Alex Argo Hernowo

2011 JusticeMakers Fellow, Indonesia

Mr. Hernowo has been a practicing attorney in Indonesia since 2007 where he has worked with Lembaga Bantuan Hukum Masyarakat in Jakarta. Prior to receiving his law degree, Mr. Hernowo worked as a Legal Aid Foundation volunteer and has participated in numerous seminars aimed at protecting human rights, including preventing human trafficking. Through these experiences, Mr. Hernowo has gained a greater understanding of the challenges facing Indonesia’s criminal justice system, including the issues faced by individuals with HIV/AIDS.

Indonesians living with HIV/AIDS often experience stigma and discrimination in almost every aspect of their lives, including when they are seeking health services and treatment, education, jobs, and particularly in the criminal justice system. Stigma surrounding individuals living with HIV/AIDS emanates not only from the community at large, but also from the government. Individuals living with HIV/AIDS are often in need of legal assistance and resources, including educational tools, so that they can better protect their rights against the inherent discrimination in the criminal justice system.

Individuals living with HIV/AIDS in Indonesia are often mistreated, stigmatized, and denied their legal rights because of their HIV/AIDS status. Additionally, many individuals with HIV/AIDS are unaware of their legal rights and therefore are more susceptible to being discriminated against and facing unfair treatment within the criminal justice system. Furthermore, individuals in the community are themselves ill prepared to aid individuals with HIV/AIDS in legal defense representation. This lack of resources makes it extremely difficult for these individuals to exercise the rights they are guaranteed under Indonesian law.

The Project:  Provide legal services to people living with HIV/AIDS as well as conduct community legal empowerment sessions to educate the local community on their legal rights. To facilitate this education, Mr. Hernowo delivered brochures, booklets, posters and the like to members of the community. In addition to distributing legal education materials, Mr. Hernowo selected individuals from the community to receive training to better understand the legal materials being distributed so that they will be able to spread it to their friends in the community, allowing them to act as quasi-paralegals to better assist the community in dealing with criminal defense matters. Lastly, Mr. Hernowo provided legal aid services by directly representing individuals in court as well as in out-of-court issues, empowering individuals with HIV/AIDS to understand and enforce their rights better as well as providing direct legal representation for people with HIV/AIDS.