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USGov: Indonesia chapter 2016 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices 1/2

March 7, 2017

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U.S. Department of State


Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
2016 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

March 3, 2017

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Indonesia is a multiparty democracy. In 2014 voters elected Joko Widodo (commonly known as Jokowi) as president. Domestic and international observers judged the 2014 legislative and presidential elections free and fair.

Civilian authorities generally maintained control over security forces.

Despite high-profile arrests and convictions, widespread corruption remained a problem, and some elements within the government, judiciary, and security forces obstructed corruption investigations and harassed their accusers. Impunity for serious human rights violations remained a concern. The government failed to conduct transparent, public investigations into some allegations of unjustified killings, torture, and abuse by security forces. Elements within the government applied treason, blasphemy, defamation, and decency laws to limit freedom of expression and assembly. There was a notable increase in rhetoric against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) persons during the year.

Police inaction, abuse of prisoners and detainees, harsh prison conditions, insufficient protections for religious and social minorities, trafficking in persons, child labor, and failure to enforce labor standards and worker rights continued as problems.

On some occasions the government punished officials who committed abuses, but sentencing often was not commensurate with the severity of offenses, as was true in other types of crimes.

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom from:

a. Arbitrary Deprivation of Life and other Unlawful or Politically Motivated Killings

During the year human rights groups and the media reported that military and police personnel used excessive force during arrests, investigations, crowd control situations, and other operations. In these cases and other cases of alleged misconduct, the police and the military frequently did not disclose the findings of internal investigations to the public or confirm whether such investigations occurred. Official statements related to these allegations sometimes contradicted witness accounts, making confirmation of the facts difficult. Nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and the media reported that police tortured suspects during detention and interrogation, including torture that resulted in death (see section 1.c.).

Komnas HAM and the Presidential Advisory Board (Wantimpres) hosted a two-day symposium on the 1965-66 anti-Communist purges on April 18 and 19 in Jakarta, marking the first government-sponsored event on disappearances and killings that affected hundreds of thousands of persons by common estimates. The event featured speakers from the government, including then coordinating minister for politics, legal, and security affairs Luhut Pandjaitan, former military officers from the period, victims, victims’ families, and advocates. Government officials made clear at the outset that reconciliation would not include judicial remedies, official apologies, or reparations, a move criticized by NGOs as inadequate. During the symposium victims of the tragedy were for the first time given a stage–on national television–to tell their stories and ask for an end to stigma, without fear of censorship or reprisal. Many hardline groups made clear their opposition to any event on the purges, and there were small protests at the symposium. The symposium concluded that the government should create a full historical accounting of the 1965-66 events, facilitate rehabilitation for victims, end the social stigma, and undertake a national reconciliation process that would include similar events across the country. President Jokowi said he would consider the recommendations.

Occasional violence continued to affect the provinces of Papua and West Papua. In December 2015 a shootout between 25 personnel of Yapen Police District and 20 alleged members of the Free Papua Movement (OPM) took place in Wanapompi Bawah village, Serui, Yapen Islands, during a patrol to disperse a Papua Independence Day commemoration. This resulted in the death of two OPM members, Erik Manitori and Yulianus Robaha, and injuries to 10 other members. Later that month an unknown armed group attacked the Sinak subdistrict police office and killed three officers, while another two were injured but managed to escape. The attackers also stole seven firearms and a box of ammunition.

The lack of transparent investigations continued to hamper accountability in a number of past cases involving security forces. These included the 2013 killings of two members of a proindependence group at a prayer service and flag raising ceremony in Sorong, the 2012 killings of Mako Tabuni and Tejoli Weya, and the 2011 killing of three individuals during the forced dissolution of the Third Papuan People’s Congress. Human rights groups continued to allege that senior members of the State Intelligence Agency were involved in the 2004 killing of human rights activist Munir Said Thalib. In September, President Jokowi pledged to settle the unresolved case. On October 10, the Public Information Commission ruled that the investigation findings conducted during the presidency of Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono were public information that must be released. President Yudhoyono sent copies of the findings to the State Secretariat Ministry on October 26. The findings remained under examination at the Attorney General’s Office.

On January 14, four civilians were killed in a terrorist attack involving bombs and shooting in Central Jakarta. Four attackers also were killed.

b. Disappearance

There were no reports of politically motivated disappearances. The government and civil society organizations, however, reported little progress in accounting for persons who disappeared in previous years or in prosecuting those responsible for such disappearances.

c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

The constitution states that every person shall have the right to be free from torture and other cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment. The law criminalizes the use of violence or force by officials to elicit a confession. Officials can be imprisoned for up to four years if they use violence or force, but the criminal code does not specifically criminalize torture.

