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Commentary: Corporate legal accountability & access to justice vital to fight health impacts of haze pollution by palm oil in Southeast Asia

"100,000 may have died but there is still no justice over Indonesian air pollution", 4 Feb 2017

...Anggriawati is believed to have been one of many victims of the haze, or air pollution, that regularly spreads across Indonesia because of the huge deforestation fires linked to palm oil and other agribusiness...

The smoke contains dangerous chemicals such as carbon monoxide, ammonia and cyanide. A study by Harvard and Columbia universities revealed that the haze may have caused the premature deaths of more than 100,000 people in south-east Asia in 2015...

...Lawyers and advocates bringing cases on behalf of the families and communities told us about the difficulty they face in meeting strict evidentiary requirements to establish where the burning is occurring, who is responsible, and the causal link between the burning and health problems in affected communities.

...[V]iolent threats greatly diminish victims' interest in documentation and litigation, as well as their hope for effective and peaceful legal redress. Placed against a backdrop of corruption in judicial and law enforcement systems, all these factors make potential litigation unappealing and burdensome for victims.

Legal accountability and access to justice are vital to this fight...

Groups are advocating for better laws in their respective jurisdictions. Communities and government officials are also working together to bring more lawsuits...