Shameful intimidation of participants at People’s Water Forum in Bali

Responding to the intimidation and attack on participants in the People’s Water Forum (PWF) 2024 in Bali by a group named Patriot Garuda Nusantara (Garuda Nusantara Patriots), the Executive Director of Amnesty International Indonesia, Usman Hamid, said:

“The intimidation and violent attack on the organizers and participants of the People’s Water Forum is a serious attack on a peaceful assembly.

“The repeated repression of government critics raises serious concerns about the Indonesian authorities’ commitment to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.

“The authorities’ lack of action to protect participants at the Forum constitutes a failure of their international obligations to protect the rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association, and contributes to the stifling of dissent and a chilling effect on the exercise of human rights in the country.

“We call on the Indonesian authorities to take immediate action to end all forms of intimidation and violence against human rights defenders. The authorities must ensure the protection of everyone’s rights, including to express their views freely without fear of reprisal.”


The People’s Water Forum (PWF) is a worldwide network of Water Justice Movements. They advocate for ensuring water access as a human right and challenge the privatization and commercialization of water resources.

This year, the PWF organized a gathering in Denpasar, Bali, from May 21-23 to oppose water privatization and advocate for water management benefiting public welfare. On Monday, 20 May, a pre-event discussion hosted by the PWF at a hotel in Denpasar was violently disrupted by members of a local group called Patriot Garuda Nusantara (PGN).

The group had repeatedly visited the event site before the discussion, demanding the cancellation of the PWF’s event.

Video footage shows the group destroying event banners and billboards and physically attacking forum participants. They accused the PWF of distracting the 10th World Water Forum, which is hosted by the Indonesian Government in Nusa Dua, Bali, from 18 to 25 May 2024.

Previously, some members of the PWF 2024 organizing committee were also reportedly being intimidated and receiving threats from state officials urging them not to hold the PWF 2024. Additionally, several venues refused to host the PWF event following reported instances of intimidation of the venue managers.

Pedro Arrojo Agudo, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights to Safe Drinking Water and Sanitation, was prevented from entering the PWF 2024 venue on Tuesday 21 May as security forces were heavily guarding the venue. He and the PWF representatives accompanying him were forced to leave.