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Indonesia News Digest 34 – September 9-16, 2018

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West Papua

Papuan human rights context, Jokowi considered no different from Prabowo

Tabloid JUBI - September 16, 2018

Victor Mambor, Jayapura – The current president of Indonesia Joko Widodo is considered to be no different from Prabowo in Human Rights violations in Papua.

If Prabowo [is] recognised as a perpetrator of human rights violations in Papua, Widodo [is] considered allowing violent conflicts and human rights violations in Papua to continue. Now both will compete in the Indonesian presidential election 2019.

"For us from Mimika District, Jokowi is no different from Prabowo. Why? If Prabowo is a perpetrator of human rights violation in Papua, the current president Jokowi knows about these violations but let it happened repeatedly," said Odizeus Beanal, the Director of Amungme Tribal Society (Lemasa) told Jubi on Tuesday (11/9/2018) while mentioning some cases of human rights violations occurred in Paniai, Timika, Ndugama and other regions.

Today the allegations of human rights violations in Papua still continue. Some violent incidents against civilians that resulted in casualties and arrests of random people still occur under the current administration.

The Amnesty International Indonesia has recorded 38 cases of extrajudicial killings from 2014 to mid-2018 that confirmed 51 victims. This report launched in mid-July 2018.

Government efforts and victims rejection

The Indonesian government through the Coordinating Minister for Politics and Security has formed an integrated team whose task to collect data and information, make analyses and report to the president.

The team who consist of 39 members from Papua and Jakarta established in May 2018 as an integrated team to resolve cases of alleged human right violations in Papua. However, it obtained rejection from many Papuans to consider them as not neutral.

"It is impossible to accept those who suspected as perpetrators to become referees. Furthermore, we know this team facilitated by the Coordinating Minister for Politics and Security who has a military background. From the beginning, the Police has supported this team. So how could we believe them?" said Peneas Lokbere, the Coordinator of United for Truth (BUK).

According to Lokbere, who continuously are accompanying victims of Papuan human rights violations, the team only maintained the strategy of former minister Wiranto who at that time suggested that the alleged human rights violations in Papua resolved through the customary law.

Moreover, he said until now there are hundreds of victims of human rights violations in Papua who still fight for justice. For instance, the family of victims of the Bloody Paniai incident of December 8th, 2014. The number of victims might be up to thousands because these alleged human rights violations have occurred since Indonesia annexed Papua in the 60s.

"Jokowi once expressed in front of five thousand more Papuans at Mandala Stadium in Jayapura that he would immediately resolve the Bloody Paniai case. But it was only a promise, "said Tinus Pigai, a relative of Apinus Gobai who was the victim of the incident at Karel Gobai Square, Paniai.

According to him, Jokowi's visits to Papua were in vain, because he had not been able to fulfil his promise to resolve the Bloody Paniai case.

Source: http://tabloidjubi.com/eng/in-papuan-human-rights-context-jokowi-considered-no-different-from-prabowo/

Authorities arrest 8, seize hundreds of ammunition in Papua

Tempo - September 15, 2018

Jakarta (Antara) – Joint officers from the Police and Indonesian Army (TNI) arrested eight people and seized hundreds of ammunition, a homemade firearm, and a number of documents at a residence in Mimika, Papua, on Saturday.

Head of Papua Police's Public Relations, Sr. Comr. AM Kamal in Jayapura City said the arrest was part of the development of a case investigation for the arrest of someone with the initials RW on Monday, September 10. RW was arrested after being caught carrying 153 ammunitions at Moses Kilangin Airport.

"After [we] received information, officers in the field that were assisted by TNI officers immediately conducted a search at the headquarters of the West Papua National Committee or KNPB in the Timika region, and they found a number of evidence and eight people," he said.

Kamal said that the evidence includes 5.56 caliber ammunition of 104 bullets, 11 revolver ammunition, one 7.62 bullet ammunition, 7 Molotov cocktails, and a sheet of Morning Star flag.

"There are also a number of documents, cell phones, hard drives, machetes, bows, arrows, axes, and spears. The initials of eight people suspected of being KNPB activists were TG, HW, HE, PN, EH, NA, JK, and YW," he said. They had been secured to the Mimika Police, Papua, headquarters for further legal proceedings.

Source: http://en.tempo.co/read/news/2018/09/15/055921674/Authorities-Arrest-8-Seize-Hundreds-of-Ammunition-in-Papua

Migration is a factor of increasing poverty in Papua

Tabloid JUBI - September 14, 2018

Arjuna Pademme, Jayapura – Septer Manufandu, the former Executive Secretary of Non-Governmental Organization Working Forum of Papua (FOKER LSM Papua), stated stakeholders in Papua need to the right solution to strict the flow of migration into Papua.

So far, he said that Papua is an open region and anyone is free to come to Papua without strict control. Therefore he urges the authority to establish a proper mechanism to control the migration, but respect everyone's right at the same time.

"In the Special Regulation about Population, it does not prohibit people outside of Papua to enter Papua, but rather to control it. So migrants must have a clear purpose coming to Papua," Manufandu told Jubi on Friday (9/9/2018).

Meanwhile, a Papua Parliament Member Mustakim said a factor that causes the increase in the percentage of poverty in Papua is the rapid influx of migrants.

"No matter how hard the government tried to reduce the poverty rate in Papua, it becomes difficult to work as people from the outside continue to come," said Mustakim.

Furthermore, he said a proper solution to regulate the influx of population in Papua is the government should stipulate the provincial regulation (Perdasi) or special regional regulation (Perdasus) on migration.

Source: http://tabloidjubi.com/eng/migration-is-a-factor-of-increasing-poverty-in-papua/

Amnesty International demands Jokowi's promise on human rights

Tempo - September 13, 2018

Budiarti Utami Putri, Jakarta – Human rights organization Amnesty International Indonesia demanded President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo to fulfill his promises to resolve the alleged violation of human rights in Papua. According to Amnesty International Indonesia executive director Usman Hamid, Jokowi had earlier pledged to settle the shooting incidents involving civilians in Paniai, Papua.

"We underline one promise, one commitment delivered by President Joko Widodo following the Paniai incident that the President wants the case to be settled to prevent further incident in the future," said Usman in a plenary meeting with the House of Representative (DPR)'s Legal Commission in the Parliament Complex, Senayan, Jakarta, Wednesday, September 12, 2018.

Usman explained that there was an alleged excessive mobilization of power and weapons from the security apparatus in Papua. Throughout January 2010 until February 2018, Amnesty International Indonesia recorded 69 cases of alleged extrajudicial killings in Papua.

The most dominant perpetrator was the National Police (Polri) officers (34 cases), followed by Indonesia Armed Force (TNI) (23 cases), joint officers of TNI and Polri (11 cases) and Public Order Agency (Satpol PP) in one case.

Usman explained a total of 25 cases were not investigated, 26 cases were studied without disclosure, and 8 cases ended customarily. "Usually, it is about certain compensations for the victim's family," Usman said.

According to Usman, the series of those gross facts was a proof that the government lacked independent, effective, and impartial mechanisms to cope with the civilian's complaints concerning human rights violation performed by the security personnel.

The former coordinator of the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) urged the government to create measures to resolve the human rights violation in Papua and demanded the government admit the incident and draft procedures for security officers in a bid to prevent violence in the region. "President Jokowi expects Papua to be a peaceful land," Usman said.

Meanwhile, the House's Legal Commission deputy speaker Trimedya Panjaitan pledged to question the findings issued by Amnesty International Indonesia to the National Police Chief Tito Karnavian in the upcoming session. "We will ask the police chief in the next meeting on September 24," Trimedya said.

Source: http://en.tempo.co/read/news/2018/09/13/055921623/Amnesty-International-Demands-Jokowis-Promise-on-Human-Rights

Kanaks urged by West Papuan body to vote for independence

Radio New Zealand International - September 14, 2018

The West Papua National Committee has urged New Caledonia's indigenous Melanesians to vote for independence during the upcoming referendum.

In November, New Caledonia is to hold a referendum on possible independence from France.

The Committee, a pro-independence organisation based in Indonesia's Papua region which goes by the acronym KNPB, said Kanaks should reject all French propaganda to maintain the territory's status quo.

Its chairman, Victor Yeimo, claimed it was important that the Kanaks took up the opportunity of decolonisation which he said West Papuans had been denied.

"I just want to tell something to the people of Kanaky (New Caledonia), to please choose yes for your future. Because if you don't choose yes for your future, it means you allow your people, your land to be extinct. Our people in West Papua will all support you to choose yes, so you can become a nation, a freedom nation," said Victor Yeimo.

Mr Yeimo credited France with allowing a referendum to go ahead, pointing out that it stood in direct contrast to the situation in Indonesian-ruled Papua region.

"Democratically, it was good of France to realise that they give the space for the people of Kanaky to choose what they want for their future," he said.

"But in Indonesia, we can't do that, because Indonesian colonialism is not like European colonialism, like they didn't know about democracy."

Mr Yeimo said West Papuans were an example of the disastrous consequences of colonial manipulation. He cited the lack of participation by Papuans in the 1962 agreement between Netherlands and Indonesia which led to the former Dutch New Guinea being taken over by Indonesia.

"We are victims of a failed decolonisation process," Mr Yeimo said, adding that no matter how difficult, independence was better than being colonised.

"France should... know about the spirit of decolonisation. They have to give the opportunity for the Kanak people to develop their country by themselves.

"If they can give them feedom, it means the process of decolonisation is final. The referendum is not final if people, under the French provocation, still choose to stay with France, it doesn't mean that it's final."

New Caledonia's independence referendum will be held on 4 November, with voters to be given the choice of remaining a part of France or becoming an independent country.

Source: https://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/366452/kanaks-urged-by-west-papuan-body-to-vote-for-independence

Police: Papua will receive special attention during election

Tempo - September 13, 2018

Andita Rahma, Jakarta – Chief of the National Police General Tito Karnavian said that Papua remains as one of the regions which will receive special attention during the 2019 Presidential Election.

"Papua still receives our attention," Tito said at the PTIK Auditorium, South Jakarta on Thursday, September 13, 2018. Tito provided assurance that despite the presence of conflict-prone areas, preparation for the upcoming Presidential Election has been carried out well.

Tito explained that preparations have been carried out by coordinating with all respective stakeholders.

In 2019, the Presidential Election will be held along with legislative elections for the House of Representatives (DPR), Regional House of Representatives (DPRD), and Regional Representatives Council (DPD). Therefore, the Police are making efforts to synergize the perception of all stakeholders, including the Indonesian National Army.

"How to make plans for joint operations, synergizing regions covered by regional Police, Regional Military Command, Military Resort Command, and then organize simulations," Tito said.

Tito added that the Election will bring along polarization, which will continue to increase tension. In an attempt to mitigate the situation, Tito has ordered Police officers to cooperate with known public figures, regional figures, and public organizations to reduce tension.

On Thursday, September 13, 2018, the National Police and the Indonesian National Army is conducting a coordination meeting for a special operation as part of the preparation for the upcoming 2019 Presidential Election.

Source: http://en.tempo.co/read/news/2018/09/13/055921615/Police-Papua-Will-Receive-Special-Attention-During-Election

Pole suspected in Papua arms smuggling plot faces life imprisonment

Reuters - September 12, 2018

Agustinus Beo Da Costa, Jakarta – A Polish man detained in Indonesia late last month could face life imprisonment having been charged with plotting against the state after being named a suspect in a conspiracy to smuggle arms to separatists in Papua, a police spokesman said on Monday (10/09).

Jakub Fabian Skrzypski was detained on Aug. 26 and is being held at police headquarters in Papua where he has been charged along with three Papuans under the law governing treason, which carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

"He has been charged with treason," Papua Police spokesman Chief Comr. Ahmad Musthofa Kamal said.

Police allege that Skrzypski, who entered the country on a tourist visa, discussed an arms deal in a meeting with a separatist leader, who is based in neighboring Papua New Guinea and has not been detained.

Police had evidence from witnesses and mobile phone messages and they had also found video showing Skrzypski participating in shooting practice, the spokesman said.

Papua, one of the country's poorest provinces, has battled a long-running separatist movement since it was incorporated into Indonesia after a widely criticized Uited Nations-backed referendum in 1969 and it remains the country's most heavily militarized region.

The Polish Embassy in Jakarta did not respond to a request for comment.

Although President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has promised to ease media curbs in Papua, but foreign journalists often face challenges in reporting from the region.

A BBC journalist was forced to leave Papua this year after the military said messages she posted on Twitter during her assignment had been misleading.

Source: http://jakartaglobe.id/news/pole-suspected-in-papua-arms-smuggling-plot-faces-life-imprisonment/

Forestry Stewardship Council reputation at stake over Papua case, says

Radio New Zealand International - September 12, 2018

An environmental NGO says the Forestry Stewardship Council's reputation is at stake over a case of deforestation in Indonesia's Papua province.

The international forest protection agency has been considering a complaint laid by the group Mighty Earth over a Korean company involved in large-scale deforestation and oil palm planting in Papua.

The council which oversees certification of sustainable forestry globally, has delayed its decision on whether to disassociate from Korindo until March next year.

Mighty Earth's Campaign Director, Phil Aikman, said the council has clear evidence that its own standards have been breached. "It's an environmental chamber, an economic chamber, a social chamber. It's decisions are consensus driven," Phil Aikman said.

"It has some good aspects. It has some aspects it really needs to fix, and this is one of them. It shouldn't be having relationships with companies which are burning the rainforests and breaching FSC standards."

Phil Aikman said the council's board could have taken the decision to disassociate with Korindo, or even suspend Korindo's use of FSC licensing, given the evidence available at this point.

He said it was not an isolated case of deforestation and abuse of landowners' rights, as there were a number of other companies operating in New Guinea whose operations were equally problematic.

Source: https://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/366278/forestry-stewardship-council-reputation-at-stake-over-papua-case-says-ngo

Activists call for release of Papuan student following arrest of Polish

Jakarta Post - September 9, 2018

Dyaning Pangestika & Nethy Dharma Somba, Jayapura – Human rights activists have demanded the immediate release of Papuan student Simon Carlos Magal and Polish citizen Jakub Fabian Skrzypski, who have been detained by the Wamena Police over illegal arms deal allegations.

Skrzypski was arrested in Wamena on Aug. 26, followed by Simon on Sept. 1. According to Papua Police spokesman Sr. Comr. AM Kamal, police found evidence that showed the two men had been in communication since 2016 to discuss the purchase of firearms for the West Papua Liberation Army.

"His [Simon's] arrest was done accordingly, as stipulated in legal procedures, and everyone is able to monitor the case," he told The Jakarta Post last week.

Kamal said police found several videos and pictures on Skrzypski's cell phone that depicted him posing with members of the armed group while holding a firearm. Based on the evidence, police suspected Skrzypski had been secretly training the West Papua Liberation Army on how to use firearms.

Both Simon and Skrzypski are subject to treason charges and are awaiting trial. The United Kingdom-based organization TAPOL has demanded the immediate release of Simon and Skrzypski and urge a fair trial.

