A member of the pro-independence West Papua National Committee has been given a ten-month jail sentence for treason by an Indonesian court.
Yanto Awerkion was arrested last May in Timika because of his involvement with a petition calling for West Papuan independence from Indonesia.
After 17 court appearances, trial delays and over nine months in jail, the political prisoner has finally been sentenced. With time already served, he's due to be released by the end of the month.
Awerkion's incarceration for six months before trial had become the subject of international outrage. Human rights adovcates had reported that after being denied adequate food and kept in poor conditions, the 27-year old's health had deteriorated.
The deputy chairman of the Committee's Timika chapter, Awerkion was taken in by police after speaking at an event in Timika in promotion of the petition.
He had reportedly led a prayer at the event at the Committee's secretariat and stated that hundreds of thousands of people had signed the petition.
Several times, Awerkion's trial hearings were postponed or cancelled due to a lack of witnesses or evidence. Furthermore, his sentencing had been delayed in January when the judge did not appear for court.
Awerkion was facing a potential 15 year jail sentence for helping promote the petition. But rights advocates suggest international pressure played a role in extracting a more lenient sentence from the Indonesian justice system.
Organisers of the West Papuan People's Petition, say it was signed by over 1.8 million West Papuans, representing over 70 percent the indigenous population of Indonesia's Papua region.
It was presented by the current chairman of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua, Benny Wenda, on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly last September.
The petition seeks West Papua's reinscription to the UN Special Committee on Decolonisation, and an internationally supervised vote on independence.
Indonesia's government describes the petition as a "hoax", and has disputed the veracity of its numbers.
Giacomo Tognini The next two years could prove to be transformative for Melanesia, a region of Pacific islands spanning from Papua in the west to Fiji in the east. Two votes on independence, scheduled in 2018 and 2019, could bring two new nations into the fold and shake up the politics of a region where decolonization is still a pressing matter.
One more long-running movement hopes to join their ranks: the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP), which seeks independence for the Indonesian-controlled western half of the island. Unlike their neighbors in French New Caledonia and the Papuan island of Bougainville, there is little prospect of a free vote for West Papuans.
In an unprecedented effort organized by ULMWP leader Benny Wenda, activists in West Papua and among the diaspora worked to collect 1.8 million signatures throughout West Papua's two provinces for an independence petition to be presented to the United Nations last September. Despite receiving the backing of over 70% of West Papua's population, the effort to gain a seat at the UN Decolonization Committee failed it won the support of only eight countries, all of them small Caribbean and Pacific island states.
"I think the Indonesian government will increase its efforts to block the ULMWP," says Jakarta-based Human Rights Watch researcher Andreas Harsono. "This could range from increasing bilateral cooperation with Melanesian states to threatening to boycott some businesses over their support for West Papua."
Indonesia's Papuan provinces were incorporated into the country in 1969, when Indonesian authorities held a widely disputed referendum that ended seven years of UN administration following the departure of the Dutch colonial regime. An on-and-off conflict with local separatists of various stripes has endured since then, with the Indonesian military accused of atrocities amounting to genocide against the Papuan population.
The Indonesian authorities aggressively prosecute any actions deemed supportive of independence, including jailing activists for raising West Papua's "Morning Star" flag. The election of Joko Widodo, commonly known as Jokowi, to the Indonesian presidency in 2014 raised hopes of a thaw in the conflict. He promised to lift restrictions that forbade journalists from visiting the region on the campaign trail, but those hopes have largely been dashed.
While he did lift the bans, it is still difficult for reporters to access West Papua. Jakarta released several high-profile prisoners that had been in jail for years, but authorities still imprisoned up to 8,000 Papuans in mass temporary arrests over the last two years. Political prisoners like 27-year-old Yanto Awerkion, who was arrested last May in the coastal city of Timika while collecting signatures for the ULMWP petition, remain in jail with uncertain prospects for release.
"Jokowi would probably like to see these political prisoners released, but there have been more mass arrests," says Dr. Jim Elmslie, co-founder of the West Papua Project at the University of Sydney's Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies. Harsono agrees, pointing out that the number of annual arrests has risen well into the thousands under the Jokowi administration.
Activists fighting for independence in West Papua have operated under a variety of different armed and peaceful groups since 1969. While going through several periods of internal division, most have long operated under the umbrella of the Free Papua Movement, also known by its Indonesian acronym, OPM.
The OPM's armed wing, known as the TPN-PB, has long engaged in a low-level insurgency against the Indonesian military and police. Another target of its attacks has been the Phoenix-based mining company Freeport-McMoRan, which operates the enormous Grasberg gold and copper mine in the region's western mountains. Indigenous Papuans living in nearby towns have long protested that they see receive little of the lucrative wealth produced, which instead finds its way to Freeport or officials in Jakarta.
The armed conflict escalated towards the end of 2017, when deadly clashes in November were followed by the Indonesian military accusing the TPN-PB of occupying several villages near Grasberg one month later. After the death of a leading TPN-PB commander in September, the group released a formal "declaration of war" against Indonesia in February this year.
"The TPN-PB stole two powerful guns from the Indonesian military near the mine in 2016," says Elmslie. "That's when the attacks started increasing, and after they declared war they blocked the road leading to the mine in Tembagapura."
The leaders behind the petition campaign brought together several disparate groups after the 2011 Papuan People's Congress, going on to form the ULMWP three years later and enabling them to form a united front for the independence effort.
Its biggest platform for international support has been the Melanesian Spearhead Group, a regional forum for Melanesian countries. Citing the increased profile that MSG membership gave the FLNKS, a pro-independence party in New Caledonia, the ULMWP was granted observer status at the MSG summit in 2015 but so was Indonesia, which became an associate member.
After presenting the independence petition to the UN, ULMWP leader Wenda renewed his efforts to gain full membership at the MSG summit in Port Moresby last February. Wenda gave a speech to leaders at the event, highlighting the movement's progress on reforms demanded by the MSG before granting full membership. But with the Indonesian government placing its diplomatic weight behind regional allies like Fiji, the membership application was shelved for the foreseeable future.
"The West Papuan people continue to suffer brutality at the hands of oppressors every day," said Wenda in a statement released before his speech. "We call on Melanesian leaders to acknowledge our political aspirations, to hear this cry for freedom."
Hotli Simanjuntak, Banda Aceh A man identified as N and a transgender person identified as M were arrested for allegedly being intimate in a beauty salon in Emperum, Banda Aceh.
They allegedly had sex, which is a crime punishable by up to 100 lashes according to local sharia law.
On Wednesday, Evendi A Latif the chief of the Public Order Agency's sharia division said local residents broke into the salon and dragged the two to a nearby police station. Local sharia police are investigating the case.
"According to witness testimonies, N allegedly paid M Rp 100,000 (US$7.28) for a date," Evendi said.
He added that N and M denied the allegation during questioning. "Residents said the salon often served as a same-sex dating site. It caused unrest in the neighborhood," Evendi said.
N and M faces charges under Article 26 of Qanun Jinayat (Aceh sharia law), which carries a punishment of 100 lashes. (gis)
Vigilantism in the name of ultra-conservative morality continues unabated in Aceh, the only province of Indonesia given special autonomy to enact sharia-based laws. The latest incident involves a man and a transwoman who were rounded up by self-appointed moral police after being accused of prostitution.
On Monday evening, a man, identified by his initial M, allegedly visited a transwoman, identified by her initial N, at a salon where she worked in the Acehnese capital of Banda Aceh. Locals then raided the salon, accusing M of having already paid N IDR100,000 (US$7.28) for sexual services, before taking them to the Wilayatul Hisbah sharia police.
"They were handed to the police at first and then they were taken to us. They were raided on Monday at around 9pm," said Evendi A. Latif, head of the Islamic Sharia Enforcement Department at Wilayatul Hisbah, as quoted by Detik today.
As has become the norm in the province, the vigilantes who violated M and N's rights to privacy were not implicated in any criminal wrongdoing. Instead, both M and N may face severe physical punishment at the hands of the local authorities if they are proven to have violated the province's religious laws.
"If by qanun (religious law) they are proven guilty then they will be punished, in accordance to Article 26 Verse 1 regarding khalwat (an unwed couple spending time alone together), with 100 lashes," Evendi said.
As the only province in Indonesia that is allowed to enact explicitly sharia-based laws, Aceh criminalizes everything from selling alcohol to homosexuality to adultery and even the simple act of two unmarried people of the opposite sex being too close to each other. The local government and religious police encourage citizens to snoop on each other to report these crimes, leading to frequent acts of moral vigilantism.
The transgender community in the province have also been facing increased scrutiny lately. In late January, religious police detained and shamed 12 transgender women by cutting their hair and forcing them to wear men's clothes.
Agus Setyadi, ace The Aceh Islam Law Office (DSI) is debating the application of Qisas retributive justice for perpetrators of crimes such as murder in order to push down crime rates which have been rising of late.
DSI Islamic Law and Human Rights Development chief Dr Syukri said that his office would first conduct research on the application of Qisas law in Aceh on university campuses.
DSI would also look at the level of public support for the law and society's readiness if the law is applied.
"Only after the research is completed will we increase efforts to draft an academic and legal text. We plan to conduct the research this year", Syukri told journalists on Wednesday March 14.
The number of murders cases in Aceh has indeed risen of late. According to Syukri, if Islamic law is properly and consistently applied, then crimes such as murder will disappear.
He gave as an example Saudi Arabia which has extremely firm and harsh punishments for perpetrators that take someone's life.
"If the punishment for murderers is very harsh, then people will restrain themselves from committing murder. If people are scared of taking a person's life then all human lives will be safe, as well as the person or perpetrator themselves", explained Syukri.
"In the Koran Allah stated that under Qisas law there is a guarantee to life for human beings. What is the meaning of a guarantee to life, it means that by applying Islamic law it will guarantee that no more lives will be taken. Why? Because people are afraid to kill. When a person is afraid to kill, other people are safe, and they [the perpetrator's] lives will also be saved", he said.
Syukri believes that the punishments handed down against murderers at the moment are too light, so after being released from prison it is not impossible that the they will again commit murder.
With the implementation of Qisas law perpetrators will be afforded the same legal process including an investigation, police investigation and so forth. Syukri is urging all parties not to be allergic to discourse about Qisas law.
"So it's still a discourse, we will first carry out research this year. We don't want it to be rash or all of a sudden because before applying such punishments we have to prepare society to accept it. It won't happen straight away and we will do it will full consideration", he said. (asp/asp)
Qisas is an Islamic term meaning "retaliation in kind" or "revenge", "eye for an eye", "nemesis" or retributive justice. It is a category of crimes in Islamic jurisprudence which allows equal retaliation as punishment. Although Syukri does not use the term "beheading" (pancung, which is used in the original title of the article) other reports in the Indonesian media make it clear that this is the punishment being considered by the DSI.
Ganug Nugroho Adi, Sukoharjo, Central Java Four activists and residents, in addition to the three previously, were arrested on Wednesday in Sukoharjo, Central Java, following months of protests against smelly air in the regency allegedly coming from a synthetic fiber factory.
The four residents are accused of hate speech and vandalism. Suspects Bambang Wahyudi and Danang Tri Widodo were brought to National Police headquarters in Jakarta, while Brian and Sukemi were questioned by the Central Java Police.
Bambang and Danang are accused of violating the Electronic Information and Transactions Law, while Brian and Sukemi of Article 170 of the Criminal Code on vandalism.
"We have enough evidence to arrest them. We have mapped the actors," said Sukoharjo Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Iwan Saktiadi on Wednesday.
Iwan said National Police headquarters had investigated the hate speech accusation by monitoring a social media group in which Bambang and Danang are members. Brian and Sukemi were leads from three previous activists questioned for vandalism.
Iwan said they were following up the alleged environmental violation by the factory, PT Rayon Utama Makmur, a subsidiary of large textile company PT Sritex.
"It's not true that we are cherry picking. We handle the report from the residents as well, but we are investigating the asset destruction case too," he added.
On March 4, the police arrested three people: Muhammad Hisbun Payu, Kelvin Ferdiansyah Subekti and Sutarno.
In response, the Association of Indonesian Advocates (Peradin) in Surakarta, Central Java, prepared 100 lawyers to file both criminal and civil lawsuits against the company over alleged environmental pollution.
The lawyers are calling on the police to immediately investigate the pollution, which affects communities living near the textile factory in Sukoharjo regency.
The conflicts between RUM and the residents began in October when RUM opened the factory. At that time, residents in 16 villages in Nguter district reported putrid smell, which got worse in January. Dozens even decided to leave the villages temporarily.
On Feb. 22, thousands of residents protested in front of the Sukoharjo regent's office, demanding that Regent Wardoyo Wijaya halt RUM's operation. Wardoyo promised to issue the decree the following day after consulting with his subordinates. Leaving the regent's office, the residents camped for the night in front of RUM's factory to wait for the decree.
The following morning, residents heard that the regent had flown to Bali to join a national working meeting of his party, the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P). Learning about this, the residents became angry and got out of control and burned things. It was spontaneous, said resident Bambang Wahyudi last week before he got arrested.
Later, a decree to halt RUM's operation was finally issued, ordering RUM to install a continuous emission monitoring system in its chimneys, ensuring emission control, and treating the wastewater before dumping it into Bengawan Solo River.
But hundreds had fallen ill. Sukoharjo Health Agency head, Nasruddin, said on average 80 residents per day came for a health check at five special health posts in February. The posts were built specially after the smell began. Nasruddin said most patients complained of headaches, nausea and respiratory problems. "All were treated by a medical team, and the Sukoharjo regency administration covered all the costs," he said.
PKU Muhammadiyah Hospital in Sukoharjo said in February respiratory problems topped health complaints recorded in the hospital. From about 300 patients, 35 suffered severe respiratory problems. (evi)
Ganug Nugroho Adi, Surakarta, Central Java The Indonesian Advocates Association (Peradi) in Surakarta, Central Java, has prepared 100 lawyers to file both criminal and civil lawsuits against textile company PT Rayon Utama Makmur (RUM) over alleged environmental pollution.
The lawyers are calling on the police to immediately investigate the pollution, which affects communities living near the textile factory's site in Sukoharjo regency.
Previously, the Semarang Legal Aid Institute (LBH) reportedly supported three environmental activists detained by the Central Java Police over their protests against pollution allegedly committed by PT RUM.
The Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi) and the Surakarta Muhammadiyah University's (UMS) legal division have also conveyed their readiness to give legal assistance to the activists.
As previously reported, Muhammad "Lis" Hisbun Payu, Kelvin Ferdiansyah Subekti and Sutarno were arrested by the police over their alleged involvement in the destruction of assets belonging to PT RUM during a rally on Feb.23.
"We prepared 100 lawyers to file a lawsuit against PT RUM. We have data support from Walhi and UMS' investigation team," said Peradi Surakarta chairman Badrus Zaman on Monday.
He said there were two procedures the lawyers could use to submit their lawsuits, namely via a class action or via Walhi. "In principle, we want to ask the government to share responsibilities in the management of environment that has been affected by industrial pollution," said Badrus.
Sukoharjo residents have launched a string of protests against environmental pollution caused by PT RUM. In some rallies, they called on Sukoharjo regent Wardoyo to close down the textile factory. (ebf)
Apriadi Gunawan, Medan, North Sumatra An anticorruption activist in Toba Samosir regency, North Sumatra, was beaten by unidentified assailants in front of his wife and children on Thursday.
It is suspected that the attack was related to his plan to stage a rally in front of the Balige Prosecutors Office on Friday to push the law enforcement authority to settle its investigations into corruption cases in the regency.
