Skip to main content

A Victory for Mainstream Politics in Indonesia

16 November 2012

Organising elections in huge countries like India and Indonesia is a logistical nightmare. Both countries held general elections in April, which proceeded relatively peacefully despite the many flaws. Although it is widely accepted that holding general elections is the easiest part of the democratic process, Indonesia is today regarded as the third largest democracy in the world. It is only ten years since it shook itself free of a 32-year authoritarian regime and rejoined the ranks of the world’s democratic regimes.Indonesia is the largest archipelago in the world with no fewer than 17,000...

Indigenous Papuans Could Become a Minority in the Papuan Regional Representative Assembly (DPRP)

16 November 2012

In essence, Special Autonomy (Otonomi Khusus, OTSUS) is simple: its introduction to Papua clearly meant siding with, protecting and empowering the rights of the indigenous Papuan people in every aspect of life as well as developing Papua (the provinces of Papua and West Papua), including in political affairs. It is for this reason that a number of articles were included in Law No. 21, 2001 which specifically regulate the political rights of the indigenous Papuan people.The most pressing question at the moment is how to safeguard the political rights of indigenous Papuans in the 2009 general...

Human Rights Defenders’ Pledge

16 November 2012

This year’s elections raise a number of questions about the future for human rights in Indonesia. Chief among them are what are the parties’ and candidates’ policies on human rights and what is the public’s attitude towards candidates suspected of involvement in human rights violations. A recent congress of human rights defenders has issued a pledge that sets out a number of concerns and recommendations. An article published by United Press International proposes a human rights agenda for Indonesia.To read the full 3 page update, please download the PDF file.

Women in Parliament: Quotas and Beyond

16 November 2012

Elections in Indonesia are now often regarded as genuine ‘festivals of democracy’, events to be celebrated after more than the three decades of dictatorship when elections were rigged and the outcome was always predictable. As the 2009 elections draw near and the hustle and bustle of election fever intensifies, a question in many people’s minds is: Will women win a larger share of the seats than in the two elections that followed Suharto’s downfall?In December, with less than four months to go before this year’s election of the national and provisional assemblies, the Constitutional Court...

Election Updates

16 November 2012

In 2009, TAPOL produced a series of election updates ahead of and during Indonesia's legislative and presidential elections. The updates, available in English and Indonesian, provided political analysis of the election process and featured a number of key issues, including women in parliament, impunity, the impact of elections in Aceh and West Papua, and the national human rights defenders' perspective.As the 2014 elections approach, TAPOL hopes to provide similar coverage, during what promises to be a pivotal year for human rights, peace and democracy in Indonesia.

The Rise and Fall of Military Candidates in the Indonesian Elections

16 November 2012

Elections are an indication of several things: the popularity or otherwise of the government as well as other political trends. In a complex country like Indonesia, they also involve efforts by groups within the power elite to secure victory or by those how have lost out to make a comeback. Since the fall of Suharto in 1998, the military elite have lost much of their political clout and are now officially excluded from the political arena. It is therefore no accident that many retired officers, in particular army generals, are keen to return to the political arena. Many have been nominated as...

Rights violations overshadow Presidential visit

18 October 2012

Civil society groups question UK-Indonesia tiesFourteen years ago, the downfall of President Suharto in 1998 set Indonesia on a course of reform and democratic transition that has impressively transformed the country from a harshly repressive dictatorship to a chaotic yet functional democracy.But many problems remain. The country’s overall record on human rights, the rule of law and religious freedoms, still falls far short of accepted international standards.Although the Indonesian military, TNI, has been deprived of its former role as a major political force, it retains an influential role...

Call for medical treatment and release of West Papuan prisoner, Filep Karma

24 April 2012

Your Excellency,I am writing on behalf of TAPOL to express our deep concern at the continued imprisonment of Mr Filep Karma who is now in his eighth year of detention simply for having peacefully raised the Morning Star Flag, the symbol of the Papuan people.Six months ago, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention described Mr Karma’s detention as being ‘in direct violation of Indonesia’s human rights obligations as well as being in breach of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights’.Our concern is all the greater having been...

TAPOL letter urges PM to stop selling arms to Indonesia

13 April 2012

Dear Mr Cameron,TAPOL has been closely following your visit to Indonesia this week. We note that you praised Indonesia as a ‘Democracy (which) offers hope to the Muslim World’. You were also quoted as saying that you had decided ‘to relax controls of arms exports to Indonesia … as a sign of Indonesia’s democratic maturity’. Your delegation to Indonesia included representatives from several British arms manufacturers.I would remind you that two years ago in an article on West Papua in The Daily Telegraph you were quoted as describing ‘the plight of the tribespeople as a terrible situation’....

Urgent Appeal to Special Rapporteur on HRDs: threat to prosecute Gustav Kawer

07 March 2012

Dear Mrs SekaggyaUrgent appealIndonesia: Threat to prosecute human rights defender, Mr Gustav KawerWe are writing to you on behalf of the Asian Human Rights Commission, the Australian West Papua Association, the East Timor and Indonesia Action Network, the Faith-based Network on West Papua, Franciscans International, the Indonesia Human Rights Committee, KontraS, and the West Papua Advocacy Team, in relation to threats made against human rights lawyer Mr Gustav Kawer by the Public Prosecutor’s Office in Jayapura, Papua Province, Indonesia.Mr Kawer is an independent lawyer who is part of the...