According to a statement published on TAPOL's website, Skrzypski is "an avid extreme traveler with a huge passion for learning other cultures, language, as well as humanitarian issues". Prior to his visit to West Papua, Skrzypski previously visited several countries such as Armenia, Myanmar and Iraq to learn about their respective cultures and histories.

TAPOL also found that this was not the first time Skrzypski had visited and interacted with an armed independence group. In Spring 2017, the Polish man visited the Kurdish Liberation Army in Iraq.

"We believe that [Simon] has simply been dragged in by the actions of Mr. Skrzypski. Our findings show that Mr. Skrzypski is merely a tourist who may have been acting recklessly and irresponsibly in a conflict area," TAPOL writes on its website.

TAPOL also found that two West Papuans, identified as EW and AW, had been arrested for the alleged possession of ammunition at a location similar to where Skrzypski's arrest had taken place.

According to the human rights organization, a local human rights defender identified as GK believes there is confusion surrounding the case.

"We call on the Indonesian government to stop using highly problematic treason charges that have long been used in excess to both intimidate peaceful dissent and to criminalize rights to the freedom of expression," TAPOL added on its statement.

Simon's relative, Yosepha Alomang, and the director of Human Rights and Anti-Violence Association (Yahamak), said a warrant had not bee issued prior to his arrest.

Papuan human rights lawyer Gustaf Kawer told the Associated Press recently that Skrzypski had insisted he was a tourist and did not know the people police say he was linked to. Kawer visited Skrzypski on behalf of the Association of Human Rights Lawyers in Papua but the foreigner had not received any formal legal representation.

Quoting Kawer, AP said the 39-year-old "is being held in an inadequately ventilated cell, given poor food and hasn't been able to contact family or change his clothes".

The Polish Foreign Ministry has filed a request with the Indonesian government to be allowed to see the detained Polish citizen, AP reported on Aug. 29.

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/09/09/activists-call-for-release-of-papuan-student-following-arrest-of-polish-man.html


Despite outbreak threat, Aceh governor delaying vaccine drive until

Coconuts Jakarta - September 14, 2018

The Indonesian government's current nationwide drive to administer the measles-rubella (MR) vaccine to 32 million children has hit major obstacles due to fear among Muslim parents that the vaccine contains "haram" ingredients, leading officials to warn of a possibly devastating MR epidemic on the horizon.

The part of the country most at risk is the ultra-conservative province of Aceh, where only 7% of the children targeted by the vaccination drive have been immunized. Despite dire predictions from doctors who say the region could face an "MR tsunami" (a particularly loaded term for Aceh), the province's acting governor said he would continue to delay the program until their own local Islamic clerical body, the Ulama Consultative Assembly of Aceh (MPU), issued a ruling on the MR vaccine.

In early August, acting governor Nova Iriansyah (who took over the role after former governor Irwandi Yusuf was arrested on corruption charges in July) had announced that he would delay his province's implementation of the MR vaccine program until the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) issued a fatwa (religious edict) on whether the vaccine was halal or not.

MUI stoked already existing anti-vaccine paranoia with their demands to test the government's MR vaccine at the outset of the immunization program and their recommendations to followers to wait for their ruling. Finally, after testing a sample, MUI published a fatwa on August 20 saying that while the vaccine did contain trace pig enzymes (in the gelatin used to stabilize the serum) it was acceptable for Muslims to take it given the lack of a halal alternative and the seriousness of the medical situation.

Despite his previous statement, Nova is now saying that MUI's fatwa is not enough for Aceh and he is currently waiting for a fatwa from MPU saying the vaccine was acceptable before ordering the program restarted.

Responding to the "MR tsunami" warning from earlier this week, Nova issued a statement via government spokesperson Wiratmadinata on Wednesday saying the government could not restart the program without MPU's say so.

"In connection with various information regarding the implementation of the MR vaccine in Aceh, the program cannot be implemented due to an absence of a fatwa from MPU. Even though there is already a 'green light' from the Central MUI, the Aceh Government is currently in the position of waiting for a recommendation or fatwa from the Aceh MPU," Wiratmadinata said as quoted by Aceh Trend.

The government spokesperson went on to say that Aceh Health Services had sent a letter to MPU on September 5 asking whether the MR vaccine program could be re-implemented but had yet to receive a response.

Although MUI is Indonesia's highest Islamic clerical body, its rulings are not legally binding nor are they given equal weight by all Muslim in Indonesia. The ultra-conservative MPU is considered to hold greater sway than MUI in Aceh, the only province in Indonesia with the power to implement sharia-based law.

We couldn't find any statements from MPU regarding when they would issue their own fatwa on the vaccine but the lives of Aceh children seem to rest largely in their hands – although the central government said it was pushing for Aceh to implement the immunization program immediately, there appears to be little they can do to force the matter. The health ministry said they would extend the timetable for the program and had revised its estimates for the province to reach 20% of their target for the end of the year.

The effects of a measles-rubella outbreak are potentially devastating, as the disease can cause serious health complications including death in children. Pregnant women who contract the disease are also at risk of having their fetuses develop congenital birth defects.

Source: https://coconuts.co/jakarta/news/despite-threat-outbreak-aceh-governor-delaying-mr-vaccine-drive-local-ulema-council-issues-fatwa/

Only 7% of measles vaccine target reached in Aceh over haram concerns,

Coconuts Jakarta - September 12, 2018

The Indonesian government is still undertaking a massive nationwide drive to administer the measles-rubella vaccine to millions of children across the archipelago, but concerns over non-halal components in the vaccine have proven to be a huge impediment to their efforts, particularly in the ultra-conservative province of Aceh where the government has only reached around 7% of their target.

"At present, the province of Aceh has the lowest (MR immunization) coverage, only 7%. We expected 90% coverage. For MR vaccines in Aceh, there are 1.5 million who must be vaccinated, but (so far) only about 100,000 children have been treated," Dr. Aslinar, secretary of the Indonesian Pediatrician Association's Aceh Branch, told reporters on Tuesday as quoted by Detik.

The Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI), the country's highest Islamic clerical body, first raised concerns about the MR vaccine used in the government's current immunization drive, demanding that they be allowed to test it to ascertain its halal status and initially instructing its followers to wait until their testing had been completed before getting the vaccine.

After MUI finally received a sample of the vaccine, they announced that it actually did contain trace amounts of pork byproducts (in the gelatin used to stabilize the compound) but also issued a fatwa three weeks ago declaring it was acceptable to use the vaccine for now due to medical urgency and a lack of a halal alternative.

Despite the fatwa, a large number of Muslim Indonesians still appear to be reluctant to let their children receive the vaccine, with immunization rates in numerous parts of the country still dangerously low. But nowhere are they lower than in Aceh, the only region of Indonesia given special authority to implement sharia-based law.

A large reason for that is that Aceh's acting governor Nova Iriansyah, previously commanded that the MR vaccine program be delayed due to the haram concerns, but has yet to order it be fully re-implemented even following MUI's fatwa saying the vaccine was acceptable.

Doctors are warning that the low immunizations rate in Aceh is creating a potential crisis situation as the number of measles and rubella cases in the province are already on the rise, with one pediatrician telling BBC Indonesia that the region could face a "MR tsunami".

The disease can be particularly devastating for pregnant women who contract measles as this can lead to miscarriages or giving their fetuses congenital rubella syndrome, which can cause birth defects including hearing loss, cataracts and heart problems.

Source: https://coconuts.co/jakarta/news/7-measles-rubella-vaccine-target-reached-aceh-due-haram-concerns-doctors-warn-mr-tsunami/

Human rights & justice

Amnesty calls on President Widodo honor pledge to solve rights violations in Papua

Kompas.com - September 12, 2018

Kristian Erdianto, Jakarta – Amnesty International Indonesia is calling in President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's pledge to fully investigate cases of alleged human rights violations that have taken place in Papua.

This was conveyed by Amnesty International Indonesia director Usman Hamid during a public hearing with the House of Representatives (DPR) Commission III at the parliamentary complex in Senayan, Jakarta, on Wednesday September 12.

Hamid said that Widodo one declared a commitment to fully investigate cases of alleged human rights violations in Papua. This was expressed by Widodo not long after the shooting of civilians in Paniai in 2014.

"We are underlining one pledge, the one commitment conveyed by Bapak [Mr] President Joko Widodo following the Paniai incident that the president wants the case resolved as quickly as possible so it will not happen again in the future", said Hamid.

Based on a report by Amnesty International, there were 69 cases of extrajudicial killings by security forces in Papua between January 2010 and February 2018.

The majority of perpetrators were police with 34 cases followed by TNI (Indonesian military) personnel with 23 cases. Meanwhile 11 other cases were committed jointly by Polri (Indonesian police) and the TNI and one case was committed by civil service police (pamong praja).

As a result of violence by security personnel, as many as 85 ethnic Papuans died.

Meanwhile it was found that the majority of cases of violence which took place were not related to calls for independence or demands for a referendum. Meaning that cases of violence in Papua by security forces were generally triggered by minor incidents.

Out of the 69 cases of violence over the last eight years, only 28 extrajudicial killings were related to political activities while as many as 41 cases were not related to calls for independence.

In addition to this, continued Hamid, investigations into reports of extrajudicial killings rarely happened. According to Hamid, there are no independent, effective or impartial mechanisms to deal with local people's complaints about human rights violations by security forces.

Hamid explained that out of the 69 cases of extrajudicial killings, only six cases were ever tried in court.

In as many as 25 cases no investigation was carried out at all, 26 cases were investigated but the results never published and eight cases were resolved through traditional mechanisms.

Hamid said that he hoped that the government would acknowledge the serious human rights violations in the form of extrajudicial killings that have taken place in Papua. He also called on the government to draft guidelines for security personnel to prevent incidents of violence in Papua.

"The president [said he] wants the land of Papua to become a land of peace", said Hamid.

Earlier, Coordinating Minister for Security, Politics and Legal Affairs Wiranto asserted that the government is committed to resolving alleged human rights violations in Papua.

He claimed however that the National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) as the investigating party and the Attorney General's Offices as the party prosecuting the cases have had difficulties finding evidence. This, said Wiranto, is what has delayed the process of fully resolving the cases.

"Because [finding] evidence is indeed difficult. The initial investigation was by Komnas HAM and when the investigation was completed it was handed over to the AGO. But when it was handed over to the AGO it was deemed inadequate", said Wiranto at the parliamentary complex in Senayan, Jakarta, on Wednesday September 5.

"For example in Paniai, it is unclear who committed the alleged killings, but it was deemed a human rights violation. In order to find evidence autopsies are needed, but there [in Papua] autopsies are taboo, so the evidence is lacking. This still demands a resolution", he said.

[Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service. The original title of the article was "Amnesty International Tagih Janji Jokowi soal Pelanggaran HAM di Papua".]

Source: https://nasional.kompas.com/read/2018/09/12/18013451/amnesty-international-tagih-janji-jokowi-soal-pelanggaran-ham-di-papua

Women's rights & gender

Empowerment prevents women from radicalism: Yenny Wahid

Tempo - September 16, 2018

Jakarta (Antara) – The daughter of former Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid (better known as Gus Dur) and also the Wahid Institute Director, Yenny Wahid, emphasized the importance of empowering women to prevent them from perpetrators of radicalism that have exploited women as terrorists.

She made the remark in her speech at the second session of the National Gathering of the One Thousand Indonesian Women's Organizations on Friday.

She referred to the suicide bombing case in Surabaya, East Java, in May 2018. The tragedy involved a woman and a mother as a suicide bomber.

"The event showed us how a mother could bomb her own child. Whereas as mothers, we cry every time when our children fall down. But the mother (bomber) conducted it because the father believed that by doing so, the family could go to heaven. If our women are strong enough, they will definitely reject the doctrine as she could only enter heaven through her pious husband or her pious father," she said.

According to Yenny, women must be empowered, so they can be strong enough to reject such false doctrines. She argued that everyone, both men and women, have their own responsibility for their deeds and sins.

"According to any religion, our sin is our own responsibility. The parents have a responsibility to educate their children, but once the children turn adult, they are responsible for their own sins. It is a pity if parents whose children are corruptors or criminals should be responsible for their children's sins," said the daughter of late President Abdurrahman Wahid.

Therefore, Yenny called on all the Indonesian Women's Congress (Kowani) members to participate in empowering women by providing them with education, knowledge and ideas. She believed it would enable them to reject any doctrine of radicalism, including that on efforts to force women to commit acts of radicalism.

"This is a challenge for all of us, if in the past women became 'recruiters' or 'fund raisers' or 'organizers' of terrorist acts, now we have been targets to become perpetrators. How can we prevent women from being used in radical acts? The answer is women empowerment," she said.

Based on the Wahid Institute's research, it is known that Indonesian women are more tolerant than men so they are better examples for children. They can educate their children and instill values of tolerance.

"When women have a chance to educate their children to be tolerant, then that is the answer to the question of how to avoid radicalization," Yenny Wahid said.

The National Gathering of One Thousand Indonesian Women's Organizations is held to coincide with the 35th General Assembly of the International Council of Women (ICW), on September 13-20, 2018.

Earlier, International Council of Women (ICW) President Kim Jung Sook expressed belief that women can change society and also the world as. Sook optimism grew as women's empowerment in all fields has been increasing.

"I believe that women can change the world if they make every effort together. Changing the world and society can begin by transforming women through empowerment," Sook noted at the 35th General Assembly of ICW and the National Meeting of 1,000 Indonesian Women's Organizations on Thursday.

Source: http://en.tempo.co/read/news/2018/09/16/055921679/Empowerment-Prevents-Women-from-Radicalism-Yenny-Wahid

ICW general assembly in Yogyakarta highlights women's role in

Jakarta Post - September 14, 2018

Bambang Muryanto, Yogyakarta – International Council of Women (ICW) president Kim Jung-sook highlighted the role of women in transforming society with their feminine qualities during the ICW's 35th General Assembly, which kicked off in Yogyakarta on Thursday.

"As the gender that bears, gives birth and nurtures life, women can transform society through caring and loving leadership. Now it is time that we, the women of the world, make all-out effort to transform society through women's empowerment," ICW president Kim Jung-sook during her speech.

State-Owned Enterprises Minister Rini Soemarno, who gave a keynote speech at the event, said the Indonesian government, through SOEs, continued to support women, especially those involved in small and medium enterprises.

She also said Indonesia had a long history with women's rights that had resulted in women's active participation in politics.

"There are eight women ministers in President Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo's Cabinet. This is the highest number of women in a Cabinet ever recorded in Indonesia's history," she said.

As many as 150 delegates from 18 countries are attending the event that will be held until Sep. 18. Besides the members, Ambassador of the Russian Federation Lyudmila Vorobieva, Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Roya Rahmani and Ambassador of the Fiji Republic Seleima Veisamasama also attended the event. (ris/swd)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/09/14/icw-general-assembly-in-yogyakarta-highlights-womens-role-in-transforming-society.html

Women gather in Yogyakarta to attend ICW general assembly

Jakarta Post - September 13, 2018

Jakarta – As many as 150 delegates from 18 countries arrived in Yogyakarta on Thursday to attend the upcoming International Council of Women (ICW) general assembly.