Mangatas Rudi Napitupulu, 41, was reportedly beaten by three people, who came to his house in Lumban Manurung village, Parmaksian district, at around 1:30 a.m. local time on Thursday. With wounds to his head and back, the activist of Forum Pemuda Toba (Toba Youth Forum) reported the incident to the police.
Mangatas said the perpetrators likely aimed to terrorize him into dropping his plan to stage an anticorruption rally in front of the Prosecutors Office.
The activist said that before the incident, two people, including a man who claimed to be the Parmaksian district head, had asked him to drop his plan to stage the rally.
"I don't know who ordered them to ask me to drop the rally. The fact is, only one day after I rejected the request of the two men, three unidentified attackers tortured me in front of my wife and children at my home," said Mangatas.
He said the pressure would never change his commitment to fighting against corruption. "Our demand is that all corruption cases that have been reported to the Prosecutors Office continue to be followed up until they are taken to court," said Mangatas. (ebf)
Jakarta House of Representatives member Siti Hediati Herijadi, or Titiek Soeharto, the second daughter of late former president Soeharto, has said the reform movement, which began after the downfall of his father's leadership in 1998, has not been running successfully.
Speaking on the 51st anniversary of Supersemar on Sunday, Titik claimed Indonesia had not improved significantly even in 20 years after the New Order era ended.
Supersemar, an abbreviation of Surat Perintah 11 Maret (the Order of March the 11th), is a document signed by former president Soekarno in 1966, through which he gave authority to Soeharto to take necessary steps to recover social and political conditions after the failed pro-communist coup in 1965.
"The Soeharto era was more comfortable, right? It guaranteed its people a supply of food and employment," she said as quoted by Tempo.
"Our country's history has proven Soeharto's good deeds and kindness throughout 32 years of his era. A lot of people are still missing and praying for him."
Experts perceived her statement as a clear sign of the revival of the Soeharto family clan in the country's politics.
Centre for Strategic of International Studies (CSIS) political researcher J. Kristiadi said on Monday the statement from Parsindo Party secretary-general Ahmad Hadari, who endorsed Soeharto's youngest son, Hutomo Mandala Putra, to be a candidate in the 2019 presidential election, gave another clear signal of the revival.
Such a situation occurred because democracy in Indonesia did not run as expected. "Democratic institutions have failed to win the public's trust," Kristiadi said. (sha/ebf)
Jakarta Former president Soeharto's daughters, Siti Hediati Hariyadi, or Titiek Soeharto, and Siti Hutami Endang Adiningsih, or Mamiek Soeharto, attended the peak of an event called HM Soeharto Month in Taman Mini Indonesia Indah in East Jakarta on Sunday.
March 11, 1966, was the day when the late Soeharto said he had received a letter signed by first president Sukarno to take the necessary measures to restore order. The letter, also called Supersemar, was the beginning of the New Order, or Soeharto's 32-year authoritarian reign.
Titiek and Mamiek arrived wearing white polo shirts like all the other visitors to the event, tribunnews.com reported. Some visitors also wore T-shirts with a picture of Soeharto and the words "The Nation's Development Father". Their arrival was welcomed with a Ponorogo Reog dance and a choir from Trilogi University.
Titiek made a speech, suggesting the revival of the State Policy Guidelines (GBHN). "Apparently we need the GBHN, because if we don't have any guidance, the state will go in the wrong direction. Each nation's leader has their own guidelines; that's why we need state guidelines," she said as quoted by tempo.co. Titiek said with the GBHN, the country had "stable politics, economic growth, and cultural development".
The children of the late Soeharto have been making a visible comeback into the political arena. Another child, Hutomo Tommy Mandala Putra, or Tommy Soeharto, recently announced a new political party called Berkarya Party. (evi)
Phelim Kine Indonesian President Joko Widodo last week tweeted his support for International Women's Day by declaring that "building Indonesia, we need tough women." That message suggested support for a day dedicated to "empowering women in all settings."
But Jokowi neglected to add that his government continues to inflict a form of gender-based violence on thousands of "tough women" interested in "building Indonesia" specifically those applying to join the Indonesian Armed Forces and the National Police. That's because these female applicants are routinely subjected to abusive "virginity tests."
Jokowi has consistently failed to condemn or order the abolition of these so-called tests an invasive, discriminatory "two-finger" examination that has been widely discredited, including by the World Health Organization.
Human Rights Watch first exposed the use of "virginity tests" by Indonesian security forces in 2014, but since then the government has failed to take steps to prohibit their use. While HRW found that applicants who were deemed to have "failed" were not necessarily penalized, all of the women with whom we spoke described the test as painful, embarrassing, and traumatic.
Indonesia's National Police have imposed these abusive and degrading tests on thousands of female applicants starting as early as 1965, despite their contravention of their own principles that recruitment must be both "non-discriminatory" and "humane."
Indonesia's National Police have imposed these abusive and degrading tests on thousands of female applicants starting as early as 1965, despite their contravention of their own principles that recruitment must be both 'non-discriminatory' and 'humane'
On November 19, 2014, Indonesia's coordinating minister for politics, law and security, Tedjo Edhi, told reporters that such tests had long been obligatory for female military recruits as well. Major-General Fuad Basya, the armed forces spokesman, said the Indonesian military had conducted "virginity testing" on female recruits for even longer than the police, without specifying when the practice began.
Human Rights Watch research found that all branches of the Indonesian military air force, army and navy have used the test for decades and also extended the requirement to the fiancees of military officers.
The Indonesian government can't feign ignorance about the abusive nature of such "tests." They have been recognized internationally as violations of the right to non-discrimination and the prohibition against "cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment" under international human-rights treaties that Indonesia has ratified.
In November 2014, the World Health Organization stated unambiguously that "There is no place for virginity (or 'two-finger') testing; it has no scientific validity."
However, senior military and police officials have ignored years of pressure by women in Indonesia to put an end to this abuse. Some male officers have openly endorsed the practice.
Police Inspector General Moechgiyarto in November 2014 confirmed the requirement and said it was a means of ensuring "high moral standards." He suggested to the media that those failing the test were prostitutes.
In May 2015, the commander of Indonesia's armed forces at the time, General Moeldoko, responded to criticism of "virginity tests" by saying to the media, "So what's the problem? It's a good thing, so why criticize it?" Those disgraceful comments have not harmed Moeldoko's post-military career. Instead, Jokowi has since appointed him as his chief of staff.
Now Jokowi has a choice. He can mouth platitudes about his support for the rights of Indonesian women. Or he can demonstrate political will by overriding senior military and police officials as well as his chief of staff and ordering the security forces to immediately abolish "virginity tests."
Until he does, far too many of the "strong women" he says are needed to "build Indonesia" will continue to pay an unacceptable price for public service.
Bambang Muryanto, Yogyakarta To celebrate this year's International Women's Day, female rights advocacy groups joined with the Yogyakarta Women's Struggle Committee (KPP) to stage a rally on Thursday to call for the fulfillment of women's rights and the freedom to wear clothing of their choice, including face veils.
"We condemn a current ban on female students wearing face veils," KPP Yogyakarta spokesperson Linda Sugondo said during a rally at Titik Nol (Zero Point) Monument in Yogyakarta on Thursday.
Face veils worn by some Muslim women have become a hot topic for debate after Sunan Kalijaga Islamic State University (UIN Suka) in Yogyakarta registered student candidates who wore face veils and gave them counseling sessions. If after receiving the counseling sessions they insisted on wearing face veils, the university asked them to move to other universities.
"In a democracy, every individual has the right to choose the way they wear clothes or express themselves," said Linda.
Although in many cases the wearing of face veils is considered an attempt to control women's bodies, Linda believed that wearing a face veil was a choice all people should respect.
"It's the right of every woman to choose. Wearing a face veil or not is not a solution. The most important thing is that the state provides prosperity for its people," said Linda.
Separately, UIN Suka's School of Dakwah (religious proselytization) and Communication deputy dean Abdur Rozaki said that historically, face veils were used as a tool to discriminate against women and control their bodies. (ebf)
Qadri Prartiwi, Jayapura Commemorating International Women's Day (IWD), women activists and organisations in West Papua took to the streets in the Abepura area of Jayapura city and surrounds.
The action was marked by the handing out of flowers as a sign of love and affection and betel nut as the symbol of peace. The protesters also carried banners with the message, "Kalau Ko Laki Laki Sejati Ko Tra Pukul Perempuan", which means, "If you are a real man, you don't hit women".
The coordinator of the Jayapura Network Against Gender Based Violence, Fien Yarangga, said the aim of the rally was so that the public, government officials and women parliamentarians can see and follow up on the problem of violence.
"It is hoped that this action can inform the public, and those who experience violence must report it to it, if not to the police, at least to someone who understand about violence, such as the Integrated Women and Children's Service Center (P2TAP), the Jayapura Women's Legal Aid Foundation (LBH Apik) or LP3 Apik Papua", explained Fien during a break in the action on Thursday March 8.
Fien also said that the action was taking up the issue of violence because the levels of violence against women and children in Papua is quite high and will worsen if there is not anticipation or firm action on the part of the government. This is the question.
"This is what has to be asked, why in Papua is the level of violence quite high and how should it be specifically dealt with, we need to know. This is the big question for us, why is it like this", asked Fien.
LBH Apik Jayapura director Nur Aida Duwilah said that between January and March there have been eight cases of violence against women and children.
"But currently only two cases of violence against children are being dealt with, while one case of domestic violence (KDRT) has just been reported", explained Nur.
In this most recent case, said Nur, they found a small child that been a victim of violence but the police said they cannot obtain a testimony from them because they are too young.
"This is what we must change, small children can also be witnesses. Don't say that that their [testimonies] are not evidence. With the KDRT case meanwhile, we have only just been given the case and the perpetrator is being detained by the North Jayapura sectoral police", explained Nur.
Elise Dwi Ratnasari, Jakarta There were still traces left over from the rain earlier in the morning. Although it was cloudy, it still felt hot under the intense heat of the sun.
Not many protesters had gathered yet but the enthusiasm shown by the women from various different organisations and backgrounds was already ablaze.
Coinciding with International Women's Day (IWD), a rally was held at the House of Representatives (DPR) building in Jakarta. One by one they shouted out the ideas and demands of Indonesian women.
However they were all there under the same banner, namely the Indonesian Women's March of Struggle, one of them was Tri.
"We must have the courage to articulate what we want, namely equality", said Tri, a speaker from the organisation Perempuan Mahardhika (Free Women) on Thursday March 8.
In her speech, Tri said that the government fails to side with women, minority groups and the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.
There are all kinds of prohibitions ranging from mini-dresses and the Islamic State University (UIN) Yogyakarta's recent ban of the cadar [niqab, a full Islamic veil which conceals the face but leaves the eyes exposed], which according to Tri are increasingly muzzling women's freedom of expression. "From head to toe, women are always blamed", she said.
The final issue that should be raised is the welfare of women workers. Many companies do not provide menstrual and maternal leave or breastfeeding rooms. "If these workers become pregnant, they are sacked", she shouted.
In a survey recently conducted by Perempuan Mahardhika, they found that 50 percent of women workers felt afraid when they got pregnant. Perempuan Mahardhika national secretary Mutiara Ika said that there are two main reasons for this.
"Because one, they are afraid of losing their jobs. Two, they are afraid of losing their income", said Ika following an Indonesian Women's March press conference at the Jakarta Legal Aid Foundation (LBH) building in the Menteng area of Central Jakarta on Tuesday March 6.
Pregnancy, said Ika, is a means for companies to sack women workers because in this way they are freed from the obligation of providing pregnancy and maternal leave or paying wages during this time.
The group also highlighted the phenomena where women return to work only to find their period of employment has expired. This means that their period of employment is recalculated from zero so they are not entitled to maternity leave.
The survey involved 773 women workers in garment companies, mostly from the Cakung Bonded Zone (KBN) in Cakung, East Jakarta. Ika explained that the survey specifically looked at garment workers because 80 percent of them are women.
"In addition to this, although garment workers are in the formal sector their employment is in fact informal so while they appear to be formal workers in factories their jobs are still informal so their employment status is unclear and they lose their normative rights", she added.
In order to follow up on the survey results, Perempuan Mahardhika is cooperating with the Women Workers Corner. During the Indonesian Women's Parade, she wants to campaign on this issue. According to Ika the problem does not just occur in the manufacturing sector but also in other industries, including the media industry.
"We also made recommendations. Currently we're developing social dialogue between companies, the government and trade unions. In our view trade unions are the strength so we want to discuss these issues so it becomes in the interest of trade unions to raise them", said Ika. (chs)
BBC Indonesia - March 8, 2018
One of the protesters, Indah Saptorini, said that the action was aimed at demanding that the government immediately ratify International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention Number 183 on the Maternity Protection.
As reported by Hilman Handoni for BBC Indonesia, the peaceful action was joined by various different groups, non-government organisations and trade unions from various parts of greater Jakarta.
Under the ILO convention, the government would be obliged to provide 14 weaks maternal leave. "Up until now in Indonesia we only get 12 weeks", said Indah.
The reality, Indah said, is that many women workers who are pregnant or give birth are sacked, "Their bargaining position is also weak because of their status as outsourced workers", she added.
Jumisih from the Women Workers Corner meanwhile said that her group supports this demand. "Companies intimidate women so they do not demand their right to menstrual and maternity leave, places to breastfeed", she explained during a break in the action.
Her group is also calling for an end to sexual harassment and violence against women workers. "We did some research in the Cakung Bonded Zone last October. We found 25 cases of harassment in 15 companies", she said.
Jumisih is convinced that this is less than the actual number of cases. The forms of sexual harassment range from tweets, peeping to touching she said.
According to Labour Law Number 13/2003, women workers have the right to equal wages, the right to breastfeed, two days menstrual leave, three months maternity leave, security guarantees and protection against sexual harassment.
One women worker named Ika, who works at a motorcycle spare parts factory in Tangerang, Banten province, said that she has just returned from maternity leave. "I got three months", she said adding that all of her wages were paid in full.
Nevertheless, she said, like other pregnant women workers, they should be given leave long before they actually give birth.
"Leave must be taken exactly seven months after (becoming pregnant)", so automatically the time with a new born baby is less than three months. This is the reason she joined the IWD rally.
Although labour regulations stipulate that women have the right to menstrual leave every month, in many factories it is not as simple as that.
"In Batam [Riau Islands], there's a factory that instructs its security officers to examine the menstrual blood of women workers. Although they are women (the security personnel) it's still uncomfortable", added Indah.
"There are also factories that apply a policy of examinations before menstruation [leave is granted] or that [require] a doctor's certificate".
But there are also more specific problems, "It is very difficult if we want to go to the toilet. We have the queue", said one of the women workers at the action. Generally there are fewer women's toilets, although they are the same size as men's toilets, said some of the protesters.
The groups also noted that women still face many other problems such as prohibitions on joining a trade union and restrictions on time to organise.
As afternoon approached, the rally in front of the DPR ended and some of the protesters moved off to the State Palace in Central Jakarta to articulate the same demands.
Lia Wanadriani Santosa, Jakarta Women from the Social Coalition for Disabled People (KMPD) are calling on the public to stop the practice of forced contraception for people with disabilities, particularly women.
"It's wrong if women with disabilities are seen as incapable of making a decision on whether to use or not use contraception", said Indonesian Women's Coalition (KPI) General Secretary Dian Kartika Sari during a break in the commemoration of International Women's Day 2018 in Jakarta on Thursday March 8.
Dian said that there is a negative stigma that people with disabilities are incapable of being responsible for their own choices.
Yet it is the social environment surrounding them that is unable to provide reasonable support for people with disabilities so that they can obtain their rights, including the right to contraception.