NGOs reported that torture continued to be commonplace in police detention facilities. Police reportedly tortured suspects during detention and interrogation, including torture that resulted in death. NGOs, victims, and media organizations reported that police officers blindfolded detainees; beat detainees with nightsticks, fists, and rifle butts; applied electric shock; burned suspects during interrogations; and forced confessions at gunpoint.

Between July 2015 and July 2016, the Commission on the Disappeared and Victims of Violence (KontraS) recorded 224 reports of police violence, including 91 cases of torture. A disproportionate number of these incidents involved the Investigative General Crimes (Reskrim) units, also known as the Criminal Investigation Division (CID) units. Komnas HAM reported 188 cases of police misconduct involving CID units from January to April.

On February 25, the Supreme Court overturned the acquittal of Neil Bantleman and Ferdinant Tijong, two teachers at the Jakarta International School (now Jakarta Intercultural School), on charges they sexually abused three students. The Supreme Court ruling reinstated the trial court convictions, returned the teachers to jail, and increased their sentences from 10 to 11 years. In a related case, five custodial staff members at the school were also convicted of sexual abuse and were serving sentences of 10 years after the Jakarta High Court rejected their appeal in August 2015. The five reported that police officers tortured them during interrogations. A sixth custodial staff member died while being questioned by police. Expert medical evidence presented at the trial, along with inquiries by NGOs and the media, concluded that no child abuse had taken place.

Under terms of the 2005 peace agreement that ended a separatist conflict in Aceh, the province has special authority to implement sharia law regulations. Authorities in Aceh carried out public canings for violations of sharia in cases of gambling, adultery, alcohol consumption, and sexual relations outside of marriage. According to media reports, authorities caned 108 individuals in 2015. On April 12, a 60-year-old Christian woman was caned for selling alcohol. Her caning was the first instance of a non-Muslim being punished under sharia law in Aceh. Aceh provincial officials in charge of sharia law enforcement stated that the woman chose to receive punishment under sharia law rather than the criminal statutes, which may carry fines and imprisonment. Other officials stated that the caning was an “error” that was not in accordance with Aceh’s sharia code and reiterated that provincial sharia does not apply to non-Muslims. A new criminal code that took effect in Aceh during the year also calls for caning of those convicted of homosexuality, adultery, and other offenses (see section 6). Authorities in Aceh issued a public statement clarifying that sharia law does not apply to non-Muslims, foreigners, or Muslim Indonesians not resident in Aceh.

Prison and Detention Center Conditions

Conditions at the country’s 477 prisons and detention centers were often harsh and sometimes life threatening.

Physical Conditions: Overcrowding was a serious problem, including at immigration detention centers. According to the Ministry of Law and Human Rights, in July there were 198,199 prisoners and detainees in the prisons and detention centers, which were designed to hold 118,969. Overcrowded prisons faced hygiene and ventilation problems in high temperature regions such as North Sumatra, which adversely affected the living conditions of the convicts.

By law prisons are supposed to hold those convicted by courts, while detention centers hold those awaiting trial. At times, however, officials held pretrial detainees together with convicted prisoners.

By law children convicted of serious crimes serve their sentences in juvenile prisons. As of August there were 3,115 juvenile convicted prisoners, some of whom were held in the adult prison system. On August 5, Minister of Law and Human Rights Yasonna Laoly announced plans to build special juvenile correction facilities in 34 provinces, but as of November no juveniles had been relocated to the 19 facilities completed since President Joko Widodo took office.

Authorities generally held female prisoners at separate facilities. In prisons that housed both male and female prisoners, female prisoners were held in separate cellblocks. According to NGO observers, the conditions in prisons for females tended to be significantly better than those in prisons for men. Women’s cellblocks within prisons that held prisoners of both genders, however, did not always grant female prisoners access to the same amenities, such as exercise facilities, as their male counterparts.

According to government figures, 548 prisoners died in custody between January 1 and June 30. Of these, 240 died of old age and natural causes, 30 died from leptospirosis, five died during a prison riot, and 50 of other causes.

NGOs noted authorities sometimes did not provide prisoners adequate medical care. Human rights activists observed that authorities did not deny medical care to prisoners based on their crimes, but rather due to a lack of resources. International and local NGOs reported that in some cases prisoners did not have ready access to clean drinking water. There were widespread reports that the government did not supply sufficient food to prisoners, and family members often brought food to supplement their relatives’ diets. Family members also reported prison officials sought bribes to allow prison visits, according to NGO reports.