Delegations from South Africa, Belgium, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Switzerland and Indonesia, among others, gathered at the Grand Inna Malioboro hotel to participate in the 35th general assembly of the ICW, which falls under the United Nations.

In the meantime, women from all over Indonesia will be attending the national gathering of Indonesia's One Thousand Women Organizations.

Women's Empowerment and Child Protection Minister Yohana Yembise is scheduled to open the event, while State-Owned Enterprises Minister Rini Soemarno is scheduled to give a keynote speech along with ICW president Kim Jung-sook and Indonesian Women Congress (Kowani) chairwoman Giwo Rubianto Wiyogo.

President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo is also scheduled to give a speech during the opening ceremony on Friday, committee chairman Gatot Subagio told Antara.

The 35th ICW General Assembly's theme will be on transforming society through women empowerment. Meanwhile, the theme for the national gathering of Indonesia's a Thousand Women Organizations' is 90 years of Indonesian women's struggle in manifesting a glorious nation.

The events are also held to commemorate the 130th anniversary of the ICW and the 90th anniversary of Kowani. (ris/ahw)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/09/13/women-gather-in-yogyakarta-to-attend-icw-general-assembly.html

Sexual & domestic violence

Acquitted rape victim begins school as prosecution appeal looms

Jakarta Post - September 11, 2018

Jon Afrizal, Jambi – Monday was a special day for WA, the 15-year-old girl acquitted by the Jambi High Court of an abortion charge on Aug. 27.

The Muara Bulian District Court had previously sentenced her to six months of imprisonment for undergoing an unlawful abortion of an 8-month-old fetus and had sentenced her brother to two years for sexually assaulting her.

The girl resumed her education on Monday, visiting a school near a house provided to her by the Jambi Social Affairs Agency in Jambi city.

The agency had decided not to send the still traumatized girl back to her village in the district of Muaratembesi. She will stay at the house until her mother, who is on trial for helping abort the pregnancy, is released.

However, a plan by the Batanghari Prosecutor's Office to appeal to the Supreme Court against the high court's ruling looms large on her, although no clear information regarding the plan is available so far.

The head of the prosecutor's office's general crimes section, Heru Duwi Atmojo, was unavailable for an interview with The Jakarta Post.

A local news outlet, Metrojambi.com, had quoted Heru as saying on Sunday that his office had received the Jambi High Court's decision to acquit the teenager through the Muara Bulian District Court on Sept. 3 and that they would file an appeal.

The prosecutor's office also reportedly plans to appeal in the case of the girl's brother to seek a harsher sentence of seven years of imprisonment.

Researcher Maidina of the Institute for Criminal Justice Reform (ICJR) questioned the chances of the appeal, saying the motivation behind it was merely that the punishment was more lenient than demanded by the prosecutors.

"What must also be taken into consideration is that this girl is a victim, a minor, and she is suffering from trauma," Maidina said.

Save Our Sisters (SOS) spokesperson Zubaidah, who accompanied the girl, concurred, calling the prosecutors' move "unfair" because the trauma was still there. "Don't just look at the legal side. Bear in mind also the psychological side," she said. (swa)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/09/11/acquitted-rape-victim-begins-school-as-prosecution-appeal-looms.html

Labour & migrant workers

Grab fires tens of thousands of drivers over fraudulent activities

Coconuts Jakarta - September 14, 2018

Rapidly growing ride-hailing service rivals Grab and Go-Jek are fiercely competing for market share in Indonesia (and now in other countries too, after Go-Jek recently launched in Vietnam).

But besides each other, one of the main challenges the two companies face is drivers who attempt to cheat their systems using increasingly sophisticated methods.

Grab recently cleaned house in Indonesia, announcing that it had ended its working relationship with tens of thousands of their "partner drivers" (as the companies euphemistically refer to the freelance-like arrangements they have with their service providers) over their attempts to defraud their system.

Ridzki Kramadibrata, the managing director of Grab Indonesia, said that the drivers in question had attempted to cheat their system in a variety of ways including fake GPS and "tuyul" apps (a reference to a kind of Indonesian ghost baby, it's software that can be used to create fake customer and driver accounts).

"We have turned off tens of thousands of fictitious accounts. After we turned them off, we do allow these fraudsters to enter our system again," Ridzki said at a press conference in Grab Indonesia's office in Jakarta yesterday as quoted by Kompas.

The accounts that were deleted were generally given warnings first and given a chance to improve their work first, Ridzki said, although some were summarily cut off because of the seriousness of their fraud and a few of the worst were reported to the police as a deterrent to others.

Analysts believe fraud among ride-hailing drivers is rampant in Indonesia, with both Grab and Go-Jek both having to constantly create new anti-fraud tools to combat the increasingly sophisticated methods used to cheat their systems.

According to a recent survey by Jakarta-based Institute for Development of Economics and Finance (INDEF), 61% of ride-hailing drivers know other drivers who have committed fraud.

Source: https://coconuts.co/jakarta/news/grab-fires-tens-thousands-drivers-indonesia-fraudulent-activities/

300 police officers to secure rally against ride-railing app providers

Jakarta Post - September 12, 2018

Jakarta – Some 300 police officers have been deployed to secure a rally by drivers working with ride-hailing app providers outside the Go-Jek headquarters in Kebayoran Baru, South Jakarta.

"Around 60 of the officers are the negotiation team from the police's women corps," South Jakarta Police deputy chief Adj. Comr. Budi Sartono said on Wednesday.

The drivers, united under the Attack Deceitful App Companies Movement (Gerhana), were rallying on Wednesday to demand better working conditions.

Gerhana had staged a similar protest in front of the Grab headquarters in Kuningan, South Jakarta, on Monday. There was tension during that protest, as Grab upper management refused to meet the demonstrators.

Gerhana is specifically demanding that the companies uphold their promises to increase the base rates and is protesting what it calls driver exploitation and industry monopolization. Go-Jek and rival company Grab are the only two players in the Indonesian app-based ride-hailing industry. (nor)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/09/12/300-police-officers-to-secure-rally-against-ride-railing-app-providers.html

Grab drivers stage rally at Jakarta office

Jakarta Post - September 10, 2018

Jakarta – Drivers of application-based ride-hailing company Grab staged a rally on Monday in front of the company's office at the Lippo building in Kuningan, South Jakarta.

The drivers said they were disappointed to not meet high-ranking officials from the company. "We are demanding to meet and convey our aspirations to Grab's CEO, not representatives," said Dedi Heryantoni, a representative of the drivers.

They said the company had exploited the drivers and it was not transparent when penalizing them.

The company sent Pandu from the external regulatory and government affairs division to meet the protesters. However, they insisted on meeting the company's managing director, Ridzki Kramadibrata.

Several protesters forced their way into the building's front yard but the police prevented them from entering the building, kompas.com reported.

South Jakarta Police chief Sr. Comr. Indra Jafar said he hoped that Ridzki would meet with the protesters in the hope that they could disperse quickly after the meeting without having to disturb residents and employees.

"The company said that [Ridzki] has another activity. I actually expect a meeting between them so they would talk to find a solution," Indra said on the scene, adding that 200 officers were deployed to secure the area. (fac)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/09/10/grab-drivers-stage-rally-at-jakarta-office.html

Motorcycle taxi drivers demand gov't shut down ride-hailing companies if

Coconuts Jakarta - September 10, 2018

While plenty of investors are pouring millions of dollars in funding into regional ride-hailing giants Go-Jek and Grab, many "partner" drivers working for the app-based transportation services feel like they're getting left in the dust in terms of treatment and some of them are now advocating for the government to shut their employers down if they don't improve work conditions.

Media reports estimated that a few hundred of the two companies' motorcycle taxi drivers (referred to locally as online ojek) were demonstrating collectively at Grab Indonesia's office in Kuningan, South Jakarta, this morning, causing congestion on Jalan Rasuna Said.

It's the latest in a long line of demonstrations of varying sizes held by online ojeks to protest both their perceived low pay and the obligations placed on them by their employers. What seemed to be new at today's rally, which was organized by Gerakan Hantam Aplikasi Nakal (which can be translated to the Naughty Application Fighting Movement), were calls to have the government shut down the ride-hailing companies if they did not improve conditions for drivers.

"If our demands are not fulfilled, then we will ask the central government to immediately close and expel all applications that tyrannize the people and immediately prepare a professional online transportation application that is fair, transparent and creates prosperity for the people," said Dedi Heriyantoni, a spokesperson at the demo, as quoted by CNN Indonesia.

Those demands include an end to the exploitation of driver "partners" through low wages and excessive labor obligations. They also demanded that Go-Jek and Grab not be allowed to maintain a monopoly on the online transportation market so they could continue to treat drivers unfairly.

The demo organizers said that another protest was scheduled for tomorrow at Go-Jek's head office in Blok M, South Jakarta, and estimated around 1,000 drivers would take part. Neither Grab nor Go-Jek has put out statements regarding these most recent rallies.

Before the start of the Asian Games, online ojek groups threatened massive disruptive strikes timed to coincide with the start of the massive sporting event being hosted in Indonesia, but those plans failed to materialize after both companies made small increases to their tariff rates.

While the chances of the government shutting down either Go-Jek or Grab over driver protests is slim to none, the probability that drivers will continue to protest seems high. And with an excess of labor supply and both companies fiercely competiting for market share through low prices, it seems unlikely the dynamic will change anytime soon.

Source: https://coconuts.co/jakarta/news/motorcycle-taxi-drivers-demand-govt-shut-ride-hailing-companies-dont-improve-work-conditions/

Political parties & elections

'New' Prabowo looks to appeal to millennials

Jakarta Post - September 16, 2018

Jakarta – Gerindra Party chairman and presidential hopeful Prabowo Subianto is looking to project a laid-back public persona to attract young voters ahead of next year's election.

"Pak Prabowo will appear with a contemporary image, not just a change of clothing," National Mandate Party (PAN) deputy secretary-general Faldo Maldini said on Saturday as quoted by tempo.co.

Faldo said Prabowo would focus on how to carry himself and present his views in a way that would appeal to millennials, but declined to go into the details on the new Prabowo. "Just wait for it," he said.

Previously, Prabowo's running mate and former Jakarta deputy governor Sandiaga Uno had said that the former general would unveil "the new Prabowo" during the campaign to attract the youth vote.

According to data from Statistics Indonesia (BPS), about 80 million people under the age of 40 will be eligible to vote next year, making up nearly half of the electorate.

During the 2014 presidential race that Prabowo lost by around 8 million votes, he gained a reputation for being hot-headed and lashing out at journalists for what he perceived to be unfavorable coverage. Reports even claimed that he once threw a cellphone at a fellow politician.

"Pak Prabowo is a fun person. The new Prabowo is someone who is very relaxed," Sandiaga said. "Pak Prabowo has experienced our political dynamics and he understands that the democratic process must unite us, instead of tearing us apart." (kmt)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/09/16/new-prabowo-looks-to-appeal-to-millennials.html

Jokowi defends government advertisements in theaters

Jakarta Post - September 14, 2018

Marguerite Afra Sapiie, Jakarta – President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has spoken up about controversy surrounding public service commercials featuring his accomplishments that have been broadcast in cinemas, saying that it is the job of the government to disseminate information.

He defended on Friday commercials about his administration's progress in development after they sparked complaints from the opposition and some moviegoers.

Jokowi said informing the public about the country's development progress through various mediums, such as YouTube and on television, was the task of the Communications and Information Ministry as mandated by the law.

"In the past, it was the information minister who explained [government programs], so should [the current government] stay silent then?" Jokowi told reporters while briefly covering his lips to illustrate his point.

A three-minute commercial, which was broadcasted in cinemas and shows footage of 65 newly built dams and reservoirs across the country as well as a testimony from a farmer who says he is grateful for the projects, recently stirred debates among the public.

Jokowi's political opponents said the ads looked more like a campaign for the incumbent, who is seeking reelection in 2019, than mere public service announcements.

When asked about the accusation, Jokowi said the ministry had been disseminating the information through such mediums for the last four years.

"The public needs to receive as much information as possible on [government programs], such as which ones have finished, which ones are still in progress and which ones are planned to be carried out," Jokowi said. "We want to deliver information as it is."

The ministry also defended the commercials, saying they were part of the ministry's job as stipulated in the 2008 law on state ministries to disseminate information on government achievements. The planning process for the ads, which were financed by the ministry's budget, began in mid-2017. (ahw)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/09/14/jokowi-defends-government-advertisements-in-theaters.html

Presidential election: Rival camps squabble over English debate proposal

Jakarta Post - September 14, 2018

Jakarta – A proposal from the opposition camp that the official presidential debate be held in English instead of Indonesian has been met with jeers from the incumbent's supporters, who say the proposal is preposterous while facetiously suggesting that it could lead to debates in Arabic.

The proposal came from National Mandate Party (PAN) executive Yandri Susanto, who argued it was important for the head of state to speak English properly as he had to mingle with global leaders and speak at international forums.

"It's important for a presidential candidate to be fluent in [English] [...] so as to ensure that there is no miscommunication with the figures [the president] speaks to," Yandri said.

The Jokowi coalition did not welcome the proposal. "Don't create weird proposals [...] Debates between presidential candidates must continue to use the Indonesian language," said Raja Juli Antoni, the secretary of Jokowi's campaign team, on Friday.

"The essence of debate [...] is for the public to know what is on the minds of our presidential candidates. The public wants to know their track records," Antoni said as quoted by kompas.com.

United Development Party (PPP) secretary-general Arsul Sani said debates should be in Indonesian because the 2009 law on the national flag, language, emblem and anthem stipulated that the Indonesian language must be used in every national forum.

"I suppose the presidential debate is an official forum," Arsul said, adding that the opposition should not offer such a proposal as it could encourage others to come up with other strange proposals, such as having the debate in Arabic or asking the candidates to take a Quran recital test.

Despite the suggestion having come from some of his backers, Prabowo's running mate Sandiaga Uno said he disagreed with the proposal. "There are some people who understand English, but we want to reach out to all the people of Indonesia," he said. (afr/ahw)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/09/14/presidential-election-rival-camps-squabble-over-english-debate-proposal.html

Ex-graft convicts may contest election: Court

Jakarta Post - September 14, 2018

Marguerite Afra Sapiie, Jakarta – The Supreme Court has ruled in favor of former corruption convicts challenging the General Elections Commission (KPU) regulation that bans them from contesting the 2019 legislative election.

The former graft convicts challenged the KPU regulation on the grounds that it contradicted the stipulations of the 2017 Election Law.

"The Election Law allows [ex-graft convicts] to run in elections under certain requirements, but the KPU entirely closed the door on that," Supreme Court spokesperson Suhadi said on Friday.

The country's highest court handed down its ruling, which is final and binding, on Thursday.

KPU Regulation No. 20/2018 has become a subject of dispute between the KPU and the Elections Supervisory Agency (Bawaslu), which decided to allow 18 ex-graft convicts from 16 regions run as legislative candidates in next year's elections.