Furthermore, forced contraception actually results in repeated sexual violence against people with disabilities because the risk of a pregnancy is absent.
Because of this therefore, Indonesian Mental Health Association (PJSI) chairperson Yeni Rosa Damayanti used the opportunity of IWD to call for the need for disabled people to have legal certainty to prevent them from being forced to use contraception.
"The one who decides on medical treatment is their guardian because they (the disabled person) are [deemed] not to have the legal capacity. It's impossible for them to be able to refuse or accept contraception if their legal capacity is not acknowledged", she said.
People with disabilities, she added, should obtain assistance in making their own decisions. "They should be assisted in making a decision. There are many ways to communicate, whether through pictures, gestures or other means. Their legal rights cannot be annulled on any grounds whatsoever", said Yeni.
On the other hand, Dian also emphasised the importance of directly involving people with disabilities in efforts to discuss their interests whether it be in public discussions or discussions with the government.
"I am recommending to colleagues who are part of the disability [rights] movement to directly involve disabled people, because they are the ones who best understand [their needs]", said Dian.
Nethy Dharma Somba, Jayapura Dozens of women and several men marched in Jayapura, Papua, to show their support for the fight against gender-based violence on International Women's Day on Thursday. They gave flowers and areca nuts to people driving around Abepura traffic circle in Jayapura, Papua, on Thursday.
The areca nuts are the symbol for peace. We appeal to people to communicate and interact peacefully with women," said Vien Yarangga, the coordinator of the march.
She said gender based violence in Papua had increased significantly. "Violence against women in Papua used to happen in the home by family members. Now violence against women also happens outside the house," she said.
"Children have been raped on their way home from school. Some were even raped by their school friends," she added.
Vien appealed to all women in Papua to stop being afraid of speaking out against violence. "All women who have fallen victim to violence should be brave and report it. Don't be afraid!" she said.
Nur Aida Duwila, director of Legal Aid Institute Apik in Papua said there had been eight cases of violence against women and children in 2018. "I believe there are many more unreported cases," she said.
Maria Woisiri, an activist, appealed to men to end violence at home. "Husbands, please stop beating your wives at home. Stop drinking alcohol, your wives will be the victims of your behavior!" she said. (gis/evi)
Rizki Halim, Yogya Dozens of women held a rally at the Zero Kilometre point in the Central Java city of Yogyakarta to commemorate International Women's Day (IWD) on Thursday March 8.
Taking up the spirit of feminism, the women, who came from a number of different groups, took up issues related to gender equality in Indonesia.
Action coordinator Adinda Aurellia said that Indonesian women hope that through the commemoration of IWD they can demand the rights that they should be afforded.
"We are voicing many demands at this year's event in the framework of commemorating International Women's Day, because there are in fact still many regulations in force that repress women", explained Adinda.
The many cases of violence that still occur against women was also one of the topics taken up at the action.
This is bearing in mind that violence against women is an issue that to this day is still widespread because of the prevalent stereotypes about women in society that still see them as weak.
Through the rally on Thursday, the protesters hope that gender equality can truly be realised in Indonesia and that discriminative behaviour against women will no longer occur.
Hanif Mustafa, Bandar Lampung International Women's Day (IWD) in the North Sumatra city of Bandar Lampung was commemorated in a number of different ways.
Hundreds of housewives (IRT) from the Lampung Indonesian People's Struggle Secretariat (SPRI) held a peaceful action in front of the Lampung City Integrated Services Building on Thursday March 8.
They were demanding government transparency in recording the integrated database (BDT) because the BDT relates to recipients of the Family Hope Program (PKH) [a poverty elevation program] and the non-cash rice social assistance program (rastra) from the Social Affairs Department.
According to Tribune Lampung's observations, before holding the action at the municipal government, the women held a long-march from the Adipura Monument traffic circle to the Bandar Lampung government office complex. Following this, they moved off to the Lampung governor's office.
Today, Thursday March 8, is commemorated as International Women's Day (IWD). IWD action coordinator Jumisih said that the women's should not be banned from wearing an Islamic veil on campus.
"Wearing a niqab or not, a jilbab (hijab) or not, that's a freedom of expression that everyone has a right to", said Jumisih during a break in an IWD rally in front of the House of Representatives (DPR) in Jakarta on Thursday March 8.
According to Jumisih, choosing to wear a cadar (niqab) is an individual right which cannot be prohibited because it is a human right. "Don't prohibit or ban it because everyone has the right [to wear what they want]", said the Women's Workers Corner (Pokja Buruh Perempuan) activist.
Jumisih therefore rejects the Yogyakarta Sunan Kalijaga State Islamic University's (UIN) recent policy of banning the cadar on campus.
"It curbs freedom. Regardless of a person's ethnic, religious, racial or group background they cannot be ordered not to or prohibited from wearing a cadar because it's an individual decision", she said.
A polemic about wearing the niqab on campus erupted after the UIN issued an instruction on March 5 banning its students from wearing the niqab. According to the university, the decision was taken in order to prevent the spread of anti-Pancasila [the state ideology] Islamic teachings.
Based upon an earlier decision by the university, students wearing a niqab were obliged to register themselves for counseling before February 28.
UIN Rector Yudian Wahyudi said that there are around 42 students at UIN who will be given counseling by campus authorities. Wahyudi believes that students wearing a niqab follow a form of Islam that conflicts with Pancasila, the 1945 Constitution and moderate Islam in Indonesia.
"We will form a counseling team made up of lecturers from various disciplines, psychology, Islamic law and politics. Students who wear a niqab will be provided with an understanding that what they follow is dangerous and a threat", Wahyudi told Tirto on Monday.
If after nine counseling session the students still do not wish to abandon the ideology they follow, they will be expelled from campus.
A niqab, called a cadar in Indonesian, is a full Islamic veil which conceals the face but leaves the eyes exposed. A jilbab, Indonesian for hijab, is a shorter length veil more commonly worn by Indonesian women which covers the hair but leaves the face exposed.
Anom Prihantoro, Jakarta International Women's Day (IWD), which was commemorated in Jakarta on Thursday, demanded equality for women in all spheres of life, including the workplace.
"Immediately ratify the draft law on protecting domestic workers and ILO [International Labour Organisation] convention 189", said IWD action coordinator Jumisih citing one of the demands raised at a protest action in front of the House of Representatives (DPR) in South Jakarta.
Jumisih said that women are also urging the government to abolish laws on sexual violence that fail to side with the victims.
The government, she said, should also ratify the Draft Law on Justice and Gender Equality (KKG) as well as immediately integrate comprehensive sex education into the curriculum for teenagers.
The action was held to commemorate IWD which fall on March 8 every year. The demonstration on Thursday was held in two parts: a morning rally at the parliament and an afternoon rally at the State Palace in Central Jakarta.
Based on Antara's observations, starting at around 10am, hundreds of people began filling the area in front of the parliament giving speeches, reading poetry, reading out demands and other activities.
In front of the State Palace meanwhile, security personnel were on guard in the area in anticipation of large rallies that would be held at 1pm.
Eva Safitri, Jakarta Women activists from a number of different organisations commemorated International Women's Day (IWD) with demands for equality and opposing discrimination, violence, intolerance and poverty.
The protesters began gathering in front of the entrance to the House of Representatives (DPR) on Jl. Gelora Bung Karno in Central Jakarta on Thursday March 8 at around 11.30am.
Participants included women factory workers, representatives of the Legal Aid Foundation (LBH) and other women's organisations.
During the action they criticised the draft revisions to the Criminal Code (RUU KUHP) related to restrictions on the freedom of association. They also called on the government to revoke various policies and regulations that discriminate against women.
"We are critical of the RUU KUHP, several article of which we think discriminate against women, we are also critical of the UU MD3 [recently enacted Legislative Institutions Law], the women here are also concerned about democracy which is being progressively muzzled, when every day there are more regulations that restrict freedom", said Prilli, a representative from the LBH.
"Viva equality! Abolish the UU MD3! The Draft KUHP is reckless and haphazard! The state just wants to protect corruptors, reject the RUU KUHP now", said one of the action coordinators during the rally.
The protesters could be seen enthusiastically joining the speaker's remarks who continued to slam the UU KUHP.
The protest action at the parliament, which was called the "Women's Parade of Struggle", will be continued at the State Palace in Central Jakarta. They will also join other protesters who are holding an action in front of the State Palace.
A section of the protesters could be seen preparing to get onto their vehicle to head off to the State Palace. "We are expecting some 700 people to join together at the State Palace", said Prilli. (ams/ams)
Sheany, Jakarta The National Commission on Violence Against Women, or Komnas Perempuan, has called on the government to do more to protect women's rights, particularly by enacting a long-overdue bill on the elimination of sexual violence.
The commission also said that current response to and handling of cases of violence against women in Indonesia was still too slow.
"There are still a number of issues that the government must pay attention to, in order to make sure that women's rights in Indonesia are protected," Komnas Perempuan chairwoman Azriana told reporters in Jakarta.
Komnas Perempuan's annual report revealed that there were nearly 350,000 cases of violence against women in 2017 a 25 percent increase from the previous year. The report, which was published a day before International Women's Day, also criticised the government for its slow prevention and handling mechanisms.
"We are not moving forward with our justice system... There are even no educational efforts to minimise the harmful effect of [cultural] norms that can lead to sexual violence," Azriana said.
In Indonesia, cases of sexual violence are handled in accordance with the criminal code, the Law on the Elimination of Domestic Violence, the Law on Child Protection and the Law on Human Trafficking.
"Many women who are no longer children [in the eyes of the law] are also victims of sexual violence, but they are not protected. The types of violence also evolve," Azriana said.
For example, femicide the killing of a woman or girl on account of her gender is not traditionally categorised as sexual violence.
"This is one of the reasons why the bill on the elimination of sexual violence must be passed quickly," Azriana said, adding that Komnas Perempuan and several other organisations have suggested the inclusion of several other types of sexual violence, which are not yet recognised by the law, leaving many victims helpless.
Sheany, Jakarta The number of reported cases of violence against women increased by 25 percent last year, according to an annual report by the National Commission on Violence against Women, or Komnas Perempuan.
According to the report, a large proportion of the 348,446 cases involved incest and cyber-violence.
"Violence against women increasingly varies and takes place across multiple spaces, while preventive and management systems move rather slowly," Komnas Perempuan commissioner Thaufiek Zulbahary said at a press conference in Jakarta on Wednesday (07/03).
Of the reported cases, 41 percent involved physical abuse, 31 percent sexual abuse, 15 percent psychological abuse and 13 percent economic abuse.
Mariana Amiruddin, another Komnas Perempuan commissioner, said the increase may not necessarily indicate in increase in cases of violence against women, but that more victims may be willing to come forward.
"Komnas Perempuan sees that the higher number of cases of violence against women indicate more courage among victims to report what has happened to them," Mariana said.
Jakarta had the biggest number of cases last year with 1,999, while East Java and West Java had the second- and third-most reported cases with 1,536 and 1,460, respectively.
The report noted that 71 percent of reported cases took place in a private or domestic setting, followed by 26 percent in a public setting. In the private sphere, 5,167 cases involved violence against spouses, 2,227 against young girls and 1,873 against unmarried partners.
"In 2017, we recorded a higher number of violence against young girls compared with the year before," Mariana said, referring to the 1,799 cases reported in 2016.
The commission emphasizes in the report that a rising number of cases involving violence against young girls reflects decreasing safety in households. It said guidance and protection of young girls is crucial to ensure that such cases are reported whenever they occur.
Komnas Perempuan said this year's edition of the report, which has been published annually since 2001, took into account several new aspects, such as cyber-violence against women.
Based on reports made directly to the commission, there were 98 such cases reported last year. This mainly involved online harassment and the spread of private, or "illegal" content on social media or pornographic websites.
"Cyber-violence has surfaced on a massive scale, but we're still lacking in reporting and handling this. Cyber-violence imposes on the lives of women who are often victimized more than once, and can affect them their entire lives," the commission said in a statement.
On sexual violence in the private sphere, the report also noted there were 1,210 cases of incest. "The number of incest cases shows perpetrators of sexual violence are usually the closest to the victims; usually those with family relations," the report said.
Most cases categorized as incest were committed by fathers and uncles, according to the report.
Jakarta Around 300 workers from the Populist Democratic Trade Union (SEDAR) held a rally at the Toyota factory in Sunter, North Jakarta on Thursday March 8.
The protesters were demanding that Toyota reinstate Atika Nafitasari who was sacked after being injured in a work accident at PT. Nanbu Plastics Indonesia (PT NPI) in the MM2100 industrial area of Cibitung, Bekasi.
PT NPI is a tier 2 subcontracting company that supplies components to Toyota. According to Toyota's code of conduct it must ensure that its suppliers fulfill workers' rights and not discriminate.
The protesting workers also demanded that Atika and eight other contract workers be promoted to permanent employees in accordance with the 2003 labour law.
"We have come to Toyota because the under the concept of the supply chain, Toyota as the parent company, must take responsibility for what happens at its supplier companies. Toyota Global has a code of conduct. That is what we are demanding", said action public relations officer Sarinah.
According to Sarinah, the union plans to report the matter to Toyota's head office in Japan if it fails to fulfill its obligations. "We will ensure that Toyota Global and the owners of PT NPI in Japan, Nisshinbo, know about this issue", she asserted.
PT NPI Earth of Mankind Trade Union (SEBUMI) chairperson Faisal Al Rahmad said that Atika lost his finger in a press machine on September 26, 2016. At the time of the accident Atika did not have a Labour Social Security Management Agency (BPJS) card even though he had worked at the factory for eight months.
"We believe that the delay in getting an operation which was postponed by 19 hours after the accident is because of the company's negligence in providing a BPJS card. Because of the delay, Atika's finger could not be sown back on", said Faisal.
SEBUMI reported the issue to PT NPI and asked that Atika be promoted to a permanent employee but in negotiations on January 10 the company refused and instead sacked Atika on January 19.
"The company said they only consider the valuation. I'm just asking for my rights here. I'm just asking for justice here", said Atika who broke into tears during his speech.
Workers also reported the issue to the Karawang labour monitoring division on February 13. They also held a protest action in front of the Bekasi BPJS office on March 1. PT NPI meanwhile is still unwilling to meet the workers' demands.
Ganug Nugroho Adi, Surakarta Drivers working for Go-Car, a service under PT Gojek Indonesia, have been on strike since Wednesday, with the intention to continue it until Sunday. They are striking to protest a change to the points scheme, which the drivers say will make it harder for them.
Coordinator of the Online Taxi Driver Community of Surakarta, Ifan Anggar Prastya, said thousands had gone on strike because Go-Jek's management had raised the minimum number of points to be eligible for a bonus from 12 to 16. At the same time, it lowered the bonus amount from Rp 300,000 (US$21.80) to Rp 250,000.
"We reject the new points threshold. Even to reach 12 points, we have to work 14 hours a day. Raising it to 16 means killing us slowly," Anggar said Thursday. The drivers threatened to leave Go-Car. "We can earn money offline," he said.
Bambang, a member of management staff at Go-Jek in Surakarta said the policy was designed from Jakarta. "All we can do is convey the sentiment of drivers here to the Jakarta office," he said.
The Go-Car strike led to more orders for rivals Uber and Grab. However, the increase was not significant because many Go-Car drivers also work for those competitors. (evi)
The first few years of President Joko Widodo's administration saw the government pass sweeping new laws that made it much more difficult for Indonesian companies to hire foreign workers, leading to what some described as an "expat exodus" from the country.
But in his current quest to greatly increase foreign investment in the archipelago, the president is now demanding that the relevant ministries ease the regulations on foreign workers and pull back on practices like "sweeps" that make companies reluctant to hire them.
