With rights on the agenda during the first debate on 17 January, expectations were high. But as Dr Ken Setiawan writes, the performance of both candidate pairs left little hope for an improvement in the human rights situation.

President Joko Widodo and running mate Ma’ruf Amin squared off against Prabowo Subianto and Sandiaga Uno in the first of five planned presidential debates on 17 January. Dr Dave McRae was watching, and presents his five key takeaways here.

The new Smart Pakem app is supposed to give the public a safe way to report “deviant” religious practices. But could it trigger persecution and conflict instead? Zainal Abidin Bagir weighs up the implications for religion and rights.

To mark 20 years since the fall of Soeharto and the New Order regime, Indonesia at Melbourne is speaking to a range of prominent figures about their views on the reform process. Today we speak to Todung Mulya Lubis, human rights lawyer and recently appointed Indonesian Ambassador to Norway.

What have been the key achievements of the reform movement that toppled Soeharto, what are the key obstacles to further reform, and what lies ahead for Indonesia over the next 10 years? Senior human rights activist Usman Hamid reflects on 20 years of reform with Dr Dave McRae in the latest episode of Talking Indonesia.

Demonstrations on International Labour Day have recently featured somewhat surprising calls for the dissolution of the Industrial Relations Court. Dr Herlambang P Wiratraman looks at why the court – originally intended to provide greater protection for workers’ rights – has failed to live up to its promise.

Is Indonesia seeing the emergence of a ‘Neo-New Order’? Is democracy really in peril? Following his interview on Talking Indonesia last week, Professor Todung Mulya Lubis writes that although many aspects of Indonesian democracy are functioning well, there is serious cause for concern.

What does the recent attack on the Legal Aid Foundation (LBH) mean for human rights and civil society in Indonesia? What are the challenges facing the government as it heads toward the 2019 election? Is Indonesia’s democracy in peril? Dr Jemma Purdey explores these questions and more with pre-eminent human rights lawyer Professor Todung Mulya Lubis.

Last month, a photo circulated on social media showing a very uncomfortable Papua Governor Lukas Enembe meeting with senior security officials in Jakarta. Dr Richard Chauvel unpacks the meeting and looks at the tensions between Jakarta and Papua approaching the 2018 regional head and 2019 presidential elections.

“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.

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.