Links on MIFEE project in West Papua

14 February 2012

1. MIFEE project in West PapuaJuly 31 2011: Request for Consideration of the Situation of Indigenous Peoples in Merauke, Papua Province, Indonesia, under the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination’s Urgent Action and Early Warning Procedures.
Cover letter:
Submission: 2 2011: UN CERD formal communication to the Permanent Mission of Indonesia regarding allegations of threatening and...

MIFEE Project Violates Right to Food

09 August 2011

Letter to the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, requesting urgent assistance to address the imminent threat to the Right to Food of the indigenous peoples in Merauke, Papua Province, Indonesia. The letter was submitted by 22 organisations, and makes the following request:In light of the above and in particular the gravity of the matter, the existing harms, and the likelihood of imminent irreparable harms, the Submitting Organizations respectfully request that your office:(i) Send an Urgent Appeal to the Government of Indonesia expressing your concern about the violations of rights...

Foreign Office Response to Tapol on Papua torture case

01 November 2010

The Foreign Office responds to Tapol's Letter of 19 October 2010 regarding the recent torture case in Papua. TAPOL called on the government to press Indonesia for an immediate investigation. In their reply they state that they have encouraged Indonesia to investigate the case, and outline the nature of their current engagement on the issue of Indonesia's armed forces and human rights.To read the Foreign Office reply in full, please download the PDF file.

TAPOL calls for torture enquiry

19 October 2010

Dear Mr. Hague,We have just learnt of an incident involving two Papuan men who were reportedly subjected to very serious acts of torture while being interrogated in the region of Puncak Jaya in West Papua by two or more men who appear to be members of the Indonesian security forces.The incident, which appears to have occurred earlier this year, was recorded on a mobile phone by an individual who was on the spot and circulated widely on YouTube four days ago. The video has since been removed by YouTube, according to yesterday’s issue of The Jakarta Post, ‘because of its shocking and disgusting...

Indonesia and the 1965 tragedy - Letter to President SBY

22 September 2010

Dear Mr President,Indonesia and the 1965 tragedyWe have just had the privilege of hosting one of Indonesia’s foremost writers and producers of documentary films.Putu Oka Sukanta is one of hundreds of thousands of Indonesians who spent many years as political prisoners, held without charge or trial in prisons and camps across the country, for no other reason than that they were suspected of being members or alleged sympathizers of the Indonesian Communist Party, the PKI, or of organizations allegedly affiliated to the PKI.Putu Oka Sukanta was himself a political detainee for ten years, from...

Call to President SBY to release Papuan political prisoners - open letter

16 August 2010

Dear President Yudhoyono:As Indonesia's National Day on 17 August approaches, we the undersigned non-governmental organizations engaged in the defense of human rights in Indonesia are deeply concerned that dozens of Papuans are incarcerated in prisons in Papua and West Papua simply for having been involved in non-violent demonstrations or expressions of opinion.In most cases, these prisoners have been sentenced under Criminal Code Articles 106 and 110 regarding "rebellion." These articles are a legacy from the Dutch colonial era and are in violation of the Indonesian Constitution, Articles 28...

Criminal defamation proceedings against Usman Hamid - Letter to Indonesian Justice Minister

02 November 2009

Dear Minister,RE: CRIMINAL DEFAMATION PROCEEDINGS AGAINST INDONESIAN HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDER, USMAN HAMIDThe undersigned members of the Indonesia NGO Forum and Watch Indonesia from Germany would like to take this opportunity to welcome you in your new position and bring to your attention some of our recent concerns regarding the situation of human rights defenders in Indonesia. The NGO Forum is an informal network of UK-based organisations that work on issues ranging from human rights and development to the environment and humanitarian relief in Indonesia and Timor- Leste. This letter does not...

Letter on justice and accountability for Timor‐Leste

20 October 2009

Your ExcellencyWe have long been concerned with the justice and accountability for human rights and war crimes committed in Timor-Leste.As you meet this week to discuss the situation in Timor-Leste, we remind you that United Nations -- and more specifically Security Council -- pledges and obligations concerning human rights and accountability for serious human rights crimes remain unfulfilled.Once again we urge the Security Council to implement the recommendations of the 2005 Commission of Experts (CoE) report and Chega! (Enough!), the final report of the Timor-Leste's Reception, Truth and...

The Multi-Choice Elections

16 October 2009

2009 will be an important year for reformasi in Indonesia, which began in 1998 after the downfall of the dictatorial Suharto regime. On 9 April 2009, elections will be held for the Indonesian Parliament, the DPR (Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat, People’s Representative Assembly), the DPD (Dewan Perwakilan Daerah, Regional Representatives Council) and provincial assemblies. Three months later, the first round of direct elections will be held for the President and Vice-President. No fewer than 38 political parties will participate in the legislative elections. Just ten years ago, Indonesia emerged from...

Letter on Timor-Leste to President of the UN Security Council

18 February 2009

Your ExcellencyWe are writing on behalf of organizations long concerned with the justice process in Timor-Leste.As you meet this week to discuss renewing the UN mission in Timor-Leste, we urge you to look at the unfulfilled UN pledges concerning human rights and accountability for serious human rights crimes committed in Timor-Leste between 1975 and 1999.We urge the Security Council to seriously examine the recommendations of the 2005 Commission of Experts (CoE) report and Chega! (Enough!), the final report of the Timor-Leste's Reception, Truth and Reconciliation Commission (CAVR), as guides...