On Tuesday, Jokowi reprimanded the Ministry of Manpower (Kemenaker) and the Directorate General of Immigration at the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights for the regular sweeps (unscheduled raids looking for labor or immigration violations) of foreign workers, which he said was causing unease among employers.
"I've gotten reports, the employers of foreign workers are disturbed and feel uncomfortable because they feel there is sweeping." the president said at the start of a meeting at the Presidential Palace on Tuesdsay as quoted by Katadata.
According to Jokowi, the cause of these sweeps is often due to a lack of coordination between the Manpower Ministry and Immigration. Because of that, he asked that the ministries and bodies overseeing foreign workers integrate their supervision practices.
Jokowi also asked that the ministries ease the required procedures for hiring foreign workers, including simplifying the process for obtaining an official Plan of Use for Foreign Workers (RPTKA) and the Limited Stay Permit Card (KITAS) by making them available online.
The president said that in the modern era of economic globalization it was important that labor be able to move easily across borders in order to improve foreign investment, while at the same time protecting local workers.
Given the relatively small percentage of foreign workers in Indonesia, the government's previous regulation tightening was seen by many as less about protecting the welfare of local workers and more about projecting a populist image of economic protectionism and nationalism.
Jokowi's current calls to make it easier for foreign workers to come to Indonesia are likely to go down as unpopular among a public concerned with unemployment and fearful of a deluge of foreign workers, especially from China (there were hoaxes going around social media several years ago about there being 10 million Chinese citizens working in Indonesia, when in fact there were only about 21,000 at the time).
But having made economic and infrastructure growth the centerpiece of his administration, clearly Jokowi has calculated that attracting higher levels of foreign investment is more important ahead of next year's presidential elections.
Arya Dipa, Bandung, West Java Tubagus Hasanuddin and Anton Charliyan, the West Java governor and deputy governor candidates nominated by the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), reported an Instagram account for alleged slander to the Elections Supervisory Agency's (Bawaslu) legal division on Wednesday.
They reported a post from Instagram account @perisai.rakyat21 that shows a picture of Hasanuddin and Anton at their campaign event, with the text "Hasetan", an abbreviation of Hasanuddin-Anton Setan (Hasanuddin-Anton is Satan).
The picture was posted on the Instagram account at around 9 p.m. on Tuesday. The team found the post on Wednesday morning.
According to the candidates' lawyer, Indra Sudrajat, although his client was no stranger to social media attacks, the recent Instagram post went too far. "We are going to report this case to the police as well," Indra said.
According to Yusuf Kurnia, a Bawaslu official in West Java, if found guilty of violating Law No. 1/2014 on gubernatorial and regional elections, the suspect faces a maximum sentence of 18 months' imprisonment and a fine of Rp 6 million (US$436.80).
The lawyer said he hoped the case would not affect the elections on June 27.(sha/ebf)
Ahmad Faiz, Ibnu Sani, Bogor President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) considers himself to be a democratic individual and denounces the allegation of being an authoritarian.
"I will say that I am not an authoritarian. I am democratic," said Jokowi when he opened the national leadership meeting of the Democrat Party at the Sentul International Convention Center today, March 10.
Jokowi complained about moments when he is often accused of being an authoritarian leader, which he said is not what he represents. "There's nothing in me that suggests I'm an authoritarian. I don't look terrifying and I always smile wherever I go," said the president.
According to Jokowi, a figure that has a democratic character is a person who can be a good listener, appreciate people's opinion, and value diversity and not make it a source for a feud.
At the Democrat Party convention, Jokowi joked that he was not too far apart from Indonesia's sixth president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY).
"I and SBY are pretty similar. I am a democratic person, but Pak SBY is one point above by being the chairman of the Democrat Party," said Jokowi which was followed by laughter from thousands of Democrat Party members.
Arya Dipa, Bandung, West Java Hundreds of Gerindra Party officials and members in West Java declared Wednesday their support for Prabowo Subianto in the 2019 presidential election.
The chairman of Gerindra's West Java executive office, Mulyadi, said the declaration was made as a show of commitment from officials, party members and Gerindra's organizational branches.
"There have been some agendas, issues, concerns in society and public opinions, which has given the impression that the Gerindra Party will give way to other candidates. For West Java, that is not the case. Prabowo must become a solution for problems currently faced by the nation," Mulyadi said on Wednesday.
The declaration was supported by 27 Gerindra executive branches at the regency and municipal levels, 5,692 officials of party branches at the district level and 27 officials of Gerindra organizations in areas across West Java.
Mulyadi handed over the declaration statement to Gerindra secretary-general Ahmad Muzani. "We hope Gerindra's central executive board can make this declaration the official decision of the party," Mulyadi said.
Muzani said he would convey the declaration and support Prabowo. In the 2014 presidential election, West Java was a stronghold for Prabowo, who secured more than 14 million votes in the province. His contender, Joko "Jokowi" Widodo, obtained only 9.5 million votes in West Java.
"Our preparations now are far better than in 2014. It means Pak Prabowo's victory as a president in 2019 will be determined by our strength as a party called Gerindra," he said. (sha/ebf)
Arkhelaus Wisnu Triyogo, Jakarta Gerindra Party Deputy Secretary General Andre Rosiade said the support declaration of 34 Gerindra Regional Representative Councils (DPD) for Prabowo Subianto as a presidential candidate would be brought to the party's National Coordination Meeting (Rakornas) in early April. However, he said that Prabowo's candidacy is final.
"The cadres at the grassroots have decided to support Prabowo as a presidential candidate from Gerindra, it is impossible to change again," said Andre when contacted in Jakarta on Tuesday, March 13.
The decision was final, Andre said, due to the terms of the 20 percent threshold that already fulfilled by his party and the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS). He also considered the cadres have become more solid than in the 2014 General Election. "Coalition is ready, now we just need to invite Democrats, PKB, PAN if they want to follow us or not," he said.
Andre said the declaration will be discussed in the Rakornas as a form of aspirations channel of regional officials. "Trust me, at the right time, Gerindra will declare Mr. Prabowo as a presidential candidate," he said.
The 34 DPD met at DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel, Central Jakarta, Monday night, March 12. The Chairman of Gerindra DPD Jakarta Muhammad Taufik said the meeting held to unite the regional governing board of the presidential candidate who will later be submitted to the central board Gerindra.
Taufik said the meeting was a continuation of the declaration of several DPD board members on 11 March. He believes Prabowo Subianto will run as a presidential candidate in the 2019 general election. Meanwhile, Prabowo has not explicitly stated whether to go forward as a presidential candidate or not.
Ihsan Dalimunthe, Jakarta The spokesperson for the outlawed hardline Islamic group Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia (HTI), Ismail Yusanto, has confirmed there have been discussions between HTI leaders and the Crescent Star Party (PBB) on participating in the 2019 legislative elections (pileg).
"There have been discussions on this. There is of course a mutual understanding between the two sides, between the HTI and PBB", Yusanto told CNN Indonesia on Wednesday March 14.
According to Yusanto, the agreement between the HTI and the party founded by former justice minister Yusril Ihza Mahendra is that they will focus on a program to fight for the interests of the Islamic community and to uphold Islamic law in the 2019 elections.
"So based on the aspirations of the Islamic community and upholding Islamic law we can agree and move forward", said Yusanto.
The PPB's Bengkulu provincial branch in South Sumatra has already begun recruiting legislative candidates from HTI cadre and the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI).
Nevertheless, Yusanto declined to provide details of the names of the HTI cadre who will become legislative candidates (caleg). He confirmed only that the HTI's support for the PBB is aimed at filling parliamentary seats.
"It hasn't got as far as the details and names of the caleg yet. But we will support the PBB", asserted Yusanto.
Yusanto said further that a mutual understanding on the type of democracy followed by the PBB and the HTI has already been established. According to Yusanto, both sides understand democracy as a tool to fight for and uphold the interest of the Islamic community.
While emphasising this, at the same time Yusanto denied that the entry of HTI cadre into political parties and the parliament would conflict with establishing an Islamic caliphate which they both support. "So on the question of democracy we understand each other", said Yusanto.
In relation to the 2019 presidential elections (pilpres), the HTI has yet to formulate a position. Nevertheless, Yusanto admitted that in their view the regime of President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo must been replaced immediately.
The HTI's political position on the pilpres, said Yusanto, will be to urge people not to vote for leaders who are anti-Muslim, who support the dissolution of Islamic social and mass organisations (ormas), the criminalisation of Islamic scholars and those who insult the Quran and Islam. "So that the Jokowi regime is no longer in power", said Yusanto.
Nevertheless, Yusanto said that the HTI is not yet ready to be involved in deciding on the names of presidential candidates (capres) that would support the Islamic community's struggle.
This includes plans by the National Movement to Guard the Indonesian Council of Ulama's Fatwa (GNPF-MUI) and the 212 Alumni Presidium to hold a convention to select presidential candidates to challenge Jokowi. "On the issue of a capres we haven't decided yet", said Yusanto. (DAL)
M Yusuf Manurung, Jakarta Gerindra Party regional leadership council (DPP) chairman Muhammad Taufik admitted Prabowo Subianto had lower electability rate as a presidential candidate than Jokowi. Taufik argued that was due to Gerindra Chairman has yet made a move.
He assessed, there is still time to increase Prabowo electability rate by conducting many programs. "Even he hasn't done anything, the electability rate is still high," said Taufik at Doubletree Hotel, Central Jakarta, Monday, March 12.
In last February, a survey institution Poltracking Indonesia revealed Jokowi electability rate was at 55.9 percent and Prabowo at 29.9 percent. Based on Indo Barometer survey in December 2017, the rate was 34.9 percent for Jokowi and Prabowo was at 12.1 percent. While, based on PolMark survey, Jokowi gained 50,2 percent and 22 percent for Prabowo electability.
In the recent survey conducted by Sinergi Data Indonesia in South Sulawesi, Jokowi's popularity was up to 98.60 percent with satisfaction level at 85.90 percent. As for Prabowo, the popularity rate was at 86.30 percent and the satisfaction level was at 80.30 percent.
DPP Gerindra party's official Prasetyo Hadi claimed to not afflicted by poll results concluded by many survey institutions on Prabowo electability rate which below Jokowi's.
Prasetyo stated the survey on Prabowo electability rate was only as a consideration to formulate strategies ahead, not as a tool to determine the winner. "We believe we'll win, by God's will," he said.
Jakarta The 212 rally alumni group has set up an independent committee that will select would-be-candidates for the 2019 presidential election to challenge President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's reelection bid.
The committee's executive chairman, Yudi Syamhudi Sayuti, said the independent body would select the candidates using several criteria. "We want to select a candidate that is strong enough to face Jokowi," he said as quoted by tempo.co on Monday.
The alumni group comprises Islamic groups and activists that participated in street protests to call for the prosecution of then Jakarta governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama for blasphemy in 2016.
Yudi said the candidate must be a Muslim, a political figure or chairman of a political party not supporting Jokowi, a national-scale religious leader and a national leader or scholar.
The final day of registration is May 20. The committee said it would select 40 people deemed suitable for the presidency. The six strongest candidates will be recommended to the 212 Alumni Presidium before going through the official nomination process.
The selection method could help to avoid the development of a single axis of power that could hurt democracy in the country, Yudi said, adding that it would allow for the Indonesian people to participate in the decision-making process. "We want them to get involved in making political decisions," he said. (sha/ebf)
Ahmad Rafiq, Karanganyar Hutomo Mandala Putra alias Tommy Soeharto officially got the mandate as chairman of Berkarya Party on Sunday, March 11 at Lor In Hotel, Karanganyar. On the same date 52 years ago, his father, Soeharto received an order from President Soekarno to deal with the state security due to G 30S PKI.
Tommy Soeharto was elected unanimously as the party chairman to replace Neneng A Tutty. "We assigned Hutomo Mandala Putra as DPP Chairman of Partai Berkarya in the 2017-2022 period," said Party Secretary-General Badaruddin Andi Picunang.
The position gave Tommy full authority to choose party officials and evaluate the organization at the regional and local levels. Tommy Suharto claimed ready to carry out his duties as party chairman. "There is no need for a ceremonial inauguration, the important is to start working immediately," he said.
The National Leadership Meeting (Rapimnas) of Berkarya Party conducted for party consolidation as well as discussing the party targets prior to the 2019 presidential election was held at Lor In Hotel Karanganyar since Saturday, March 10, 2018. The meeting was attended by hundreds of administrators, both from central and regional levels.
M Julnis Firmansyah, Jakarta Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) senior researcher Siti Zuhro has warned the public to beware of non-independent pollsters that release misleading information ahead of the 2019 Presidential Election.
"See where the pollster's funding stems from, it's a political attraction," said Siti told Tempo in an interview on Monday, March 12.
According to Siti, one way to differentiate neutral pollsters from deceitful ones was by looking at the funds behind the pollsters. She added it would be easy to find out the sources of funds of credible pollsters as they would deliberately disclose them to the public.
Siti explained political interests could make pollsters, which were supposed to uphold academic values, to become corrupt and present false information to the public. She also warned certain groups that often use pollsters for their personal gain to stop doing it in the 2019 Presidential Election.
However, Siti said she did not blame political parties for funding pollsters to make surveys so long as the results were only for internal use and not made public. "Not many people are well-informed and many will take the information as it is," said the LIPI researcher.
Nurul Fitri Ramadhani and Margareth S. Aritonang, Jakarta Former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has told his successor, Joko "Jokowi" Widodo, that they could form an alliance ahead of the 2019 presidential election, but only if the "framework" of the alliance was right.
In a sign of support for Yudhoyono's Democratic Party, Jokowi attended the party's national meeting in Jakarta on Saturday. It was Jokowi's second appearance at one of the party's high-level meeting since 2015, when Jokowi opened its fourth national congress in Surabaya, East Java.
In his opening speech, Yudhoyono gave his strongest signal yet that he is ready to back Jokowi's re-election bid.
"If God wills it, it is very possible for the Democrats to fight together with you, Mr. President. As you can see from my experience in 2004 and 2009, a collective struggle, an alliance [of parties] could only succeed and triumph if the framework of the alliance is right," he told the meeting, which was held at the Sentul International Convention Center in Bogor, West Java, and attended by more than 11,000 party cadres from across the country.
The Democrat Party is among the few political parties that have yet to decide whether to join Jokowi's coalition or form its own.
The party has been seen to be moving closer to joining Jokowi's coalition, following a series of meetings between Yudhoyono and Jokowi, as well as several visits by Agus Harimurti, Yudhoyono's eldest son, to the State Palace.
However, the party has also toyed with the idea of creating a third axis offering an alternative candidate to the two presumed contenders: Jokowi and his old rival, Prabowo Subianto. Its officials have intensified lobbying with the executives of two Muslim-based parties: the National Mandate Party (PAN) and the National Awakening Party (PKB).
But despite the party's attempt to create a third axis, Yudhoyono has refused to burn bridges with Jokowi, wishing him great success as national leader.
"This is your second time [attending a Democrat's event]. You're not only the leader of Indonesia, but also the leader of all of us," Yudhoyono said, receiving a standing applause from the audience.
"At the end of my speech, I want to express my hope to the President. I wish that you can complete you duties and responsibilities until the end of your serving time. And I hope in the 2019 presidential race, you will succeed as you wish."
In his speech, Jokowi compared himself to his predecessor, saying that there was little difference between the two of them. "I am a democrat, while Pak SBY is a chairman of the Democratic Party. So, little difference," he said.
While his attendance at the event could be perceived of as sign of being open to forging a coalition with Yudhoyono, the President stopped short of saying that he accepted the former's coalition offer.
