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Indonesia News Digest 23 – June 15-22, 2018

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West Papua

Indonesia criticizes UN Human Rights body for lack of coordination over

Jakarta Post - June 21, 2018

Dian Septiari, Jakarta – Indonesia has blamed staff members of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights regional office in Bangkok for lack of coordination over the planned visit to Papua and West Papua.

"It is deeply regrettable that the staff members of his regional office in Bangkok, instead of coordinating the planned visit with Indonesian authorities, have unilaterally set the dates and areas to visit in Papua and West Papua, while demanding immediate access," Hasan Kleib, Indonesian Ambassador to the UN in Geneva, said in a statement on Tuesday.

Hasan was responding to a remark by UN human rights chief Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein at the 38th session of the Human Rights Council on Monday.

"In Indonesia, I am concerned that despite positive engagement by the authorities in many respects, the government's invitation to my office to visit Papua – which was made during my visit in February – has still not been honored," Zeid said.

Zeid was meeting government officials, during which he expressed concern over the excessive use of force by Indonesian security forces, harassment, arbitrary arrests and detentions in Papua.

Hasan said the Indonesian government did invite Zeid to personally visit Papua and West Papua. Zeid responded that he would be represented by the regional office in Bangkok.

The staff members, Hasan said, "has misleadingly acted as if there are already mutually agreed visits scheduled and that the government of Indonesia has not yet given them the access".

Hasan said such a misunderstanding did not give the government enough time to coordinate with local governments and also obstructed coordination between the government and the regional office in Bangkok. (dmr)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/06/21/indonesia-criticizes-un-human-rights-body-for-lack-of-coordination-over-papua-visit.html

Indonesia slams UN human rights office over planned Papua visit

Jakarta Globe - June 20, 2018

Sheany, Jakarta – Indonesia has criticized the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, saying that his regional office in Bangkok should first coordinate with the government before sending a mission to Papua, instead of demanding immediate access.

"It is deeply regrettable that the staff members of his regional office in Bangkok, instead of coordinating the planned visit with Indonesian authorities, have unilaterally set the dates and areas to visit in Papua and West Papua, while demanding immediate access," Hasan Kleib, Indonesia's permanent representative to the United Nations in Geneva, said in a statement on Tuesday (19/06).

The statement, delivered during a general debate session at the United Nations in Geneva, came in response to a remark by UN human rights chief Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein, who said the government's invitation to his office to visit Indonesia's easternmost provinces had not yet materialized.

"In Indonesia, I am concerned that despite positive engagement by the authorities in many respects, the government's invitation to my office to visit Papua – which was made during my visit in February – has still not been honored," Zeid said during the 38th session of the Human Rights Council on Monday.

During his three-day visit to Indonesia in February, Zeid expressed concern over the excessive use of force by Indonesian security forces, harassment, arbitrary arrests and detentions in Papua. He was in the country at the time to meet with government officials, who invited his office to visit the country's poorest region.

According to Hasan, the UN human rights chief informed the Indonesian government that his regional office in Bangkok would represent him on the visit.

In a follow-up, Hasan said staff of the regional office "misleadingly acted" as if a mutually agreed schedule was already in place for the visit, but that the Indonesian government had yet to grant them access. He added that this conduct was deplorable.

Hasan said Indonesia is still committed to invite Zeid or his office to visit Papua but asserted that the regional office in Bangkok must respect the principles of consent by the host government in the future.

For years, political grievances and an active independence movement in Papua have generated headlines, in spite of the government's focus on economic development to improve the situation.

In a report published in November last year, the Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict said Papua has suffered human rights violations in the past, while there are ongoing issues of torture, excessive use of force, lack of accountability and restrictions on civil liberties.

Source: http://jakartaglobe.id/news/indonesia-slams-un-human-rights-office-over-planned-papua-visit/

Indonesia shuts out UN rights chief from Papua

Human Rights Watch Dispatches - June 19, 2018

Phelim Kine – What is the Indonesian government hiding in Papua?

That's the question raised by the government's seeming refusal to make good on an official invitation promised to the United Nations high commissioner for human rights, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, to visit Papua and West Papua provinces (collectively referred to as "Papua").

On Monday, Zeid issued a statement saying he is "concerned that despite positive engagement by the authorities in many respects, the Government's invitation to my Office to visit Papua – which was made during my visit in February – has still not been honoured."

The Indonesian government's apparent unwillingness to allow Zeid to investigate human rights conditions in Papua should come as no surprise. Indonesian authorities have consistently blocked foreign journalists and rights monitors from visiting Papua.

Those restrictions defy an announcement made in 2015 by Indonesia's President Joko Widodo – popularly known as Jokowi – that accredited foreign media would have unimpeded access to Papua.

The decades-old access restrictions on Papua are rooted in government suspicion of the motives of foreign nationals for reporting on the region, which is troubled by a small-scale pro-independence insurgency, widespread corruption, environmental degradation, and public dissatisfaction with Jakarta. Security forces are rarely held to account for abuses against critics of the government, including the killing of peaceful protesters.

The limbo of Zeid's Papua invitation has dampened hopes raised in March 2017, after the government allowed a UN health expert to make a two-day official visit to Papua, that Indonesia would end its reflexive prohibition on travel to the region by foreign human rights monitors.

Instead, Zeid's experience is reminiscent of 2013, when then-UN independent expert on freedom of expression, Frank La Rue, was blocked from visiting Indonesia.

Diplomatic sources in Geneva told La Rue that the Indonesian government froze his requested visit due to his inclusion of Papua in his proposed itinerary. "They said, 'Great, we'll get back to you,'" La Rue told Human Rights Watch. "What it meant was that they postponed the dates and put the trip off indefinitely."

It's clear that parts of the Indonesian government remain hostile to the idea of greater transparency in the region. Yet granting reporters and human rights monitors access to Papua is an essential element of ensuring the rights of Papuans are respected.

[Phelim Kine is the Deputy Director, Asia Division.]

Source: https://www.hrw.org/news/2018/06/19/indonesia-shuts-out-un-rights-chief-papua

Indonesia slams UN rights commission over planned West Papua visit

CNN Indonesia - June 19, 2018

Natalia Santi, Jakarta – Indonesia's permanent representative to the United Nations in Geneva, Hasan Kleib, has slammed the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (KT HAM) for arranging his own schedule for a visit to Papua without coordinating with the Indonesian government, and then declaring that he has not been given access.

Kleib made the statement in response to a reference about Indonesian by UN High Commissioner Zeid Raad Al-Hussein during his opening statements at a meeting of the UN Human Rights Commission in Geneva on Monday June 18.

In his statement, Hussein said that Indonesia's invitation to visit Papua, which was conveyed when he visited Indonesia in last February, had yet to be fulfilled.

In his response to Hussein's remarks at the UN headquarters in Geneva on Tuesday June 19, Kleib confirmed that Indonesia had privately invited Hussein as the UN High Commissioner to visit the provinces of Papua and West Papua.

The invitation for the visit was intended so that Hussein could obtain first hand information about human rights improvements along with various other challenges that exist in Papua.

"In responding to the invitation, the High Commissioner informed us that he would be represented by the UN High Commission for Human Rights Regional Representative Office in Bangkok", said Kleib, who is also Indonesia's former permanent representative to the UN in New York.

According to Kleib however, in following up on the invitation, the KT HAM staff in Bangkok failed to coordinate their planned visit with the authorised parties in Indonesia. This asserted Kleib, was highly regrettable.

"It was most regrettable however, that in their follow up [to the invitation], regional office staff members in Bangkok, instead of coordinating the planned visit with the authorised parties in Indonesia, unilaterally set the date and place for the visit to Papua and West Papua, and then demanded immediate access", explained the former director general of foreign affairs.

Not only did they arrange the visit unilaterally, the KT HAM staff issued information as if a schedule had already been agreed upon, even though they had not yet been granted access by the Indonesian government.

"Disgraceful behaviour such as this not only prevents the government from coordinating with relevant stakeholders, particularly local governments, but also obstructs effective coordination between the government and the representative office in Bangkok", said Kleib.

During the one-and-a-half minute speech, Kleib insisted that the Indonesian government has always honored invitations that it has made and is still committed to inviting Hussein and KT HAM office staff to visit Papua and West Papua.

"But, at the same time, we hope that the High Commissioner can confirm that his staff at the regional office in Bangkok will respect and tightly comply with UN working methods which have already been set out, and respect the principles in relation to agreements with host [country] governments the future", said Kleib, who asserted that the government's invitation to the office of the UN High Commission for Human Rights to visit Papua and West Papua is still open. (nat)

[Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service. The original title of the article was "Kecam Sikap Staf KT HAM, RI Tetap Undang PBB ke Papua".]

Source: https://www.cnnindonesia.com/internasional/20180619191221-134-307313/kecam-sikap-staf-kt-ham-ri-tetap-undang-pbb-ke-papua

Indonesia questions logic of statement by UN rights commissioner on Papuan visit

CNN Indonesia - June 19, 2018

Hanna Azarya Samosir, Jakarta – The Indonesian government says that the statement by the United Nations' High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Raad Al Hussein, on the government's invitation to visit Papua is illogical and excessive.

"It's quite irregular, the [Indonesian] government as the party which invited [him] is said to have not 'honoured' the invitation. I think the statement is illogical and excessive", Indonesian Foreign Affairs Department Human Rights Director Achsanul Habib told CNN Indonesia on Tuesday June 19.

Habib was referring to a statement by Hussein at the opening of a UN Human Rights Council meeting on Monday June 18 in which he raised questions about the Indonesian government's invitation to visit Papua which has still not been realised.

"In Indonesia, I worry that although there is a positive relationship with the authorities, the government's invitation for my office to visit Papua, which was given when I visited in February, has not yet been fulfilled", said Hussein as quoted by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) official website on Monday June 18

At the time however, Hussein was unable to set out a detailed plan for the visit because it had to be discussed further with other UN bodies and the Indonesian government.

Habib explained that since then, the government has been coordinating directly with the Human Rights High Commission (KTHAM) for Asia representative office in Bangkok, Thailand.

"It is very disappointing however that before this was completed, the KTHAM through the regional representative office in Bangkok unliterary set out its own timetable, locations for the visit, and aims for the visit, which was then followed by a request that they immediately be given visas for two staff members from Bangkok", said Habib.

Furthermore Habib said, "We have already reminded [the UN], that on the matter of the visit to Indonesia, as a sovereign country, it needs to be done according to the normal rules, and of course the arrangements for the visit should be made by the inviting party, namely the government and not the party being invited".

Indonesia's permanent representative to the UN, Hasan Kleib, also said he regretted that Hussein's staff had reported to the UN High Commission on Human Rights that access for the Papua visit had yet to be arranged.

Kleib confirmed that the matter would be straightened out this morning local time during one the sessions at the UN headquarters in Geneva. (has/asa)

[Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service. The original title of the article was "Kemlu RI: Pernyataan Komisioner HAM PBB soal Papua Tak Logis".]

Source: https://www.cnnindonesia.com/internasional/20180619113901-134-307201/kemlu-ri-pernyataan-komisioner-ham-pbb-soal-papua-tak-logis

Rights Commissioner questions why UN mission still not allowed into Papua

CNN Indonesia - June 19, 2018

Hanna Azarya Samosir, Jakarta – The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Raad Al Hussein, has questioned the invitation from the Indonesian government to visit West Papua which has still not been realised.

"In Indonesia, I worry that although there is a positive relationship with the authorities, the government's invitation for my office to visit Papua, which was given when I visited in February, has not yet been fulfilled", said Hussein in his opening address to a UN Human Rights Council meeting, as quoted by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) official website on Monday June 18.

The invitation was indeed made by Indonesian President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo when Hussein visited the Presidential Palace in February.

"During the last two days of discussions with the president, the Indonesian government invited us to visit Papua. So we will send a mission there", said Hussein during a press conference at the UN representative office in Jakarta at the time.

"I would like this plan to happen as soon as possible, but we clearly cannot say when because this is not a decision we can make on our own, it must be made jointly with other UN bodies as well as the Indonesian government", he said at the time.

So far, the Indonesian Ambassador to the UN, Hasan Kleib, has yet to respond to a request for clarification from CNN Indonesia.

Aside from Indonesia, Hussein also highlighted human rights cases in other countries during the UN Human Rights Council meeting. He listed 15 countries that have not yet given permission for a UN human rights mission to visit even though a request has already been made.

"Almost 40 countries have not received a Special Representative visit over the last five years even though requests have been made. Among them, there are 15 countries that have already received more than five requests: Bahrain, Belorussia, Bolivia, Colombia, Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Yemen and Zimbabwe", he said. (has)

[Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service. The original title of the article was "Komisioner HAM PBB Pertanyakan Undangan Jokowi ke Papua".]