Guards in detention facilities and prisons regularly extorted money from inmates, and prisoners reported that guards physically abused them. Inmates within the correctional institutions often bribed or paid corrections officers for favors, food, phones, or narcotics. The use and production of illicit drugs in prisons was a serious problem, with some drug networks basing operations out of prisons.

Administration: The Ombudsman’s Office launched a self-initiated investigation of prison conditions and reported its findings to the minister of law and human rights. It was not clear whether any changes resulted from this reporting.

Independent Monitoring: Some domestic NGOs received access to prisons, but they were required to obtain permission through bureaucratic mechanisms, including approval from the police, attorney general, courts, the Ministry of Home Affairs, and other agencies. NGOs reported that direct access to prisoners for interviews was rarely permitted.

Improvements: On August 5, the Ministry of Law and Human Rights formed a special team to investigate allegations of extortion and bribery in all correctional facilities.

d. Arbitrary Arrest or Detention

The law prohibits arbitrary arrest and detention, but there are inadequate enforcement mechanisms. NGOs and the media reported that police abuse of suspects in detention was common.

Role of the Police and Security Apparatus

By law the Indonesian National Police (POLRI) is responsible for internal security. The Indonesian National Armed Forces (TNI) is responsible for external defense, and its military territorial commands are individually charged with deterring and overcoming threats to national sovereignty and territorial integrity within their respective commands. On request and with authorization from the president, the military may provide operational support to the police in counterterrorism operations and in resolving communal conflicts. A presidential instruction issued in 2013, and a subsequent memorandum of understanding between the police and the TNI, further elaborated the military’s role in resolving communal conflicts. Such operations are subject to laws and regulations that govern law enforcement activities other than warfare, and police retain explicit operational control. Despite this regulatory framework, some observers expressed concern that the TNI used its role in counterdomestic terrorism operations as a means to re-establish a stronger unilateral role in domestic security and intelligence operations.

The president appoints the national police chief, subject to confirmation by the House of Representatives (DPR). The police chief reports to the president but is not a full member of the cabinet. Police had approximately 430,000 personnel deployed in 31 regional commands in 34 provinces. They maintain a centralized hierarchy with local police units formally reporting to national headquarters, but in fact local units exercise considerable autonomy.

The Ethics Division of POLRI is responsible for investigating crimes committed by police. The TNI appoints teams of investigators who are responsible for investigating crimes by military personnel. The police and TNI rarely disclosed the findings or acknowledged the existence of internal investigations to the public. The Internal Affairs Division and the National Police Commission within the POLRI investigated complaints from the public against individual police officers. As of August, 349 police officers had been discharged because of infractions. There is no system in place, however, to ensure that abusive officers cannot be rehired elsewhere as police officers.

On March 11, terrorist suspect Siyono (one name only) died while in police custody near Klaten, Central Java, drawing widespread criticism from civil society groups, politicians, and the public. On April 19, the Police Internal Affairs Division ethics tribunal found that two Detachment 88 officers had violated standard operating procedures by failing to handcuff Siyono while transporting him and failing to have enough individuals guarding him. The tribunal demoted the officers and transferred them to other detachments for at least four years, a decision the officers appealed. Human rights groups criticized the accountability as inadequate and continued to push for criminal charges against the officers. The police stated that no criminal charges would be filed because there was no evidence that the officers intentionally killed Siyono.

In Aceh the Sharia Police, an independent provincial body, is responsible for enforcing sharia law.

There was impunity and corruption within the police and military (see sections 1.a. and 4). For example, in September, Hartomo (one name only) was appointed to head the Armed Forces Strategic Intelligence Agency (BAIS). In 2003 a military tribunal convicted Hartomo for the 2001 murder of prominent Papuan civil society leader, Theys Eluay. He was sentenced to three and one-half years in prison and discharged from the military. Later in 2003 he appealed his conviction to a military tribunal in Jakarta. The outcome of that tribunal was never made public, but Hartomo resurfaced on active duty in 2005. Several former members of the Special Forces’ Rose Team, who were convicted in 1999 of kidnapping youth and prodemocracy activists from 1996 to 1998, reemerged on active duty in the military, counterterrorism agency, intelligence agency, and Ministry of Defense. On September 1, the military promoted four of these former members.

