JusticeMakers Fellow Alex Argo Hernowo
Posted by International Bridges to Justice at November 19th, 2012
Since 2007, Mr. Hernowo has practiced as an attorney in Indonesia, working with Lembaga Bantuan Hukum Masyarakat in Jakarta. Prior to receiving his law degree, Mr. Hernowo worked as a Legal Aid Foundation volunteer and participated in numerous seminars aimed at protecting human rights, including preventing human trafficking. These experiences gave Mr. Hernowo a greater understanding of the challenges facing Indonesia’s criminal justice system, including the issues faced by individuals with HIV/AIDS.
Individuals living with HIV/AIDS in Indonesia often experience stigma and discrimination in almost every aspect of their lives, from the local communities and the government. These individuals 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, the communities 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.
Mr. Hernowo provides legal services to people living with HIV/AIDS and conducts community legal empowerment sessions to educate the local community on their legal rights. To facilitate this education, Mr. Hernowo delivers brochures, booklets, posters and other promotional materials to members of the community. In addition to distributing legal education materials, Mr. Hernowo trains individual community members to increase understanding of the legal materials being distributed. These trainings allow them to act as quasi-paralegals to better assist the community in dealing with criminal defense matters. Lastly, Mr. Hernowo provides legal aid services through direct representation of individuals. Mr. Hernowo’s approach empowers individuals with HIV/AIDS to understand and enforce their rights better as well as providing direct legal representation for people with HIV/AIDS.