R.I.P. Human Rights and Environmental Defender, Golfrid Siregar, A Victim Of Suspected Murder According To Conservation Organizations Worldwide

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Tragic news from Indonesia as WAN learns that Golfrid Siregar, a human rights defender and environmental advocate at the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (WALHI) in North Sumatra, died this past weekend from severe head injuries he reportedly suffered following a “traffic accident.”

According to a post on the environmental conservation organization’s Facebook page, Siregar passed away at the Adam Malik General Hospital on Sunday, October 6th, several days after he was found by a pedicab driver unconscious on an overpass in the Padang Bulan District, Medan.

Contradicting his reported cause of death by police, North Sumatra Walhi found many irregularities in the case that indicate Siregar did not perish in a traffic accident.

Among the suspicious circumstances, Siregar’s injuries pointed to the fact that he was most-likely hit hard on the head with a blunt weapon. Further, his body did not suffer any other injuries which are commonly associated with being involved in a crash and the motorcycle he was thought to be riding had sustained only minor damage.

Siregar was also found without any personal items such as his bags, a laptop, wallet or rings.

“These facts show Golfrit is not the victim of an ordinary traffic accident,” noted the translated post, further suggesting that he was instead a victim of violence and attempted murder because of his political activities as a human rights defender, “especially for environmental issues with the North Sumatra Walhi.”

Siregar was recently involved in Wahli’s efforts to oppose the North Sumatra administration’s decision to issue permits for a controversial hydropower dam in the Batang Toru ecosystem. Environmental groups and animal advocates worldwide fear the negative impact that the project will have on the environment, especially on the critically endangered Tapanuli orangutans and elephants that inhabit the sensitive ecosystem.

This case should be investigated further and justice for Siregar must be served.

WAN is among those mourning the loss of such an admirable advocate. May the violence stop. May He Rest In Peace!

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