Source: https://www.cnnindonesia.com/internasional/20180619083421-134-307182/komisioner-ham-pbb-pertanyakan-undangan-jokowi-ke-papua

Indonesia yet to allow UN Commissioner into Papua

Radio New Zealand International - June 19, 2018

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has expressed concern at not yet being able to visit Indonesia's Papua region.

Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein told a meeting of the Human Rights Council he was concerned the government's invitation to visit Papua had still not been honoured.

In his global update on human rights issues, Mr Al Hussein said he had been invited to visit Papua during his visit to Indonesia in February.

There had been positive engagement by the Indonesian authorities in many other respects, Mr Al Hussein said.

Source: http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/359935/indonesia-yet-to-allow-un-commissioner-into-papua

Activists hold long march to commemorate 17 years of Wasior human rights

Tabloid JUBI - June 19, 2018

David Sobolim, Manokwari – Dozens of human rights activists, the families of victims, and human rights partisans held a protest to commemorate human right violation in Wasior 2011 by holding a long march in Manokwari on Thursday (13/05/2018).

Masses started to walk from the Information Office in Sanggeng to LP3BH Office in Fanindi to submit a legal complaint file to the LP3BH Director, Yan Christian Warinussy.

The Chairman of the Council of Indonesian Trade Union (GSBI) West Papua, Yohanes Akwan, in a press release declared that up to 17 years of Wasior Case occurred, the state remains to neglect the incident that occurred in 2001.

"We submit our aspirations officially as well as a request to LP3BH to continue to voice the cases of human rights violations in Papua to the international community," he said.

Meanwhile, the LP3BH Director Yan Christian Warinussy said this complaint was part of the respect towards the human rights. "This is a part of human rights enforcement, as well as a responsibility of human rights defender to accept this complaint.

The Indonesian Human Rights Commission once investigated the Case of Wasior in 2003, but the case closed at the level of investigation. At that time, Warinussy was a member of Wasior Human Rights Investigation.

Source: http://tabloidjubi.com/eng/activists-hold-a-long-march-in-manokwari-to-commemorate-17-years-of-wasior-human-rights-violation/

TNI personnel attacked in Puncak Jaya

Jakarta Post - June 18, 2018

Jakarta – Five members of the Indonesian Military (TNI) were wounded in two attacks by unidentified gunmen in Papua on Saturday.

The shootings occurred in the Puncak Jaya area when the soldiers were on patrol in Yambi, news agency Antara reported.

Cendrawasih Military Command head Maj. Gen. George Supit confirmed that five Army personnel had sustained gunshot wounds during the attacks.

"It is true that [gunmen] shot at the troops on patrol, resulting in wounds from the shots and bullet fragments," George said on Saturday, as quoted by Antara.

He added that the injured soldiers were in stable condition and undergoing treatment at the Mulia Regional General Hospital. (stu/ahw)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/06/18/tni-personnel-attacked-in-puncak-jaya.html

Political parties & elections

Kontras asks Bawaslu to clarify communism issues in regulations

Tempo - June 22, 2018

Taufiq Siddiq, Jakarta – The Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) has asked the Election Supervisory Agency (Bawaslu) to specify the prohibition on the dissemination of communism issues during general elections.

"This issue is increasingly becoming an attacking instrument in elections since the 2014 presidential election," said Kontras member Dimas at the Bawaslu office on Friday, June 22.

According to Dimas, issues surrounding communism were not clearly specified in the electoral regulations as to whether they would be deemed either hate speeches or black campaigns.

He added Bawaslu's failure to take stern action against such issues in the 2014 presidential race had caused them to spread to regional elections.

"This is the impact of the widespread issues in the 2014 presidential election that was not firmly acted upon until this issue increasingly becomes an attacking tool among regional head candidates," he said.

Bawaslu commissioner Afifuddin, meanwhile, admitted that the issues of communism had not yet been detailed in the electoral regulations. He added that such issues were indeed highly destructive and prone to stirring conflicts.

"It is true that issues on communism have yet to be specified in the electoral regulations, but they will be generalized as hate speeches and black campaigns," he said.

He added the Bawaslu had also kept a close watch on communism issues and it was set to deploy more personnel to susceptible areas.

Source: https://en.tempo.co/read/news/2018/06/22/055919430/Kontras-Asks-Bawaslu-to-Clarify-Communism-Issues-in-Regulations

Presidential hopeful Prabowo encourages voters to accept election bribes

Tempo - June 22, 2018

Jakarta – Greater Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra) chairperson Prabowo Subianto is encouraging people accept electoral bribes if they are offered basic commodities (sembako) or money in the lead up to the June 27 election of regional heads.

According to Prabowo, sembako or financial bribes are something that the people are basically entitled to.

The former Special Forces (Kopassus) commander says he is sure that the money used for bribes is haram (illegitimate) which has been taken from money that the public are entitled to.

"It's not possible that such money is halal (legitimate), it's impossible, impossible. It must originate from money [belonging to] the Indonesian nation. So I encourage people that if sembako is given out, they're given money, just accept it because that is the people's right", said Prabowo in video uploaded on his official Facebook account on Thursday June 21.

He and his party are unable to bribe voters with money or sembako because they don't have the money. Prabowo questioned those who often bribe people for their vote on the origins of the money and food.

Despite encouraging people to accept such gifts, Prabowo call on the public not to be influenced by this in voting for a candidate. "On election day, in front of the polling booth, use your conscience, vote in accordance with your heart and mind".

Prabowo also appealed to Gerindra party cadre have confidence in their own abilities, to stand on their own feet and not be easily discouraged.

In addition to this, Prabowo said that Gerindra needs public donations to assist in covering the political costs of the 2018 simultaneous regional elections.

He announced that the funds collected from the general public would be used to pay for witnesses during the vote count. "We need help. Help with expenses to pay for the activities of our party cadre which will be going around the villages, we need money to pay for our witnesses' food on voting day", he said.

[Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service. The original title of the article was "Prabowo Anjurkan Masyarakat Terima Uang Suap Menjelang Pilkada".]

Source: https://nasional.tempo.co/amp/1099901/prabowo-anjurkan-masyarakat-terima-uang-suap-menjelang-pilkada

Prabowo asks for donations: 'For the price of a pack of cigarettes, you

Coconuts Jakarta - June 22, 2018

In Indonesia, political parties are generally funded by wealthy patrons while individual politicians are often forced to finance their own campaigns and even pay parties for the privilege of running under their banner (enormous expenses that are often paid for with promises of illicit money-making deals once they're in office).

Appeals to the general public for donations are quite rare – former Jakarta Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama caused quite a stir when he chose to run as an independent funded largely by private contributions to his failed 2017 campaign.

Which is why a video put out yesterday by Gerindra chairman and potential 2019 presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto is raising a lot of eyebrows. In the video, the former general calls on his supporters to donate whatever small amount they can in order to help fund Gerindra ahead of next week's nationwide regional elections.

In the video, Prabowo says that the enormous cost of politics in Indonesia has caused many potential candidates to lose to others who simply had more funding, which is why the Gerindra party needs the support and donations of the community.

"I am designing a fundraiser program to reach out directly to the people, to my supporters and to supporters of Gerindra. I call it @GalangPerjuangan (which roughly translates to "Fundraising for the Struggle")" Prabowo says in the video.

Prabowo then says that Gerindra has prepared an account to accept donations of any amount and implores supporters to give whatever they can to aid in Gerindra's struggle.

"I beg your help. How much depends on your ability. If you, say, send IDR5,000 (USD0.36) we will be grateful. If you can send IDR10,000, IDR20,000 and so on it will be very meaningful."

"Imagine, IDR20,000 is the same as a pack of cigarettes or two instant noodles. For the price of two packs of instant noodles or the price of a pack of cigarettes, you can change the future of the nation."

Prabowo then says that if half of his 10 million followers on Facebook were to donate IDR20,000, then it would be greatly strengthen Gerindra and its candidates in the upcoming regional elections (taking place on June 27).

"Moreover, those of you who have more, I beg your help. This account will be managed with transparency, tightly managed and accountable," Prabowo says, adding that details on how to donate can be accessed via the @GalangPerjuangan_bot in the Telegram app.

Prabowo's video certainly raises a lot of questions, first and foremost being whether or not Gerindra is seriously so lacking in funds just a week before the regional elections that it would have its chairperson put out such an unprecedented appeal for donations.

Gerindra executive board chairperson Habiburokhman explicitly denied that the party was running out of money today in response to questions about Prabowo's video. "Oh, no (we haven't run out of funds), crowdfund is normal in a democracy," Habiburokhman told Kompas today.

Habiburokhman cited politics in the United States and politicians such as Barack Obama and Donald Trump who raised large amount of money from supporters for their presidential campaigns. He said that crowdfunding from the public could also help eliminate the old unhealthy practices of political patronage that have been plaguing Indonesian democracy.

The senior Gerindra politician argued that his party has long been open to public donations and they've made similar appeals for donations before in previous elections. He also claimed the donations would be used to not just finance campaigning but also the party's socialization projects like aid for disaster victims.

While Gerindra may indeed have been open to public donations in the past, an appeal from such a senior and esteemed figure as Prabowo feels quite unprecedented.

The former general may feel he has to go all-out to not only help ensure his party wins big in next week's regional elections, but also to aid his own potential 2019 presidential bid. Although he has already been nominated by Gerindra, Prabowo's candidacy remains unofficial until his party can meet the required political support thresholds, which will require a coalition with at least one other party.

Several parties, including the Islam-based the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) and National Mandate Party (PAN) have expressed their desire to back Prabowo's candidacy, but behind-the-scenes negotiations have not yet led to anything concrete. Big wins for Gerindra in next week's election may turn negotiations in their favor.

Although the regional elections will not have any effect on Gerindra meeting the presidential threshold requirements (those numbers were set by the 2014 national election), Prabowo's brother and trusted advisor, Gerindra Board of Trustees Vice Chairman Hashim Djojohadikusumo, said back in March that Prabowo would immediately declare his candidacy if Gerindra were to win big – specifically, if the party was able to win 17 of the country's gubernatorial races.

Gerindra's candidates winning the governor's races in more than half of the country's provinces seems like a lofty goal (especially since not every one of Indonesia's 33 provinces is even holding a gubernatorial election this year). It may be even more impossible if the party is lacking in funds. We'll just have to wait and see what kind of impact Prabowo's crowdfunding appeal will end up having.

Source: https://coconuts.co/jakarta/news/prabowo-asks-public-donations-price-pack-cigarettes-can-change-future-nation/

Churches warn against fake news, misuse of identity politics in upcoming

Jakarta Globe - June 22, 2018

Sheany, Jakarta – The Association of Indonesian Churches, or PGI, has denounced the use of identity politics and warned against the spread of fake news ahead of next week's regional elections.

"Say 'no' to leaders who manipulate ethnic and religious sentiments, discriminate on the basis of gender, and conduct black campaigns against other candidates," PGI said in a statement, which was delivered by its executive secretary, Henrek Lokra, at a press conference in Jakarta on Thursday (21/06).

Voters in 17 provinces will elect provincial, district and municipal leaders on June 27. The regional poll will be a litmus test for next year's general elections.

PGI secretary general Gomar Gultom told reporters that fake news and manipulations based on ethno-religious sentiments are likely be the main problem during the 2019 vote.

"We must be critical to be able to distinguish between fake news and real news, between genuine news reports and those that serve certain political agendas." This is especially important, PGI said, as most media outlets in Indonesia are affiliated with certain political groups.

"We must not hand over political matters to people who will abuse their power. Don't be indifferent, but remember not to get caught in identity politics, which serves the interests of specific groups and not the whole nation."

The statement is going to be read out at the association's affiliated churches on Sunday.

Source: http://jakartaglobe.id/news/pgi-warns-against-spread-of-fake-news-and-manipulation-of-sara-ahead-of-upcoming-regional-elections/

2018 regional elections: The basics

Jakarta Post - June 22, 2018

Devina Heriyanto, Jakarta – With 171 elections simultaneously taking place on June 27, the 2018 regional elections are surely something to keep an eye on.

More than half the country's population with 152,066,685 registered voters will choose the new executive heads for 17 provinces, 115 regencies and 39 cities. The General Elections Commission (KPU) has set a target of 77.5 percent voter turnout.

Here are some things you should know about the elections:

What does pilkada serentak (simultaneous regional elections) mean?

Simultaneous regional elections refers to the fact that all of the elections will take place on one day, despite differences regarding the end of each region's office term. The 2018 regional elections on June 27 will decide the leaders of regions with office terms ending in 2018 and 2019.

Among 171 regions, 119 have their leader's office term ended in 2018 and 52 in 2019. Some of the regional leaders even had their term end in January this year. Two regents from Mimika and Southwest Sumba have office terms that should end on Sept. 6 and 8 2019, respectively. Their office terms will be cut short.