Bawaslu maintained that the KPU regulation was not in line with the Election Law and that the agency wanted to refer to the Election Law, not the KPU regulation. (ahw)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/09/14/ex-graft-convicts-may-contest-election-court.html

'Jokowi ad' in cinemas irks opposition, moviegoers

Jakarta Post - September 13, 2018

Jakarta – A public service commercial that was broadcast in cinemas and featured President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's achievements has sparked complaints from the opposition and some moviegoers.

The complaint began to attract the attention of Twitter users after urban activist Marco Kusumawijaya compiled all the complaints in a single tweet.

Pak ?@jokowi? ada yg gak suka iklan Bapak mengganggu waktu nonton mereka. pic.twitter.com/wbKHOb5C4E – marco (@mkusumawijaya) September 11, 2018

The three-minute commercial showed footage of 65 newly built dams and reservoirs throughout the country, as well as testimony from a farmer who was grateful for them because it helped him and other farmers continuously plant their crops without having to wait for the rainy season.

Some Twitter users said the public service ad had ruined their movie night.

Twitter user @nynazka is believed to be the first to bring the issue to light: "I just watched a movie in a Cinema XXI theater. Please give me back my wasted three minutes when I was so eager to watch movie trailers but then a Jokowi commercial popped up. It's spoiling the atmosphere. I went to the theater to have fun and watch movies!"

As of Wednesday, the tweet has garnered 1,282 retweets and 2,383 likes before the user decided to make her profile private.

Meanwhile, another user, @TPranawisanty, said she was annoyed by the ad, which was displayed before she watched The Nun, a spin-off of the horror movie franchise The Conjuring, in Bogor, West Java. The ad, she said jokingly, made the movie less scary.

The opposition is taking the complaint seriously, saying it should be taken down as it looked more like a campaign for the incumbent, who is seeking reelection in 2019, than a public service announcement.

Responding to Twitter users' complaints, Gerindra Party deputy chairman Fadli Zon tweeted on Wednesday that "the ad should be taken down".

A senior politician from the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), Hidayat Nur Wahid, made the same call on Thursday, saying, "I agree if the ad gets taken down."

The Elections Supervisory Agency (Bawaslu), however, said the government and the Jokowi camp did nothing wrong by airing the ad.

"Since the General Elections Commission [KPU] has yet to determine definitive candidates for the 2019 presidential election, the ad is just an ordinary government commercial showing their accomplishments," Bawaslu commissioner Rahmat Bagja said. The case, he added, could have been different if it were aired during the campaign period.

The government, meanwhile, insisted that the ad was not about Jokowi and refused to take it down as requested by the opposition camp.

The Communications and Information Ministry said in a statement that it had made the video to show the current government's accomplishments and that it was part of the ministry's job as stipulated in the 2008 law on state ministries.

"The public service announcement is shown at movie theaters as a channel that was considered right on target due to its measured number of viewers," said Ferdinandus Setu, acting head of the ministry's public relations bureau, on Wednesday.

The commercial, he added, was financed by the ministry's budget and had been planned since mid-2017.

But some people said it was hard not to perceive the commercial as anything other than a political ad for the President.

Nabillah Ayu, 21, a student from Bekasi, West Java, said she had no problem with public service commercials in theaters, but added that she could understand why some people saw it as campaign ad.

"I don't mind the commercial because it was informative, but some people may think that Jokowi is starting his campaign earlier than he should," she said. (ris/ahw)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/09/13/jokowi-ad-in-cinemas-irks-opposition-moviegoers.html

Rumored to support caliphate, Prabowo: Just a propaganda

Tempo - September 13, 2018

Fikri Arigi, Jakarta – Presidential Candidate Prabowo Subianto said that rumors saying that he wanted to establish an Islamic state and change the government system into a caliphate in Indonesia were baseless.

"Regarding the caliphate, it is a propaganda that is actually insular but dangerous because the people can be influenced," Prabowo said after a visit to the house of the late Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid in Ciganjur, South Jakarta, Thursday, September 13, 2018.

Prabowo also explained that as former Indonesian Army soldier, he often had to risk his life for the sovereignty of Pancasila. Prabowo said that since he was young he had vowed to defend Indonesia based on Pancasila and the 1945 Constitution.

Prabowo added that his desire was to uphold Pancasila purely and consistently. "So, not to use Pancasila and the 1945 Constitution as the mantra, but to implement it," Prabowo said.

Source: http://en.tempo.co/read/news/2018/09/13/055921629/Rumored-to-Support-Caliphate-Prabowo-Just-a-Propaganda

PAN: Gus Dur family will support Prabowo

Tempo - September 13, 2018

Ryan Dwiky Anggriawan, Jakarta – Chief of the Central Executive Board of the National Mandate Party (PAN) Yandri Susanto, is confident that the family of former Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid, also known as Gus Dur, will provide their support for Prabowo Subianto and Sandiaga Uno.

"Looking through Gus Dur's statement when he was alive, he supports Prabowo," Yandri said on Thursday, September 13, 2018.

Prabowo had met with Gus Dur's wife Sinta Nuriyah Wahid and Gus Dur's second child Yenny Wahid. Yandri explained that the visit was intended to garner support and to ask Yenny to become part of Prabowo's campaign team.

Yandri also explained that the visit to Gus Dur's house was not intended to compete with their opponent Joko Widodo and Ma'ruf Amin.

"It's not about gathering support from the NU or Muhammadiyah," Yandri said while adding that Prabowo is aiming to approach all elements, which can be considered as potential.

Source: http://en.tempo.co/read/news/2018/09/13/055921630/PAN-Gus-Dur-Family-will-Support-Prabowo

Yudhoyono to hit campaign trail for Prabowo

Jakarta Post - September 13, 2018

Jakarta – Democratic Party patron and former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is planning to hit the campaign trail for presidential contender Prabowo Subianto.

Prabowo announced Yudhoyono's intention following a meeting between the two retired generals at the latter's house on Wednesday. "[Yudhoyono] wants to be a campaigner," the Gerindra Party chairman said as quoted by kompas.com.

Prabowo added that Yudhoyono would be assuming a high-level position, saying "a godfather must be on top" as he referred to the Dems chairman as "my mentor" while laughing slightly.

Meanwhile, Yudhoyono's son Agus Harimurti is set to join the Prabowo-Sandiaga Uno campaign team as a member of the advisory board, he added.

The Dems, along with Gerindra, the National Mandate Party (PAN) and the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), are backing the Prabowo-Sandiaga ticket in the 2019 election, challenging incumbent President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo and his running mate, Muslim cleric Ma'ruf Amin.

Democratic Party officials previously said Yudhoyono would be named Prabowo's special advisor while Agus would join the campaign team as a national campaigner and member of the steering committee.

During Wednesday's meeting, Prabowo, Sandiaga and Yudhoyono discussed the candidate pair's national campaign strategy. They agreed to focus on economic issues and plan to establish a team consisting of economic experts to handle them, Prabowo said. (afr/ahw)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/09/13/yudhoyono-to-hit-campaign-trail-for-prabowo.html

Google promises to reject all political ads ahead of 2019: Minister

Jakarta Post - September 13, 2018

Stefanno Reinard Sulaiman, Hanoi – Communication and Information Minister Rudiantara said on Thursday that Google had agreed to help mitigate the potential for political conflicts in Indonesia and assured the government that it would not accept any political advertisements ahead of the country's 2019 general election.

Rudiantara said Google Asia Pacific president Karim Temsamani made the promise during the ongoing World Economic Forum (WEF) on ASEAN in Vietnam. The WEF on ASEAN 2018 runs from Sept. 11 to 13 in Hanoi.

"Google has decided to close their door to political ads, especially prior to the presidential election next year," said Rudiantara, adding that the government would also talk to other digital platforms on the issue.

He said the government appreciated the US tech giant's decision, which was in keeping with Indonesia's Electronic Information and Transactions (ITE) Law.

Rudiantara said he also discussed with Google how to prevent the spread of fake online news ahead of the 2019 elections.

Indonesia is holding its legislative and presidential elections in April 2019. Incumbent Joko "Jokowi" Widodo, who has chosen Muslim cleric Ma'ruf Amin as his running mate, will have a "rematch" against his 2014 rival Prabowo Subianto, who is vying for the presidency alongside running mate Sandiaga Uno. (bbn)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/09/13/google-promises-to-reject-all-political-ads-ahead-of-2019-minister.html

Half of arrested Malang councillors seeking reelection: KPU

Jakarta Post - September 12, 2018

Jakarta – Around half of the Malang Council members who have been named graft suspects are seeking reelection as legislative candidates next year, according to the General Elections Commission (KPU).

KPU chairman Arief Budiman said Wednesday that 21 of the 41 councillors – all of whom were implicated in a bribery case related to budget deliberations – had registered for the 2019 legislative elections, kompas.com has reported.

"There are reportedly 21 people, but we have to check where they registered their candidacies – whether it is with a City Council, Regional Legislative Council or the House of Representatives," Arief said on Wednesday.

In the meantime, the KPU is reviewing the suspects' candidacies and status. If possible, the commission would request their political parties to retract their candidacies, Arief said.

"We will check whether or not it is possible to replace [the candidates]," he said, adding that if possible, the process must be carried out before Sept. 20, which is the deadline for the KPU to finalize the final candidates list (DCT) for the 2019 legislative elections.

The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) has arrested 41 of the city's 45 councillors over their alleged involvement in a bribery case related to the deliberation of the 2015 city budget.

The KPK initially declared 18 councillors suspects following the arrest in March of then-mayor Mochamad Anton, who was suspected of distributing Rp 700 million (US$47,017) in bribes to councillors to pass the 2015 draft budget.

Six months later, the antigraft body named another 22 members of the council suspects in the case. Forty interim councillors were inaugurated on Monday to handle the draft budget and pass pending bylaws until August next year. (afr/ahw)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/09/12/half-of-arrested-malang-councillors-seeking-reelection-kpu.html

Thousands join anti-Jokowi walk in Surakarta

Jakarta Post - September 11, 2018

Ganug Nugroho Adi, Surakarta – Thousands of people participated in an anti-Jokowi walk on Sunday morning in the Gladag area in the city of Surakarta, Central Java.

The event on Sunday was also attended by, among others, the Surakarta Sharia Council (DSKS) chairman Muinudinillah Basri, Muhammadiyah activist Mustofa B. Nahrawardaya and local figure Mudrick Sangidu.

Earlier, the Surakarta Police said they did not permit the event because it had a potential to create altercations between President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo supporters and those who oppose him. In response, the event committee said they would prohibit the participants from wearing or carrying any #2019GantiPresiden (#2019ChangePresident) attributes.

Although attributes emblazoned with #2019GantiPresiden were absent in the 5-kilometer walk, a call to support presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto resonated in the event.

"Hail Prabowo! I hope that he will become our president," Mudrick told the participants. He also encouraged them to be volunteers to support Prabowo's candidacy.

Hundreds of joint personnel from the police, the Indonesian Military (TNI) and Muhammadiyah were seen securing the event held in Jokowi's hometown and the city that propelled him into fame when he was the mayor.

The participants also came from neighboring cities like Sukoharjo, Boyolali, Klaten, Sragen, Karanganyar and Wonogiri. Public figure Ahmad Dhani and Neno Warisman were previously set to attend the event but they canceled their participation.

"Ahmad Dhani could not make it here because he has to prepare himself for questioning at the East Java Police headquarters. Meanwhile, Neno Warisman had something to do and had to cancel her attendance," said the event's spokesperson, Endro Harsono.

Neno's plan to attend a #2019GantiPresiden event in Pekanbaru last month was thwarted when hundreds of counterprotesters blocked the entrance to the airport, carrying banners denouncing the #2019GantiPresiden campaign and urging Neno to "go home".

A similar protest also occurred against Neno several weeks ago in Batam, Riau Islands. Similar scenes occurred in Surabaya on Aug. 26, as musician Ahmad Dhani was blocked from leaving his hotel to attend a #2019GantiPresiden event.

The police have restricted #2019GantiPresiden events in Surabaya and Pekanbaru earlier, citing security reasons. Jokowi has lauded the police's move, saying democracy has its limit. (vny/evi)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/09/11/thousands-join-anti-jokowi-walk-in-surakarta.html

Bawaslu allows 34 graft convicts to run in 2019 including 5 from

Coconuts Jakarta - September 10, 2018

While all Indonesian political parties say that they are committed to fighting the pervasive corruption in the country's government and politics, many have shown exactly how much their anti-corruption pledges mean by nominating one or several candidates for next year's elections that had previously been convicted of corruption charges.

The former commissioner for the General Election Commission (KPU), Hadar Nafis Gumay, said that there were at least 34 legislative candidates who had previously been found guilty of corruption but still passed inspection by the Election Supervisory Body (Bawaslu) to run in next year's election.

The KPU passed a regulation earlier this year forbidding anybody who has been convicted on charges of corruption, drugs or sex crimes from running as candidates in elections, despite stiff opposition from political parties, the administration and Bawaslu. The election supervisory body has also defied the KPU's regulation by registering numerous candidates with histories of corruption crimes.

According to Hadar, the KPU data shows that the Gerindra party, led by 2019 presidential challenger Prabowo Subianto, nominated the largest number of corruption ex-cons passed by Bawaslu with a total of five, including veteran Jakarta City Council member M Taufik. The National Mandate Party (PAN), which is part of Gerindra's opposition coalition, was close behind with four.

Tied for third with three corruption ex-con candidates each are Golkar, PKP, Hanura and the Berkarya Party (led by chairman Tommy Suharto, who was also accepted as a candidate despite being a convicted murderer). The Nasdem Party, Garuda, Perindo, and the Democratic Party all have two former corruption convict candidates while PKS and PBB had one.

"Of the 34 corrupt legislative candidates, all passed through (Bawaslu's) 28 criteria. We must question the integrity pact that has been signed by political parties in submitting candidates," Hadar said on Sunday at a meeting at the office of Indonesia Corruption Watch on Sunday as quoted by BeritaSatu. He was referring to part of the new KPU regulations that require political parties to sign an integrity pact saying they would not nominate candidates in bad standing.

However not all parties are putting up corruption convicts. According to Hadar's data, the ruling PDI-P party as well as PKB, PPP and PSI did not nominate any candidates with corruption convictions in their past.

The central KPU has said that it has instructed its regional branches to block the corruption ex-cons that Bawaslu allowed to register, but it is likely that the impasse between the two election bodies will be settled by a court decision over the KPU's new anti-corruption regulations.

Source: https://coconuts.co/jakarta/news/elections-agency-allows-34-ex-corruption-convicts-run-2019-election-including-5-prabowos-gerindra/

Blasphemy & hate speech

Religious leaders end protest over woman sentenced for blasphemy in

Boss News Life - September 9, 2018

Stefan J. Bos, Jakarta, Jakarta, Indonesia – Religious leaders in Indonesia's North Sumatra province have reportedly agreed to stop protesting the prison term given to a local Buddhist woman for allegedly insulting Islam.

Meiliana, a 44-year-old ethnic Chinese woman, had complained the Muslim call to prayer, repeated five times a day, was being played too loudly at the mosque near her house in the port town of Tanjung Balai in North Sumatra.

Officials of Christian, Buddhist, and Hindu communities were among those attending a ceremony where religious leaders signed "a peace pact" with authorities aimed at easing tensions over Meiliana's 18-month prison sentence, The Jakarta Post newspaper said.