It appears that the two political leaders have yet to agree on the terms of the alliance. The Democrat Party may have insisted on Agus being Jokowi's running mate or being granted a senior position in the next Cabinet. But Jokowi, who has already secured the support of five political parties, is not in a position to easily agree to such terms.
Jokowi, who has enough support to contend in the election without the Democrat Party's backing, spent the rest of his speech focusing on the problem of fake news.
Jokowi said the country was struggling to fight against rampant fake news on social media, which he said had weakened democracy.
"Democracy must be followed by good and efficient governance. It must inspire innovation and empower policies that will push the country to reduce poverty and uphold social justice, and enable it to compete in the global community," Jokowi told his audience.
"I want to ask the Democratic Party, as a family, to realize this together," he said. (ahw)
Fadiyah, Jakarta Former Secretary of the Solidarity Action Committee for Munir, Choirul Anam said that he is pleased that Pollycarpus Budihari Priyanto convicted killer of human rights defender Munir is actively participating in the Berkarya Party established by Tommy Soeharto.
Tommy Soeharto is the son of second Indonesian president who held office for 31 years Soeharto. "We are glad that Pollycarpus has reappeared. His whereabouts can now be detected," said Choirul on Friday, March 9.
According to Choirul, Pollycarpus can utilize his intelligence skills by actively participating in a political party. "What's more dangerous is if he never reappears," said Choirul.
Pollycarpus was imprisoned for eight years and eleven months after he was found guilty of murdering Munir Said Thalib onboard a Garuda Indonesia flight to the Netherlands on September 7, 2004. Pollycarpus was one of the airline's pilots who was also onboard the flight with Munir.
Other controversial names that are members of the Berkarya Party is Muchdi Purwoprandjono, who acts as the party's honorary council chairman. The former State Intelligence Agency (BIN) member was once named as a defendant for carrying out the order to murder Munir. He was eventually freed from all charges.
"The new political party that accepted Pollycarpus and Muchdi will be perceived as a party that has opened its doors for those kinds of people," said Choirul. However, Choirul maintained that the involvement of both men in the political realm is their right as a citizen.
Vindry Florentin, Jakarta Lingkar Madani (Lima) director Ray Rangkuti said that the most effective tool to win an election is to spread hoaxes and exploit issues on ethnic, religious, racial and societal group (SARA).
Based on several polls, Ray reasons that the influence of money politics within society has eroded down to 30 percent.
"So, if we give money to 10 people, there would only be three of them who vote," said Ray in a discussion held at Bakoel Koffie in Cikini on Friday, March 9.
He further explained that voters can no longer be convinced by the vision and mission of a political party since the promises political parties offer are all too similar. He even said that candidates would often forget the vision they promised once they are in a position of power.
This is caused a new strategy to arise during an election, "both SARA issues and hoax are a seriously perfect combination," Ray satirized. He exampled Jakarta's 2017 Gubernatorial Election.
Ray argues that this strategy is often used by groups of people who dislike the essence of democracy but intend to rule through a democratic process.
He reasons that this specific strategy can lead to the downfall of democracy, and are made worse by Indonesia's illiterate population. "Unfortunately, not only are the people illiterate.
There are a growing number of people with low critical thinking ability," said Ray. He said that the situation is made worse by well-educated people that are still deceived by hoaxes and even share them.
Ray also thinks that the lack of effort from political parties to suppress hoax news and SARA issues in politics is a major contributor.
Apriadi Gunawan, Medan, North Sumatra Langkat Police in North Sumatra and journalists from online and printed media have announced their commitment to campaign against hoaxes and fake news in order to maintain security during the regional elections, which will be held on June 27.
Langkat Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Dede Rojudin said on Tuesday that hoaxes related to the gubernatorial and regional elections had created a stir among the public lately.
To fight against hoaxes, the police will constantly keep citizens updated with news surrounding the election, as well as the current situation. They also warn the public to be cautious about rumors and money politics, while encouraging them to actively use their rights to cast their votes.
"I hope that every citizen, especially journalists, will cooperate in our fight against hoaxes," Dede said. Furthermore, the police are also seeking support from public figures and regional figures to curb hoaxes.
Indonesia has recently seen a spate of fake news, ranging from religious-tinged issues to allegations of communism. The most recent arrests were members of the Muslim Cyber Army (MCA) by the National Police, with one of those arrested being a contract lecturer at the Islamic University of Indonesia (UII) in Yogyakarta.
Ihsanuddin, Serang President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has issued a strong warning against people who spread slander accusing him of being linked to the banned Indonesian Communist Party (PKI).
Widodo made the warning when attending the distribution of land certificates to local people at the Serang City Square in Banten, West Java, on Wednesday March 14.
Initially Widodo warned the public not to be provoked by the hoaxes and slander being spread on social media in the lead up to regional elections.
Following this he related how he himself has become a victim of such hoaxes. "There are those to say on social media, President Jokowi is PKI. Slander like that, just imagine", said Widodo.
Widodo believes that this slander is hilarious and makes no sense because the PKI was dissolved in 1965 while he was only born in 1961.
"I was only three years old. How could there be three-year-old PKI [members]? Is it believable that there were infant PKI?", said Widodo.
What added to Widodo's surprise however, was that there are still people who believe such things. The head of state also admitted to often feeling angry at such baseless accusations.
"That's why, sometimes yes I'm annoyed but I look for these people but can't find them. Watch out if I find them, I'll 'clobber' (gebuk) them for sure", said Widodo to the applause of the people gathered.
Widodo called on people not to be consumed by slander and hoaxes of this kind because if they consume slander and hoaxes they will elect the wrong leaders.
"That's why we must be really careful during the presidential, regional elections, we must be careful. Elect the best leaders. Don't make a mistake. If you make a mistake all of society will suffer", he said.
Andita Rahma, Jakarta House of Representatives Deputy Chairman Fahri Hamzah and Fadli Zon were reported to Jakarta Police on Monday, March 12, for allegedly spreading hoaxes and SARA hate-speech.
Accompanied by legal counsel from Cyber Indonesia, Muhammad Rizki sued both due to the content of their post on social media Twitter account named @FahriHamzah and @FadliZon.
"Today we make a suit as there are allegations of ITE law violation," said Rizki in Jakarta Police Headquarter, South Jakarta, Monday, March 12.
In those social media account, Fahri Hamzah and Fadli Zon uploaded a retweet from Jawa Pos news which was later clarified. "The media has clarified and revoked the news, but we deeply regret FH and FZ as state officials kept the hoax news," said Rizki.
Rizki asserted his legal suit against the two people's representatives could be taken as a lesson for society to not spread false news. He put an example of the group arrested for distributing hoaxes.
Fadli Zon and Fahri Hamzah retweeted a Twitter account named @jawapos which stated "MCA Head is Ahoker. So that's like a pot calling a kettle black and confessed as a Muslim. @DivHumas_Polri should handle this case. Do not damage the Police name by attacking religious identity".
The lawsuit reported by Muhammad Rizki was numbered LP/1336/III/2018/PMJ/Dit. Reskrimsus. Fadli Zon and Fahri Hamzah allegedly violated Article 28 (2) Jo Article 45 (2) of Law No. 19/2008 about the Information and Electronic (ITE).
Kate Lamb, Jakarta Police in Indonesia believe they have uncovered a clandestine fake news operation designed to corrupt the political process and destabilise the government.
In a string of arrests across the archipelago in recent weeks, authorities have revealed the inner workings of a self-proclaimed cyber-jihadist network known as the Muslim Cyber Army (MCA).
The network is accused of spreading fake news and hate speech to inflame religious and ethnic schisms; fan paranoia around gay men and lesbians, alleged communists and Chinese people; and spread defamatory content to undermine the president.
Police say the network was orchestrated through a central Whatsapp group called the Family MCA.
One wing was tasked with stockpiling divisive content to disseminate, while a separate "sniper" team was employed to hack accounts and spread computer viruses on the electronic devices of their opponents. The arrest of 14 individuals is the second such syndicate police have busted in the last year deepening fears around Indonesia's vulnerability to the pernicious spread of fake news.
In the world's largest Muslim-majority nation, among the top five biggest users of Facebook and Twitter globally, some say it is unsurprising that rising religiosity and racial division is playing out viciously online.
It is in this environment that the Muslim Cyber Army was born and has since thrived, in a digital ecosystem flush with bots, fake accounts and lies.
A Guardian investigation conducted over several months uncovered one coordinated cluster of the Muslim Cyber Army on Twitter.
The investigation identified:
The network identified by the Guardian was created for the sole purpose of tweeting inflammatory content and messages designed to amplify social and religious division, and push a hardline Islamist and anti-government line.
The messaging was cleverly designed to appeal to broad Islamic sympathies.
Posts about the persecution of Muslims in Myanmar and Palestine, for example, were mixed in with domestically inspired vitriol, hatred for the Chinese minority, or support for hardline Indonesian figures and their protests.
The network, which functioned between July and November 2017, had all the tell-tale signs of a bot, or network of semi-automated accounts.
Posts were often identical in nature, with the same text, meme or hashtag repeated dozens of times. The accounts would sometimes tweet up to 30 times a day. All accounts were opaque, with no name or location, and followed identifiable patterns.
One group of 30 accounts, for example, featured striking profile photos of bearded, Viking-esque men, with the names of different Indonesian military bases or agencies, or government posts. Another set featured accounts with pictures of pigs.
The discovery illuminates how different interest groups operated within the MCA network for nefarious political ends. It also highlights how easy it is to game social media networks, especially Twitter.
With an army of bots, semi-automated and fake accounts, it is relatively simple to sway public perception, propel a hashtag into a trending list, or engineer an online poll.
In the lead-up to what is expected to be a heated 2019 presidential election a likely replay of the bitter 2014 contest the MCA has regularly generated questionable surveys.
The polls often feature a picture of the two expected candidates, current president Joko Widodo, and his rival, former army general Prabowo Subianto. Under pictures of the two men, users are asked to retweet for Prabowo or "like" for Widodo.
The results, retweeted by thousands of seemingly fake accounts and bots, invariably sway in the former general's favour.
Last year there was 103 cases of so-called bounty hunting orchestrated by the Muslim Cyber Army, which circulated lists of people to attack including their names, addresses, and identities of family members.
People deemed to have criticised Islam on social media accounts were viciously targeted, intimidated, beaten, and forced to record video apologies. In some cases these activities had explicit approval from the military, with officers present.
Analysts believe the MCA is a vast umbrella network utilised by various interested parties, united by its intolerant views and vocal mission to topple the president.
Damar Juniarto, from SAFEnet, the Southeast Asia Freedom of Expression Network, has been closely studying the Muslim Cyber Army.
"I found there are four clusters of the MCA," he said. "Each cluster has its own agenda but they are coordinated in groups, with buzzers and also bot machines."
"Buzzers" refers to accounts with large followings, in some cases more than 100,000, which are used to amplify messages from accounts with less traction.
Junianto's clusters also reveal some interesting bedfellows: links to opposition parties, the military, and an organisation of increasingly influential Islamists.
Police have so far been tight-lipped about who is behind the network, but it is understood they are aware of at least one politically influential financier.
Digital strategists describe the recent onslaught of bots and cyber armies such as the MCA as akin to psychological warfare playing out "in the dark ages of the internet".
Shafiq Pontoh, from the data consultancy firm Provetic, said Twitter in particular "has become a huge, bloody battlefield".
"The first victim in the polluted ecosystem was the governor election, Ahok," said Pontoh, referring to former Jakarta governor, Basuki 'Ahok' Tjahaja Purnama, who last year was jailed on controversial blasphemy charges. "It was all because of fake news, bots, black campaigns, prejudice and racism."
Clusters of bots in the Indonesia Twittersphere appear and disappear quickly, seemingly employed for short-term political gain. One cluster identified by the Guardian, which was used to pump out anti-Ahok material last year, stopped tweeting two days after the governor election and has been quiet since.
Savic Ali, online director at Indonesia's largest Islamic group, Nahdlatul Ulama, suggested the Muslim Cyber Army is not really about the true values of Islam. "This is the political imagination," he said. "It's about power."
With concerns over rising intolerance and intense jockeying around the 2019 election already underway, few doubt Indonesia's social networks will be increasingly gamed and weaponised.
Even after the recent arrests, Junianto believes it is just a matter of time before new manifestations appear. "This is only the beginning," he said. "They are getting equipped for 2019."
Jakarta The Jakarta Police has formed a special task force to scour the internet in the war against fake news and hoaxes.
Chief Insp. Gen. Idham Azis said on Monday that the hoax-busting team was formed under the special crimes investigation directorate (Ditreskrimsus) to handle the spread of hoaxes in the police area of authority.
"The Jakarta Police will eradicate fake news and will charge those who spread it," added Idham, as quoted by kompas.com, during the anti-hoax movement declaration event that was observed across the city by all precincts.
The country has recently seen a spate of fake news, ranging from the religious-tinged issues to allegations of communism. The most recent arrests were members of the Muslim Cyber Army (MCA) by the National Police, with one of those arrested being a contract lecturer at the Islamic University of Indonesia (UII) in Yogyakarta. (jlm)
A Lithuanian artist has carved a giant SOS message into an Indonesian palm oil plantation to draw attention to the damage done by deforestation and highlight the impact on people and wildlife.
Ernest Zacharevic curated the Save our Souls project as part of a campaign on the impact palm oil plantations have on tribal communities and endangered species such as the orangutan.
"We, as consumers, are so detached from the source of our commodities that we are no longer able to see the consequences of our daily choices," Zacharevic said. "I wanted to communicate the magnitude of the problem."
The giant SOS carving, which he completed last month, runs for about half a kilometre inside a plantation in North Sumatra, and can be seen from the air. The land will be replanted with native tree species, he said.
Environmentalists say land-clearing for agricultural plantations in Indonesia, the world's biggest palm oil producer, is responsible for forest destruction forest cover has dropped by nearly a quarter since 1990, according to World Bank data.
Zacharevic's SOS comes amid growing pressure on corporations to adopt sustainable practices.
PepsiCo and British cosmetics firm Lush have committed to ending the use of palm oil, which is found in products from soap to cereal or at least ensure their supply is ethical.
Last month, consumer goods giant Unilever said it had laid bare its palm oil supply chain to boost transparency. Plantations threaten indigenous peoples, wildlife
Indonesia has been a focus of global efforts to rein in greenhouse gas emissions caused by the deforestation of swampy, carbon-rich peatlands to make way for plantations for industries such as palm oil, pulp, and paper.
These forests are often in remote areas long inhabited by indigenous peoples, who might not have documents proving ownership or be able to contest land acquisitions in the resource-rich South-East Asian nation.
The forests are also home to dwindling wildlife populations as there are only about 14,600 orangutans remaining in the wild in Sumatra, conservationists estimate
The Splash and Burn campaign a play on the slash and burn method used to clear forests for plantations is supported by charity the Sumatran Orangutan Society, and Lush.
"We are all contributing to the destructive effects of unsustainable palm oil, whether it is by consuming products or supporting policies that affect the trade," Zacharevic said.
"This project is an effort to appeal to the consciousness of a wider audience."
Indonesia has some of the highest smoking rates in the world, with 3 out of every 4 Indonesian men being a regular tobacco user and over 200,000 people dying of tobacco-related diseases each year. This is due in large part to the government's reluctance to regulate the tax-lucrative industry, not to mention the persuasion of the tobacco lobby and its deep pockets.
One of the millions of Indonesians negatively affected by the tobacco industry, a 50-year-old man named Rohayani, is now demanding that two of the country's largest cigarette companies compensate him to the tune of IDR1 trillion (USD 72.6 million) for the damage their products have done to his quality of life and health. And he has threatened to sue PT Gudang Garam and PT Djarum Tbk if the two companies decide not to give into his demand, which could lead to the first serious legal challenge to the tobacco industry seen in Indonesia in some time.