Regions whose leaders' office terms ended before the election are being led by an acting regional leader. For instance, after West Kalimantan's former governor Cornelis MH ended his term on Jan. 14, Home Minister Tjahjo Kumolo then appointed Doddy Riyadmadji as acting governor to fill the seat.

The previous simultaneous elections were in 2015 with 269 regions and in 2017 with 101 regions.

Who will get elected?

Regional heads at varying levels, from mayor, regents and governor. After the 2004 law on regional elections, Indonesians get to directly elect their own regional leaders. The first simultaneous regional elections were in 2005. Previously, the leaders were elected by members of their respective Regional Legislative Council (DPRD).

In 2014, a law was passed to scrape direct regional elections and to give the power back to the DPRD. In response to the public outcry, then-president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY) issued a regulation in lieu of law (Perppu) to resurrect direct local elections. Under President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo, the Perppu was strengthened as a law in 2015.

Why does the election matter?

The direct regional election is considered one highlight of democracy in Indonesia. The simultaneous nature of the election is argued as a means for efficiency. There is also a view that holding local elections simultaneously can prevent candidates who fail at one level or region from running again in another region – as is often the case in Indonesia.

Since the 2018 regional election is only months away from the 2019 legislative election and presidential election, this is a moment for political parties to garner their masses and prepare for 2019. What are the key regions in this election?

One of the most talked-about regions in the upcoming race is West Java, home to approximately 46.71 million people, the most populous province in Indonesia. West Java was also where Jokowi struggled during the 2014 presidential election and where he lost to Prabowo, who garnered 59.78 percent of the vote.

There are four pairs running in West Java:

The second-biggest province is East Java, which is also the base of Islamic organization Nahdatul Ulama (NU).

There are two pairs in the election:

Both Khofifah and Gus Ipul are notable figures in NU. Puti Guntur Soekarnoputri is the granddaughter of Indonesia's founding father and first president Sukarno and the niece of PDI-P matriarch Megawati Soekarnoputri.

Central Java is also under many watchlists, with incumbent Ganjar Pranowo running for another term against former energy and mineral resources minister Sudirman Said. Ganjar's name has been mentioned in the e-ID graft case, but he still maintains the lead due to his popularity and the PDI-P's strong base in Central Java.

There are two pairs in the Central Java race:

Outside Java, two contested regions are North Sumatra and South Sulawesi.

North Sumatra is the fourth most populous province in the country and the most populous outside Java. Former Jakarta vice governor Djarot Saiful Hidayat was appointed by his party, the PDI-P, to run in North Sumatra after losing in the 2017 Jakarta gubernatorial election as vice governor to Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama.

There are two pairs in the election:

South Sulawesi is the most populous province in eastern Indonesia. The province is among other regions considered prone to social conflicts nearing the election, as there have been several conflicts following past regional elections. One of the candidates, Ichsan Yasin Limpo, is the brother of previous South Sulawesi governor Syahrul Yasin Limpo and currently the regent of Gowa, South Sulawesi. The Limpo family reigns in Gowa.

There are four pair running in the province:

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/06/22/2018-regional-elections-the-basics.html

Prabowo accuses Jokowi govt of weakening TNI

Jakarta Post - June 21, 2018

Nurul Fitri Ramadhani, Jakarta – Gerindra Party chairman Prabowo has accused the government of trying to weaken the Indonesian Military (TNI) and putting the country at political risk.

The retired military general made the remarks on Tuesday in a 40-minute live streaming video that addressed Gerindra cadres on his official Facebook fan page.

"The TNI is weak, our Navy and Air Force are weak, our resources have been seized. As a result, our economic condition grows worse and burdens the people," Prabowo said in the video.

Gerindra deputy chairman Ferry Juliantono said that Prabowo meant to criticize the government for favoring the National Police instead of the TNI. For example, he added, the government did not give the TNI a greater counterterrorism role in the new terrorism law.

He also pointed to the recent inauguration of Comr. Gen. Iriawan, a high-ranking officer in the National Police, as acting West Java governor. "The government seems to treat the police as its 'golden boy'," Ferry said on Wednesday.

In his video, Prabowo also said that these days, money could buy power, and pointed to massive corruption in the current administration.

"There is a power that sees itself controlling and determining who can be regents, mayors, governors – even the next president," said Prabowo. "Our [state] institutions are weak. As a result, our political power is at stake," he added.

Prabowo also satirized President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo for frequently distributing aid packages of staple foods to the people to increase his popularity. "But that does nothing to improve our economic sovereignty," he said.

The ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) criticized Prabowo's remarks, saying that he had no solid data behind his arguments.

"Prabowo's opinions about the TNI and our economic condition are inaccurate. He did not refer to any data or analysis. [It is] more a subjective judgement," said Andreas Pareira of the PDI-P central executive board.

Andreas, who is also a member of House of Representatives Commission I overseeing defense, also rebutted Prabowo's criticism, pointing to the professionalism of the modern-day TNI.

"The military is now more professional than during Prabowo's era. It is now more focused on the defense sector. We provide them with the best facilities and best weaponry," he said. (evi)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/06/21/prabowo-accuses-jokowi-govt-of-weakening-tni.html

Ex-West Java Police chief inaugurated province's acting governor

Jakarta Post - June 18, 2018

Arya Dipa, Bandung – Home Minister Tjahjo Kumolo has inaugurated high-ranking National Police officer Comr. Gen. M. Iriawan, who once served as the provincial police chief, as an acting governor to replace incumbent West Java Governor Ahmad Heryawan, whose term as the province's head ended on June 13.

"I, on behalf of the President, officially inaugurate Comr. Gen. M. Iriawan as West Java's acting governor. I believe you will do your job well and according to your responsibilities," Tjahjo said during the ceremony on Monday.

The ceremony was held at Gedung Merdeka in the West Java provincial capital of Bandung and was attended by a number of officials, including Ahmad, who wished his successor good luck during the former's speech.

Prior to his appointment as West Java's acting governor, Iriawan had been the main secretary of the National Resilience Institute (Lemhanas) since March 8. The three-star general was also appointed West Java and Jakarta Police chief in 2013 and 2016, respectively.

Speaking to journalists after the ceremony, Iriawan said he had been contacted by the minister regarding his appointment and the inauguration on the second day of Idul Fitri celebrations on Saturday.

"My family and I were in Surabaya [East Java] visiting relatives when the minister called, so I went back right away to Jakarta. As a soldier, I'm ready to do what the country has ordered me to do," Iriawan said.

He added that he would focus on serving West Java residents as well as the provincial state officials' neutrality during the upcoming gubernatorial election.

West Java is among 171 regions participating in the 2018 simultaneous regional elections, which will be held on June 27. (kuk)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/06/18/ex-west-java-police-chief-inaugurated-provinces-acting-governor.html

Fadli Zon: Gerindra will wait for Jokowi

Tempo - June 17, 2018

Dewi Nurita, Jakarta – Deputy Chairman of the Great Indonesia Movement (Gerindra) Party Fadli Zon said that his party is waiting for incumbent President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo and his supporter to announce their vice president candidate for the 2019 Presidential Election.

Gerindra will be waiting for the decision before its Chairman Prabowo Subianto announces the vice president candidate supported by the party.

"Gerindra [will make the announcement] later. Usually the incumbent will make an announcement first. During [Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's] time, he make an announcement one month earlier," Fadli said on Sunday, June 17, 2018.

Fadli said that if the incumbent has enough confidence, then Jokowi and the government coalition would announce their vice president candidate earlier. "Announce it soon, don't just talk about it," Fadli said.

Meanwhile, Jokowi the coalition supporting Jokowi is yet to decide on their vice president. Chairman of the People's Conscience (Hanura) Party Oesman Sapta Odang, said that the coalition is yet to discuss the name of the vice president candidate for the 2019 Presidential Election.

Oesman claimed that Hanura has not even proposed a vice president candidate name. "We haven't discussed it until now," Oesman said.

A number of political parties have declared that they joined with Jokowi's supporter coalition for the 2019 Presidential Election, namely the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle, Functional Group Party, Hanura Party, National Democratic Party, and the United Development Party. However, the parties had not announced the name of a vice president candidate.

On the other hand, Jokowi's competitor for the election remains unclear. Gerindra insisted that they will support its Chairman Prabowo Subianto. Whereas, Prabowo himself has not made any official declaration regarding his nomination in the 2019 Presidential Election.

Source: https://en.tempo.co/read/news/2018/06/17/055919292/Fadli-Zon-Gerindra-will-Wait-for-Jokowi

Blasphemy & hate speech

Police end probe into blasphemy allegations against Sukmawati

Jakarta Post - June 17, 2018

Karina M. Tehusijarana, Jakarta – The National Police have ended their investigation into Sukmawati Soekarnoputri, the daughter of Indonesia's first president Sukarno, for alleged blasphemy, police spokesperson Brig. Gen. Muhammad Iqbal said in a statement on Sunday.

"Based on the preliminary investigation [...] we did not find any illegal or criminal act so the case will not be escalated to a full investigation," he added.

The announcement of the investigation's termination comes shortly after police confirmed that they have also dropped their investigation into a pornography case allegedly involving firebrand Islam Defenders Front (FPI) cleric Rizieq Shihab.

Last year, Sukmawati reported Rizieq to the police in an unrelated case, alleging that he had defamed Sukarno and the state ideology, Pancasila. That case was dropped by the West Java Police in February.

In April, about 30 groups and individuals reported Sukmawati, to the police, accusing her of composing a poem that insulted Islam in violation of articles 156 and 156a of the Criminal Code.

Sukmawati read the poem, entitled "Ibu Indonesia" (Mother Indonesia), during a fashion event to celebrate designer Anne Avantie's 29th anniversary in the business during Indonesia Fashion Week (IFW) in Jakarta on March 29.

In the poem, Sukmawati allegedly unfavorably compared cadar (the full-face veil) to konde (the traditional hair bun) and adzan (Muslim call to prayer) to traditional Indonesian songs.

Sukmawati issued a tearful apology shortly after she was first reported to the police, saying that she had no intention of insulting Islam.

"Since this literary work has sparked controversy, especially among Muslims, I apologize to all Muslims who feel offended by this poem," she said at the time. (ahw)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/06/17/police-end-probe-into-blasphemy-allegations-against-sukmawati.html

Surveys & opinion polls

Indonesians feel safe, have confidence in police: Gallup

Jakarta Post - June 18, 2018

Devina Heriyanto, Jakarta – The 2018 Global Law and Order report compiled by consultancy Gallup found that Indonesia was among the safest countries in the world, ahead of many developed countries in East Asia and Europe.

The report was based on a survey of approximately 1,000 people in 142 countries.

Participants were asked whether they felt safe walking alone at night, had confidence in the police, had property stolen from them or their family and whether they had been mugged in the last 12 months.

More than two-thirds of people worldwide have confidence in their police forces and feel safe walking alone at night. Thirteen percent had property stolen from them or a family member in the past year, while 5 percent experienced assault or robbery.

Singapore is at the top of the Law and Order Index, scoring 97 out of a possible 100, followed by Norway, Iceland, Finland and Uzbekistan. Indonesia ranks 9th with a score of 89, below Switzerland and Canada (both 90) and just above Denmark, Slovenia, Luxemburg, Austria, China, the Netherlands and Egypt (all 88).

However, Indonesia does not make it into the top 10 countries where people feel safest walking alone at night. Gallup does not reveal the details of perceptions on each indicator.

Countries with the lowest scores are Venezuela (44), Afghanistan (45), South Sudan (54), Gabon (55) and Liberia (56). Venezuela and Afghanistan are also where people feel least safe walking alone at night, with only one in every five comfortable doing so. Gallup noted that Afghanistan's result reflected a worsening security situation compared to the previous year.

At the regional level, East Asia tops the list, scoring 87, just above Southeast Asia (86) and the United States and Canada (85). South America and the Caribbean and Sub-Saharan Africa are considered the least safe, scoring 62 and 68 respectively.

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/06/18/indonesians-feel-safe-have-confidence-in-police-gallup.html

Health & education

Abortion case in Magelang tip of iceberg, activists say

Jakarta Post - June 21, 2018

Gisela Swaragita and Jon Afrizal, Jakarta/Jambi – "I became pregnant when I was 16. When I sought help from my family, they disowned me," 23-year-old Tari, not her real name, said as she recalled her struggle.

Being estranged from her family, she had to live like a nomad moving from one friend's place to another, eventually moving to Bogor in West Java during her pregnancy. After giving birth, her family took the baby and told her to leave.

Despite her hardship, she said she never regretted giving birth. "She is now the apple of my family's eyes. They still hate me, but at least they accept my daughter lovingly," said Tari who now lives in Jakarta.