On July 27, President Jokowi appointed Wiranto (one name only), the former TNI commander in chief, as the coordinating minister for political, legal, and security affairs. In 2003 the UN-established Special Panel for Serious Crimes (SPSC) in East Timor indicted Wiranto for crimes against humanity based on his command responsibility for Indonesia-directed militias that committed atrocities in East Timor in 1999. In September the government appointed General Yayat Sudrajat secretary of the Coordinating Ministry for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs. The SPSC for East Timor also indicted him for crimes against humanity in 2003.

Arrest Procedures and Treatment of Detainees

The law provides detainees the right to notify their families promptly and specifies that security forces must produce warrants during an arrest. Exceptions are permitted if, for example, a suspect is caught in the act of committing a crime. The law allows investigators to issue warrants, but at times authorities made arrests without warrants. By law suspects or defendants have the right to legal counsel of their choice at every stage of an investigation. Court officials are supposed to provide free legal counsel to persons charged with offenses that carry a death penalty or imprisonment of 15 years or more, or to destitute defendants facing charges that carry a penalty of five years or more. Such resources were limited.

Arbitrary Arrest: There were reports of arbitrary arrest by police.

There were multiple reports of police temporarily detaining individuals in Papua for participation in peaceful demonstrations and other nonviolent activities advocating independence (see section 2.b.).

Pretrial Detention: The law permits pretrial detention only if there is a danger the suspect will flee, destroy or remove evidence, commit another crime, or if the suspect is held for an offense that carries a penalty of five or more years’ imprisonment or for other specific charges such as fraud and embezzlement. In instances when pretrial detention is allowable, police are permitted to impose an initial 20-day detention, which can be extended to 60 days by the prosecutors while the investigation is conducted. Prosecutors may detain a suspect for a further 30 days during the prosecution phase and may seek a 20-day extension from the courts. The district and high courts may detain a defendant up to 90 days during trial or appeal, while the Supreme Court may detain a defendant for 110 days while considering an appeal. Additionally, the court may extend detention periods up to another 60 days at each level if a defendant faces a possible prison sentence of nine years or longer or if the individual is certified to be mentally disturbed. Authorities generally respected these limits. The antiterrorism law allows investigators to detain for up to four months any person who, based on adequate preliminary evidence, is strongly suspected of committing or planning to commit any act of terrorism; thereafter charges must be filed.

Detainee’s Ability to Challenge Lawfulness of Detention before a Court: A defendant may challenge the legality of his or her arrest and detention in a pretrial hearing and may sue for compensation if wrongfully detained. Defendants, however, rarely won pretrial hearings and almost never received compensation after being released without charge. Military and civilian courts rarely accepted appeals based on claims of improper arrest and detention.

e. Denial of Fair Public Trial

The law provides for an independent judiciary, but the judiciary remained susceptible to influence from outside parties, including business interests, politicians, and the security forces.

At times local authorities did not respect court orders, and decentralization created additional difficulties for the enforcement of these orders.

During the year military courts tried a number of low-level and some mid-level soldiers for offenses that, among others, involved civilians or occurred when the soldiers were off duty. If a soldier is suspected of committing a crime, military police investigate and then pass their findings to military prosecutors, who decide whether to prosecute. Under the law military prosecutors are accountable to the Supreme Court, but military prosecutors are responsible to the TNI for applying the laws.

A three-person panel of military judges hears military trials. The High Military Court, Primary Military Court, and Supreme Court hear appeals. Civil society organizations and other observers criticized the short length of prison sentences imposed by military courts.

Four district courts located in Surabaya, Makassar, Jakarta, and Medan are authorized to adjudicate cases of systematic gross human rights violations upon the recommendation of Komnas HAM. The law provides for each court to have five members, including three noncareer human rights judges appointed to five-year terms. Verdicts can be appealed to the standing appellate court and the Supreme Court. The law provides for internationally recognized definitions of genocide, crimes against humanity, and command responsibility. It does not include war crimes as a gross violation of human rights, nor does it require the prosecution of commanders in crimes perpetrated by subordinates. None of the four district courts have heard or ruled on any cases since 2005.

Under the sharia court system in Aceh, 19 district religious courts and one court of appeals hear cases. In the past the courts heard only cases involving Muslims and used decrees formulated by the local government rather than the penal code. A new sharia criminal code (Qanun) that took effect in October 2014 appears to extend sharia law to non-Muslims in certain cases (see section 6). Under the new sharia criminal code, offenses including homosexuality, gambling, consumption of alcohol, and proximity to the opposite sex outside of marriage are punishable with caning, fines, and imprisonment. In February authorities in Aceh issued a written public statement clarifying that sharia law does not apply to non-Muslims, foreigners, or Muslim Indonesians not resident in Aceh.

