Founded in 2017 | Thousand Currents Partner since 2023
Southeast Asian Public Interest Lawyers
Championing for the legal rights of rural poor communities
The Southeast Asian Public Interest Lawyers (SEAPIL) is a network of legal-aid organizations and individual public interest lawyers from Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia, and Myanmar The network was established in 2017 by the Lembaga Bantuan Hukum Jakarta/ Jakarta Legal Aid Institute (LBH Jakarta) as a founding member and Yayasan Lembaga Bantuan Hukum Indonesia/ The Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation (YLBHI) became a Secretariat of SEAPIL since 2020. The network was created due to mounting threats against public interest lawyers and to strengthen public interest litigation in the region. SEAPIL’s vision is to develop an effective network of lawyers in Southeast Asia that provide access to justice through cross-border legal cooperation and solidarity.
SEAPIL has 25 organizational and individual members from nine countries in Southeast Asia. The membership also includes women and youth lawyers. Moreover, SEAPIL working with Indigenous People-led organizations such as the Indigenous legal aid organization Shing Nip Kachin of Myanmar and the Muslim Attorney Council in Pattani of Southern Thailand. SEAPIL members, who all work on a volunteer basis, commit to abiding by its principles which include democratic process, transparency, accountability, non-discrimination, gender equality and non-partisanship.
SEAPIL’s main tactic is strategic litigation. At the moment SEAPIL is focusing on ten land grabbing cases focused on stopping mining, large-scale agriculture and energy companies operating in ancestral domains across Indonesia and the Mekong delta, mainly Thailand.