Negative responses from one's family often scar victims of unwanted pregnancy. Some like Tari keep the baby despite hardship, but many opt to abort their babies via underground services.

Yamini, a traditional baby masseuse in Magelang, Central Java, was arrested on Tuesday after the police found 20 bags of fetus skeletons buried in her backyard.

Yamini allegedly practiced abortion for 25 years by massaging her clients' bellies to kill and remove the fetus, said Magelang Police chief, Adj. Sr. Comr. Hari Purnomo, as reported by kompas.com. Hari said the service fee was around Rp 2 million (US$143.90).

Seventy-year-old Yamini has been charged with child abuse that caused death under the 2014 Child Protection Law, which carries a maximum punishment of 15 years imprisonment.

Earlier this month, a mother, son and daughter of the same family had to spend Idul Fitri in detention for their alleged role in a rape and abortion case.

The son reportedly said he had forced his sister to engage in a sexual act with him eight times, resulting in her pregnancy.

In a face saving act, the mother carried out an abortion by giving her 8-month pregnant daughter a turmeric concoction and massaging her belly on May 22. The fetus was buried in a nearby palm plantation.

A few days later, a farmer found the fetus, which led to the arrest of the family on June 4.

The son was charged with intentional abortion under the 2014 law, which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. The mother is accused of aiding the son in the abortion case, which frames the teenage girl as the main perpetrator.

Uli Pangaribuan from the Legal Aid Foundation of Indonesian Women's Association for Justice (LBH APIK), regrets the framing of the case, saying that the girl is the victim, not the perpetrator.

"The abortion was carried out because she is a rape victim," she said. "She needs to be protected, not charged."

Zumrotin K. Susilo of the Women's Health Foundation said the government failed to protect women's reproductive rights despite the existing 2014 government regulation that legalizes abortion for rape victims and as a life-saving measure.

Legal abortion, according to the decree, should be carried out by a certified doctor in a health facility designated by the health minister. Each patient should be accompanied by counselors who provide psychological assistance before, during and after the abortion, as well as during pregnancy should the patient decide to cancel an abortion.

But, according to Zumrotin, the government has yet to appoint the medical facilities in question, which leads to women undergoing unsafe abortions in underground clinics.

"An unsafe abortion may cause infections in reproductive organs and even death. If the baby survives, it may be born with deformities," Zumrotin said.

Gloria Atmaja, an abortion survivor, said her mother unsuccessfully tried to abort her in 1963. "She swallowed pills and went to a traditional abortionist. However, I survived," she said.

As a consequence, she was born with deformed fingers and toes. After years of emotional struggle, she forgave her mother and started working to help women with unwanted pregnancies in a shelter named Rumah Tumbuh Harapan (RUTH House) in Bandung, West Java.

Gloria said it is crucial for mothers to make peace with their unwanted pregnancies. (stu)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/06/21/abortion-case-in-magelang-tip-of-iceberg-activists-say.html

Refugees & asylum seekers

The plight of refugees in Indonesia

Jakarta Globe - June 18, 2018

Sheany, Jakarta – Unresolved conflicts result in increasing violence and persecution, which force millions of people to flee their homes in search for safety.

Peace is deteriorating in many regions, and for the first time in modern history, refugees make up almost 1 percent of the global population. According to the 2018 Global Peace Index (GPI) report, published by the Institute for Economics and Peace on June 6, the world is less peaceful today than at any time in the past decade.

According to the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR), we are witnessing the highest levels of displacement on record, with 65.6 million people forcibly displaced. Among them are nearly 22.5 million refugees, more than half of whom are under the age of 18. There are also 10 million stateless people who have been denied a nationality and have no access to basic rights such as education, health care or legal protection.

Escaping violence, however, is just the first step in a long process of starting a new life. Refugees and asylum seekers are often left in a legal limbo, without a chance to earn a decent living in places which are entirely foreign to them.

Indonesia, which is not party to the 1951 Refugee Convention – a United Nations treaty that defines the term "refugees," outlines their rights and obligations of receiving countries to protect them – now hosts 14,000 asylum seekers and refugees, mostly from Afghanistan.

Around 30 asylum seekers live on the sidewalks of Jalan Kebon Sirih Barat 1 in Menteng, Central Jakarta, near the offices of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro) Around 30 asylum seekers live on the sidewalks of Jalan Kebon Sirih Barat 1 in Menteng, Central Jakarta, near the offices of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)

For the refugees, Indonesia is a place of transit before resettlement to Western countries. But those are increasingly unwilling to receive them.

According to Febi Yonesta, chairman of the Indonesian Civil Society Network for Refugee Rights Protection (Suaka), there are many skilled people in the refugee community, who could certainly contribute to Indonesian society and the economy. But the law does not allow them to work.

"Many refugees are skilled, so when we ignore them and don't allow them to engage in activities that could generate income, they become frustrated," Febi told the Jakarta Globe in a telephone interview on June 14.

He added that if the government cannot provide formal job opportunities, at least it should not bar them from working in the informal sector, as with no income whatsoever many can become prone to illegal activities.

It can take a long time for asylum seekers to get resettled, even between 15 and 20 years. With no place to live, in Jakarta many of them choose to stay at the immigration detention center in Kalideres. But in January, the facility ran out of space, leaving dozens of people stranded in makeshift tents on the roadside in front of it.

In July last year, the government said it would work to improve the very poor conditions in which asylum seekers and refugees are hosted. The 2016 Presidential Regulation (Perpres) guarantees them shelter, security and provision of basic needs, while the UNHCR processes their relocation.

Refugees do not have a place to sleep. Residents often offer them food, clothes and other necessities. In Ramadan, the nearby mosque which provides free iftar dinners. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro) Refugees do not have a place to sleep. Residents often offer them food, clothes and other necessities. In Ramadan, the nearby mosque which provides free iftar dinners. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)

In May, CNN Indonesia reported that UNHCR has been telling refugees and asylum seekers in Indonesia to lower their expectations regarding resettlement and start looking for other options, such as returning to their home countries.

Where the government does not come with help, Indonesian civil society is trying to provide relief.

The Indonesian Civil Society Network for Refugee Rights Protection (Suaka), for example, was established in 2012, in an effort to protect and promote the rights of refugees and asylum seekers in Indonesia. Its key members are LBH Jakarta and the Human Rights Working Group (HRWG). It provides legal aid and is engaged in advocacy work.

The Refugee Learning Center (RLC) in Cisarua, West Java, was established in 2015 to train teachers and provide education to refugee children who are denied the right of attending state-run schools.

The Refugees and Asylum Seekers Information Center (RAIC) is a volunteer network aimed to provide support to those fleeing persecution. RAIC also collects donations, distributes aid packages and offers basic health care services.

Febi said the government should partner with these organizations to address the needs of refugees and asylum seekers during their stay in Indonesia.

"As long as Indonesia refuses to accept refugees as citizens, at the very least it can be a good host while they are in transit. Isn't this part of our culture that when we have guests we should treat them well?"

World Refugee Day is observed annually on June 20.

Source: http://jakartaglobe.id/news/plight-refugees-indonesia/

Corruption & abuse of power

Novel Baswedan acid attack, human rights group finds new leads

Tempo - June 20, 2018

M Rosseno Aji, Jakarta – The national commission on human rights (Komnas HAM) monitoring team claimed that it has uncovered a new crucial finding related to the acid attack against Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) senior investigator Novel Baswedan.

"This is a crucially important finding for the Komnas HAM monitoring team, there are several things that we cannot yet (share with the public)," said the head of the Komnas HAM monitoring team Sandrayati Moniaga on Tuesday, May 19.

The Komnas HAM formed the monitoring team to handle the acid attack case since March 8, 2018, following a stagnant official police investigation. The team mainly monitors factors that hampers the official investigation and provides recommendations to President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo and police to help solve the case.

Furthermore, Sandrayati is eyeing to finalize the recommendation as early as August and hopes that it would help accelerate the investigation process. "We truly hope that it will be finalized in early August or September," Said Sandrayati.

As reported in numerous news reports, Novel Baswedan was attacked with liquid acid early morning on April 2017 on his walk back home from praying at a nearby Mosque that was just seven houses away from his house.

The corrosive liquid eventually damaged 95 percent of Novel Baswedan's left eye and forced him to undergo several surgeries that were conducted in Singapore.

Driven by his suspicion, Novel Baswedan has openly claimed numerous times that the investigation upon his case is being intentionally hampered by several individuals.

Source: https://en.tempo.co/read/news/2018/06/20/055919351/Novel-Baswedan-Acid-Attack-Human-Rights-Group-Finds-New-Leads

'Big Man' backing Novel Baswedan attackers, lawyer says

Tempo - June 20, 2018

M Rosseno Aji, Jakarta – Muhammad Isnur, the lawyer of KPK's senior investigator Novel Baswedan, suspects there is a 'big man' protecting the people who attacked his client.

"That's what Novel suspects. He suspects that the person backing his attackers is a general; and that was why [the attackers] had the guts to return and show their presence," Isnur told Tempo on Tuesday, June 19.

Novel had said that he still received terrors after returning from Singapore to get an eye surgery. He said that he saw the alleged attackers across his house when he arrived in Indonesia on February 22, 2018. "When I got home on February 22, the attacker was there," he said in June 17.

Isnur said that the attackers came back to Novel's residence with a motive to terrorize the KPK investigator. Isnur suspects that the attackers wanted to challenge Novel and at the same time giving a message – saying that the case cannot be solved.

"It's as if the guy wants to say 'there's nothing you can do about it' which is part of a psychological warfare," he said. He said that the fact these attackers are still on the loose is harassment against the law.

Novel Baswedan was attacked on April 11 this year. He had hydrochloric acid (HCl) thrown at him by two unidentified men when he had just finished a morning prayer at a mosque near his home in Kelapa Gading, North Jakarta. The attack left injuries on his face and left eye. To date, the police have not been able to capture the attackers.

For a number of times, Novel had mentioned his suspicions that a police general is behind the attack on him. In an interview with Tempo in June 2017, Novel said the general played a role in obscuring facts and evidence of the attack.

"This information is legit – although I cannot tell you how I obtain it," Novel had said.

Source: https://en.tempo.co/read/news/2018/06/20/055919346/Big-Man-Backing-Novel-Baswedan-Attackers-Lawyer-Says

Novel Baswedan sees his attacker across his house

Tempo - June 18, 2018

Budiarti Utami Putri, Jakarta – The senior investigator of the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) Novel Baswedan claimed the police did not thoroughly investigate the attack against him.

After undergoing eye treatment in Singapore, Novel Baswedan still received threats from an alleged perpetrator.

"After departing from Singapore, I was still threatened," said Novel in front of his residence in Kelapa Gading, North Jakarta, on Sunday, June 17.

Novel was attacked by two unidentified men on April 11, 2017. One of the men splashed acid water to Novel after he took dawn prayers at a mosque near his house. He was flown to Singapore for the treatment of his eyes that were severely injured.

The left eye was 95 damaged and totally implanted, while his right eye needed to use a hard lens to help the vision. Novel Baswedan returned to Indonesia on February 22, 2018. On that day, he saw the attacker standing across his house.

"I came home first on February 22. The perpetrator was there," said Novel while appointing the street across his house. "If [the police] really conduct the disclosure, [the attacker] wouldn't dare [coming to my house]."

On February, it had been 10 months since the incident. However, the Jakarta Police has yet revealed the perpetrator who attacked KPK senior investigator Novel Baswedan.

Source: https://en.tempo.co/read/news/2018/06/18/055919299/Novel-Baswedan-Sees-His-Attacker-Across-His-House

Terrorism & religious extremism

Civil group deplores death sentence of terrorist Aman Abdurrahman

Jakarta Post - June 22, 2018

Jakarta – Jakarta-based rights group Community Legal Aid Institute (LBH Masyarakat) has slammed the South Jakarta District Court's decision to sentence terrorist Aman Abdurrahman to death.

The spiritual leader of the Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD) terrorist group was declared guilty on Friday for inciting acts of terror.

"LBH Masyarakat rejects capital punishment against any crime," LBH Masyarakat director Ricky Gunawan said in a press statement.

He said LBH Masyarakat acknowledged that the attacks committed by Aman Abdurrahman's terror network were heinous and had taken many lives. "However, the death penalty is not a proper response or answer to [preventing] terror attacks in Indonesia," Ricky said.

Combatting terrorism, Ricky said, required a long-term and holistic approach instead of a reactionary response such as capital punishment. "The death sentence is a delusional solution to terrorism," the activist said.

He pointed to convicted terrorists Amrozi, Imam Samudra and Mukhlas, who were placed in front of the firing squad in 2008, whose execution did not lead to a decline in terrorist activities.