Trial Procedures

The constitution provides for the right to a fair trial; however, corruption and misconduct in the judiciary hindered the enforcement of this right for many individuals. The law presumes defendants are innocent until proven guilty. Defendants are informed promptly and in detail of the charges and have the right to confront witnesses and call witnesses in their defense. An exception is permitted in cases in which distance is excessive or the expense of transporting witnesses to the court is too expensive. In such cases sworn affidavits may be introduced. In some cases courts allowed forced confessions and limited the presentation of defense evidence. Defendants have the right to avoid self-incrimination. In each of the country’s 825 courts, a panel of judges conducts trials by posing questions, hearing evidence, deciding on guilt or innocence, and imposing punishment. Both the defense and prosecution can appeal. Defendants may access the prosecution’s evidence through application to the hearing panel’s presiding judge.

Convicts have one year to request a pardon, provided they have completed two-thirds of their sentence. Suud Rusli, who was convicted of murder in 2013, did not request a pardon within one year of his sentencing. He requested a judicial review from the Constitutional Court on the pardon law, arguing that it was unjust that he could request a pardon only once and within a one-year timeframe. The Constitutional Court granted Suud a partial pardon request, but on June 21, it rejected the petition to extend the one-year limit for seeking pardons.

The law gives defendants the right to an attorney from the time of arrest and at every stage of examination and requires that counsel represent defendants in cases involving capital punishment or a prison sentence of 15 years or more. In cases involving potential sentences of five years or more, the law requires an attorney be appointed if the defendant is indigent and requests counsel. In theory indigent defendants may obtain private legal assistance, and NGO lawyer associations provide free legal representation to indigent defendants. For example, Jakarta Legal Aid handled 1,322 cases during 2015. Defendants have the right to free interpretation, which can be provided if requested through their defense plea. The law extends these rights to all citizens. In some cases procedural protections, including those against forced confessions, were inadequate to ensure a fair trial. With the notable exceptions of sharia court proceedings in Aceh and some military trials, trials are public.

Political Prisoners and Detainees

NGOs estimated there were as many as 51 political prisoners from the provinces of Papua and West Papua and at least an additional nine from Maluku. Most were imprisoned under treason and conspiracy statutes for actions related to the display of banned separatist symbols, and many were serving lengthy sentences.

A number of independence activists from the Papua and Maluku regions were detained or imprisoned for peacefully expressing their political views. Unlike in previous years, there were no reports of arrests made specifically for raising banned separatist flags, but peaceful protests and calls for independence resulted in arrest and trial on treason charges.

Local activists and family members generally were able to visit political prisoners, although authorities held some prisoners on islands far from their families.

Civil Judicial Procedures and Remedies

Victims of human rights violations can seek damages in the civil court system, but widespread corruption and political influence limit victims’ access to justice.

Property Restitution

An eminent domain law allows the government to appropriate land for the public good against the owner’s wishes provided the government properly compensates owners. NGOs accused the government of using its authority to expropriate or facilitate private acquisition of land for development projects, often without fair compensation. In other cases state-owned companies were accused of endangering resources upon which citizens’ livelihoods depended.

On February 15, Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama closed the red-light district in Kalijodo. Activists accused the Jakarta Provincial government of unlawfully evicting the residents. Ahok provided compensation in the form of low-cost apartments and funding for former Kalijodo residents to operate small and medium-sized enterprises in their new locations.

Land access and ownership were major sources of conflict. Lack of credible maps, traditional rights, as well as numerous competing laws and regulations on land ownership, allow for multiple parties with legitimate claims to the same piece of land. Security forces sometimes evicted those involved in land disputes without due process, often siding with business claimants over poorer residents. The Legal Aid Foundation reported that it received nearly 1,322 complaints related to land conflicts, noting that in many cases police and the TNI evicted residents on behalf of corporations.

On August 18, the residents of Sari Rejo subdistrict in North Sumatra were involved in a physical confrontation with Air Force personnel guarding disputed land. At least 10 civilians were injured in the clash.

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The law requires judicial warrants for searches except for cases involving subversion, economic crimes, and corruption. Security forces generally respected these requirements. The law also provides for searches without warrants when circumstances are “urgent and compelling” and for the execution of warrantless wiretaps by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK). The law grants police special powers to restrict civil liberties and allows military intervention to manage conflicts that might cause social unrest.

NGOs claimed security officials broke into their homes and offices, occasionally conducting warrantless surveillance on individuals and their residences and monitoring telephone calls.