What makes Rohayani's threat of a lawsuit credible is that he is being represented by Todung Mulya Lubis, one of the country's most famous lawyers (who was also recently tapped by President Joko Widodo to become Indonesia's next ambassador to Norway).
"We filed a summons to Djarum and Gudang Garam as business actors producing and distributing cigarettes consumed by our clients from 1975 to 2000, which made him addicted and decreased his quality of life," Todung said during a press conference on Friday as quoted by Kontan.
In the letter they sent to the two companies, Rohayani demanded that Gudang Garam compensate him IDR178,074,000 for the money he spent on their products as well as damages worth IDR500 billion. As for Djarum, he asked for IDR293,068,000 in compensation and an additional IDR500 billion in damages as well.
Rohayani is also being represented by another senior lawyer, Azas Tigor Nainggolan, who is working on behalf of the Public Advocates in Solidarity for Tobacco Control Indonesia.
Todung said the letter was sent to the two companies on February 19, though they only acknowledged their receipt in early March. He told the media on Friday that they would give the companies seven more days to meet the demands and if not they would consider moving forward with a lawsuit.
Tigor said the basis of the lawsuit would be Article 19, paragraph (1) of Law 8/1999 on Consumer Protection, which states that businesses are responsible for providing compensation for damages or losses to consumers caused by consuming their goods and/or using their services.
Todung said that suing the cigarette industry was an important step towards implementing stricter tobacco controls in Indonesia, referring to America, Japan and European countries as examples of places where lawsuits helped spur stronger regulations.
"In other countries there are many lawsuits against the cigarette industry, in the United States and Europe many class action lawsuits have challenged cigarette industry players, while in Indonesia it is still limited to campaigning," he said.
Analysts say that Indonesia has been increasingly targeted by major international tobacco conglomerates who are seeing dwindling profits in developed countries due to increasing taxes and regulations. Meanwhile, the Indonesia government is one of the very few to have not yet ratified the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. A lack of regulations on tobacco advertisements has also led to cigarette companies increasingly targeting children (underage smoking rates have actually increased in Indonesia in recent years).
Jon Afrizal, Jambi The Jambi District Court sentenced Trisna Utami, an obstetric gynecology specialist, to one year in jail for performing an abortion.
At a hearing on Thursday, the judge panel also ordered Trisna to pay a Rp 50 million (US$3,500) fine or face an additional two months in jail.
The judge panel led by Ledis Mariana Bakara handed Wulandari, a midwife who helped Trisna perform abortions, a similar sentence.
The judge said both defendants were proven to have intentionally conducted abortion practices. They were found guilty of violating Article 75 (2) of Law No.36/2009 on health.
Meanwhile, three other defendants, cleaning service officer Sri Wiyati and two patients seeking abortions Sely Puspita Sari and Melinda received a lighter sentence. They were all sentenced to 10 months in jail.
The case came to the public's attention last year when the Jambi Police uncovered an illegal abortion scheme at the Puri Medika birth clinic on Jl. Griya Aur Duri, Jambi.
The police received information from local residents who reported that they found seven graves suspected to be the burial sites of aborted babies in two locations.
Four graves were found in the backyard of Trisna's house in Penyengat Rendah subdistrict, while three others were discovered at the Putri Ayu public cemetery in Telanaipura district, Jambi.
The clinic was reported to have provided illegal abortions since 2009 with a service fee ranging from Rp 10 million (US$727) to Rp 15 million each. (ebf)
The Indonesian Government doesn't put a lot of energy into protecting animal welfare, with constant reports about the horrific conditions at local zoos or the cruel slaughter of dogs for food having had done little to change official regulations.
But more and more Indonesians are becoming concerned with animal rights and speaking out against abuses on social media, such as the recent case of a cow getting dragged by law enforcement officers in South Sulawesi.
On Wednesday, the Satpol PP (Civil Service Police) in Bulukumba, South Sulawesi, were called upon to round up five cows that had escaped their enclosure and were running around the city's streets. Police said the cow's owner was fined IDR1 million (US$70) for violating the law on livestock management and had to pay the fine before the cows were returned.
But a Facebook user by the name of Muhammad Irham took a video supposedly showing one of the cows that had been tied to and was dragged by a Satpol PP truck. He posted the video and photos of the act of animal cruelty to a Facebook group for residents of Bulukumba, after which it quickly attracted a number of comments from outraged netizens and was shared by a number of other Facebook pages.
In his post, Muhammad wrote: "This is how the Satpol PP treats and animal they've secured? They have no mercy, even though its an animal it must be pitied. They just tied it up to a patrol car and dragged it, even until it was bleeding."
Photos, presumably taken after the video, showed the cow having collapsed on the road behind the truck. Its exact fate is unknown but presumably it was eventually returned to its owner along with the other cows as reported by the police.
A local news portal, Investigasi News, said they had contacted the Bulukumba Satpol PP yesterday for their comment on the incident. The responding officer said that it had been done in accordance with procedure but refused to elaborate and told the journalist they would need to come to their office for further explanation.
Under Indonesia's criminal code, animal abuse is punishable by up to three months in prison, as well as a paltry fine of IDR4,500 (US$0.33), which would have been plenty in the Dutch colonial era (when the criminal code was originally drawn up) but that would barely buy you a bottle of water these days. Activists have long called for tougher punishments for animal abuse in Indonesia.
Sadly, this is not even the first video about people's total disregard for animal welfare to go viral in Indonesia this week. A clip showing a visitor to the Bandung Zoo tossing a cigarette at an orangutan, who then proceeded to puff on it like a seasoned addict, made international headlines and highlighted the deplorable conditions and lack of supervision at many Indonesian zoos. Police say they were investigating that incident.
Laurence Barber Indonesia's government is reportedly rounding up trans people in Jakarta and forcing them into 'rehabilitation' for the 'violation' of being transgender.
The Jakarta Social Agency has now said it considers trans people to be 'people with social dysfunctional traits' in the latest instance of LGBTI people being persecuted in Indonesia.
The agency's head of rehabilitation affairs, Chaidir, said the agency has conducted regular raids on trans women, known in Indonesia as waria. "Soon after we have a waria admitted to a social house, we will notify her family or her community to organize her release," he told The Jakarta Post.
Chaidir said families would have to meet all administrative requirements to ensure a woman's release, with an emphasis on documentation proving they are not homeless.
Last week, an official deliberately tore up a document which prevented a mother from securing her trans daughter's release.
Trans women are forced into the so-called 'rehabilitation' centres as a "deterrent" to being trans. If waria are from outside Jakarta, their home province is notified.
Chaidir said this was done "to create a deterrent effect, so that [the province] will know that one of their residents has become Jakarta's social problem." The woman was eventually able to have her daughter released from the facility.
Chaidir said anyone detained at one of the centres is forced to sign a statement saying they won't repeat their 'violation'. "Once or twice is still OK, but if we catch them a third time, they can be sent to jail for committing the same violation over and over," Chaidir said.
The country's increasingly anti-LGBTI stance has repeatedly come under fire, including from Greens senator Janet Rice, who implored the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Julie Bishop, to speak to the Indonesian authorities and address the abuses.
In recent months, Indonesia has officially classified sexual and gender diversity as a "mental disorder", while trans women have previously been rounded up, forced to wear men's clothing, and had their heads shaved.
The country has also been moving towards banning all non-marital and same-sex sexual activity. Last year, Aceh province began using corporal punishment against LGBTI people, including public canings.
Meka Beresford Police in Indonesia have raided the home of two women accused of being a "lesbian couple".
Neighbours of the women accused them of being a couple and said that they were uncomfortable about it, sparking a raid carried out by the Civil Service Police Unit (Depot Satpol PP).
Police reportedly monitored the women, who live in Depok a city just outside of the capital Jakarta, before carrying out the raid.
Yayan Arianto, deputy at the Depok Satpol PP, said that neighbours reported their unease with the two women to authorities.
He said: "Some residents around confessed they were uncomfortable and restless because this (lesbian relationships) is not in accordance with the norms that exist in our society. "Therefore they went to us for information and to prevent unwanted things."
The two women, aged 43 and 35, were found to not be in a relationship. "They just lived alone there," the deputy added.
The raid comes as Indonesian authorities are launching a crackdown against the LGBTQ community. Although it is not illegal to be homosexual in the country, certain regions (Aceh) are enforcing Sharia law which does criminalise the act. More from PinkNews
Reports of transgender women being rounded up and forced to go to rehabilitation centres have leaked from the country. The Jakarta Social Agency prompted the wave of detentions by classifying trans women as people who have social dysfunctional traits.
Chaidir, head of rehabilitation affairs at the agency, said it regularly conducted raids on places where they suspected trans women known as 'waria' in Indonesia were staying.
In January, police arrested 12 trans people, shaved their heads and paraded them in public and forced them into a series of demeaning exercises.
During the raid, called "operasi penyakit masyarakat" which translates as "community sickness operation" the women were dressed in stereotypically male clothing.
Indonesia has also proposed banning gay sex. Lawmakers are set to decide this month whether they will pass the bill, which reportedly has support from all 10 of main political parties. It would make gay sex punishable by up to five years in prison.
The Indonesian Supreme Court narrowly blocked a similar measure from passing in December, but it seems that was only a temporary reprieve.
Jakarta The Jakarta Social Agency has classified waria, or transgender women, as people with social dysfunctional traits, which has led to many waria being rounded up and sent to rehabilitation centers.
The agency's head of rehabilitation affairs, Chaidir, told The Jakarta Post that the agency regularly conducted raids against transgender women. "Soon after we have a waria admitted to a social house, we will notify her family or her community to organize her release," he said.
Families of the detained waria must meet all administrative requirements to secure their release, Chaidir added, which consisted primarily of an official letter verifying the waria's place of residence to prove that she was not homeless.
If she came from outside Jakarta, the agency would notify the social agency of the province where she was registered, he said. The move was intended, Chaidir explained, "to create a deterrent effect, so that [the province] will know that one of their residents has become Jakarta's social problem".
Last week in West Jakarta, Duri Kosambi subdistrict head Irwansyah Alam hindered a mother's attempt to secure the release of her detained transgender daughter from city-owned rehabilitation center Bina Insan Bangun Daya in Kedoya.
Irwansyah refused to sign a draft letter of domicile and instead tore up the document so that Tarnisem, the mother of transgender Neneng, originally called Ahmad Sehu, had to remain in the rehabilitation center.
Eventually, Tarnisem was able to secure her daughter's release by attaining the necessary document from Cengkareng district officials. The district officials have the authority to issue the letter because Duri Kosambi subdistrict is part of Cengkareng.
Chaidir had also explained that anyone transgender people, homeless people, street buskers and beggars who were detained at a rehabilitation center were required to sign a statement that they would not repeat the violation.
"Once or twice is still OK, but if we catch them a third time, they can be sent to jail for committing the same violation over and over," he said. (vla)
Bambang Muryanto, Yogyakarta Graft-watchdog Jogja Corruption Watch (JCW) activist Baharuddin Kamba walked backwards on Wednesday to call on the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) to immediately announce the names of the regional head candidates who are implicated in corruption cases.
"This is to show my support for the KPK and to call on it to immediately announce which regional head candidates it plans to name as suspects," Bahar said on Wednesday.
As members of the public prepare to cast their ballots in the upcoming concurrent regional elections, he said they had the right to know whether or not their regional head candidates were implicated in corruption cases.
From Feb. 15 to June 26, campaign activities and public debates will be held in the 171 provinces, regencies and municipalities holding regional head elections.
Bahar wore a suit and tie with banknote-like paper placed around his body. He walked 500 meters south beginning from the Yogyakarta Monument.
"These [fake] banknotes are attached to illustrate how costly it is to hold regional head elections that in many cases are marred by corruption," he said. His act attracted the attention of bystanders and motorists on Jl. Margoutomo.
On Monday, KPK chairman Agus Rahardjo said the commission would announce the names of several regional head candidates implicated in corruption cases.
Shortly after Agus made the statement, Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Wiranto called on the KPK chairman to delay the announcement, claiming that it would disrupt the regional head elections set to be held simultaneously on June 27. (ebf)
Kharishar Kahfi, Jakarta Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) prosecutors have indicted Bimanesh Sutarjo, a doctor working at private hospital Medika Permata Hijau, for allegedly hindering the antigraft body's investigation into former House of Representatives speaker and graft defendant Setya Novanto in the e-ID case.
"[The defendant] has been accused of fraudulently admitting Setya Novanto to Medika Permata Hijau Hospital in order to [help him] evade KPK questioning," prosecutor Kresno Anto Wibowo read out in the indictment on Thursday.
On Nov. 16, Bimanesh allegedly granted a request from Fredrich Yunadi, Setya's former lawyer, to have the politician admitted to the hospital for hypertension, as stated in a medical record from Premier Jatinegara Hospital, where Setya was previously treated.
The defendant responded by asking another doctor to reserve a VIP room for Setya even though Bimanesh had yet to examine him.
"When Setya was admitted to the hospital, the defendant ordered nurse Indri Astuti to wrap Setya's head with a bandage due to a request from the politician and pretended to connect him to a small IV needle commonly used for children," prosecutor Takdir Suhan stated.
Graft busters raided Setya's house on Nov. 15 to arrest him after he had failed to answer a KPK summons, only to find he had left his home hours before the raid.
A day later, the embattled politician was reportedly involved in an accident. He was admitted to Medika Permata Hijau Hospital before the KPK detained him on Nov. 19.
The antigraft body also named Setya's former lawyer Fredrich Yunadi a suspect in the case. He is currently standing trial at the Jakarta Corruption Court. (swd)
Bambang Muryanto, Yogyakarta A group of people reportedly burned prayer mats, carpet and sarongs from Fathurrahman Mosque in Jambidan village, Bantul regency, Yogyakarta.
"We learned of the act on Monday morning," said M. Juweni, a community neighborhood unit head in the village, on Wednesday.
The mosque is located on the second floor of a building belonging to the south Banguntapan branch of Indonesia's second-largest Islamic organization, Muhammadiyah. The building has several rooms, some of which function as a meeting hall, playgroup and daycare facility.
"On Sunday afternoon, we saw the gazebo in front of the daycare facility had been set ablaze. Locals rushed to the location and extinguished the fire but they did not know that prayer mats, carpets and sarongs had been burned inside the mosque," said Juweni.
Police have examined the scene of the alleged crime. Muhammadiyah leader Syafii Maarif and members of the Interfaith Communication Forum (FKUB) visited the mosque on Wednesday.
FKUB founder Abdul Muhaimin called on all societal elements to stay calm. He said the case was among a string of attacks on ulemas.
"I think the incident occurred by design. There are intelligence operations that aim to trigger conflict among society groups ahead of the upcoming concurrent regional elections and legislative and presidential elections in 2019," said Abdul. (ebf)
Last week, Sunan Kalijaga Islamic State University (UIN) in Yogyakarta made headlines in Indonesia and around the world after the university's dean made the controversial decision to ban women, including students and faculty, from wearing the niqab (Islamic face veil).
After receiving criticism from sources ranging from feminists to politicians to Islamic scholars, the university issued a letter revoking the niqab ban.
"Based on the results of the University Coordination Meeting on Saturday, March 10, 2018, it was decided that Rector Letter No B-1301/Un02/R/AK.00.3/02/2018 on the Guidance of Students Using Face Veil be revoked in order to maintain a conducive academic climate," read the letter as quoted by Republika.
The ban was first announced last week by the University's dean, Yudian Wahyudi, who argued that the niqab was associated with radical Islam and that the policy was needed to prevent a rise in radicalism on campus.