LBH Masyarakat recommended that Aman be sentenced to life under continual deradicalization. Aman received the death penalty for violating the 2003 Terrorism Law by orchestrating five terror attacks around Indonesia from 2016 to 2017.

Aman founded JAD in February 2015 by uniting Islamic State (IS) sympathizers in Nusakambangan prison as he was serving his nine-year sentence. He is also known as an IS propagandist who actively translates and disseminates IS documents online while indoctrinating fellow prisoners. (nor/ebf)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/06/22/civil-group-deplores-death-sentence-of-terrorist-aman-abdurrahman.html

Pro IS cleric gets death for inspiring terror attacks in Indonesia

Jakarta Post - June 22, 2018

Fachrul Sidiq, Jakarta – The South Jakarta District Court found on Friday Aman Abdurrahman guilty of inciting several terror attacks in Indonesia and sentenced the radical cleric to death.

"The defendant has been found guilty beyond reasonable doubt of inciting others to commit terrorism," presiding judge Akhmad Jaini read in the verdict.

Aman, the de facto leader of Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD), a local affiliate of the Islamic State (IS) terror group, had been found responsible for inciting others to commit at least five terror attacks in Indonesia, including the Thamrin shootings and suicide bombings in 2016 on Jl. MH Thamrin in Central Jakarta and the Kampung Melayu bombings in East Jakarta last year.

The panel of five judges found his teachings were behind the terror attacks.

Aman denied that he was involved in the attack, despite admitting that he had urged his followers to go to Syria to join the IS in its quest to establish a global caliphate.

He denounced in his defense plea the recent terror attacks in Indonesia, saying the perpetrators were ignorant and mentally ill.

The judges dismissed Aman's claim, saying based on witnesses' testimony he had instructed his followers to create chaos and panic in Indonesia as mandated by IS leader Al-Baghdadi.

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/06/22/pro-is-cleric-gets-death-for-inspiring-terror-attacks-in-indonesia.html

Freedom of religion & worship

Kontras condemns police for obstructing burial of Sampang Shiite

Jakarta Post - June 15, 2018

Jakarta – The Surabaya chapter of the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) condemned the police for allegedly obstructing the burial of Kurriyah, 24, a member of the Shiite community in Sampang, East Java.

"We urge the National Police chief to investigate," Fathkul Khoir of Kontras said on Thursday.

After battling a tumor and bone tuberculosis for years, Kurriyah passed away on Wednesday afternoon at a hospital in Surabaya, East Java.

He was one of hundreds of Shiite Muslims who were driven from their homes in Sampang – and relocated to Madura Island – by a Sunni majority mob in 2013.

On Wednesday, Kurriyah's body was brought first to Puspa Argo low-cost apartments in Sidoarjo on the outskirts of Surabaya, which have been turned into a Sampang Shiite relocation site in recent years.

His family planned to bury him in Karanggayam village, Sampang. However, they later received information from the Sampang Police that the village head opposed the plan.

The police later visited the apartment and ordered the family to take Kurriyah's body to a hospital in Sidoarjo instead. The family declined and insisted on transporting it to Sampang using an ambulance.

But when the ambulance arrived at the premises, a group of people believed to be police officers took control of it.

Another ambulance later managed to transport the body to the island, but was stopped on its way to the village allegedly by the police who asked the entourage to take the body back to Sidoarjo. (hol/ipa)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/06/15/kontras-condemns-police-for-obstructing-burial-of-sampang-shiite.html

Religion & politics

Prabowo's Gerindra Party ready to stand by and protect FPI leader Rizieq

Detik News - June 17, 2018

Danu Damarjati, Jakarta – The police have issued an investigation termination warrant (SP3) on the pornography chat case involving Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) leader Habib Rizieq Shihab.

Prabowo Subianto's Greater Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra) has guaranteed that Shihab can return to Indonesia safely.

"Of course, because there is no longer any threat of criminalisation", Gerindra's Legal and Advocacy Division head Habiburokhman told Detik.com on Sunday June 17.

Habiburokhman, who is also a lawyer, said he is ready to protect Shihab from efforts to threaten him legally. "I am just one of hundreds of advocates who are ready to stand by and defend him if there is a threat of criminalisation", said Habiburokhman.

"The Islamic community misses ulama [Islamic scholars] like Habib Rizieq who bring a freshness [to Indonesia]", said Habiburokhman.

On the question of the great leader of the FPI's return from Saudi Arabia, Shihab's lawyer Kapitra Ampera said that it would be Shihab who would make the announcement himself.

It is unclear however, when Shihab will announce his return to Indonesia. "Later Habib Rizieq himself will announce when he's coming home", said Ampera when contacted on Sunday. (dnu/imk)

[Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service. The original title of the article was "Politikus Gerindra Siap Pasang Badan untuk Kepulangan Habib Rizieq".]

Source: https://news.detik.com/berita/4071810/politikus-gerindra-siap-pasang-badan-untuk-kepulangan-habib-rizieq

212 supporter delivers Idul Fitri sermon in Istiqlal

Jakarta Post - June 15, 2018

Jakarta – Bandung-based preacher Abdullah "Aa Gym" Gymnastiar delivered a sermon during Idul Fitri morning prayers on Friday at the Istiqlal Mosque, the country's biggest mosque, in Central Jakarta.

Aa Gym is known as a proponent of the 212 rally, a religiously-driven mass protest staged in December 2016 demanding the prosecution of then-Jakarta governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama, which eventually led to the victory of current Governor Anies Baswedan in the 2017 gubernatorial election.

The prayers in Istiqlal were attended by Anies and Zulkifli Hasan, the People's Consultative Assembly speaker and National Mandate Party (PAN) politician. Many of the PAN's elite were also known to have supported the 212 rally.

Aa Gym's 15-minute long sermon highlighted the danger of corruption, which he described as against the teachings of Islam on leading a honest and humble life.

"A person who continues to steal is doomed to failure in life if [the person] does not atone," Aa Gym said as quoted by kompas.com.

His name, however, was included on the Religious Affairs Ministry's list of 200 Islamic preachers that are deemed moderate, which was issued last month.

Aa Gym once was also a popular cleric before his popularity plummeted following the announcement that he had taken a second wife in 2006, which sparked a national debate on polygamy.

Vice President Jusuf Kalla was also among the participants at Istiqlal. (gis/ipa)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/06/15/212-supporter-delivers-idul-fitri-sermon-in-istiqlal.html

Cultural & religious events

Surakarta administration hunts down absent, smoking civil servants

Jakarta Post - June 21, 2018

Ganug Nugroho Adi, Surakarta – The Surakarta administration in Central Java made an impromptu inspection Thursday to make sure its civil servants showed up for work after the 10-day collective Idul Fitri holiday concluded.

Mayor FX Hadi "Rudy" Rudyatmo, accompanied by his deputy Achmad Purnomo, went to the offices of several working units after leading a morning ceremony and attending a halal bihalal (post-Ramadhan gathering) at City Hall.

"The inspection is part of [an attempt to instill] discipline among state officials," Rudy said on Thursday.

Separately, Surakarta city secretary Budi Yulistianto said the administration had formed a joint team to monitor civil servants' attendance on the first day back at work.

Should an employee be found to be absent, the administration could impose a sanction ranging from cutting allowances to promotion postponement, he went on to say.

Apart from civil servants' work attendance, several members of the administration's Community Protection Task Force (Satlinmas) checked for people smoking at City Hall.

The inspection targeted civil servants and regular visitors, as smoking is prohibited in the City Hall compound. People found smoking were told to extinguish their cigarette in a provided ashtray or leave the compound. (kuk/swd)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/06/21/surakarta-administration-hunts-down-absent-smoking-civil-servants.html

Information ministry sees less radical content circulating during

Jakarta Post - June 16, 2018

Jakarta – Communications and Information Minister Rudiantara has said content promoting radical views decreased during the fasting month of Ramadan.

Rudiantara said that since May, the ministry had been deactivating 500 accounts posting such negative content per day. The number plunged to 50 accounts per day during the fasting month. At least 48 percent of radical content came from social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram.

"We have blocked at least 4,000 Facebook and Instagram accounts recently," Rudiantara was quoted by tempo.co as saying on Friday, adding that the ministry was now keeping a close eye on 20,000 other accounts suspected of distributing radical and terrorist content.

The ministry has teamed up with the police to monitor the suspected accounts. "The police capture the culprits in the real world, while we take down the accounts in the cyber world," he asserted.

Rudiantara called on netizens to avoid spreading radical content to prevent their accounts from being subject to the cyber crackdown. Published content should be positive, he asserted. (dmr)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/06/16/information-ministry-sees-less-radical-content-circulating-during-ramadan.html

Religious harmony shown on Idul Fitri in Semarang, Malang

Jakarta Post - June 15, 2018

Suherdjoko and Aman Rochman, Semarang/Malang – Semarang Archbishop Robertus Rubiyatmoko and four other Catholic priests visited the Central Java Grand Mosque on Friday to convey Idul Fitri greetings to the ulemas and to the Muslim faithful.

"We have come to wish our Muslim brothers and sisters a happy Idul Fitri," Robertus said. "This is a tradition that is great for building togetherness, kinship and brotherhood between all Indonesians."

Robertus met with former Muhammadiyah chairman Muhammad Sirajuddin "Din" Syamsuddin and several other ulemas at the mosque after they performed the Eid prayers and shared breakfast together.

Din Syamsuddin, who delivered the Idul Fitri sermon, expressed his gratitude for the archbishop's visit, saying it was a good tradition that helped foster interreligious harmony in Central Java. "We may have different religions but we are still brethren as we are all God's creations and Indonesian citizens," he said.

The mosque's manager, Noor Achmad, echoed Din's sentiments, saying the mosque emphasized Islam as rahmatan lil 'alamin (blessing for the universe).

"This mosque has established itself as a place for Muslims who protect and cooperate with all religions so as to create peace in Central Java, Indonesia, and the whole world," he said.

Meanwhile, in Malang, Masjid Jamik Malang was so full of worshippers that the Eid sermon had to be held in the yard of the Catholic Church of the Sacred Heart (Gereja Hati Kudus Yesus) and in the city square.

According to church staff, helping out with Eid prayers was an annual tradition. To cater to it, the church's morning mass was postponed from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. Members of the church's Young Catholic organization also distributed bottled water and paper to those who did not bring prayer rugs.

Moch Affandi, the mosque's secretary, said it always coordinated with the church as well as the Protestant Church of Immanuel. "The mosque has operated since 1903 and we never had any conflict with the churches," he added.

One of the congregants praying in the church yard, Devi Amatanti, 34, said she was grateful that the church opened its doors to another faith.

"[When I arrived at the mosque] I did not find any space to pray. However, the church staff offered their yard to us. They even gave us free paper to use as replacements for prayer rugs. I'm happy to see tolerance and religious harmony in Malang," she added. (kmt/gis)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/06/15/religious-harmony-shown-on-idul-fitri-in-semarang-malang.html

Hard-line & vigilante groups

No govt hand in termination of Rizieq's pornography case: Jokowi

Jakarta Post - June 21, 2018

Marguerite Afra Sapiie, Jakarta – The government says it has not intervened in a pornography investigation involving Islam Defenders Front (FPI) leader Rizieq Shihab, which was ended recently.

"There wasn't any intervention from us. It is [the police's] jurisdiction," President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo said on Thursday.

The National Police recently dropped the investigation into the case, in which the firebrand cleric was allegedly involved in sexually explicit WhatsApp chats with a female friend. The conversation included some nude pictures uploaded to the website baladacintarizieq.com.

The police cited a lack of evidence as a reason for discontinuing the investigation, saying they could not find the owner of the now-defunct website. They decided to drop the case following a case screening.

Rizieq, one of Jokowi's staunchest critics, had been charged by the police with violating the 2008 Pornography Law in May 2017. By that time Rizieq had fled to Saudi Arabia and refused to return to Indonesia, despite several police summonses.

In 2016, Rizieq was among several figures and members of Islamic groups who participated in a Dec. 2 rally, dubbed "212", which called for the prosecution of then-Jakarta governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama for blasphemy.

Jokowi met with so-called 212 alumni in a closed-door meeting in April. The President said it had only been a silaturahmi (friendly gathering); however, members of the group claimed that during the meeting, they had discussed with Jokowi legal proceedings against clerics, which they believed were attempts of criminalization. (evi)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/06/21/no-govt-hand-in-termination-of-rizieqs-pornography-case-jokowi.html

Porn suspect status dropped, Rizieq still awaits legal certainty before

Coconuts Jakarta - June 21, 2018

Rizieq Shihab, the founder of the hardline Islamic Defenders Front (FPI), has been a fugitive from Indonesian justice for over one year after being named a suspect in a high-profile pornography case by the Jakarta Police.