Section 2. Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

a. Freedom of Speech and Press

The constitution and the law provide for freedom of speech and press. Some elements within the government, judiciary, and police, however, used laws against defamation and blasphemy to restrict speech and press freedoms. The government used laws against advocacy of separatism to restrict the ability of individuals to advocate peacefully for independence.

Freedom of Speech and Expression: The Hate Speech Law criminalizes content that is deemed insulting to a religion or that advocates separatism. In practice the hate speech law could inhibit individual’s freedom of speech and expression.

Elements within the government, judiciary, and police selectively applied the Criminal Defamation Law in ways that restricted freedom of speech. For example, in October 2015 a circular letter on hate speech was released by then TNI chief Badrodin Haiti. The circular defines hate speech as insult, libel, defamation, unpleasant acts, provocation, incitement, and dissemination of false news through the media, internet, or person-to-person.

On May 10, two members of the Indigenous Peoples Alliance of the Archipelago (Aliansi Masyarakat Adat Nusantara), Adlun Fikri and Yunus Al Fajri, were arrested by North Maluku local police after being accused of spreading communism through social media. Previously the two were reported for uploading photographs of themselves on Instagram wearing red jerseys with hammers and sickles. They were released on May 13 with the help of the Legal Aid Foundation.

On July 28, human rights activist Haris Azhar released via social media testimony from convicted drug trafficker Freddy Budiman approximately 24 hours before Budiman was executed by firing squad at Nusakambangan penitentiary. In the testimony, which Haris collected in interviews over the course of two years, Budiman implicated many security officials in complicity in drug trafficking operations, although the names had not been released as of November. Security agencies, including the police and TNI, initially filed defamation charges against Haris after he released the information, but significant public outcry led to the “postponement” of charges while authorities investigated Budiman’s allegations.

Press and Media Freedoms: The independent media was active and expressed a wide variety of views. Regional and national regulations, however, were sometimes used to restrict the media. In May 2015 President Jokowi lifted long-standing restrictions on foreign journalists traveling to Papua and West Papua provinces. This change was not evenly applied; some foreign journalists reportedly received visas, while others reported bureaucratic delays or denials, ostensibly for safety reasons. Advocates for press freedom alleged that an interministerial group, including the TNI and intelligence services, continued to review requests by foreign journalists to visit the region. The constitution protects journalists from such violations, and the law requires that anyone who deliberately prevents journalists from doing their job shall face a maximum prison sentence of two years or a fine of Indonesian Rupiah (IDR) 500 million ($37,260).

Violence and Harassment: The Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) reported 12 cases of violence directed at journalists and media offices between January and August.

In April members of the Bandung police force intimidated a photojournalist who was covering unrest in Banceuy Prison and asked him to delete photographs he had taken of the unrest.

On August 15, two journalists in Sari Rejo subdistrict in North Sumatra were injured during a land dispute between residents and the Indonesian Air Force. Soldiers beat them with logs, sticks, spears, and a long barrel and confiscated their cell phones, wallets, and a handy-cam. AJI Medan demanded that the Air Force Military Police investigate the case and prosecute the perpetrators. The case was pending investigation as of November.

Censorship or Content Restrictions: The Attorney General’s Office has the authority to monitor written material and request a court order to ban written material. The Indonesian Broadcasting Commission (KPI) has the authority to act as a regulator in public, private, and community institutions broadcasting. In February the KPI issued a circular letter that prohibits broadcasters from showing programs with male characters acting in a feminine style. Human rights activists considered this to be discriminatory by limiting the scope of expression of gender identity in broadcasting.

In February LINE, a messaging application, withdrew its LGBTI emoticons on its messaging service following protest by internet users. The Ministry of Information and Technology agreed with the protesters that social media is obliged to follow the rules, norms, and culture of the country and that the LGBTI emoticons should be removed.

The ministry also banned in February the microblogging website and social network Tumblr due to the presence of some content considered to be pornographic. The move sparked widespread criticism, and the site was unblocked a few days later.

Under the Blasphemy Law, “spreading religious hatred, heresy, and blasphemy” is punishable by up to five years in prison. Protests by hardline groups or conservative clerical councils often prompted local authorities to take action under the law. On May 26, police arrested three leaders of a banned religious sect, Gafatar, for blasphemy in Jakarta. Authorities argued that the movement’s teachings combine Islam, Christianity, and Judaism in a way that is “incompatible with religious teachings.” The case continued as of November. In March the Ministry of Religious Affairs, Ministry of Home Affairs, and the Attorney General’s Office released a joint decree banning Gafatar and all associated groups.