The event was organized by local police, apparently to avoid new clashes. In July 2016, Muslim mobs burned and ransacked at least 14 Buddhist temples throughout Tanjung Balai after reports of Meiliana's complaint about a mosque's noisy loudspeakers

"Buddhists here don't question the [August 21, 2018] verdict anymore. We want to live peacefully in Tanjung Balai," local Buddhist leader Tjoa Kien Lie was quoted as saying. "As law-abiding Indonesians, we have to respect the judge's decision. It doesn't need to be debated because it could divide us," he told The Jakarta Post after the peace pact was signed.

His comments came despite mounting national and international concern about the fairness of the trial. Investigators of Indonesia's Corruption Eradication Commission reportedly detained the judge presiding over Meiliana's case for allegedly taking bribes while serving at the court.

Appealing sentence

Her lawyer, Ranto Sibarani, said they would appeal the verdict. "We will appeal the verdict because the judges could not prove that our client has committed blasphemy," he told The Jakarta Post.

The secretary general of the Pentecostal Church in Indonesia or 'Gereja Pantekosta di Indonesia' (GPdI) also criticized the sentencing. "There is much injustice in Indonesia," said the official, Johannis ('John') Hus Lumenta.

Usman Hamid, Amnesty International Indonesia's executive director, agrees. "Making a complaint about noise is not a criminal offense. This ludicrous decision is a flagrant violation of freedom of expression," Hamid added in published remarks.

But a conservative group, Islamic Community Forum, complained that Meiliana's sentence was too light as the maximum sentence for blasphemy is five years.

The case has underscored worries among Christians and other minorities about blasphemy laws, which were introduced in 1965. They were initially used eight times in the 40 years that followed until 2004, BosNewsLife learned.

But in the decade after the election of Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono as president in late 2004, more than 100 people have been jailed for blasphemy, including more than a dozen under current President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo.

Source: http://www.bosnewslife.com/38808-religious-leaders-end-protest-over-woman-sentenced-for-blasphemy-in-indonesia

Surveys & opinion polls

Gerindra dissatisfied with LSI Denny JA's survey

Tempo - September 13, 2018

Francisca Christy Rosana, Jakarta – Gerindra Party Communication Agency member, Andre Rosiade, was dissatisfied with the survey result regarding the winning party in the 2019 Election that released by a pollster Lingkaran Survei Indonesia (LSI) Denny JA on Wednesday, September 12.

"Based on the survey we have conducted, the gap between Gerindra and PDIP is close, and it did not as far as noted by LSI," Andre told Tempo via a phone call on Thursday, September 13.

Andre said Gerindra had conducted an internal survey and that showed the party gained 20 percent votes, while LSI recorded the figure at 13.1 percent votes.

LSI reported that Gerindra ranked the second top position in its prediction of the winning party, below the Indonesia Democratic Party of Struggle (PDIP) with 24.8 percent votes.

Andre considered the survey conducted by LSI was odd because he had collected information from other surveys done by news media Antara and Republika before LSI and his party established the similar one. From both sources, Andre claimed, the vote gap was quite close.

However, he appreciated the survey delivered by LSI Denny JA and asserted it would not affect the party performance. He perceived the survey would be seen as a means to work harder in a bid to gain public support.

Andre pointed out that no other strategies would be applied by Gerindra, except maintaining the cadre's commitment not to involve in the corruption. "We will keep working to be close to the society, offering programs, and remind them to choose the free-corruption party," he underlined.

Andre further appealed to all community not to support the party that accommodated many corruptors, let alone those that weakens the work of the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK). "Don't support those party that hinders KPK such as PDIP. The public now is more rational," he said.

Source: http://en.tempo.co/read/news/2018/09/13/055921612/Gerindra-Dissatisfied-with-LSI-Denny-JAs-Survey

Social organisations & NGOs

Rival mass organizations agree to resolve conflict in South Jakarta

Jakarta Post - September 12, 2018

Jakarta – The Betawi Brotherhood Forum (FBR) and Pancasila Youth (PP) have agreed to resolve their differences following brawls between their members at several locations on Tuesday evening, apparently sparked by an attack on an FBR post in South Jakarta.

Pamulang Police chief Comr. Endang Sukma Wijaya said on Wednesday that police had begun to mediate between the long-time rivals just hours after the brawls had broken out.

"We called the leaders of each organization to resolve the conflict amicably," Endang said. "Some agreements were made. [The mediation] didn't take long, only about 15 to 20 minutes," he said, as quoted by kompas.com.

At 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, FBR's Semut Item post in Kebayoran Lama, South Jakarta, had been attacked with bottles and stones by some 20 plain-clothed motorcyclists, allegedly members of PP, South Jakarta Police chief Sr. Comr. Indra Jafar said.

In retaliation, about eight members of the FBR took on the motorcyclists in Kebayoran Baru and Pesanggrahan in South Jakarta; Ciledug in Tangerang; and Pamulang in South Tangerang in Banten. No casualties have been reported. (stu)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/09/12/rival-mass-organizations-agree-to-resolve-conflict-in-south-jakarta.html

Environment & natural disasters

Environmental ministry wins IDR979 billion in lawsuits against forest

Coconuts Jakarta - September 10, 2018

Peatland fires in Borneo and Sumatra have flared up again recently after two relatively fire-free seasons, portending a possible recurrence of 2015's haze crisis.

Questions abound over whether the Indonesian government's policies to prevent the fires, which are often attributed to land clearing efforts traced to palm oil companies, will be successful. But one area the government has already found some success in is bringing legal suits against some of the companies responsible for large scale burnings.

The Ministry of the Environment and Forestry (KLHK) has recently won three major cases against forest and land burners that have been upheld at the appeal level. The total amount the government has won in the lawsuits add up to IDR979 billion (USD 65.7 million).

One case involved PT JJP, which the government sued for illegally burning and damaging thousands of hectares of land in the Rokan Hilir Regency of Riau. On June 28, 2018, the Supreme Court ruled that PT JJP was guilty and required to pay compensation and the costs of restoring the environment in the amount of IDR491 billion.

The second case was against a company called PT WAJ that, on August 10, the Supreme Court ruled owed KLHK IDR446 billion for damaging 1,802 hectares of land in two regencies of of South Sumatra.

The third case, decided on August 15 by the Banjarmasin High Court, ruled that PT PU was guilty in connection with the PT WAJ case and ordered to pay the government IDR22 billion.

"We really appreciate the judges of the Supreme Court and the Panel of Judges of the Banjarmasin High Court. These decisions provides environmental justice for the community and the environment itself," said Rasio Ridho, the director general of law enforcement at KLHK in a press release published to the ministry's website Saturday.

Despite the legal victories, this year's increasing number of hotspots in peatland areas that had already been designated conservation zones has led many to worry that the government has not done enough to prevent the burnings. We're all holding our breath to see if the haze will return.

Source: https://coconuts.co/jakarta/news/environmental-ministry-wins-idr979-billion-lawsuits-forest-land-burners/

Health & education

Jokowi campaigns for MR vaccine amid low coverage

Jakarta Post - September 16, 2018

Jakarta – President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has campaigned for the measles-rubella (MR) vaccine amid rejection of it in several regions.

"This is for the good of the society, our children and our youth in the future," he said on Saturday in Sukoharjo, Central Java, as quoted by kompas.com.

The President's words came in the wake of resistance against the campaign in predominantly Muslim regions across the country, following an edict from the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) edict last month.

On Aug. 20, the MUI said the MR vaccine was mubah (permitted for Muslims) even though it contains porcine-derived gelatin and permitted Muslims to use the vaccine until a halal one is made.

The government started its second phase of the MR vaccination campaign for children outside Java Island, targeting that 95 percent of children aged 9 months to under 15 years receive the vaccine.

With only two weeks left before the campaign ends on Sept. 30, the Health Ministry recorded that the nation's average coverage rate was at 47.37 percent as of Sunday morning.

Meanwhile, the average coverage rate in Aceh is 7.01 percent, far lower than the 95 percent target. The provinces with the second and third lowest coverage rates are Riau and West Sumatra with 22.52 percent and 24.26 percent respectively.

The Health Ministry's disease control and prevention director general, Anung Sugihantono, recently told The Jakarta Post that the ministry was looking to extend the campaign period because of the low vaccination coverage rate in some provinces. (sau)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/09/16/jokowi-campaigns-for-mr-vaccine-amid-low-coverage.html

Health workers offering rubella vaccine threatened with machetes by

Coconuts Jakarta - September 13, 2018

The Indonesian government is currently undertaking a massive nationwide drive to administer the measles-rubella (MR) vaccine to 32 million children across the archipelago.

But paranoia over non-halal components in the vaccine has proven to be a huge impediment to their efforts – according to officials they've only managed to meet about 43% of their target as of this week when they were scheduled to have already achieved their goal of 95% by this point.

The terrifying depths of anti-vaccine paranoia and fears in certain parts of Indonesia was illustrated yesterday with disturbing anecdotes from Deputy Presidential Chief of Staff Yanuar Nugroho, who said that health workers administering vaccines in some areas of the country had actually been threatened with physical violence.

"Some were threatened with machetes because parents said, 'I don't want this, because this is unclean,'" Yanuar told reporters in Jakarta yesterday as quoted by Tempo.

Yanuar said one such incident took place in Sulawesi's Gorontalo province. He said six health workers who were giving out MR vaccines to villagers on Torosiaje Island were threatened sharply by locals.

"The parents of the children who they wanted to immunize carried machetes, locked their homes and threatened to attack the officers who were giving the injections," Yanuar said.

The senior palace official also said that health workers in the city of Banjarmasin, South Kalimantan, had reported actually having to dispose of their vaccines after being threatened by local residents.

In another incident, parents in a village in the Tanah Datar regency of West Sumatra told local officials that they did not accept the immunizations and threatened health workers and officials trying to vaccinate their children, even making them sign a letter of apology.

What could explain such fear over the vaccine? Even before the government's latest immunization drive, there had been an increase in anti-vaccine skepticism and conspiracy theories, but those concerns were exasperated when the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI), the country's highest Islamic clerical body, raised concerns about the MR vaccine.

MUI demanded that they be allowed to test it to ascertain its halal status and initially instructing its followers to wait until their testing had been completed before getting the vaccine.

After MUI finally received a sample of the vaccine, they announced that it actually did contain trace amounts of pork byproducts (in the gelatin used to stabilize the compound) but also issued a fatwa three weeks ago declaring it was acceptable to use the vaccine for now due to medical urgency and a lack of a halal alternative. Despite MUI finally giving its followers the green light, many throughout the country are obviously still more afraid of letting their children be injected with something containing trace amount of pig enzymes than the dangers of measles and rubella, which can cause serious health complications and death in children. Even more devastating, women who contract the disease during pregnancy can experience miscarriages or have their fetuses develop debilitating birth defects.

Doctors have warned that areas of the country like Aceh, which has only had 7% of children targeted by the latest vaccination drive immunized, could experience an "MR tsunami". The government is already warning that if the immunization program fails, the country could soon face an epidemic of the disease.

Source: https://coconuts.co/jakarta/news/health-workers-offering-measles-rubella-vaccine-threatened-machetes-parents-parts-indonesia/

Animal rights & welfare

Dogs and cats blow-torched alive at Indonesia 'extreme' market despite

ABC News - September 11, 2018

Farid M Ibrahim – Animal rights activists have urged the Indonesian Government to keep its promise to ban the brutal dog and cat meat trades, after shocking new footage emerged of the animals being bludgeoned over the head and blow-torched while still alive.

The Dog Meat-Free Indonesia (DMFI) coalition said the brutality was continuing at Extreme Market, in North Sulawesi's Tomohon City, despite the Government's promise to ban the practice in August.

"It was the most horrific cruelty I have witnessed so far [in] 10 years... and it was all done in full view of very young children," said Lola Webber, director of Change for Animals Foundation, part of the coalition that also includes Four Paws, Humane Society International, Animal Friends Jogja, and Jakarta Animal Aid Network.

"Every single dog and cat we saw at the market was blowtorched whilst clearly still alive," Ms Webber said.

The graphic footage seen by the ABC shows cats and dogs set on fire with blowtorches – all while still alive and in a busy market place where locals, tourists and children are present. The animals are also seen being beaten over the head by workers wielding large wooden bats.

'Nothing prepared me for the brutal catching of dogs'

Equipped with little more than his phone, a scooter and a small video camera, investigator 'Luke' spent four months infiltrating and documenting the brutal dog meat trade in Bali.

DMFI made its first in-depth investigations in December 2017, sparking a global outcry including a letter to President Joko Widodo calling for an immediate ban on the dog and cat meat trades.

More than 90 Indonesian and international celebrities including Cameron Diaz, Chelsea Islan, Jane Goodall, Simon Cowell and Ellen DeGeneres signed the letter, and almost one million people have also signed DMFI's global petition.

In January this year, Governor of North Sulawesi Olly Dondokambey told local media Extreme Market was established to accommodate the sale of unusual animals for human consumption, including snakes, dogs, bats, cats and rats. "That's why it's called Extreme Market. There is nothing sadistic about this," Mr Dondokambey said.

A month later, DMFI representatives met with the mayor's office, where they successfully negotiated a pledge to end the sale and slaughter of dogs and cats at the Tomohon market.

The local government had agreed to work with the activists to promote respect for animal welfare, with the aim of ending the dog and cat meat trade in the city in four years.

In early August, the director of Veterinary Public Health, Syamsul Ma'arif, made a public pledge to end the trade, which he called "torture for animals".

He said under the Indonesia 2012 Food Act, dog and cat meat are not defined as food because they are not a product of farming or forestry. "Because of this pledge we went back to Tomohon last month and found that it is business as usual at these barbaric markets," Ms Webber said.

There is also increasing concern among Indonesian citizens at the lack of action by law enforcement officials to deter or punish gangs of thieves who terrorise neighbourhoods and steal pets from backyards and houses.

Jakarta Animal Aid Network said it received countless reports each week from devastated pet owners who have had their dogs stolen by armed thieves.

Concerns about deadly rabies transmission

The treatment of animals filmed by DMFI also flouts public health and safety regulations designed to protect citizens from deadly rabies transmission and the spread of zoonotic diseases.

Ms Webber said by the end of filming, they were all spattered with blood and brain matter from the bludgeoning, showing how easy it would be for customers and tourists to become infected with diseases such as rabies. "Two of our team were extremely sick following the market visit," Ms Webber said.

According to the health ministry, rabies is endemic in 25 out of 34 of Indonesia's provinces. The Government has pledged to eliminate the disease by 2020.

However, dogs and cats of unknown disease status are routinely transported across provincial borders and islands, into densely-populated cities.

The movement of diseased animals into those cities and provinces – including the capital Jakarta – is a major threat to communities that have worked hard to secure their rabies-free status.

Katherine Polak from Four Paws said as long as the dog and cat meat markets in North Sulawesi continued to drive the illegal trans-provincial trade into densely-populated cities, any attempts by Indonesia to secure its rabies-free status would fail.

