Court Rules in Favor of Jakarta Residents in Landmark Pollution Case

An Indonesian court ruled on Thursday that President Joko Widodo and six other top officials failed to protect and fulfill the citizens’ right to clean air, Bloomberg reported.

In the landmark ruling, the Central Jakarta District Court panel voted 3-0 in favor of the group of 32 residents who filed the lawsuit in July 2019 against Widodo, three cabinet ministers, the Jakarta governor, and two provincial leaders.

According to presiding Judge Saifuddin Zuhri, the Indonesian government should be held accountable for committing “unlawful acts” and failing to provide a healthy living environment in the capital city Jakarta.

“The air quality in Jakarta had exceeded the acceptable standards, posing a risk to the plaintiffs’ health which could even lead to their early deaths,” Judge Duta Baskara said in the ruling. “The defendants had been aware of this fact for many years but had not taken significant steps to ensure that the standards were met.” 

The court’s verdict indicated that the top government officials have violated the country’s environmental protection laws and ordered them to take serious action to guarantee the people’s right to healthy air in Jakarta by establishing adequate air quality regulations “to protect people’s health, the environment and the ecosystem, including the health of sensitive groups within the population, in line with scientific and technological developments.”

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