But now that the authorities have dropped his suspect status, citing a lack of evidence, many are wondering when the FPI leader will return to Indonesia and what impact his homecoming will have on national politics.

According to former FPI Jakarta secretary general Novel Bamukmin, Rizieq's return to Indonesia still remains up in the air due to other legal problems he could potentially face upon his homecoming.

"He is not yet [coming home], there are still three more cases in which he has not yet received an SP3 (investigation termination warrant)," Novel said on Monday as quoted by CNN Indonesia.

Following claims by Rizieq's lawyer that an SP3 had been issued in the pornography case, police confirmed that the FPI leader's suspect status had been dropped over the weekend, citing investigators' inability to identify the uploader of the allegedly pornographic materials pertaining to an affair between Rizieq and one of his followers which were posted online last year.

That followed an SP3 issued by the West Java Police dropping the suspect status against Rizieq in a case of defamation against the country's founding father Sukarno and the state ideology of Pancasila.

Despite those legal obstacles being removed, as Novel noted, Rizieq still faces potential charges in several other ongoing cases. One of those cases involves Rizieq's erroneous claim that the new Indonesian rupiah designs contain hidden communist symbols, as well as a case in which he was reported to have blasphemed Christianity in one of his sermons.

Although Rizieq has not officially been named a suspect in those particular cases, since they remain open the potential for him to be indicted is still there. Police also mentioned that the pornography case against Rizieq could also be reopened should new evidence be uncovered.

The issuing of Rizieq's SP3 has led to a great deal of speculation as to the behind-the-scenes political bartering that made have gone into it, including one popular theory that the case against Rizieq was dropped so that the blasphemy case against Sukmawati Sukarnoputri, one of Sukarno's daughters, could also be quietly dropped without further repercussion or hardliner protests.

Police have denied that any political bartering was behind the issuing of the SP3 and said it was done solely at the discretion of the investigators after receiving an official SP3 application from Rizieq's lawyer.

At any rate, it seems likely that Rizieq will return to Indonesia in the near future as the other cases against him are generally seen as less likely to land him in legal hot water. If he does return, then it is hard to predict what kind of effect he could have on the national political scene.

However, considering he has seemingly thrown his support behind potential 2019 presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto, who has shown his readiness to employ a religion-based campaign strategy similar to the one spearheaded by Rizieq that ultimately defeated former Jakarta Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama in the 2017 gubernatorial election, Rizieq's return could lead to a very ugly election season indeed.

Source: https://coconuts.co/jakarta/news/porn-suspect-status-dropped-fpi-leader-rizieq-still-awaits-legal-certainty-returning-indonesia/

Rizieq Shihab to return to Indonesia

Tempo - June 18, 2018

Alfan Hilmi, Jakarta – The Islamic Defender Front (FPI) leader Rizieq Shihab planned to return to Indonesia following the issuance of termination letter for the pornography case against him. It would be a one-year period of his hiding over the police probe should he arrived on June 2018.

"God willing, he will be back to Indonesia," said Rizieq's attorney Kapitra Ampera in a short message, on Sunday, June 17. Kapitra stated his client still stayed in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. "Wait for his announcement," he added.

The police on Sunday confirmed the termination letter (SP3) for pornography case against Rizieq Shihab had been issued because the investigators had difficulties to discover additional evidence to support the allegation of Rizieq's involvement in the case.

The police named Rizieq as the suspect for various cases such as religious blasphemy, humiliation for the state ideology and symbol, and pornography in early 2017 after he led the 212 demonstrations that succeeded to prison Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama or Ahok.

Earlier, on February 2018, Rizieq Shihab reportedly had bought a flight ticket to Indonesia. However, the plan was halted since it sparked pros and contras reaction among the public.

Furthermore, National Police Deputy Chief Comr. Gen. Syafruddin asserted there was no political intention over the issuance of SP3 for Rizieq Shihab's case. "All law enforcer, police investigators, prosecutors, or KPK are independent. There is no pretention," he underlined.

Source: https://en.tempo.co/read/news/2018/06/18/055919313/Rizieq-Shihab-to-Return-to-Indonesia

Police drop pornography case against Rizieq Shihab

Jakarta Globe - June 18, 2018

Jakarta – Police have ended their pornography investigation against firebrand Islamic cleric Rizieq Shihab, citing a lack of evidence.

Rizieq, who built his reputation as a promoter of a strict interpretation of Islam, often through hate speech, intimidation and violence, was seen gaining more political influence among those opposing President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo.

The cleric, who is the founder of the hardline Islamic Defenders Front (FPI), fled to Saudi Arabia last year after screenshots of a lewd WhatsApp chat and nude pictures, allegedly exchanged between him and social activist Firza Husein, leaked on the internet. Both have denied the allegation.

"It is true that the investigators have closed the case; the investigators have the authority to do so," National Police spokesman Brig. Gen. Mohammad Iqbal said on Sunday (17/06).

"There was an official request from the lawyer to stop the investigation. After an open hearing of the case, it was terminated because, according to the investigator, they have yet to find the person who uploaded the chat on the internet," Iqbal said.

However, he added that investigators can reopen the case at any time if new evidence emerge. Rizieq's lawyer, Sugito Atmo Prawiro, confirmed that the investigation has been closed.

The cleric played a central role in the so-called 212 Movement, which held a series of religiously charged protest rallies against then-Jakarta Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama in 2016. This resulted in Ahok, a Christian of Chinese descent and one of Jokowi's key allies, losing his bid for re-election. The rallies also significantly raised religious tensions in the country.

The timing and nature of the pornography case led observers to speculate that this may have been the result of political meddling to prevent Rizieq from expanding his influence, especially ahead of this year's regional elections and the 2019 presidential election.

Police initially detained Firza on the morning of Dec. 12, 2016 on a separate treason allegation, which she denied. A month later, an unknown source uploaded details of the WhatsApp chat on the internet. Police named Rizieq a suspect in the pornography case in May last year and summoned him for questioning. However, he had already left for Mecca at the time to perform umrah, or the minor hajj, and subsequently decided not to return to Indonesia.

Over the past year, Rizieq has received visits in Mecca from several politicians, particularly those in the opposition, such as Prabowo Subianto, chairman of the Great Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra), Sohibul Iman, president of the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), and Muhammad Amien Rais, founder of the National Mandate Party (PAN).

In Indonesia meanwhile, some proponents of the 212 Movement, including Yusuf Muhammad Martak, Slamet Maarif, Muhammad Al Khathath, Sobri Lubis, Roudhul Bahar and Usamah Hisyam, also opened communications with Jokowi and met with him in April.

While the National Police spokesman denied any State Palace involvement in the decision to drop the case against Rizieq, some believe it will help reduce political tensions.

"The police's decision is welcomed.... It will lead to a more calm and peaceful [political] atmosphere," House of Representatives Speaker Bambang Soesatyo said on Sunday.

Source: http://jakartaglobe.id/news/police-drop-pornography-case-against-rizieq-shihab/

Pornography charges dropped against Indonesian cleric Rizieq Shihab

ABC News - June 18, 2018

David Lipson – Indonesian police have dropped pornography charges against hardline Indonesian cleric Rizieq Shihab after failing to find the person who uploaded the images.

Rizieq, the leader of Indonesia's Islamic Defenders Front (FPI), has been in exile in Saudi Arabia since being charged in May last year.

The charges related to a purported online chat between Rizieq and a supporter, which included naked images of the woman. Screenshots of the chat, including an apparent request from Rizieq for the explicit images, were shared on the internet last year.

Under Indonesia's anti-pornography laws it is illegal to view, store or share any images of explicit nudity, or to make anyone else be an "object or model" of pornography.

The same laws were used in 2010 to jail Indonesian pop star Nazril "Ariel" Irham after two homemade sex tapes leaked online.

One of the groups pushing hardest for Ariel to be locked-up was Rizieq's FPI, before he was himself charged under the same legislation last year.

Rizieq, who is married, has repeatedly denied the allegations, saying images of the chat are fake. After dropping the case, police made no reference to the legitimacy or otherwise of the chat.

"There was a formal request to stop the investigation by [Rizieq's] lawyer," National Police spokesperson Brigadier General Muhammad Iqbal said.

"Then, after cross-examination by the investigators, the case was dropped, because, according to the investigators, they haven't found the uploaders [of the online chat]."

Earlier this month Rizieq was visited in Saudi Arabia by former military strongman and presidential hopeful Prabowo Subianto. It is believed the meeting was set up to discuss pairing Prabowo with Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan.

Anies replaced popular Christian Governor Basuki "Ahok" Purnama in 2016, after Ahok was charged with blasphemy. As leader of the FPI, Rizieq was integral in gathering momentum for the protests against Ahok and the charges that led to him being jailed.

In a video message to supporters, Rizieq thanked his lawyers, his supporters and God for delivering the good news. "And finally [thanks to] the Indonesian Government," he said.

"In particular the National Police of Indonesia. I appreciate them for giving my lawyers the original document ordering the case be stopped, so it could be passed on to me here in Mecca."

He also urged Indonesians to act peacefully, so as not to disturb national stability and security, in the upcoming local election and next year's presidential race.

Source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-06-18/police-drop-pornography-charges-hardline-indonesian-cleric/9882386

Police deputy chief says SP3 has no political motive

Tempo - June 17, 2018

Alfan Hilmi, Jakarta – Deputy Chief of the National Police Comr. Gen. Syafruddin stated that there was no political element in the issuance of the Investigation Termination Letter (SP3) for Rizieq Shihab's pornographic chat case.

"All law enforcement officials, Police investigators, Attorney officials, or the Corruption Eradication Commission, are independent. So there's no pretention," Syafruddin said on Sunday, June 17, 2018.

Syaruddin also refused to respond to the accusation saying that the police decided to issue the SP3 in an attempt to approach the 212 Alumni organization. "I don't want to comment on uncertain things," Syafruddin said.

News about the termination of Rizieq's case surfaced when a Youtube channel Front TV uploaded a video showing Rizieq explaining that he has received SP3 from the Police. In the video, Rizieq was seen holding a piece of paper he claimed to be the SP3.

Rizieq's attorney Kapitra Ampera also stated that the Police has sent an SP3. However, the Police were reluctant to provide clarification.

Syafruddin said that the issuance of the SP3 is the authority of the investigators. "I believe the investigators have their own argument and perspective or a strong legal basis," Syafruddin said.

Syafruddin was reluctant to explain when the Police had issued the SP3 on the case. He also cannot explain why the Police decided to confirm the presence of the SP3 recently.

Source: https://en.tempo.co/read/news/2018/06/17/055919290/Police-Deputy-Chief-Says-SP3-has-No-Political-Motive

Police drop porn case against Rizieq

Jakarta Post - June 17, 2018

Jakarta – The National Police have terminated their investigation into a pornography case allegedly involving firebrand cleric Rizieq Shihab, citing a lack of evidence.

The Islam Defenders Front (FPI) leader was allegedly involved in steamy Whatsapp conversations with a female follower. The chats, which included some nude pictures, were uploaded to the website baladacintarizieq.com.

The police have yet to find the owner of the now-defunct website, though some of the said materials could still be found elsewhere on the web.

"After conducting a case screening, investigators decided to drop the case because we could not find the uploader [of the chats]," National Police spokesperson Brig. Gen. Muhammad Iqbal told The Jakarta Post on Sunday.

Police charged Rizieq with violating the 2008 Pornography Law in May 2017, by which time Rizieq had fled to Saudi Arabia and refused to return to Indonesia, despite several police summonses.

Iqbal said the police's decision to drop the case was made after Rizieq's lawyer, Kapitra Ampera, requested that his client's case be reviewed.

He confirmed that the police as of now had no sufficient evidence to continue their investigation, but added that "the case can be reopened if we find new evidence".

Rizieq, who spearheaded the 2016 sectarian rallies that led to the incarceration of former Jakarta governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama for blasphemy last year, has said he believed his case was politically motivated.

Several human rights activists criticized Rizieq for his often incendiary sermons, but they also questioned the police's move to charge the cleric under the 2008 Pornography Law. The law, backed by conservative groups, including the FPI, is widely seen as draconian and a threat to civil liberties.

The news about the case termination initially came from Rizieq, who released a video with his wife and five children from Saudi Arabia, where he thanked God, his supporters and his lawyers for securing him the investigation termination warrant as well as the government and police for issuing the warrant.

It is unclear if he will return to Indonesia. (nor/ahw)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/06/17/police-drop-porn-case-against-rizieq.html

Farming & agriculture

Indonesia must diversify staple food to ensure food security for all: UN

Jakarta Globe - June 15, 2018

Adinda Normala, Jakarta – Indonesia must implement policies aimed at diversifying its staple foods and increasing fruit and vegetable consumption to ensure the right to food for all, a United Nations representative said.

