A groundbreaking legal battle is underway in Indonesia to safeguard the health of both workers and consumers against the dangers of asbestos. Campaign organisations dedicated to eliminating asbestos-related diseases have taken a bold step by filing a case with the Supreme Court. Their goal is to secure a judicial review, challenging the government’s failure to enforce mandatory warning labels on asbestos products. This case marks a crucial milestone in the ongoing effort to protect individuals from the harmful effects of asbestos exposure. 

Leo Yoga Pranata, Ajat Sudrajat and Pupun Supendi at the Supreme Court in Central Jakarta, Indonesia. Photo courtesy of LION.

Currently, products containing asbestos are not required to carry labels, usage instructions, or hazard symbols. This information void leaves consumers in the dark, lacking the crucial knowledge needed to protect themselves when dealing with these potentially harmful products. 

 The Yasa Nata Budi Foundation, a consumer advocacy organization collaborating with the Local Initiative for OSH Network (Lion Indonesia/LION), filed the application. Leo Yoga Pranata, their representative, emphasized the demand for accurate information on every asbestos-containing product in the market. 

 “The labels must be in the Indonesian language and must be of sufficient size so they can be easily read by consumers. We hope that the Supreme Court will grant this judicial review in order to protect Indonesians from exposures to deadly asbestos dust”, he said. 

 Given Indonesia’s position as one of the world’s largest consumers of asbestos, importing 110,000 tonnes annually, mainly for roofing manufacture, the importance of effective labelling becomes paramount. A verdict in this case is anticipated in the coming months. 

Support for the ‘’Asbestos, Not Here, Not Anywhere’ campaign in Indonesia comes from the Asbestos and Silica Safety and Eradication Agency (ASSEA) and Australian Aid, the International Ban Asbestos Secretariat (IBAS), the Australian trade union movement and Maurice Blackburn Lawyers.  

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