, also found unconscious by a pedicab driver at the Simpang Pos flyover, Padang Bulan Village, Medan on Friday November 3rd.

During the first consultation session, Auriga delivered a preliminary draft of the security protocol that had been prepared previously. Input from participants was included to complete the draft. However, this public consultation is also expected to be part of an effort to increase safety awareness among environmental defenders.

Further consultations will be held in the regions of Kalimantan, Sulawesi and Papua. By mid 2020, it is hoped that all consultative sessions will be completed, so that the draft security protocol can be used as a guideline by environmental defenders. (*)