Data compiled by the Ministry of Agriculture shows that Indonesia will consume an estimated 33.8 million metric tons of rice this year, compared with 30.65 million tons in 2017. Average rice consumption amounted to almost 150 kilograms per person last year, which is higher than in other major rice producing countries, such as China and India.

Former Trade Minister Gita Wirjawan previously voiced concern over Indonesian rice consumption and suggested that people eat less of the cereal grain.

"If we can reduce rice consumption to only 100 kilograms per person per year, we can save 10 million tons of rice, which will result in a rice surplus of 10 million tons by 2014," Gita said during the Jakarta Food Security Summit in 2012.

While Indonesia has been trying to become rice self-sufficient through technological innovations and improved irrigation methods, the country still has to import approximately 3 million tons rice per annum from neighboring countries such as Thailand and Vietnam to satisfy domestic demand.

According to Hilal Elver, UN special rapporteur on the right to food, the government did not consider regional cultural differences when it decided to make rice the staple food across the archipelago.

"There is a need to diversify policies to limit the focus on rice... Polices developed to reduce food insecurity appear to be overly focused on rice, such as at the Merauke Integrated Food and Energy Estate," Elver told a press conference in April.

The MIFEE project, launched on 2.5 million hectares of converted land in Merauke district in Papua Province in 2011, is aimed at increasing national self-sufficiency in food crops such as rice, corn and sugar in order to reduce import dependency.

"Considering that not all people in the country want to make rice their main staple, the government's policy in the production of staples should be more mindful of the diverse needs and preferences of communities with a variety of food traditions," Elver said.

She cited as an example rice and instant noodles distributed in communities in the eastern part of the country, where people traditionally eat sago as a staple food.

Elver was sent on a mission to engage in dialogue with food-sector stakeholders in Jakarta and other parts of the country. Her observations and recommendations will be included in a UN Human Rights Council report due in March next year.

"What strikes me the most is the irony that in a leading food-producing country, 30 percent of children have stunted growth and over 92 percent of the population eats considerably less fruit and vegetables than World Health Organization recommended levels," Elver said.

She highlighted a case in Asmat district, Papua, where 72 children died of measles and malnutrition in January, which she said "was preventable but allowed to happen."

According to the WHO, adults must consume at least 400 grams of fruits and vegetables per day to maintain optimal health.

"This is telling: Food is not only about quantity, but also about quality, accessibility and affordability. People living in remote areas have limited access to healthy food, and poor people in cities are unable to afford fruits and vegetables, which are very expensive," Elver said.

Government efforts

Agung Hendriadi, the head of Indonesia's Food Security Agency (BKP), said social inequalities and poverty cause food insecurity in the country and that his agency has prepared several programs to address the problem in remote villages that are difficult to reach.

"These programs will teach community members to produce healthy ingredients for their households independently," Agung said. The BKP, in cooperation with the North Sulawesi provincial government, also introduced the Eating Without Rice Movement (Gentanasi) in September last year aimed at replacing rice and flour with local foods as sources of carbohydrates.

"Efforts to reduce the consumption of rice and wheat should be followed by the provision of carbohydrates from local foods, such as sago, cassava, sweet potato, breadfruit and bananas," Agung said, as reported by state-run news agency Antara.

The Ministry of Agriculture also established a program called Poverty Eradication Through Agriculture, which aims to develop horticultural products, especially domestic fruits, in 1,000 villages in 100 districts on Java Island and in the provinces of South Sulawesi, West Nusa Tenggara, South Kalimantan and Lampung.

The program, launched at the end of April, involves the distribution of free seeds worth Rp 5.5 trillion ($395 million) through regional governments.

According to Agriculture Minister Andi Amran, the program aims to make domestic fruit production more competitive, while improving the welfare of local fruit farmers.

Rising protein consumption

Kundhavi Kadiresan, representative of the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) in Asia and the Pacific, said protein consumption in Indonesia is expected to increase faster than that of carbohydrates between 2020 and 2045.

He said consumption of vegetables and poultry is expected to increase by more than 45 percent, followed by beef at 40 percent, fruits (35 percent), eggs (25 percent) and fish (20 percent). Rice consumption is projected to increase at less than 10 percent.

Kadiresan attributes rising protein consumption to the country's growing middle class, with more people paying attention to a healthy lifestyle.

"The demand is for fruit and vegetables. Farmers should be able to read these changes if they want to enjoy more profits... More private investment through public-private partnerships in this sector will also advance the people's economy," Kadiresan said.

FAO data shows the total area under fruit and vegetable production in Indonesia only increased 30 percent between 1990 and 2014, compared with 180 percent in China, 140 percent in Vietnam, 135 percent in Bangladesh, 105 percent in India and 95 percent in Myanmar and Nepal, respectively.

Source: http://jakartaglobe.id/news/indonesia-must-diversify-staple-food-ensure-food-security-un/

Parliament & legislation

Lawyer says it was lawmaker's brother allegedly involved in street fight

Jakarta Post - June 22, 2018

Jakarta – The lawyer of lawmaker Herman Hery, who has been under fire after being accused of beating up a couple in South Jakarta, said the victims have misidentified the perpetrator, as it was his client's brother involved in the incident on June 10.

Lawyer Petrus Selestinus said on Friday that Herman was not in the Rolls-Royce, which was identified by one of the victim's, Ronny Yuniarto Kosasih, when the assault happened.

Ronny said the car was behind his car when he was ticketed for driving in a Transjakarta bus lane on June 10 on Jl. Artieri Pondok Indah in South Jakarta.

Ronny said Herman got out of the Rolls-Royce and beat him up after he was ticketed. It was reported that Ronny questioned the police officers who did not ticket the Rolls-Royce driver.

"It is not true that Pak Herman Hery was the perpetrator of the assault. It was Pak Herman's younger brother and his friends that were in the car [when the incident occurred]," Petrus said as reported by kompas.com.

Ronny filed a report against Herman to the South Jakarta Police on June 11 for allegedly assaulting him and his wife. Petrus said the victim might have mistaken Herman as the perpetrator because of the Rolls-Royce's plate number.

"After we observed the news reports, [we think] the victim may have come to the conclusion that it was Pak Herman who assaulted him because the car's plate [belonged to Herman]," he said.

He said his client was in the United States when the incident happened. Petrus did not confirm whether there had been a discussion between Herman and his younger brother about the incident. (ami)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/06/22/lawyer-says-it-was-lawmakers-brother-allegedly-involved-in-street-fight.html

Lawmaker who allegedly committed street violence wants victims to show

Jakarta Post - June 22, 2018

Jakarta – House of Representatives Commission III member Herman Herry did not confirm whether he was involved in the beating of Ronny Kosasih Yuniarto and his wife on Jl. Arteri Pondok Indah, South Jakarta on June 10.

Herman's lawyer, Petrus Selestinus, said his client would report Ronny back to the police for defamation.

"Check thoroughly, cross-check with the police first, do not accuse people [of a crime] without evidence, okay?" the Indonesian Democratic party of Struggle (PDI-P) politician wrote on his WhatsApp message to tempo.co. on Thursday.

Herman later responded to the inquiry regarding his response to the alleged victim's incriminating statement. "Oh, is that so?" he responded.

On Thursday, Ronny Kosasih Yuniarto reported an assault that allegedly occurred on June 10 to the South Jakarta Police. "Yes, that's him," said Ronny at the South Jakarta Police after being shown a photo of Herman taken from a Wikidpr.org page.

Ronny said he and his wife was assaulted by Herman and his bodyguards, who believed to drive a Rolls-Royce behind Ronny at 9.30 p.m. on June 10, when a police officer ordered him to pull over since his car went to a Transjakarta lane. Herman and his bodyguards allegedly came out of the car and beat Ronny for unclear reason

Lawyer Petrus Selestinus said Herman did not commit the attack as well as drive on the street on June 10. Petrus said he believed Ronny had wrongly identified Herman. "We will report him back to the police for defaming Herman." (rfa/cal)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/06/22/lawmaker-who-allegedly-committed-street-violence-wants-victims-to-show-evidence.html

Lawmaker and his aides accused of beating up couple in front of their

Coconuts Jakarta - June 21, 2018

Herman Hery, a member of the House of Representatives (DPR) from the PDI-P party, has been accused of assaulting a couple in Jakarta over a dispute on the road.

The accuser, Ronny Yuniarto Kosasih, gave his version of events through his lawyer, Febby Sagita, today. Ronny says that he was driving his family on Jalan Arteri Pondok Indah on the evening of June 10 when their car was stopped by police officers for driving in the restricted Busway lane. Herman's car, a Rolls Royce, which was also being illegally driven in the Busway lane, stopped right behind Ronny's.

Ronny then complained to the officers and asked them why they were not ticketing Herman for the same offense. Herman and his two aides did not appreciate Ronny's complaint.

"Not long after out of the car came Herman and his aides, and he arrogantly said, 'what do you want?' and put his hands on the victim's face," Febby said, as quoted by Detik today.

Ronny then tried to fight back, but Herman and his aides overpowered him, knocking him down on the ground.

"And then the victim's wife got out of the car to stop the fight, but she got hit as well. In the car there was a babysitter and the victim's [two] children," Febby said.

Febby added that the police officers at the scene did not attempt to stop the scuffle and that the fight was broken up by bystanders.

Ronny reported the incident to the South Jakarta Police on June 11 and has had his and his wife's unspecified injuries noted by a medical examiner.

Since the ratification of the controversial UU MD3 bill in March, police investigations into criminal cases involving lawmakers in Indonesia have to be approved by a legislative body's Ethics Council (MKD).

The DPR's MKD have already signaled that they will work closely with the police on this case and that Herman could be fired from parliament if proven guilty in addition to potential criminal sanctions.

Source: https://coconuts.co/jakarta/news/lawmaker-aides-accused-beating-couple-front-small-children-jakarta/

Jakarta & urban life

Jakarta unlikely to utilize budget effectively: Indef

Jakarta Post - June 22, 2018

Jakarta – The Jakarta administration is likely to fail to utilize the city's budget effectively this year given low absorption as of the middle of the year, the Institute for Development of Economics and Finance (Indef) has said.

As of June, the city administration has only absorbed 24 percent of the city's budget. Indef economist Bhima Yudhistira said poor absorption would have a negative impact on the city's economy.

Bhima said poor absorption was partly down to the fact that Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan and Deputy Governor Sandiaga Uno were still adjusting to their responsibilities.

Anies and Sandiaga have only led the capital for less than a year, he said. "There were challenges at the planning and technical level," Bhima said on Wednesday as quoted by tempo.co.

Bhima said the city administration should be more realistic in planning the budget and programs next year. City agencies should accelerate spending, he added.

Sandiaga earlier said the city administration would improve how it plans the budget for the following year. As an example, low absorption was partly down to land acquisition disputes, he said.

He went on to say the city administration would avoid larger absorption at the end of the year as what often happened in the previous administration. (cal)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/06/21/jakarta-unlikely-to-utilize-budget-effectively-indef.html

Anies reiterates promise to stop reclamation project despite forming

Jakarta Post - June 16, 2018

Callistasia Anggun Wijaya, Jakarta – Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan has said he will stick to his guns and stop reclamation projects despite issuing on June 4 Gubernatorial Regulation No. 58/2018 on the establishment of a coordination body to manage the reclamation project in North Jakarta's coastal area.

The regulation has been criticized for contradicting Anies' promise to stop the multimillion dollar project.

The agency, which was formed in accordance with Presidential Decree No. 52/1995 on the reclamation of North Jakarta's coastal area, is in charge of coordinating, planning, implementing and monitoring the project.

Despite the content of the regulation, Anies said he would not continue the project. "Our commitment is clear, we will stop [the] reclamation [project]," Anies said on Thursday.

People who criticized him for attempting to continue the project had criticized their own imagination, Anies said.

The Save Jakarta Bay Coalition slammed Anies for forming the agency. The coalition said the regulation violated the law given that Presidential Decree No. 52/1995 was made redundant after the issuance of Presidential Regulation No. 54/2008 on the spatial planning of Jakarta, Bogor, Depok, Tangerang, Bekasi, Puncak and Cianjur.

Even though the gubernatorial regulation has provisions on environmental preservation, including the preservation of mangrove forests, the reclamation project will damage the coastal ecosystem and affect the livelihood of fisherfolk, the coalition said.

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/06/16/anies-reiterates-promise-to-stop-reclamation-project-despite-forming-reclamation-agency.html

Transport & communication

Poor infrastructure, lack of discipline blamed on sunken ferry incident

Jakarta Post - June 22, 2018

Jakarta – Coordinating Maritime Affairs Minister Luhut Pandjaitan has connected the sinking of ferry KM Sinar Bangun to inadequate infrastructure facilities and a lack of discipline from both ferry service providers and sea transportation authorities.