"It only takes one lick, scratch or bite from a rabies-infected animal to require prophylactic treatment for rabies which is otherwise a fatal disease," Dr Polak said.

However, Governor Dondokambey of North Sulawesi said people eating dog and cat meat were not feeling sick. "People suffering from asthma are getting better after eating dog meat," he said.

But Ms Webber argued there was no scientific evidence for such claim. "Regardless of this being part of their tradition, it is still an act of animal cruelty," she said.

Source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-09-11/dogs-and-cats-burnt-alive-at-extreme-market-in-indonesia/10222240

LGBT & same-sex marriage

How Islamists stigmatise Indonesia's transgender waria

South China Morning Post - September 16, 2018

David G Rose – Indonesia's LGBTI community could be forgiven for thinking their search for equality is going backwards.

During the pre-Islamic, Hindu-Buddhist period of Indonesian history, waria (third gender people) were not only accepted – they were respected and revered. Now, they are more likely to be hounded out of town, as Yulianus Rettoblaut – better known as Mama Yuli – can attest.

She runs a shelter in the Indonesian capital of Jakarta that has helped more than 4,500 transgender and gay people fleeing persecution and threats.

"These people don't have any legal protection, their parents reject them because they have become waria and the parents are embarrassed by them. The parents force their children into being sons, into being boys, because they are unhappy having a waria child," she says.

"The boys are uncomfortable and leave home, without having any identity, without having any education. So therefore when they turn up in big cities like Jakarta, they have difficulties finding food and somewhere to stay. A lot become beggars."

Most face discrimination in the name of religion, says Rettoblaut. "Eighty per cent of waria who end up on the streets come under religious pressure and strong stigmatisation, because the state isn't providing enough protection and support for them. This is what causes public violence against waria, or torture, or shaming."

In contrast to India, where judges last week legalised same-sex relations, the LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex) community in Indonesia – the world's most populous Muslim-majority nation – increasingly faces public hostility, violence and legal persecution, against a backdrop of rising religious conservatism and homophobic political discourse.

Although Indonesian law does not directly criminalise homosexuality, last year police conducted regular raids on bars, spas and homes suspected of hosting "gay sex parties", arresting those found inside for "pornography" or "public indecency". Meanwhile, the Indonesian parliament recently tried to outlaw same-sex relations completely.

In the conservative province of Aceh, North Sumatra, being gay is already a crime under locally applied sharia law, punishable by a public caning. Similarly, transgender individuals have been arrested to great police fanfare, had their long hair shaved and been goaded to behave like "real men".

Aceh's religious zeal may seem extreme, but some Islamic clerics see it as something to aspire to, while broad intolerance towards sexual minorities is reflected in public opinion across Indonesia.

A survey this year found 87 per cent of Indonesians who understood the term LGBTI considered the community a "threat to private or public life", while a similar proportion thought LGBTI individuals should not hold senior public office.

Nearly 1,000 Indonesians suffered discrimination, stigmatisation and violence for expressing their sexual orientation or gender identity last year, according to the Indonesian Community Legal Aid Institute (LBH Masyarakat) – and those were only the cases that received media coverage. Among these, about 70 per cent involved transgender women.

The climate of intolerance has been fuelled by the Islamic clerics of the Indonesian Ulama Council, who issued a fatwa in 2015 calling the LGBTI community an "affront to the dignity of Indonesia" and referring to homosexuality as a "curable disease".

Since then, while other countries across the world have legalised same-sex marriage or recognised gay rights, Indonesian politicians seeking Muslim votes have invoked "LGBTI" as a threat to traditional family values.

Hendri Yulius, an author and researcher on gender and sexuality, says anti-LGBTI statements by politicians have increased since the United States Supreme Court ruled to allow same-sex marriage in 2015.

"The inflammatory statements began in early 2016 and conflated LGBTI rights with same-sex marriage. Since then, politicians have been using the issue for their own ends," he says.

"The heterosexual family is perceived as a foundation stone of society in Indonesia so once there are perceived attacks on family values it is very easy to generate a reaction of moral panic.

"The question is, where is the state in this? President [Joko Widodo] said last year there would be protection of minorities but in practice since then we have seen the raids on gay saunas and bars.

"In Depok and Surabaya the authorities formed anti-LGBTI task forces but what are they doing now? It's very difficult to pin down the state's perspective."

This year, the Indonesian parliament tabled controversial reforms to the criminal code that sought to criminalise sex outside marriage – gay or straight – by defining crimes of adultery.

Activists and human rights groups were relieved when Widodo failed to sign the proposals into law last month, but are braced for a renewed campaign to criminalise LGBTI activities when a new parliament convenes after elections next April.

Meanwhile, police chiefs continue to act on their own initiative, arresting more than 300 people for LGBTI-related activities last year.

Kyle Knight, LGBTI Programme Researcher for Human Rights Watch, has called on the government to "halt these arbitrary and unlawful raids and arrests". He says the government "should declare unequivocal support for the LGBTI community's rights to privacy and freedom of association".

Hera Diani, the managing editor of Magdalene, an online magazine covering gender issues, is pessimistic about the prospects for sexual minorities winning acceptance.

"Most people are against LGBTI rights, unfortunately," she says. "Before the rising religious conservatism, gay bashing in public was rare... but persecution against LGBTI people has been increasing, especially in the last two years. Politicians are opportunistic, they ride on the hatred and they're too afraid to speak out against the Islamists.

"My gay friends are now terrified, on the edge of their seats. The more privileged ones are ready to escape to other countries should the situation get worse."

Source: https://www.scmp.com/week-asia/lifestyle-culture/article/2164306/how-islamists-stigmatise-indonesias-transgender-waria

Corruption & abuse of power

Yudhoyono's party to sue Asia Sentinel over 'false' report

Jakarta Post - September 15, 2018

Jakarta – The Democratic Party will sue Hong Kong-based news website Asia Sentinel over its report accusing the Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono administration of engaging in a "vast criminal conspiracy" to swindle US$12 billion from Indonesian taxpayers.

The party's secretary-general, Hinca Panjaitan, said in a statement on Friday that the party would also sue the website's editor and author of the disputed piece, John Berthelsen.

In his article, "Indonesia's SBY Government: 'Vast Criminal Conspiracy'", Berthelsen quotes a 488-page investigation report filed with the Mauritian Supreme Court accusing the Yudhoyono administration and the Dems of being involved in the high-profile Bank Century case that allegedly resulted in millions of dollars in state losses.

Bank Century, Berhelsen quotes the report, "is alleged to have been the repository of hundreds of millions of dollars controlled by Yudhoyono, known universally as SBY, and the Democratic Party, which he headed."

On Saturday morning, the said article had been taken down.

Hinca denied the claims made in Berthelsen's piece, saying that based on investigation reports by the Supreme Audit Agency (BPK), the House of Representatives' special committee investigating the Bank Century case and the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), there had been no indication of money transfers to Yudhoyono and his party or that the former president had laundered $US12 billion.

He also pointed out that in a 2017 report about Bank Century written by the same author, Berthelsen did not mention SBY and the Dems.

"Because the report is filled with lies and slander, we will file a lawsuit against Asia Sentinel and its editor, John Berthelsen, as well as against Indonesian parties that participated in disseminating the false story," Hinca said.

Asia Sentinel said the Dems had not made any direct demands regarding the story and that it would stand by its reporting.

"We are confident that we can defend what we have written. We temporarily took down the article because we are preparing a follow up on the events of the past two days. It will be up within 24 hours. We stand by our reporting," Berthelsen told The Jakarta Post via email. (ris/ahw)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/09/15/yudhoyonos-party-to-sue-asia-sentinel-over-false-report.html

Mataram councillor arrested for demanding share of post-disaster

Jakarta Post - September 14, 2018

Panca Nugraha, Mataram – A team from the Mataram Prosecutors Office in West Nusa Tenggara arrested on Friday a Mataram councillor for allegedly demanding money from a local official who oversaw post-disaster reconstruction projects.

Multiple powerful earthquakes shook the region last month, damaging at least 57,000 houses and displacing over 110,000 people.

The councillor, identified only as HM, allegedly demanded money from an official at the Mataram Culture and Education Agency who oversaw a plan to rebuild several elementary and junior high school buildings in the city.

"We caught [HM] during a raid at a restaurant in Cakranegara, with evidence of Rp 30 million [US$2,031] in cash," Mataram Prosecutors Office's head I Ketut Sumadana said on Friday.

Sumadana said his office had received a tip-off last week from residents, who reported that HM had repeatedly asked for his share in the reconstruction projects in Mataram.

On Thursday evening, the team trailed HM, however the latter refused to accept money at the time because the amount was Rp 1 million. The team later caught HM red-handed after he accepted Rp 30 million in cash on Friday morning.

During the raid, the team also arrested HM's colleague, identified only as CT, and the head of the Mataram Culture and Education Agency, identified only as HS. The team also seized one car belonging to HM, one motorcycle and two cellphones owned by HM and HS, Sumadana said. (afr/swd)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/09/14/mataram-councillor-arrested-for-demanding-share-of-post-disaster-reconstruction-funds.html

Indigenous culture & rights

Indonesia still behind in indigenous peoples land recognition

Jakarta Post - September 12, 2018

Adisti Sukma Sawitri, San Francisco – Indonesia has been slow in granting forest tenure to indigenous peoples and local communities after an historic court ruling five years ago mandated that the government recognize their tenure rights.

A study released by the Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI) on Monday revealed that the total amount of land designated for indigenous peoples and local communities only grew from 0.22 million hectares in 2002 to 0.79 million in 2017. The total areas owned by local peoples only reached 0.01 million ha last year.

In the past 15 years, China made the most progress in forest-tenure recognition out of 13 Asian countries observed in the report, as it increased the area owned by indigenous peoples and local communities by about 21 million ha, reaching 124.3 million ha last year.

"Legislative rollbacks and stalled reform processes threaten to undermine the progress observed at the global level. Once-promising reforms [in Indonesia] have failed to deliver expected gains," said the report, which was released ahead of the Global Climate Action Summit.

President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo granted hutan adat (customary forest) ownership certificates in December 2016 and October 2017, resulting in the recognition of ownership of over 8,801 ha of customary forests. The action marked the first implementation of a Constitutional Court ruling in 2013 that removed customary forests from state control as well as formalizing local peoples' ownership.

The total area delivered to the people, however, is still very small compared with a total of 12.7 million ha targeted by the president. A draft law on indigenous people has been stalled as the executive and legislative branches of the government have not made it a priority.

Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous People, said the Indonesian government still lacked commitment to indigenous peoples.

"In several arenas, [government officials] are the ones who have spoken against indigenous people, like at a high-level political forum on SDGs [sustainable development goals]," she said.

Tauli-Corpus also said the government should accelerate the process of the indigenous peoples law and establish a special body that ensured the delivery of the rights of indigenous people.

Titled "At a Crossroads: Consequential Trends in Recognition of the Community-based Forest Tenure from 2002-2017", the RRI report monitored 48 low- and middle-income countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Indigenous peoples and local communities owned at least 418 million ha, or 15.2 percent, of the forestland in the regions and at least 70 million ha, or 2.5 percent, of the forest areas designated for them. More than two-thirds of the forests in the countries, representing at least 1.9 billion ha, are administered by governments, and at least 140 million ha, or 5.1 percent, are privately owned by individuals and firms.

The RRI is a global coalition of more than 150 collaborating international, regional, and community organizations, which aims to advance the forestland and resource rights of indigenous peoples and local communities.

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/09/11/indonesia-still-behind-in-indigenous-peoples-land-recognition.html

Jakarta & urban life

129 subdistricts in Jakarta prone to floods

Jakarta Post - September 13, 2018

Jakarta – The Public Works and Housing Ministry's flood control office has warned Jakarta to brace itself for floods during the upcoming rainy season, especially with 129 subdistricts in the capital considered as flood-prone areas. The rainy season is expected to reach its peak in February 2019.

The head of the ministry's Ciliwung-Cisadane Flood Control Office (BBWSCC), Bambang Hidayah, said floods would likely occur in areas where rivers had yet to be restored, such as the Ciliwung River.

"The restoration of Ciliwung River is in limbo because of land disputes," Bambang said on Thursday as quoted by tempo.co.

Of the 33 kilometers of Ciliwung River the BBWSCC plans to restore, it has been able to complete 16 km so far because the Jakarta administration has not finished the land acquisition process.

Besides Ciliwung, other rivers in the city, such as Angke, Pesanggrahan, Krukut, the West Flood Canal, Sunter, Cipinang and Cengkareng Drain have yet to be restored, Bambang added.

Jakarta Water Management head Teguh Hendarwan said the land acquisition process for the river restoration program had experienced delays because the agency must first verify land ownership documents.

The National Land Agency must also check these documents before it can procure the land, and the process can be made more complicated should conflicts concerning family inheritance arise, he added. (cal)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/09/13/129-subdistricts-in-jakarta-prone-to-floods.html

East Jakarta graveyard turned into 'dangdut' party venue

Jakarta Post - September 10, 2018

Jakarta – Public cemeteries in Jakarta not only serve as final resting places, but also as party venues with live music. A video showing a dangdut concert being held on a stage erected next to a cemetery has gone viral.

A Twitter user identified as Yuwandi, with the handle @juriglagu, uploaded the video on Saturday, showing a singer on the stage accompanied by musicians who played loud dangdut music, while several people were seen dancing to the music on graves located in front of the stage.

Kondangan di tengah jalan ?? Kondangan di rel kereta ?? Kondangan di kuburan ? pic.twitter.com/yQOL0us0fc – y?u?w?a?ndi (@juriglagu) September 9, 2018

The user wrote in the caption: Kondangan (attending a party) on the road checked, kondangan above railway checked, kondangan at graveyard? It is a clear reference to the Indonesian activity of staging ceremonial parties, usually weddings or circumcision ceremonies, that encroach on public facilities.

The post has been retweeted more than 4,000 times and generated thousands of comments from netizens. According to kompas.com, the show took place at Pondok Kelapa public cemetery in East Jakarta.

A member of the band Bofita Entertainment, who performed on the video, identified as Boih, told the news portal that the concert took place until midnight.

He said the band was not bothered that the show was performed at a public cemetery to celebrate the circumcision ritual of a boy who lived close to the cemetery. "It doesn't matter as long as it's safe for us and the payment is smooth," he added. (fac)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/09/10/east-jakarta-graveyard-turned-into-dangdut-party-venue.html

Foreign affairs & trade

Indonesia's trade deficit seen shrinking, though imports still high:

Reuters - September 14, 2018

Jakarta – Indonesia's trade balance is expected to stay in the red in August although the size of the deficit may have narrowed, a Reuters poll showed on Friday.

The median forecast of 10 analysts in the poll was for a deficit of $680 million in August, shrinking from the revised $2.01 billion deficit in July.

July's trade gap was the largest in five years and the import bill for the month was an all-time high. The July trade data, which came in the middle of last month, exacerbated the sell-off in Indonesian assets at a time when investors were already jittery about emerging markets due to a plunge in Turkish lira.

Bank Indonesia raised interest rates for the fourth time since mid-May to defend the rupiah after the trade data last month.

