Category: Human Rights

The government’s recent announcement that it planned to ban Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia (HTI) has won support but also criticism, over fears of growing restrictions on freedom of association and assembly. Eryanto Nugroho writes that whatever happens, only acts, not thoughts and concepts should be banned.

Over the past month, a number of dramatic arrests have brought LGBT Indonesians back into the spotlight. Hendri Yulius writes that the publication of these “extreme” episodes is necessary to perpetuate the idea of a moral panic, and to serve a justification for the wars against LGBT people to continue.

Indonesia had its human rights record scrutinised under the United Nation’s Universal Periodic Review process for the third time last week. Dr Ken Setiawan takes a look at the concerns raised and examines the prospects for meaningful change in promotion and protection of human rights on the ground.

The recent visits of President Joko Widodo to Australia and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to Indonesia came in the wake of another tense period in the bilateral relationship, caused mainly by concerns over Papua. Why does this issue remain so sensitive and what is its history in the relationship? Dr Jemma Purdey explores these issues and more with Dr Richard Chauvel in Talking Indonesia.

Since mid-2015, the government has banned the placement of Indonesian domestic workers in 21 mainly Middle Eastern countries. But Wahyu Susilo, from Migrant Care, writes that the desire to work in the Middle East remains high, and workers who flout the ban are much more vulnerable to human trafficking and abuse.

In our final post for 2016, we send off this rather depressing year by taking a look back at some of the expert commentary and analysis published on Indonesia at Melbourne. Thanks again for your loyal readership and support, and we look forward to seeing you again in mid-January.

Indonesia has taken a leading role in the promotion of human rights at the level of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). To what extent does the development of regional mechanisms mean that human rights are accepted in the region? How does Indonesia’s support for a regional mechanism relate to its domestic human rights challenges? Dr Ken Setiawan discusses these issues and more with Associate Professor Dinna Wisnu in Talking Indonesia this week.

Dr Budi Hernawan has analysed 431 cases of torture that occurred in Papua between 1963 and 2010. He writes that although torture is generally considered a hidden crime, in Papua it is performed for an audience, sometimes spectacularly, and is designed to convey a message of terror from state authorities to the Papuan public. It is part of a larger strategy of domination by the Indonesian state, he says, in which the practice of torture is sanctioned and part of policy.

While Indonesia has seen a decline in state violence since the collapse of the New Order, non-state violence, particularly toward minorities, appears to have increased. This has contributed to restriction of civil liberties, and poses challenges for democratic reform. In Talking Indonesia this week, Dr Ken Setiawan chats to Dr Budi Hernawan about the shrinking space for civil liberties.

Last week, the Supreme Audit Agency (BPK) released a report confirming what many in the human rights community had suspected for years – members of the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) have been embezzling public funds. Dr Ken Setiawan looks at the factors within Komnas HAM that have allowed this to occur.

What roles are played by religion and culture in perceptions of disability in Indonesia and how do these perceptions influence policy? What is being done, or should be done, to promote inclusion of people with disability? In Talking Indonesia this week, Dr Ken Setiawan discusses these issues and more with leading disability advocate Slamet Thohari, from Brawijaya University in Malang, East Java.

Last week, the government announced it would seek to ban three gay social networking apps, following the alleged misuse of Grindr in a child prostitution case. Hendri Yulius writes that the bans are representative of the government’s struggle to maintain power and authority in the internet era and show that the rapid development of information technology does not necessarily lead to advances in freedom of expression.