In October 2015 Bali police named a Four Seasons hotel employee as a blasphemy suspect for selling a vacation package to a gay couple who held a “marriage blessing” ceremony at the hotel. Police also opened an investigation into the expatriate general manager of the hotel. The employee went on trial for blasphemy and received a six-month probation starting December 2015 with no criminal record or prison time.

Although the Papua Special Autonomy Law permits flying a flag symbolizing Papua’s cultural identity, a government regulation prohibits the display of the Morning Star flag in Papua, the Republic of South Maluku flag in Maluku, and the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) Crescent Moon flag in Aceh. The GAM flag remained a source of controversy since Aceh’s legislature passed a regulation making it the province’s official flag in 2013. The central government repeatedly declared that it does not accept the provincial flag and that raising the GAM flag is prohibited.

Libel/Slander Laws: In September 2015 police in Ternate, North Maluku, arrested a Ternate Khairun University student for posting online a video he had filmed of police accepting a bribe during a traffic stop, claiming he had defamed the police department. After a popular campaign to free the student spread online, the police chief ordered his release in October 2015.

Nongovernmental Impact: On June 2, members of the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI), a notorious gang-like organization, humiliated and intimidated journalist Febriana Firdaus while she was covering an anticommunist symposium held in Jakarta.

Internet Freedom

The government prosecuted individuals for free expression under the Information and Electronic Transaction Law (ITE Law). The law, which outlaws online crime, pornography, gambling, blackmail, lies, threats, and racism, prohibits citizens from distributing in electronic format any information that is defamatory and carries penalties of a maximum of six years in prison, a fine of IDR one billion ($74,500), or both. According to the Institute for Policy Research and Advocacy, between January and September 2015, 21 individuals were arrested or indicted for violating provisions of the ITE Law.

According to the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, approximately 29 percent of the population had internet access in 2015, signifying an estimated 80 million internet users.

In May 2015, Rudy Lombok, a local tour guide in Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara, was arrested, and later released, for criticizing on Facebook a tourism promotional video released by the Regional Tourism Promotion Agency.

The Ministry of Communications and Information Technology continued to request that internet service providers (ISPs) block access to pornographic websites and other content deemed offensive. The ministry did not have the technology or capacity to block the websites in question itself. Enforcement of these restrictions depended upon individual ISPs, and a failure to enforce these restrictions could result in the revocation of an ISP’s license.

Academic Freedom and Cultural Events

The government generally did not place restrictions on cultural events or academic freedom, but it occasionally disrupted sensitive cultural events or activities or failed to prevent hardline groups from doing so. Universities and other academic institutions also sometimes succumbed to pressure from hardliners seeking to restrict sensitive events and activities.

In February 21, local police in Tasikmalaya, West Java, banned a seminar held by the Respect and Dialogue Community discussing multiculturalism and unity, claiming the participants were mostly from the minority Ahmadi and Shia sects.

On World Press Freedom Day (May 3), security forces forcibly dispersed a crowd gathered to watch the film Pulau Buru Tanah Air Beta at a screening coordinated by the secretariat of the AJI office in Yogyakarta. The film, considered controversial by many, tells the story of a former political prisoner of the 1965 communist purge who returned to Buru Island in Maluku, which was used as an internal exile location for persons allegedly involved in the 1965 attempted coup.

On May 18, the FPI halted a discussion entitled “Understanding Art through the Thought of Karl Marx,” which was organized by the Student Press Agency at the Daunjati Institute of Art and Culture in Bandung, accusing the event organizers of promoting communism and ideas that contradict the national ideology of Pancasila.

During the year the government-supervised Film Censorship Institute continued to censor domestic and imported movies for content deemed pornographic and religiously or otherwise offensive.

b. Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association

Freedom of Assembly

The law provides for freedom of assembly, and the government generally respected this right. The law requires demonstrators to provide police with a written notification three days before any planned demonstration and for police to issue a receipt for the written notification. This receipt acts as a de facto license for the demonstration. Police in Papua routinely refused to issue receipts of notification to would-be demonstrators on the grounds that the demonstrations would likely involve calls for independence, an act that is prohibited under the same law.

LGBTI NGOs operated openly, but they frequently held low-key events in public places because the licenses or permits required for holding registered events were difficult to obtain.