The narrower trade gap in August will not be enough to stem the rupiah weakness, said Prakash Sakpal, Asia economist at ING in Singapore who pencilled in a $750 million deficit in August.

The currency has stabilised in the past few days to trade around 14,800 a dollar, but it remained close to its weakest in 20 years. "We expect no break in the BI rate hike cycle just yet," Sakpal said.

Analysts in the poll expect import growth in August to remain strong, at 26.53 percent from a year earlier, albeit down from July's revised growth of 31.73 percent. Exports are seen growing 10.03 percent in August, also decelerating from the revised 19.68 percent growth in July.

Analysts said importers may have frontloaded overseas purchases ahead of an import tax hike. Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati on Aug. 14 announced a plan to raise import tariffs on a wide range of consumer goods, which she went on to implement in September.

[Polling by Nilufar Rizki; Writing by Gayatri Suroyo; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier.]

Source: https://in.reuters.com/article/indonesia-economy-trade/indonesias-trade-deficit-seen-shrinking-though-imports-still-high-reuters-poll-idINKCN1LU0MK?rpc=401&

Mining & energy

Activists welcome NTT governor's plan to halt mining

Jakarta Post - September 10, 2018

Markus Makur, Flores, East Nusa Tenggara – Environmental activists welcomed new East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) Governor Viktor Bungtilu Laiskodat's plan to halt mining in the province, but they warn that serious follow-up is needed to protect the environment.

The activists responded to Viktor's statement on Wednesday after being sworn in as the new governor at the Presidential Palace. "I will put mining on a moratorium," Viktor said as quoted by kompas.com.

He said during the moratorium, he and a special team would examine whether all the mining activities were already in accordance with the regulations. Viktor did not specify whether he would stop issuing new licenses or halt all mining activities for ones that are in operation. He said the province would instead focus on agriculture and husbandry.

Director of the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi) of NTT, Umbu Wulang, said the promise deserved appreciation as it was in line with environmental conservation.

"We still need to see whether the NTT administration is serious and really has the courage to stop a planned smelter [connected to a mining activity]," Wulang told The Jakarta Post on Friday.

Wulang said the previous administration had agreed to the construction of a smelter belonging to a mining company.

Wulang urged the new governor to give the public the widest opportunity to participate in the monitoring during the moratorium period to ensure environmental protection and that mining investors who have no regard for the environment do not return to the province.

As of early 2018, 309 mining licenses have been issued in NTT to operate in 17 regencies across the province, Walhi said. (swa/evi)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/09/10/activists-welcome-ntt-governors-plan-to-halt-mining.html

New regulation requires all crude to be offered to Pertamina

Jakarta Post - September 10, 2018

Stefanno Reinard Sulaiman, Jakarta – As part of its measures to reduce fuel imports, the government last Thursday issued a ministerial regulation that requires private oil companies to offer all crude oil to state energy holding company Pertamina.

The new regulation projects a daily purchase of 225,000 barrels of oil for Pertamina.

Energy and Mineral Resources Ministerial Regulation No. 42/2018 on utilizing crude for domestic needs also requires Pertamina to prioritize local crude production instead of importing crude oil.

The regulation applies to all private oil companies, including the local subsidiaries of a foreign parent companies.

Regulation No. 42/2018 also rules that all sales and purchase negotiations between Pertamina and private oil companies must be held under a business-to-business (B2B) scheme and once the negotiation is complete, Pertamina may establish a 12-month contract with the oil companies.

However, the regulation does not provide a stipulation in the event of a failure in negotiations between Pertamina and the oil firms.

When asked recently about such a possibility, Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Ignasius Jonan said that the regulation was sufficient for reducing oil imports, and that the government would step in if a problem emerged.

"We will look at what has caused the transaction to fail. We could look at the history of crude oil transactions in the market," he said.

The new regulation is part of the government's efforts to reduce the current account deficit, which is currently at 3 percent of gross domestic product. (bbn)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/09/10/new-regulation-requires-all-crude-to-be-offered-to-pertamina.html

No increase in subsidized fuel prices, government says

Jakarta Post - September 10, 2018

Jakarta – The government has assured there will be no increase in subsidized fuel prices amid calls from economists who say a fuel-price hike would help ease the current account deficit (CAD).

"The [subsidized] fuel price will be maintained," said state-owned oil and gas holding company Pertamina vice president of communications Adiatma Sardjito on Sunday as reported by kotan.co.id.

He said the government would also maintain the prices of non-subsidized fuels – Pertalite, ertamax series, Dex and Dexlite.

Pertamina retail director Mas'ud Khalid explained that the government and Pertamina had taken various issues into consideration, including people's purchasing power.

On average, people set aside 7.5 percent of their income for energy spending – electricity, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and fuel –, Mas'ud said, adding that for fuel alone, people spent between 4 and 4.4 percent of their income.

University of Indonesia (UI) economist Chatib Basri said an effective and quicker way to narrow the CAD without significantly harming domestic industries was by raising fuel prices, as it would lower fuel consumption and therefore lower demand for fuel imports.

"If the price of [subsidized] fuel increases, then the price disparity [between subsidized and non-subsidized] fuel will be narrowed," said Chatib, who was the finance minister from May 2013 to October 2014, adding that a similar policy was implemented in 2013 when Indonesia faced high external pressures stemming from the "taper tantrum". (bbn)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/09/10/no-increase-in-subsidized-fuel-prices-government-says.html

Infrastructure & development

Government may postpone infrastructure projects for up to six years

Jakarta Post - September 14, 2018

Jakarta – Coordinating Economic Minister Darmin Nasution has said that the construction of national strategic infrastructure projects may be postponed for up to six years as the government is trying to reduce the current account deficit (CAD).

The CAD, which is now at 3 percent of the gross domestic product, is believed to be contributing to rupiah depreciation against the US dollar. Depreciation reached 11 percent from January to early September.

"If we need to postpone [the projects] for up to five to six years, we will do so. It depends on the needs," Darmin said in Jakarta on Friday as reported by kontan.co.id.

Previously, the government announced it would delay infrastructure projects to reduce imports, which were blamed for the swelling CAD. It recently postponed 15,200 megawatt (MW) electricity projects that are part of the 35,000 MW electricity program.

Darmin said the duration of postponement would be different for each project. "For example, if on the list there are 10 projects, we may construct two projects next year, another two in the following years, and so on," he said.

He said other projects were being carefully assessed to determine whether construction for them would be postponed, but stressed that the government would not halt projects that were currently under construction.

Darmin added that the government would also continue to move forward with urgent projects. "We will announce all the postponed projects," he said. (bbn)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/09/14/government-may-postpone-infrastructure-projects-for-up-to-six-years.html

Taxation & state budget

Higher consumer goods import tax effective today

Jakarta Post - September 13, 2018

Jakarta – The higher import tax on consumer goods is effective as of Sept. 13 as part of the government's efforts to slow imports and improve its current account.

Under a recently issued finance ministry regulation, the government has imposed a 10 percent on consumer goods range from cosmetics to household appliances, to clothes, hobby equipment, electronics, automotive products and to food and beverages. The new import policy affects 1,147 consumer goods.

Ambang Priyonggo, the head of international customs and inter-institutional excise/customs at the Finance Ministry, said on Wednesday as quoted by kontan.co.id that the new tax would come into effect at 12:01 a.m. on Thursday at all airports, seaports and other entry points across the country. The new regulation, which replaces Ministerial Regulation No. 34/2017 next week, imposes an increased import tax of 10 percent from the previous 2.5 percent tax on personal care products like shampoo, soap and cosmetics, along with 215 other consumer goods.

The regulation also increases the import tax from 7.5 to 10 percent on 210 other goods, including luxury cars. A 7.5 percent import tax, increased from the previous 2.5 percent, is imposed on 719 other imported goods and products, including audio speakers and swimwear.

The new regulation maintains a 2.5 percent tax on 57 imported goods that have been deemed essential to supporting domestic industries.

The ministry's customs and excise directorate general recorded in August a 16.46 percent year-on-year (yoy) increase in imported consumer goods to $15.77 billion.

The move is part of a concerted effort to reduce the swollen current account deficit, which has been deemed one of the major triggers of the negative market sentiment that has contributed to the steep rupiah depreciation. (bbn)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/09/13/higher-consumer-goods-import-tax-effective-today.html

Analysis & opinion

On gender diversity in Indonesia

The Conversation - September 12, 2018

Irwan Martua Hidayana – Indonesian people often perceive gender and sexuality in a binary way – male and female, masculine and feminine – without considering other genders and sexuality.

Heterosexuality is deemed as the "normal" sexual orientation, if not compulsory. Homosexuality and bisexuality are considered unacceptable. Hence, the massive recent onslaught against LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) people is not surprising, particularly in the media.

However, people should understand that gender and sexual diversity are inherent in Indonesian societies.

Gender diversity in Indonesia

Culturally, Indonesians have recognised sexual and gender diversity as part of their daily lives. Indonesia has a rich history of homosexuality and transgenders. This fact contradicts the common belief that they are Western imports.

It is time that people stopped considering homosexuality and transgender as products of Western culture. Indonesia's culture has long been accustomed to gender diversity before colonialism and modernity exerted their strong influence in the society.

Let's take a look at the Bugis people in South Sulawesi with their gender flexibility. Since the pre-Islamic era, the Bugis people have recognised five genders. They divide the society into man (oroane), woman (makkunrai), transgender woman (calabai), transgender man (calalai) and androgynous priest (bissu).

Similarly, in the same province, Torajan people also recognised a third gender, or to burake tambolang.

Anthropologist Hetty Nooy-Palm said the Torajan people believed the most important religious leaders in their culture are a woman, or burake tattiku, and a man dressed as a woman, or burake tambolang.

In the past, transgender religious leaders in both Toraja and Bugis played important roles in their communities. Bissu and to burake led spiritual ceremonies or harvest rituals in villages. The people would admire and honour a village with a to burake.

Unfortunately, this tradition has diminished due to modern values and education brought by colonialism.

Same-sex practices have also long existed in Indonesia.

Some tribes in the southeast of Papua – similar to tribes in the eastern highlands of Papua New Guinea – practised "ritualised homosexuality".

This practice required young men to perform oral sex on elder males as part of their rites of passage to manhood. They believed that semen was the source of life and the essence of masculinity, important for boys to become real men.

In East Java, the traditional dance performance Reog Ponorogo depicts intimate relationships between two characters, warok and gemblak. The main male dancer, or warok, must follow strict physical and spiritual rules and rituals.

Under these rules, a warok was prohibited from engaging in a sexual relationship with a woman. But he was allowed to have intimate relationships with young boys' characters, or gemblak, in the performance. Although warok and gemblak were engaged in same-sex acts, they did not identify themselves as homosexuals. Nowadays, women have begun to play the gemblak character.

In other Javanese traditional drama performances like ludruk and wayang orang, a man playing a woman's character or vice versa is not unusual. Changing genders in the global context

These rich and intricate traditions of gender diversity in Indonesia have diminished due to colonialism. Colonialism redefined the concepts of gender and sexuality according to modern religions and values.

Modern religions strongly emphasise heterosexuality within marriage. Sex is considered a moral issue, so sex that happens outside marriage or between a non-heterosexual couple is immoral.

Homosexuality was prohibited under Dutch colonialism. Although Indonesia has no specific law on homosexuality, homosexuality is generally viewed as unacceptable.

However, globalisation has brought new dimensions of gender and sexual identities. New categories like lesbian, gay, transgender, queer and inter-sex have entered our vocabulary. The term LGBT is quite popular in recent years, despite its pros and cons.

Vast information through the internet and social media provides a relatively dynamic discourse on gender identities in Indonesia.

On the internet, we can find different terms to accommodate gender flexibility. People introduce terms like lesbi, which refers to lesbian, and tomboi, or masculine women, from West Sumatra. They develop terms like butch, femme, and andro that refer to urban lesbians. There are also terms like hunter (masculine lesbian) and lines or feminine lesbian from South Sulawesi. Other terms include waria (transgender woman), priawan (transgender man), transmen (trans men) and transpuan (trans women).

These new terms show that people's reactions to gender diversity vary. The dynamic discussions surrounding the topic also indicate "sexual desires that exceed simple categorisation".

The lively debates on the internet show how technology and globalisation have managed to raise awareness of gender and sexual identities which intertwines with local cultural contexts.

[Irwan Martua Hidayana is an associate professor, Department of Anthropology, Universitas Indonesia. Bimo Alim has contributed to this writing.]

Source: http://theconversation.com/on-gender-diversity-in-indonesia-101087

The UK's involvement in the Papuan crisis

New Internationalist - September 11, 2018

Giacomo Grison – Last month, British mining company Rio Tinto confirmed plans to sell its $3.5bn (#2.7bn) stake in Grasberg, the world's largest gold and second largest copper mine in Indonesia's remote Papua region.

The move came after an attempt to regain trust from investors that dropped the company on ethical grounds. Since it joined its operations in Grasberg with American mining conglomerate Freeport-McMoRan in 1996, Rio Tinto has faced accusations of complicity in environmental devastation and human rights abuses in the area.

Covered by thick tropical rainforest hosting some of the world's most biodiverse environments, Papua was once considered an untouched paradise.

Yet, the political and environmental struggle its inhabitants are facing is hardly known to most, and neither is the role of British investors like Rio Tinto and Freeport – both of which bear responsibility for this forgotten crisis.

Oppressed and marginalized

Published in July, Amnesty International's report, said that Papua is a land plagued by poverty, underdevelopment and political oppression.

In 2014, President Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo committed to improving the region's situation, a test which, according to Amnesty, the government 'like those before it,' has failed.

The report revealed that, between 2010 and 2018, 95 victims of suspected unlawful killings were recorded in Papua, none of which were followed by independent criminal investigation.

'A major issue regarding the Papuan crisis has been the culture of impunity surrounding the widespread cases of unlawful killings and abuses against civilians,' says Papang Hidayat of Amnesty International Indonesia.

Since it passed under Indonesian control in 1963, following the termination of Dutch colonial rule, Papua has never known peace.

A political struggle for self-determination emerged in the early 1960s under the leadership of the Free Papua Movement which was met by Jakarta with growing repression.

It is estimated that between 100,000 and 500,000 Papuans have lost their lives in the conflict, most of which were civilians killed by security forces.

Alongside political repression, the region has also suffered from a long-lasting condition of underdevelopment and marginalization. Today, of all Indonesian provinces, Papua has the lowest life expectancy and the highest infant and maternal mortality rates.

Earlier this year, the tragic death of over 100 children caused by a measles outbreak in the remote regions of Asmat and Okab sparked worldwide condemnation. Indonesian newspaper The Jakarta Postcriticised the government's delayed response to the emergency, pointing out that warnings about low immunization levels had reached the Health Ministry as early as September 2017.

The shadow of Grasberg

Blessed with abundant natural wealth, the conflict-torn Papuan region may well fit the evils of what is often defined as a resource curse. -meaning mineral wealth in developing countries frequently proves an irresistible temptation for states to rely on extractive rents, courting transnational companies while neglecting the socio-economic development of their resource-rich areas.

