OWORAC Condemns Attacks on Water Justice  Advocates in Bali

The Our Water Our Right Africa Coalition strongly condemns the recent attacks on water justice advocates in Bali, Indonesia. We stand in solidarity with the People’s Water Forum (PWF) and call for immediate action to safeguard civil society’s right to convene without fear of harassment or intimidation.

According to reports by the PWF, the civil society forum on water rights, organised on the sidelines of the 10th World Water Forum currently ongoing in Bali, faced severe disruptions and harassment from authorities and ultranationalist groups. The PWF, which champions water access as a human right and opposes water privatisation, organised the gathering in Denpasar, Bali, from May 21-23.

The disruptions began with harassment of the Bintang Gana Foundation, a local organisation affiliated with the PWF and pressure was applied on the venue owner to postpone or cancel the event. Additionally, PWF organizers allegedly faced cyberattacks, and their social media accounts said to be hacked. On May 20, the Patriot Garuda Nusantara (PGN) group violently disrupted a pre-event discussion, destroying banners and physically attacking participants.

Pedro Arrojo Agudo, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights to Safe Drinking Water and Sanitation, was also denied entry to the PWF venue on May 21 by security forces. This blatant obstruction underscores the shrinking civic space for civil society and the suppression of alternative voices.

These incidents violate the right to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly, and association—rights Indonesia is obligated to protect under international human rights laws. The interference with the PWF is part of a troubling pattern, with similar incidents occurring during the 2018 IMF and World Bank annual meeting and ahead of the G20 Summit in 2022.

The Our Water Our Right Africa Coalition (OWORAC) echoes the call by activists around the world for the Indonesian government to put an end to all forms of intimidation and violence targeting the PWF, carried out by state officials, paid agents and paramilitaries. The work of civil society is essential for the protection of human rights and must be respected and safeguarded.

Signed:

Our Water Our Right Africa Coalition 

Email: info@africawateraction.org

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