On April 13, police dispersed Committee of West Papua (KNPB) rallies in support of the United Liberation Movement of West Papua’s (ULMWP) bid for full-membership in the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG), and reportedly arrested 44 activists on April 12 and 13. Police arrested 2,689 KNPB members on May 1-2 before and during demonstrations to commemorate Papua Annexation Day and support ULMWP. Police released all those arrested on the same day or the day after. On May 31, police in Papua arrested hundreds of protesters planning demonstrations across the region. Between June 10-15, police arrested at least 1,235 Papuans before and during a rally to reject the integrated human rights team established by former coordinating minister Luhut Pandjaitan. On July 15, police arrested hundreds of Papuans during a rally to support ULMWP’s MSG membership. On that day in Yogyakarta residents protested outside a dormitory for Papuan students in order to prevent them from demonstrating. Police arrested six activists and the dormitory was closed. On August 15, police arrested, but quickly released, six Papuans who rallied to reject the 1962 New York Agreement, which transferred administration of the western half of New Guinea from the Netherlands to Indonesia.

Freedom of Association

The constitution and laws provide for freedom of association, which the government generally respected.

By law, to receive official registration status, foreign NGOs must have a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with a government ministry. Some organizations reported difficulties obtaining these MOUs and claimed the government was withholding MOUs to block their registration status, although a cumbersome bureaucracy within the Ministry of Law and Human Rights was also to blame.

Some LGBTI advocacy groups reported encountering difficulties when attempting to register their organizations.

c. Freedom of Religion

See the Department of State’s International Religious Freedom Report at

d. Freedom of Movement, Internally Displaced Persons, Protection of Refugees, and Stateless Persons

The law provides for freedom of internal movement and generally allows for travel outside of the country, but the constitution allows the government to prevent persons from entering or leaving the country. The law gives military forces broad powers in a declared state of emergency, including the power to limit land, air, and sea traffic. The government did not use these powers during the year.

The government cooperated with the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), and other humanitarian organizations in providing protection and assistance to internally displaced persons, refugees, returning refugees, asylum seekers, stateless persons, and other persons of concern.

In-country Movement: In May 2015 President Jokowi announced he was lifting restrictions on foreign journalists travelling to Papua and West Papua provinces (see section 2.a.), but as of November, implementation of the new policy remained uneven.

Foreign Travel: The government prevented arrivals and departures at the request of police, the Attorney General’s Office, the KPK, and the Ministry of Finance. Some of those barred from entering and leaving were delinquent taxpayers, convicted or indicted persons, individuals implicated in corruption cases, and persons otherwise involved in legal disputes.

Internally Displaced Persons

The government collects data on displacement caused by natural hazards and conflict through the National Disaster Management Authority (BNPB), although the lack of systematic monitoring of return and resettlement conditions make it difficult to reliably estimate the total number of internally displaced persons.

The international NGO Internal Displacement Monitoring Center reported that as of July 2015, there were an estimated 31,400 persons “displaced by violence or conflict,” nearly all of whom had been displaced for more than 15 years. More than 300 Shia residents from Madura remained housed on the outskirts of Surabaya after communal violence forced them from their homes in 2012. Despite numerous reconciliation attempts by central government officials and NGOs, provincial government officials made no constructive efforts to deal with the hardliners who refused to allow the displaced Shia to return to their homes. In Lombok, 118 Ahmadi Muslims remained in provincial government housing after mobs violently chased them from their homes in 2006.

The law stipulates that the government ensure “the fulfillment of the rights of the people and displaced persons affected by disaster in a manner that is fair and in line with the minimum service standards.”

Protection of Refugees

Access to Asylum: Indonesia is not party to the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees or its 1967 Protocol, and it does not have a refugee or asylum status determination system. UNHCR processes all claims for refugee status in the country. The government does not accept refugees for resettlement or facilitate local integration or naturalization. Authorities refer migrants seeking to return to their country of origin to the IOM for access to its Assisted Voluntary Return Program. As of August there were 7,248 asylum seekers and 6,590 refugees registered with UNHCR. Some were applicants and others were dependents. Most refugees or asylum seekers were from Afghanistan, Burma, Somalia, and Iraq. Approximately 4,215 persons (30 percent of active persons of concern) resided in 13 immigration detention centers throughout the country, while an additional 34 percent lived in temporary accommodations under the supervision of immigration authorities. The majority of the remaining population lived in community boarding houses through the assistance of the IOM.

Employment: The government prohibited refugees from working, although it did not strictly enforce this prohibition.

Access to Basic Services: The government generally prohibited refugees from accessing public elementary education and public health services, although the enforcement of these prohibitions varied widely across the archipelago.

Temporary Protection: There were no instances of refoulement in 2015. In June the government provided temporary protection to approximately 45 migrants from Sri Lanka who were allowed to disembark in Aceh Province after their boat became unseaworthy.

Part 1 of 2

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