Category: Human Rights

On 17 October, dozens of declassified files confirmed that the United States had detailed knowledge of and actively supported Indonesian military efforts to destroy the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) and its alleged sympathisers. Dr Jess Melvin, who was involved in the declassification project, looks at the most significant revelations.

“Istirahatlah Kata-Kata” has won praise for its depiction of the life of poet and activist Widji Thukul in exile. In Talking Indonesia this week, Dr Jemma Purdey chats to the film’s director, Yosep Angi Noen, about how film can provide new opportunities for dealing with histories that remain obscured.

Hopes are high for Indonesia to play a greater role in responding to the crisis in Myanmar’s Rakhine state. But Diah Tricesaria and Randy Nandyatama write that if Indonesia is to be seen as a legitimate actor in brokering peace in Myanmar, it must show leadership in the management of refugees at the domestic and regional levels.

President Joko Widodo has offered little support to the Legal Aid Foundation (LBH) since the shocking attack on its offices two weeks ago. Professor Tim Lindsey writes that civil society should not expect much from Jokowi, who is in the unenviable position of having to keep the oligarchs happy and Islamist agitators at bay.

The past two days have seen unprecedented attacks on one of Indonesia’s oldest civil society organisations, the Legal Aid Foundation (LBH). Former LBH Jakarta director Nurkholis Hidayat says the weekend’s events represent a deeply troubling new low for freedom of expression.

One person was killed and 16 others injured when police opened fire on a group of Papuan protesters last month. Hipolitus Yolisandry Ringgi Wangge writes that the shooting highlights the Joko Widodo government’s misguided and poorly coordinated approach to issues in Papua.

President Joko Widodo stunned many observers recently when he appeared to give the go-ahead for police to shoot drug dealers who resist arrest. Dr Dave McRae has examined media reports of police shootings and has found that the government’s tough on drugs rhetoric may be affecting how police deal with these cases.

President Joko Widodo recently issued an interim emergency law (or perppu) partly intended to allow the government to ban Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia (HTI). Professor Tim Lindsey writes that the regulation has ended up forcing civil society groups that are usually threatened by hard-liners into their camp.

Can Jakarta’s urban villages (kampung) co-exist with residential, infrastructure, and commercial projects planned for the city? What do the controversies surrounding evictions and Jakarta’s kampung communities reveal about social and economic divides? Dr Charlotte Setijadi discusses these issues and more with Dr Rita Padawangi in the latest Talking Indonesia podcast.

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.