"The National Transportation Safety Committee [KNKT] is investigating the case and we are waiting for the result," he said in a statement in Jakarta on Friday.

Sinar Bangun capsized in Lake Toba, North Sumatra, at around 5 p.m. local time on Monday. The incident caused great concern because authorities claimed they did not know the exact number of passengers onboard, although it was estimated it might be hundreds.

Luhut reiterated the Transportation Ministry's report on Wednesday that based on the number of people still reportedly missing, there could have been up to 192 passengers on the boat, which actually has a maximum capacity of 43 passengers.

The Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) had aired warnings of extreme wind and strong waves before the ferry departed.

"This incident would not have happened if ferry providers and port authorities were disciplined to adhere to the ferry's carrying capacity rules and warnings issued by the BMKG," Luhut said.

Police have detained the ship's captain, Situah Sagal, and questioned seven eyewitnesses, comprising three ferry crew members and three harbor authorities.

Sagal will be given trauma recovery treatment before local officers interrogate him on the number of passengers on his boat and the status of his shipping license.

"We will see whether or not he has committed a crime," said National Police spokesperson Insp. Gen. Setyo Wasisto as quoted by tempo.co. (nor/ebf)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/06/22/poor-infrastructure-lack-of-discipline-blamed-on-north-sumatras-sunken-ferry-incident.html

Indonesia raises number of ferry sinking missing to 180 as search for

ABC News - June 20, 2018

About 180 people are missing from a ferry that sank early this week at a popular lake on Sumatra, according to Indonesian officials – a much higher number than previously believed – as distraught and angry relatives pleaded for a bigger search effort.

The new figure for the number missing is three times the ferry's capacity.

Budiawan, head of the National Search and Rescue Agency (BASARNAS) in Medan, said 18 survivors were found and two bodies recovered on Monday evening.

"Based on the data, we're searching for 180 people," said Budiawan, adding that more people had come forward to say that others were missing.

The boat, overcrowded with passengers and motorbikes, did not have a manifest and disaster officials have several times raised the number of people it was carrying as family members who rushed to Lake Toba in northern Sumatra provided information.

It is possible many of the victims were still inside the sunken ferry, North Sumatra province police chief Paulus Waterpau said. "Many survivors told authorities that less than half of them had jumped into the water before the boat sank," he said.

Divers searched at depths of 25 metres and will deploy an underwater drone to 200 metres below the surface, Mr Waterpau said. The local military command has released a list of the names of 166 missing people.

A day earlier, disaster officials had said about 80 people were missing, though expected the number to rise. Only 18 people were rescued and one death confirmed in the immediate response to the sinking on Monday evening.

Two more bodies were recovered this morning said Hisar Turnit, a spokesman for the search and rescue agency. A rescuer, who did not give his name, said the body of a woman was found about 7 kilometres from where the boat sank.

Since then, the search and rescue effort involving 350 personnel and at least half a dozen boats has turned up items of clothing, bags and traces of oil from the boat.

Suwarni, whose 20-year-old son and his girlfriend were on the ferry, slammed the search and rescue operation as slow and insufficient. "Millions of questions keep me from sleeping," she said between desperate sobs.

"Why a boat for just 50 people is allowed to be loaded with almost 200 people plus dozens of motorcycles. "I beg help to everyone to quickly find my son and his girlfriend, even if their remains, please find my son, return him to me," said Ms Suwarni, who uses one name.

Mobile phone video released earlier in the week by the National Disaster Mitigation Agency showed the crew of another ferry attempting to rescue people struggling in the waters shortly after the sinking, but being hampered by bad weather and rough waters.

"What kind of government is this which can't protect their own people from unnecessary accidents? And after the accident they're not able to find the victims," Ms Suwarni said.

The 1,145-square-kilometre Lake Toba, formed out of an ancient super volcano, is one of the deepest lakes in the world and a popular sightseeing destination on the island of Sumatra.

The disaster has cast a tragic pall over holidays marking the end of Ramadan, when tens of millions of Indonesians return to their hometowns.

Ferry tragedies are common in Indonesia, an archipelago of more than 17,000 islands, with weak enforcement of safety regulations often to blame.

– AP/Reuters

Source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-06-20/indonesia-raises-number-of-ferry-sinking-missing-to-180/9890378

EU lifts ban on all Indonesian airlines

Jakarta Post - June 15, 2018

Agnes Anya, Jakarta – Indonesia has been given an Idul Fitri gift as the European Union ban on Indonesian airlines was lifted a day before the festivities.

The EU's executive body, the European Commission, cleared all Indonesian carriers from the EU Air Safety List, which prohibits a number of airlines from operating within EU member states.

"Following today's update, all airlines certified in Indonesia are cleared from the list; following further improvements to the aviation safety situation that was ascertained in the country," said the EU press release received by The Jakarta Post on Thursday.

The ban was revoked after a positive assessment of Indonesia's flight safety by the International Civil Aviation Organization in October last year and the EU aviation audit agency in March this year, according to a press statement by the Foreign Ministry also on Thursday.

"[It is] the most beautiful gift for Indonesia this Idul Fitri," said Foreign Minister Retno LP Marsudi on her official Instagram @retno_marsudi. "The long fight eventually delivered a satisfying result."

The ministry's Director General for American and European Affairs Muhammad Anshor said the revocation was "the result of the hard work of the Foreign Ministry, the Transportation Ministry and other related stakeholders."

"We raised the issue at every opportunity," Anshor told the Post on the same day. "In a joint committee meeting between the EU and Indonesia last November, we discussed the issue. Eventually, in a EU Air Safety Committee meeting on May 30, Indonesia along with the airlines' representatives convinced the EU [to lift the ban]."

All Indonesian airlines were put on the EU Air Safety List in 2007 because of unaddressed safety concerns over the years.

The major carriers, such as Garuda Indonesia, Airfast Indonesia, Ekspres Transportasi Antarbenua, Indonesia Air Asia, Citilink, Lion Air and Batik Air, were removed gradually from 2009 to 2016, but the remaining Indonesian airlines were still on the list until Thursday.

"The lifting of the ban on all Indonesian airlines from the EU Air Safety List reflects transparent cooperation with measurable standards, as well as the commitment of Indonesia and the EU to improve bilateral relations." (evi)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/06/15/eu-lifts-ban-on-all-indonesian-airlines.html

Police & law enforcement

Mandiangin Police chief removed after clash

Jakarta Post - June 20, 2018

Jon Afrizal, Jambi – Mandiangin Police chief in Sorolangun regency, Jambi, has been removed from his post following a recent clash between his officers and residents of Rangkiling village.

Jambi Police chief Brig. Gen. Muchlis AS said the decision to replace First Insp. Djamalludin, the district police chief, was made following a mediation between Rangkiling customary leaders and the police.

"This is to prevent similar incidents from occurring again," Muchlis said on Tuesday.

Djamalludin was deemed responsible for failing to prevent the clash, which started when he and another officer arrested a 30-year-old wanted man and suspect of battery against an employee of a nearby company on Sunday.

The police shot and killed the suspect, who resisted arrest. The six gunshots reportedly startled villagers, who then went after the officers.

The officers fled as a police car arrived at the scene. The villagers allegedly attacked it, injuring a policeman inside the vehicle. The Army immediately sent dozens of soldiers to help the police secure the crime scene.

On Monday, the situation in the area gradually returned to normal, with a number of police officers guarding the scene, said Jambi Police spokesperson Adj. Sr. Comr. Kuswahyudi Tresnadi.

The family of the dead suspect, however, will press ahead with their plan to report the incident to the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM). (kuk/ipa)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/06/19/mandiangin-police-chief-removed-after-clash.html

Startled by gunshots, villagers attack police, damage police car

Jakarta Post - June 19, 2018

Jon Afrizal, Jambi – Villagers from Rengkilling village in Mandiagin district, Jambi, clashed with local police at 9 p.m. on Sunday, injuring one policeman and damaging one police patrol car.

The incident began when district police chief First Insp. Djamalludin and another officer arrested a 30-year-old wanted man and suspect of battery against an employee of a nearby company.

The suspect resisted arrest, so the police shot and killed him, according to the police. The six gunshots reportedly startled villagers who then went after the officers.

The officers fled as a police patrol car arrived to the scene. The villagers allegedly attacked it, injuring a policeman inside the vehicle. The injured policeman was rushed to Batanghari regency's Batin Hospital and treated for a head wound.

The police have yet to provide an explanation. Jambi Police chief Brig. Gen. Muchlis AS was at the crime scene. "The situation is gradually coming under control," said police spokesperson Adj. Sr. Comr. Kuswahyudi Tresnadi.

The Army sent dozens of soldiers to help the police secure the crime scene. (nor)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/06/18/startled-by-gunshots-villagers-attack-police-damage-police-car.html

Foreign affairs & trade

Indonesia hopes to flex diplomatic muscle with Security Council seat

Voice of America - June 20, 2018

Krithika Varagur, Jakarta – Indonesia has been chosen as one of five non-permanent members of the United Nations Security Council after a competitive bidding process, inaugurating what is likely to be a period of greater diplomatic and geopolitical activity for the world's fourth largest country.

This is Indonesia's fourth time on the Security Council, the most powerful U.N. body, which is charged with maintaining "international peace and security." Non-permanent members are elected every five years; the 2019 lineup also includes Germany, South Africa, the Dominican Republic, and Belgium.

Despite its size and population, Indonesia has not always been a vocal geopolitical actor, focusing instead on economic growth and internal affairs. But in recent years, it has pivoted toward becoming a regional power, leading major efforts on maritime security and also expressing solidarity with Muslim communities in places like Myanmar and Palestine. Indonesia Foreign Minister Retno LP Marsudi has already said that the Palestinian issue will be a "concern" for Indonesia during its Security Council tenure.

Marsudi heavily lobbied member states in advance of the election last week. Indonesia competed against the Maldives for one of the non- permanent seats allocated to Asia and Africa. After the election, she told reporters that Indonesia would prioritize "peace and stability [and] combating terrorism and radicalism."

"We will continue to advocate for greater transparency and accountability," said Marsudi. "We will always make ourselves available and accessible to all members, to listen to their concern and expectations and bring those voices to the council."

Potentially increased role

A non-member state only has five years on the council so its powers are somewhat constrained from the start. But one area where Indonesia might make an impact is in peacekeeping, since it currently ranks "9th out of 121 contributing countries to U.N. peacekeeping operations," according to the Lowy Institute.

The seat could also reinforce Indonesia's vision of being a "global maritime fulcrum, President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's ambitious plan to make Indonesia a regional maritime power both in the economic and security spheres.

"Indonesia could use its seat to advocate more for maritime security," said Pandu Utama Manggala, a researcher at the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies in Tokyo. "The world is no longer only dealing with terrorism and extremism, and Indonesia has many more areas in which to contribute."

"Indonesia and the U.K. are the only two countries in the next Security Council with huge maritime borders, which will give them authority on the subject," he added. "Maritime security includes things like piracy, smuggling, and human rights, so it is a broad issue."

Beyond the U.N. effort, Indonesia also created a foreign aid agency for the first time earlier this year, another indicator of a more outward-looking foreign policy.

Limits of action

But not everyone is sure that the Security Council seat will translate to real power.

"It's all about the prestige," said Yohanes Sulaiman, a lecturer at General Achmad Yani University. "Jokowi is not really that interested in foreign affairs and Retno is not that forceful either, she is more of a safe player." He contrasted the present, decentralized era of Indonesian politics under Jokowi to the last time Indonesia had a Security Council seat, under President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

"Now it's different from the SBY years, when power was centralized and Indonesia could make a point on the world stage," he said. "Jokowi lets everybody talk... there is no coordination."

Political analyst Aaron Connelly also wrote on Twitter that he was "not quite so optimistic" about Indonesia's human rights commitments, because "Indonesian diplomacy on the Rohingya crisis has been superficial and feckless thus far, and Jakarta is likely to oppose sanctions or an [International Criminal Court] referral" for Myanmar, which has been accused of perpetrating a genocide against the Muslim Rohingya minority.

Indonesia may also be yet unprepared for scrutiny into its own human rights record; just yesterday, the country barred the U.N. high commissioner for human rights from entering its eastern provinces of Papua, where there has been a long-running separatist conflict and ongoing violence.

In fact, some of the most promising diplomatic overtures from Indonesia are coming from non-state actors. A leader of the Indonesian Sunni Muslim organization Nahdlatul Ulama, considered the world's largest Muslim organization, visited Israel last week for an interfaith dialogue, despite the deep current anti-Semitism in Indonesia. The same leader, Yahya Cholil Staquf, also met with U.S. Vice President Mike Pence in the White House last month.

Source: https://www.voanews.com/a/indonesia-hopes-to-flex-diplomatic-muscle-with-security-council-seat/4446656.html

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