"If they dare [to wear the niqab], then please leave the campus. If the policy is wrong, I'm ready to be fired," he said as quoted by Viva.
The ban was heavily criticized by many, particularly Islamic organizations such as the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI), which called the prohibition a violation of religious freedoms guaranteed by the Indonesian constitution.
Another school of higher education school in Yogyakarta, Ahmad Dahlan University, also recently introduced a prohibition on the niqab over fears of religious radicalism, although one less severe as students who violated it were not threatened with expulsion. They have not made any statements since Sunan Kalijaga reversed their niqab ban.
Although Indonesia is a Muslim-majority country in which a large percentage of Muslim women wear hijab (headscarves), the number of women who wear the niqab is relatively quite small (though there is evidence to suggest it is becoming somewhat more mainstream). But many who wear the face veil here say they are still looked upon with suspicion and are regularly asked questions such as "why are you dressed like a terrorist?"
Bambang Muryanto, Yogyakarta Sunan Kalijaga State Islamic University (UIN Sunan Kalijaga) in Yogyakarta decided to revoke a counseling program for niqab-wearing students on Saturday after becoming the first university in Indonesia to prohibit full Islamic veils on campus.
The decision was made to maintain "a conducive academic climate," UIN Sunan Kalijaga rector Yudian Wahyudi said in a statement received by The Jakarta Post.
He did now, however, mention whether the university would rescind its ban on the niqab, for which it has received criticism from religious and law experts who call it discriminatory and a human rights violation. Yudian said the move was a show of UIN Sunan Kalijaga's commitment to moderate Islam.
"These girls must understand that the niqab is just a part of Arabic culture, therefore it is not appropriate in Indonesian society," he said recently, adding that the ban would also prevent security and attendance issues.
"If we can't see the student's face, we cannot confirm whether it is really her attending the lecture. Furthermore, the niqab is not part of the school's dress code."
Upon implementing the ban, the university announced it would provide a counseling program for niqab-wearing students with the aim of encouraging a dress code in line with moderate Islam.
Forty-one students were registered in the program, which would have been led by five experts in the fields of psychology, Islamic studies and social science, when it was cancelled. (srs)
Jobpie Sugiharto, Jakarta National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) Deputy Sandrayanti Moniaga revealed several reasonings that have risen following the controversial burka-ban implemented at the State Islamic University (UIN) Sunan Kalijaga in Yogyakarta.
"There are pros and cons regarding the ban. There is an argument that it is not religious observance but more of a cultural thing," said Sandrayati at the Komnas HAM headquarters on Friday, March 9.
She explained that the commission has yet received any complaints from victims of the burka-ban.
Previously, UIN Sunan Kalijaga Rector Yudian Wahyudi said that female students are barred from wearing burkas in the campus. He even threatened to expel students that persist to wear burkas despite being handed seven official warnings.
Apart from the debate on the basis of wearing a burka, Sandrayanti explained that the commission is currently studying whether the ban can be considered as a human rights violation since not every ban can be seen as a human rights violation.
"Now the question is whether wearing a burka is part of a religious observance? If it isn't, then it is okay to ban its use," she argued.
However, Komnas HAM said that the most important aspect of this controversy is to confirm that the students are able to continue their study at the UIN Sunan Kalijaga.
A pair of Indonesian Islamic universities are pushing female students to ditch niqab face veils with one threatening expulsion for non-compliance as concerns grow over rising fundamentalism in the world's biggest Muslim-majority nation.
Sunan Kalijaga State Islamic University said it issued the edict this week to more than three dozen niqab-wearing students, who will be booted from school if they refuse.
Although niqabs are common in ultra-conservative Saudi Arabia and some other Gulf states, they're rare in secular Indonesia, where around 90 percent of its 260 million people have traditionally followed a moderate form of Islam.
For many Indonesians, the niqab a full veil with a small slit for the eyes is an unwelcome Arab export and some associate it with radical Islam, which the country has wrestled with for years.
"We are a state university... we've been told to spread moderate Islam," the school's chancellor Yudian Wahyudi told a press briefing this week. The school, based in Indonesia's cultural capital Yogyakarta, has some 10,000 students.
Another Yogyakarta-based institution, Ahmad Dahlan University, has also introduced a new prohibition on the niqab out of fears it might stir up religious radicalism, which has seen a resurgence on many of the nation's university campuses. There will be no penalty for those who refuse, it added.
"But during exams, they cannot wear it because officials have to match the photos on their exam ID with them, which is hard if one is wearing the niqab," university chancellor Kasiyarno, who like many Indonesians goes by one name, told reporters Wednesday.
Indonesia's reputation as a bastion of progressiveness and religious tolerance has recently been tested by a government push to outlaw gay and pre-marital sex. The conservative lurch comes as once-fringe Islamic political parties move into the mainstream.
The niqab has been at the centre of a heated global debate over religious freedom and women's rights, with France the first European country to ban it in public spaces. Backers of the schools' new rules said wearing a niqab is not a religious obligation.
"Education should be about dialogue open and progressive and if you wear a niqab it interferes in that dialogue and the teaching-learning process," said Zuhairi Misrawi, head of the Jakarta-based Muslim Moderate Society.
But others saw the anti-niqab appeal as trampling on individual rights. It's "a matter of personal preference and the university has to respect that", said Fadlun Amin, a spokesman for the local chapter of the Forum Ukhuwah Islamiyah, part of top clerical body the Indonesian Ulema Council.
Several Indonesian universities have issued niqab bans in the past. Last year, a private Islamic high school in Java was reprimanded by local officials after images went viral online that showed a classroom of sitting female students wearing niqab, violating a national regulation on acceptable school uniforms.
Jakarta Hendardi, the chairman of the SETARA Institute, an NGO focused on advocacy and research on democracy and human rights, has condemned an attack on St. Zakharia Catholic Chapel in Ogan Ilir, East Palembang, South Sumatra.
"This is a real attack on Indonesia's diversity," he said in a press release made available to The Jakarta Post on Friday. Hendardi said the attack posed a challenge for members of the majority to ensure harmony in society.
"The latest demographic data indicates that residents in Ogan Ilir regency are 99.6 percent Muslim. This is a test for the Muslim majority to respond to intolerance, discrimination, persecution and violence against a minority," he said.
Hendardi called for residents of Ogan Ilir to work together to make social healing possible.
"The state apparatus will work on the case, yes. But members of society should also be involved in building social resilience, so that such barbaric attacks that wound our diversity won't happen again," he said.
The newly renovated St. Zakharia Catholic Chapel in Rantau Alay, Ogan Ilir, South Sumatra, was vandalized by an unidentified group on Thursday morning.
The chapel, which belongs to the Seberang Ulu parish, is located in Mekar Sari hamlet. Eyewitnesses said the attackers damaged the chapel's walls, benches and statues. They also attempted to set it on fire. (gis)
Jakarta A district head in Tangerang regency, Banten, identified only as AK, 48, has been arrested for allegedly extorting money from a foundation that aims to build a church.
The arrest follows a series of investigations by the South Tangerang Police implicating a Pagedangan district office staff member identified only as BP.
The two suspects, who have been charged for extortion, allegedly demanded that the church foundation pay Rp 600 million (US$43,560) before building a church within the complex of the QBig shopping mall in the regency.
South Tangerang Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Fadli Widiyanto said on Thursday that the foundation had paid Rp 150 million to BP, who then transferred the money to AK.
The suspects claimed that the money would be used for the public. However, they kept the money for themselves, Fadli said.
"BP then asked for another Rp 150 million to be paid immediately, as AK would go on a minor haj," Fadli said as quoted by tribunnews.com. (fac)
Jakarta Civil society group AURIGA Nusantara is calling on President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo through an online petition to stop local officials from issuing more land permits to businessmen.
A study commissioned by AURIGA found an increase in the issuance of mining, plantation and forest use permits a year before and after the 2015 regional elections, with a total of 13,000 land permits issued during the period of 2014-2016.
In the study, AURIGA came to the conclusion that local heads in many areas across Indonesia had received political campaign funds from businessmen as compensation for facilitating the issuance of permits.
"They have misused their authority," the group said on Monday about the petition posted on Change.org.
AURIGA said such corrupt practices might affect people's lives because deforestation and forest fires continued to increase every year, causing local communities to lose their ancestral land and water sources. "If we don't take action, we will all lose our homes," the group said.
Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW) activist Tama S. Langkun said that in addition to a moratorium, the government also needed to reform local offices in order to prevent such misdeeds from recurring ahead of the upcoming regional elections.
"This kind of corruption hurts both the environment and the people," Tama said on Sunday, adding that the public also needed to pay more attention to expose environment-related corruption.
Citing ICW data, the activist said Indonesia had lost around Rp 2.7 trillion (US$196.02 million) from a corruption case related to land permit issuance in North Konawe and another Rp 2.3 trillion from the e-ID case. (sha/ebf)
Resty Woro Yuniar When bicycle seller Willie Sebastian was offered a plot of land by the Indonesian government, little could he have known it was the start of a long and humiliating process that would eventually leave him not only empty-handed but feeling like a second-class citizen in the country of his birth.
As part of a drive to beautify the area around the Prambanan temple complex in Yogyakarta a site that has welcomed such foreign dignitaries as Barack Obama the state government had promised Sebastian an 80-metre square plot in return for him agreeing to relocate his store. Ever the good citizen and optimistic about his prospects in the new area Sebastian agreed and headed for the land agency in Sleman regency. But when he arrived, the wheels fell off the deal.
Sebastian was denied a land ownership certificate because he was a "non-native". Instead, he was forced to sign a form relinquishing his rights to the plot. "It was very painful to see the land that we bought with our savings, from our hard work, unlawfully handed over to the government," recalled Sebastian, 67.
He is one of countless ethnic Chinese who have been caught by an obscure policy prohibiting "non-native" ethnic groups from owning land in Yogyakarta, a special administrative region and sultanate on Java island.
The policy dates back to 1975, when the region's then vice-governor Paku Alam VIII told officials not to issue land ownership certificates to Indonesians of Arab, Indian and Chinese descent on the grounds that this would prevent capitalists from exploiting the land of "native Indonesians" the pribumi.
The instruction stemmed from a decades-long perception that these ethnic groups in particular the Chinese were both well-off and well versed in exploiting their wealth. (Ironically, it was a draconian rule by the dictator Suharto barring Chinese from government or military posts that did most to establish their reputation for business acumen, as it meant they had little choice other than to develop their own businesses).
Under the 1975 policy, landowners of these ethnicities were asked to "voluntarily" downgrade their rights: from land owners to land users. Unlike land owners, land users must pay tax and lose their rights after a maximum thirty years. In issuing the policy, the sultanate referred to a hierarchy dating back to the Dutch colonial period that divided Indonesians into three classes Europeans, East Asian migrants or non-pribumi, and native Indonesians or pribumi. Today, pribumi make up 95 per cent of the population.
Indonesia has taken steps to put this past behind it. The usage of the words pribumi and non-pribumi was banned after Suharto stepped down in 1998 and this was reinforced by a 2008 anti-discrimination law.
Yet discrimination continues in pockets such as Yogyakarta, where the land rights policy is implemented on an ad hoc basis. Sebastian, for instance, had no problem buying land soon after the reformasi that followed Suharto's downfall. It was not until 2002, when he was relocating from the temple area and registered for a different plot, that he was informed of the policy.
The policy has often been challenged by Chinese Indonesians and even governmental agencies in Jakarta, but to no avail. The latest lawsuit was filed in September by a Chinese Indonesian named Handoko, a Yogyakarta-based lawyer, against the provincial land agency and Sultan Hamengkubuwono X, the region's de facto governor.
The court last month upheld the policy, ruling it was in accordance with good governance, as it was made to protect the poor against the rich. Yogyakarta officials welcomed the court's decision, saying the policy was a form of positive discrimination. Suyitno, an expert witness in the case and an adviser to the sultan, told local media the instruction would be applied in Yogyakarta as long as the "equality gap remains high". Handoko has filed an appeal.
This is not the first time Handoko has taken on the policy. In 2015 he asked the Supreme Court for a judicial review and a year later he went to Yogyakarta's administrative court. Both cases flopped the Supreme Court did not recognise the instruction as a statutory law; the other court said it was outside its jurisdiction.
Others have also tried, and failed. Sebastian, who leads the group Nation's Children Against Discrimination, wrote in 2010 to then-president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, asking Jakarta to review the policy. Initially, things looked good: the national land agency instructed its subordinates in Yogyakarta to abandon the practice. Since then the same recommendation has been issued by the National Commission on Human Rights (twice), and the country's ombudsman. All have been ignored. "I have also wrote to President Joko Widodo but there has been no reply yet," Sebastian said. "This makes me wonder whether [Yogyakarta's] governor is too powerful."
Anti-Chinese sentiment has deep roots in Indonesia's flawed past there were anti-Chinese riots after the fall of Suharto on rumours Chinese were hoarding rice, while decades earlier hundreds of thousands were slaughtered after the abortive coup in 1965 that helped bring Suharto to power. For decades, Suharto had enforced a ban on expressions of Chinese culture, such as dragon dances.
That sentiment has flared in recent years, with increasing racial and religious tensions permeating the nation. Last month, a sword-wielding man attacked church-goers in St Lidwina church in Yogyakarta, injuring four people including a pastor.
In October, an event to mark the 500th anniversary of the birth of Protestant Reformation was cancelled after hardline Islamic groups said the service was a front to convert Muslims.
Tensions came to a boiling point last year during Jakarta's gubernatorial election. The incumbent governor, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, an ethnic Chinese Christian, landed in hot water when a fake video purporting to show him insulting the Koran went viral. Ahok, as he is widely known, is now serving a two-year sentence in prison for blasphemy.
"Sometimes I wonder, 'what is ethnic Tionghoa's sin?'" Sebastian said, using a colloquialism for Chinese Indonesians. "Suharto's oppressive rule for thirty-two years turned tionghoas into an inferior group, we were afraid to speak out. We finally found someone brave and vocal like Ahok, then they feared us."
Campaigners say one of the biggest hurdles in tackling discrimination over land rights is that many people are in the same position Sebastian himself once was unaware that such a policy even exists.
Yogyakarta is, after all, good at papering over the cracks. A recent week-long festival in the tourist area of Malioboro celebrated the Lunar New Year. Among the acts was a group of hijab-wearing women singing Islamic chants and playing rebana, or Malay tambourines. "I like that there is a rebana performance, it shows we respect each other's culture," said Sari Puspita, a Yogyakartan who visited the festival. Like many in her hometown, Sari was unaware ethnic Chinese could not own land.
Nevertheless, campaigners cling to hope, though even Handoko is not optimistic things will change in his lifetime. "To me, it feels normal to be disappointed, but I will keep on fighting," Handoko said. "In the US, black people fought for their rights for hundreds of years. I think this country will still be racist even after I die."
If you have something bad to say about Indonesia's House of Representatives (DPR) or any of its members, you'd best say it extremely carefully. A controversial law passed by the DPR one month ago, referred to as UU MD3, goes into effect starting today. And its most contentious article has the potential to criminalizes anybody who criticizes the legislative body or its members.
On February 12, the DPR ratified Bill No 17 of 2014 concerning the MPR (People's Legislative Council), DPR, DPD (Regional Representatives Council) and DPRD (Regional House of Representatives), which has been shortened in the Indonesian media as UU MD3. The bill contains a plethora of new laws which covers every level of legislative body in the Indonesian government but there are several articles that critics say are especially dangerous.
One of those, article 122, gives the DPR's Ethics Council (MKD) the power to take legal action against individuals, groups or legal entities that "degrade the honor of the DPR or DPR members". As is typical in Indonesian legislation, what constitutes a "degradation" of honor is left undefined, leaving the door wide open for the law to be used to criminalize legitimate criticism of legislators.
