RFK Center - Defending Human Rights In This World
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1993: Bambang Widjojanto, Indonesia

Promoting Self-Determination and Control of Natural Resources by West Papuans.

Co-founder and former director of the Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation, Bambang Widjojanto has been a leading advocate for the rights of the indigenous peoples of West Papua. Directing over 100 lawyers, Bambang has defended victims of torture, labor organizations, and women’s rights. As the government has restricted access to the region of West Papua and increased the amount of military present there, the risk of exploitation and abuse has heightened. This is exacerbated by the tragic environmental degradation, desecration of indigenous lands, and social upheaval occurring as a result of Freeport McMoRan’s massive mining operation. To protect the human rights of West Papuans, Bambang strives for constitutional and judicial reform.

The Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights established an Advocacy Team comprised of legal and human rights experts to assist in Bambang’s cause. The team now releases a monthly news update called the West Papua Report to inform and educate Congressional offices, the State Department, the National Security Council, academics, international media, and civil society about the human rights situation in West Papua.