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Statement on the Shutting Down of the People’s Water Forum by the Indonesian Government  

Today, in Bali, while around 3 000 delegates were attending a range of sessions at the 10th World Water Forum, the police shut down the People’s Water Forum, a gathering of civil society organisations from around the world.  

For years, a range of civil society organisations have met in parallel to the World Water Forum to discuss their issues and concerns, including on privatisation in water and sanitation and possible alternatives.  Why then has this year’s gathering of civil society been shut down? 

Organisers of the People’s Water Forum reported that they have been harassed and intimidated, and finally blocked from entering the venue where they were due to meet. They were apparently told by the police that the People’s Water Forum could not be allowed to run in parallel to the World Water Forum. And yet both have run at the same time several times in the past without incident, for example during the 9th World Water Forum in Senegal and previously.  

This raises significant concerns about the closing of civic space in Indonesia, and the difficult conditions in which civil society already operates. Several studies conducted by human rights organisations and think tanks in recent years have noted the shrinking of civic space in Indonesia. This action is further evidence of this trend.  

The delivery of water and sanitation to all cannot take place without the involvement of civil society, and without the most affected people at the table.  

We are committed to the right to freedom of expression, to the right to associate, and we call on the Government of Indonesia to immediately allow the People’s Water Forum to continue to meet.  

We also call on the World Water Forum to engage immediately with the Government of Indonesia to allow the People’s Water Forum to continue. 


Water Integrity Network 

African Civil Society Network for Water (ANEW) 

End Water Poverty

Water Witness International

United Youth for Peace Education Transparency and Development in Liberia

Shahidi wa Maji

Voices for Just Climate Action Alliance (VCA) Action contre la Faim France

Coalition Eau

Fundación Cántaro Azul A.C. (México)

Combined Harare Residents Association


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