The bill managed to pass with little notice at first, which some suggested was due to public and activist attention being focused on the DPR's possible passage of an equally controversial revision to the country's Criminal Code (RKUHP). But after the bill's passage, condemnations quickly grew loud, with one critic saying UU MD3 would "drag Indonesia into a dark era of democracy".
House Speaker Bambang Soesatyo defended the article, saying that DPR members had the right to "defend their honor" just like members of any other profession. Also defending the bill was Deputy House Speaker Fadli Zon, who just days before voting for the UU MD3 had criticized an article in RKUHP that would make insulting the president illegal for being undemocratic.
After the bill was ratified by the DPR, it landed on the desk of President Joko Widodo to await his signature. Amid the outcry by critics, Jokowi said he would not sign the bill immediately due to its potential threat to democracy and consulted with several legal experts on what he could do.
But the president's hands were largely tied. Once a law has been passed by the DPR, a president does not have veto power over it and, even without his signature, it will automatically go into effect after 30 days.
"Starting today, UU MD3 has been enacted automatically, and also all of its articles become applicable," Feri Amsari, an expert on constitutional law at Andalas University, confirmed to Detik today.
In addition to the article regarding criticism of the DPR and its members, critics have also taken aim at UU MD3's article 73, which allows the DPR to order the police to forcibly summon individuals for questioning, as well as article 245, which requires investigators to get permission from either the president or the MKD in order to question DPR members about criminal cases.
Jokowi is believed to be considering passing a presidential decree (perppu) to negate UU MD3 or certain articles within it, but that would almost certainly upset the political parties that supported the bill's passage (which was most of them, including many within his coalition). Challenges to the law have been filed in the Constitutional Court, but there's no way to know yet how long it may take before the court would hear these.
Though traffic police officers soliciting bribes is hardly a new thing in Indonesia, public outrage over the practice spiked recently after a video showing a cop calling a motorist a "dog" for not being able to give him enough bribe money went viral recently.
Amid the controversy, Jakarta Metro Police Traffic Director Halim Pagarra admitted that there are still some crooked cops out there who ask for bribes in lieu of fines. That's despite, as Halim revealed to the media today, the fact that traffic cops are incentivized with a small financial bonus for every ticket they issue to traffic violators.
"Each traffic ticket issued by officers entitles them to IDR10K (US$0.73) as an incentive," Halim told Warta Kota.
Some might argue that giving financial incentive to cops for issuing tickets might encourage them to fine as many people as possible, fairly or otherwise, but with an incentive that small it seems likely that crooked cops would rather extort violators for bribes rather than pocket what amounts to little more than loose change.
For his part, Halim believes the bonus is there to discourage bribery by traffic police officers. And with around 2,000 tickets issued each day in the city, that amounts to IDR20 million to be shared between traffic cops in bonuses.
"I order all officers to hold professionalism, modernity, and trust in high regard. Don't find faults in the motorists. Everyone's fortunes have already been determined by God wherever we are," he said.
Still, Halim did not provide any data to show if the IDR10K incentive had actually done anything to discourage bribery solicitation amongst the force.
Meanwhile, the foul-mouthed cop in the aforementioned viral video, along with his partner, were reportedly merely demoted and transferred to the Headquarters Services (Yanma) of the Jakarta Metro Police, which oversees technical and administrative issues within the HQ.
Indonesia's government collected US$756 million in revenue from the Freeport gold and copper mine in Papua province last year.
The Jakarta Post reported that this was confirmed in an Indonesian House of Representatives hearing by the vice president of Freeport's Indonesian arm, Tony Wenas.
Mr Wenas said that total state revenues from the mine during the period from 1992 to 2017 amounted to US$17.3 billion.
PT Freeport Indonesia, the subsidiary of US-based company Freeport McMoran, has been in protracted negotiations with Indonesia's government over renewal of its mining permit.
In exchange for long term operating rights, the miner has agreed to divest 51 percent of shares in its Indonesian subsidiary.
However, Freeport and Jakarta have not yet settled on a price for the shares. Indonesia's President Joko Widodo has called for negotiations to be completed by the end of April.
Jakarta Foreign investors have been withdrawing capital from the Indonesian market since early this year in anticipation of an increase in the Federal Reserve fund rate, analysts have said.
This month alone, net sales from foreign investor capital in the bourse reached Rp 4.93 trillion (US$345.1 million), with Rp 13.50 trillion recorded since early January. A similar trend has occurred in bond market, particularly the government market.
According to Finance Ministry Directorate General of Budget Financing and Risk Management, foreign ownership of government debt papers as of March 7 was recorded at Rp 831.65 trillion, compared with Rp864.73 trillion recorded on Feb. 1.
Foreign ownership of government debt papers in late 2017 was recorded at Rp 836.16 trillion.
Capital Asset Management fund manager Desmon Silitonga said capital withdrawal by foreign investors could not be separated from what was happening in the United States as a speech by Federal Reserve governor Jerome Powell had indicated another increase of the Fed fund rate was likely.
"Foreign investors are trying to adjust their portfolios because of sentiment surrounding the Fed fund rate," he said as quoted by tribunnews.com. Desmon believed that foreign investors had relocated their funds to Europe and the US.
Fixed income fund manager Ashmore Asset Management Indonesia analyst Anil Kumar said the sales of foreign investors was unavoidable as the situation was worsened by the weakening rupiah exchange rate against US dollar. (bbn)
Jakarta The Indonesian economy faces tough global challenges with the rupiah exchange rate weakening, says an economic team from publicly listed private lender Bank Danamon.
The team noted three threats against the economy the outflow of United States dollars from Indonesian market, trade war and the increase of global energy prices.
It projects the ongoing outflow of capital from the Indonesian market owing to the sales of shares and bonds by foreign investors sparked by US economic improvement.
As a result, the Jakarta Composite Index (JCI) declined 2 percent earlier this week and the rupiah exchange rate weakened to above 13,800 against the dollar.
"High composition of foreign investment in both shares and bonds make Indonesia fragile to any global fluctuation," said Danamon economist Dian Ayu Yustina at a statement on Friday as reported by kontan.co.id.
Another tough challenge for the economy was a trade war initiated by President Donald Trump's decision to impose a tariff of 25 percent on steel imports and 10 percent tariff on aluminum imports.
The third threat was the increasing price of global energy, of which coal prices had reached more than US$100 per ton, while global crude oil had reached $70 per barrel.
The rupiah will continue to face pressure, said Dian, adding that Bank Indonesia might be open to the possibility of increasing its reference rate. (bbn)
Jakarta The Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin) has lauded President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's move to reduce the annual income tax rate for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) from 1 percent to 0.5 percent.
The decision, which was made during a Cabinet meeting on Thursday, had been a direct response to Kadin's proposal, according to Kadin chairman Rosan Perkasa Roeslani.
"This is very positive. We welcome to government's response to our proposal, which we had made on a number of occasions," Rosan said during Food Security Summit 4 as reported by kompas.com. He said the tax cut would boost the growth of SMEs.
During the Cabinet meeting, President Jokowi initially proposed a 0.25 percent tax rate for SMEs, but Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati argued that the figure was too low.
Under Government Regulation (PP) No. 46/2013, SMEs with a turnover threshold of Rp. 4.8 billion (US$348,480) annually were required to pay 1 percent income tax.
Directorate General of Taxation spokesman Hestu Yoga Saksama said the government would immediately revise related regulations following Jokowi's decision. (bbn)
Jakarta The government is making a stringent effort to simplify the process for investors to obtain tax allowances and tax holidays, assuring that an upcoming regulation would be simpler and offer more certainty.
"We are preparing a new regulation that will be simpler, no lengthy red tape anymore," Coordinating Economic Minister Darmin Nasution said on Thursday in Jakarta as reported by tempo.co.
The new regulation would contain specific provisions for each industry, but in general, investors would be required to establish "greenfield industries", opening business in special economic zones, said Darmin.
Industries that were eligible for the tax holiday would be determined by the Indonesian Standard of Industrial Classification (KBLI), Darmin said, adding that the tax holiday was zero percent.
"So for those who intend to apply [for the tax holiday], we will not discuss the industry, but refer directly to the KBLI [...]," he said. The incentive would be awarded once an investor had obtained a KBLI number.
Separately, Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati said the government would use a variety of tax instruments to encourage economic growth, including tax allowances and tax holidays for income tax deductions.
Sri Mulyani said the government was reevaluating the procedure for granting tax incentives because very few businesspeople were interested in applying for the facility. (bbn)
The government is making a stringent effort to simplify the process for investors to obtain tax allowances and tax holidays, assuring that an upcoming regulation would be simpler and offer more certainty.
"We are preparing a new regulation that will be simpler, no lengthy red tape anymore," Coordinating Economic Minister Darmin Nasution said on Thursday in Jakarta as reported by tempo.co.
The new regulation would contain specific provisions for each industry, but in general, investors would be required to establish "greenfield industries", opening business in special economic zones, said Darmin.
Industries that were eligible for the tax holiday would be determined by the criteria of the Indonesian Standard of Industrial Classification (KBLI), Darmin said, adding that the tax holiday was zero percent.
"So for those who intend to apply [for the tax holiday], we will not discuss the industry, but refer directly to the KBLI [...]," he said, adding that the incentive would be awarded once an investor had obtained a KBLI number.
Separately, Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati said the government would use a variety of tax instruments to encourage economic growth, including tax allowances and tax holidays for income tax deductions.
Sri Mulyani said the government was reevaluating the procedure for granting tax incentives because very few businesspeople were interested in applying for the facility. (bbn)
Ryan Griffiths West Papuans have it much harder than Scots or Catalans. In West Papua it is illegal to fly the independence flag.
In guidebooks it is referred to as the country's final frontier. It is a vast territory consisting of mostly unspoiled wilderness and a relatively sparse population. There are immense forests and soaring, glacier-capped mountains.
When traveling to the region from the country's populated core, it is common to see settlers and contractors who work for mining and logging companies. One cannot help but notice the presence of soldiers that are there to offer protection from the natives.
This description sounds, to the American ear, like the development of the western frontier. It has an old world ring to it, and is resonant with the frontier stories of Australia, Canada, Russia, and numerous settings around the globe. But the subject of the description is West Papua, a contemporary frontier region in Indonesia.
West Papua, roughly the size of California, is the colloquial name given to the western half of the island of New Guinea (the eastern half of the island is the sovereign state of Papua New Guinea). It is an extraordinarily diverse place with hundreds of languages and cultural groups.
The very concept of West Papua is in many ways the product of colonialism. It was once known as Dutch New Guinea, a region within the Dutch East Indies. Between 1949 and 1963 it was a stand-alone Dutch colony. It was later called Irian Jaya after it came under Indonesian control in the 1960s. Since that time it has been the scene of an independence struggle against the Indonesian government.
The independence effort, or Free Papua Movement, is now 60 years old. It is thought that 100,000 people have died in the resulting conflict, although estimates vary widely. Reports of torture, extrajudicial killing, and human rights abuses are common.
The strategy of the secessionists (never really a unified group) has oscillated between outright insurgency at times pitting rebels with bows and arrows against soldiers with modern weaponry to forms of nonviolent civil resistance and protest to diplomatic outreach.
Like other historical cultures on the frontier of a large expansive state, the West Papuans feel that they are becoming increasingly marginalized on their own land.
A chief driver of this sentiment is the Indonesian transmigration program, an attempt by the State to relocate people from the core islands of Java, Bali, and Madura to the less populated and less developed outer islands.
This has dramatically altered the population balance in West Papua. Whereas non-West Papuans accounted for approximately 4% of the population in 1971 and 32% in 2000, they are now becoming a majority.
Whether or not this represents an attempt by the State to transform the ethnic composition of the region, instead of simply transferring citizens to less populated provinces, the native reaction is not hard to anticipate: they see this as a form of imperialism that alienates them from their land. Some observers of the state of affairs in West Papua have called it "slow motion genocide."
In addition to the demographic trends, the West Papuans feel marginalized from the economy and relative prosperity that non-West Papuans enjoy.
West Papuans are disproportionately poorer and have higher rates of incarceration and alcoholism. The ethnic, linguistic, and religious differences combine with stereotypes of West Papuan backwardness to perpetuate forms of racism. Not unlike the marginalized indigenous groups of Australia and the United States, there is a seeming intractability to the divide that gives rise to despair. Many West Papuans fear that they will disappear as a people.
Independence movements are shaped by their settings. The Northern Cypriots and the Abkhazians possess their own independent, albeit unrecognized, state and for them life is not so different from state-possessing nations elsewhere.
The Scots and the Catalans have democratized movements and their resulting political efforts bear a likeness to other forms of formalized political contestation.
But the conditions in West Papua are different. It is illegal to fly the independence flag (The Morning Star), demonstrations are routinely broken up, and independence-related meetings are often raided by the police or military.
In addition, media access to the region is limited. This type of state suppression transforms an independence movement in a specific way: it makes it into a resistance struggle.
I recently traveled to West Papua to participate in a workshop focusing on unity building and the advancement of nonviolent methods for seeking self-determination. The workshop was clandestine and I was told to travel without any physical or electronic documents about secession should I be detained.
The participants were brought in from all over West Papua and Indonesia, and included students, former insurgents and political prisoners, and members of the clergy. More than half of the participants had been beaten by the police, several had been tortured, and they all knew people who had been killed by the State security forces.
At close range, I have found all independence movements to be inspirational. There is always a sense of hope, enthusiasm for the mission, and a poignant celebration of national identity and culture.
But independence movements in the form of a resistance struggle are truly stirring, and I was unprepared for the level of camaraderie and devotion I found when attending the workshop.
The participants would begin each session by joining hands and singing spirituals. They engaged in highly emotional unity-building exercises and forms of ritual. In one exercise they formed a circle, joined hands, closed their eyes, and took turns calling the names of those who have inspired them, alive or dead.
With each calling the group would murmur "present" (in Indonesian). I was told that this was a way to invite the larger community (the living and the dead) to bear witness to their struggle, and that the practice was borrowed from past Latin American resistance groups.
A visitor to Barcelona will quickly notice the ubiquity of the Catalan independence flag. But in West Papua I saw the Morning Star flag only once, painted on the side of a handbag for sale at a local market.
I asked a friend if the vendor would be arrested, and they replied that the West Papuans push the envelope in small, subtle ways such as this after all, it was a bag not a flag and that such acts constitute everyday forms of resistance.
The deck is stacked against the West Papuans. Indonesia is quite keen to hold on to the province, and it is a strong state with powerful allies including the United States, Australia, and transnational mining corporations, who all have an interest in looking the other way.
The military and police are involved in local business and the growing non-West Papuan population is loyal to the State. Secessionist-related activity is punishable by imprisonment or worse. And the West Papuans are becoming increasingly marginalized.
This is a form of frontier imperialism that goes largely overlooked outside of West Papua. Yet this is a moment that took place generations ago on other frontiers. Given the current trajectory, the West Papuans are destined to become a small minority in their own land.
Like the Native Americans or Australian aboriginals, their languages might endure in pockets and in the names of geographic features and terms that will be appropriated by the settler population. One day, after a period of semi-assimilation, forced or otherwise, there may even be sincere society-wide attempts at reconciliation that many will see as too late.
There are two sides to every independence struggle. The Indonesian government has gotten some things right and it would be wrong to fault the non-West Papuan migrants who are just seeking a better life.
But there is always space for dialogue, the right to free speech, and the opening of democratic channels. The solution is to empower the West Papuans now, to recognize and bear witness to their struggle, and to give them greater autonomy, before it is too late.