'From the very beginning, economic interests in Papua were too high for the Indonesian government to let it go its own way,' says Adriana Sri Adhiati, a coordinator at the UK-based Indonesian human rights organization Tapol.

Military leader Haji Mohammad Suharto assumed power in 1967 and chose to open up the country to Western investments.

One of the main projects on the table of negotiations was the Grasberg mine located in the Papuan Highlands. 'There was no space for Papuan claims on Suharto's agenda,' says Adriana.

Today, Grasberg represents one of Indonesia's biggest tax revenue sources, with mine reserves worth approximately $100bn (#76bn).

Over the decades, Grasberg has turned into a symbol of the Papuan conflict. Freeport spends $5m (#3.8m) annually for government provided security – a move that has effectively militarized the whole area as clashes between Indonesian forces and local communities continue to grow more violent.

A study published in 2001 by Dr Chris Ballard at Australian National University found evidence of 'the extrajudicial killing of as many as 200 people between 1975 and 1997', in and around the Freeport contract of work area almost all of them were unarmed civilians.

'There has never been consent from local communities as far as the Grasberg site is concerned,' says Andrew Hickman of the London Mining Network, an alliance of development and solidarity groups in the UK. 'This is extremely relevant given the project's environmental and social costs,' he says.

When Rio Tinto teamed up with Freeport, it was well aware of the controversies surrounding the site.

'Since 1997, over 200,000 tonnes of tailings (mining waste) are dumped into the river ecosystem every day. This mining practice destroys the coastal and river areas in the Mimika regency,' said Indonesian environmental campaigner Pius Ginting at the company's annual general meeting held in London last April.

Rio Tinto, however, has always denied any responsibility for the situation.

In 2008, Norway's pension state fund divested from Rio Tinto by selling its $650m (#500m) stake in the company, justifying their decision on ethical grounds linked to Grasberg.

In an attempt to regain the trust of socially-concerned investors, the company has recently negotiated with Indonesia to exit the mining operations in Grasberg. A move, however, which Andrew views as an easy way to escape accountability for its past misconduct.

When he asked the company how it intends to address the situation in Grasberg once it has left the mine, chairman Simon Thompson replied: 'I am not sure I can answer the question.'

Despite widespread criticism generated by Rio Tinto's policies, the UK's attitude towards the British corporation is lenient if not entirely accommodating.

'Recent conservative UK governments have focused on supporting British businesses abroad, from the mining to the oil and gas industry. This includes Rio Tinto,' says Andrew.

'The company, listed at the London Stock Exchange, is hugely dependent on investment from the financial world of the city, which UK governments could have regulated according to minimum ethical standards. But they have deliberately chosen not to do so,' he says.

Green light for British Petroleum

The UK's position on the Papuan crisis is controversial to say the least.

In 2002, the country granted asylum to Papuan leader Benny Wenda, who fled Indonesian jail where he was facing trial for having allegedly led an independence rally which cost a police officer's life.

Since then, Britain has attracted a wide array of civil society movements campaigning for Papuan rights. The International Parliamentarians for West Papua, for example, was launched in 2008 by the support of several British MPs, including its co-founder and current Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Despite this, British foreign policy in Papua continues to back Indonesian rule to guarantee its interests in the region, which go well beyond the mineral sector.

'There is a deep disconnect in the British political system between economic logics and discourses around political freedom,' says Mr Hickman.

He highlights David Cameron's meeting with Benny Wenda in 2009 to express empathy for his political struggle.

'Some years later, in 2015, Cameron visited Indonesian President Widodo in Jakarta and they signed a bilateral agreement to expand British Petroleum (BP)'s project in Papua by around $3.8bn (#3bn),' he says.

The project was kickstarted in in the Bintuni Bay area. BP's Tangguh gas field is now the largest investment in the Papuan region. Since Tangguh's inception BP has endeavoured to distance itself from the controversies surrounding Grasberg.

'More than half of our workforce in Tangguh is Papuan,' states the company on its website. 'We are committed to reaching an 85 per cent Papuan workforce by 2029.'

Yet, in Andrew's view, Tangguh and Grasberg bear a fundamental similarity: 'Both projects present a scenario where foreign companies have come into Papua to make a deal with the Indonesian government and profit from natural resources. No consensus has been sought from local communities.'

'But BP has managed to keep criticism away, using great efforts to rebrand itself.'

'It set up an organization called the Tangguh Independent Advisory Panel (TIAP) that has acted as a buffer between the company and the civil society. BP is paying for public figures to sit on this panel.'

TIAP's previous chairman was US Senator George J. Mitchell, Obama's special middle-east envoy.

'BP hired Mitchell, a well respected left leaning politician, to be the public face of corporate responsibility,' Andrew continues. 'But how can the panel claim to be exercising independent scrutiny when its members receive financial remuneration from BP itself?'

The Tangguh project, according to studies conducted by the campaign group Down to Earth, has led to profound disruptions to local people's lives, including loss of traditional land and wildlife, waste generation from industrial activities and restricted access to coastal fishing areas.

Yet, BP's efforts to boost its public image have been undeniably successful in the eyes of the business community, granting the company full-scale British support for its operations in Papua.

Sponsoring repression

The UK's involvement in the region has gone even further. A report published in 2016 by the Politics of Papua Project at the University of Warwick highlighted another serious, yet often overlooked issue.

'Britain provides training and delivery of military equipment to Indonesian forces, including units deployed in Papua,' the study states.

Researcher Connor Woodman, who co-authored the report, explains that the UK has developed a strong relationship with two units, both heavily involved in the Papuan conflict.

The first is Kopassus, an elite force of the Indonesian army that has been accused over the decades of extensive human rights violations in the country.

'Long-lasting relationships between the UK and Kopassus were interrupted in the late 1990s, when it came out that the unit was the main genocidal force in East Timor,' says Connor. 'In 2008, Obama restarted training Kopassus; the UK followed shortly after.'

He reveals that Cranfield University in south-west Oxfordshire has been running a joint MSc in Defence and Security Management with the Indonesian Defence University in Jakarta.

'Since 2009, 53 Indonesian military officers have been trained in the UK as part of the program, supported and funded by our Ministry of Defence. Many of them are Kopassus officers,' Connor adds.

The second, perhaps more controversial Jakarta-Westminster partnership concerns Detachment 88, an elite anti-terrorism squad of the Indonesian Police Force. Formed after the 2002 Bali bombings which killed over 200 people – mostly tourists – the unit has been heavily deployed in the Papuan region, particularly around Grasberg, to counter local separatists.

Elaine Pearson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch, has criticized Detachment 88 for having 'an appalling record of human rights violations' in Papua, arguing that they treat non-violent political expression as a criminal activity and arresting political activists on dubious charges.

'The UK is the second largest trainer and funder of the unit,' says Connor. 'The British government sends Metropolitan Police officers to train Detachment 88 personnel in Jakarta,' he adds.

A few years ago, Connor made enquiries with the Foreign Office to question the UK government's controversial relationship with the force.

'They have no interest in seeing how their material support to Indonesia is effectively employed. One of the staff told me: "They (Detachment 88) do what they want, we have to care about the security of British tourists in Bali."'

A troubled horizon

In recent years, calls for a referendum for Papuan independence have been raised in large numbers – an outcome which looks unlikely, given the huge economic interests at stake.

'If East Timor had so many resources like Papua, it would have probably never seen independence,' says Pelagio Doutel, an East Timorese-born Tapol worker.

With tensions between Papua and Jakarta remaining high the future of the region looks far from certain.

On the one hand, Benny Wenda recently said that 'dialogue with Indonesia is not the answer for West Papua.' On the other, President Widodo has not proved capable of meeting the high expectations that followed his election.

In this context of political division, the UK would find itself in a key position to lead negotiations aimed at easing the Papuan crisis. Not only because of its privileged ties with both parties, but especially given the UK's moral responsibility stemming from its complicity in this troubled corner of the planet.

Today, experiences of terror, violence and discrimination are still part of Papuans' daily lives. As remote as these stories may appear, they are in fact much closer than we care to acknowledge.

[Giacomo Grison is a former LSE African Development student and freelance journalist with a passion for humanitarian reporting. His work has focused particularly on human rights issues linked to foreign investments around the world.]

Source: https://newint.org/features/2018/09/11/uk's-involvement-papuan-crisis

Widodo turns inward as rupiah slides and election looms

Nikkei Asian Review - September 11, 2018

Erwida Maulia and Shotaro Tani, Jakarta – Indonesia's opposition is attacking President Joko Widodo where it hurts ahead of next April's general election.

They are taking to social media to allege he is rolling out the red carpet for Chinese workers to enter the country and snatch jobs away from locals. A theme song accompanying the #2019GantiPresiden (change the president in 2019) campaign takes a swipe at Widodo's "Work, work, work" motto:

"We used to live with no hardship, finding jobs was really easy But now there is more unemployment, it is messy Ten million jobs but not for us 'Work, work, work' – it's foreign workers who work The nation's children remain unemployed"

While Widodo is favored to beat opposition leader and former army general Prabowo Subianto, securing a second five-year term, he is taking no chances.

In many ways the leader commonly known as Jokowi is echoing his rival by pushing a more populist agenda. And the emerging-market sell-off pushing the Indonesian rupiah down to a level last seen during the Asian financial crisis in the late 1990s is also forcing him to take protectionist measures.

Widodo came into office as Indonesia's president four years ago with big plans to launch Southeast Asia's largest economy into the world's top 10. He pledged to loosen red tape, relax restrictions on foreign investment and upgrade the nation with a massive infrastructure push.

Low oil prices in the first few years of Widodo's presidency allowed him to cut energy subsidies and divert funds to finance a 4,800 trillion rupiah ($323 billion) infrastructure drive. This included plans for the construction of Indonesia's first high-speed railway, mass rapid transit and light rail networks, as well as new toll roads, ports and airports.

Deregulation helped create a more efficient bureaucracy, spurred investments and sped up projects. Foreign direct investment hit a record high last year, the country's competitiveness ranking improved, and the three major credit rating agencies all promoted Indonesia's sovereign bonds to investment grade.

By the second quarter of this year, the economy was growing at its fastest rate in four and a half years, and the government announced its "Making Indonesia 4.0" campaign to develop five key industries – food and beverages, textiles, automobiles, chemicals and electronics.

But a combination of politics and the rupiah's nosedive has prompted an about-turn.

In last month's draft budget for 2019, Widodo's government pledged to boost subsidies, up the pay of civil servants and double benefits to poor households. In recent months he has also moved to assert Indonesian control over the country's natural resources.

The government has earmarked 156.5 trillion rupiah, an increase of 66% from the original budget plan for this year, for energy-related subsidies. It is also raising support in non-energy fields, such as for agricultural fertilizers by 4.2%.

A woman in her 30s who runs a travel agency in Jakarta is worried about the impact of the rupiah's fall on her business, which has grown on the back of an increasing number of Indonesians traveling overseas.

"We have to increase our prices," said the woman who asked not to be identified. "If this continues, we are afraid there will be a decreasing number of people traveling."

The archipelago country imports most of its fuel, and the government fixes gasoline and diesel prices. Even though state-owned energy giant Pertamina is suffering from the falling currency and higher oil prices, Widodo has had little choice but to increase subsidies to keep prices down.

Indonesia had the world's 16th largest economy last year, according to World Bank data. To get into the top 10, it would need to expand at least 60% more.

To speed up growth, which has been hovering around 5%, economists say the country needs to further remove investment restrictions, upgrade the manufacturing sector to produce more high-value products, and spend more on education to enhance the domestic workforce.

For now, all eyes are on the currency. The rupiah has been caught in the sell-off that has swept up Turkey, Argentina and South Africa. Current-account deficits since 2011 make the country more vulnerable to external shocks than regional peers such as Malaysia and Thailand, leading the rupiah to fall about 9% against the dollar this year.

Still, to put it in context: While the slide is one of the steepest in Asia, it is far from the 21% drop in 2013 and 32% plunge during the Asian crisis in 1998.

The currency decline has contributed to a fall of about 9% in the benchmark Jakarta Composite Index since the start of the year. Companies are revising growth targets and canceling plans for initial public offerings and bond issuances. It also does not help export-oriented industries as many companies have dollar-denominated debts.

To prop up the currency, Bank Indonesia has hiked its policy rate by a total of 125 basis points since May, and is expected to announce another increase this month. Between January and August, it used up $14 billion in reserves to intervene in the foreign exchange market. These moves struggled to stem the slide.

Riel Tasmaya, chief executive of investment company Eempat Kapital, whose portfolio includes an e-commerce fashion business and restaurants, said he feels the rupiah situation is "critical."

"The production cost has increased, but we can't increase the price because the customer will not buy it," Tasmaya said in a text message.

But the 39-year-old remains optimistic. "Hopefully whoever becomes president will move forward with the development and be able to accommodate all parties so that it will be conducive for the economy over the next five years."

Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati last week lashed out at market players in an attempt to stop the rupiah's fall.

She said authorities will closely monitor activity in the foreign exchange market and crack down on speculators, adding that only transactions for "legitimate needs" such as for imports of capital goods and paying dollar-denominated debts would be permitted.

Yudistira Ahadiat, an office worker in east Jakarta, said he has not felt the impact of the rupiah's fall on prices yet, but he is getting worried.

"Prices of goods will go up, but wages may not go up as well," Ahadiat, 34, said. "It's worrying because we don't know how long this will last. It may create instability – economic instability, and political instability."

In addition to conventional steps, Widodo has announced a series of countermeasures to curb imports and narrow Indonesia's current-account deficit.

The country last week said it would slap an income tax of 7.5% to 10%, up from 2.5% to 7.5%, on importers of more than 1,000 items from consumer electronics to soap, shampoo, cosmetics, clothing and construction materials.

Higher subsidies for fuel mean there is less in the government's coffers for public works projects. Infrastructure spending is slated to grow by only 2.4% to 420.5 trillion rupiah next year – the slowest increase since Widodo took office.

Ahadiat said that slowing down on infrastructure spending is the right move, adding that the projects were creating "piling debts."

Another blow to Widodo was a 12.9% fall in foreign direct investment in the second quarter, the first decline since 2010.

"Delays in investment have been caused by rupiah fluctuation, turmoil and capital outflows in emerging markets, and because we're entering a political year that will continue through next year," Indonesia's Investment Coordinating Board Chief Thomas Lembong said last month. "This creates uncertainties in the government's policies, rendering foreign investors to wait and see."

Economists, though, do not see the need for alarm. Indonesia's economic fundamentals are much stronger than they were two decades ago, when the Asian crisis brought an end to former dictator Suharto's 31-year-rule. And they are in much better shape than Turkey's and Argentina's.

Inflation was at 2.13% in January-August, the ratio of debt to gross domestic product is much lower than many regional and international peers at 30%, and the economy grew 5.27% in the second quarter despite the increased global uncertainty.

"There is no need to panic. Panic is never good," Winfried Wicklein, country director at the Indonesia resident mission of the Asian Development Bank, told the Nikkei Asian Review. "The one thing we all recognize that the government and Bank Indonesia have demonstrated: very strong macrofiscal economic management. Compared with the previous crisis, Indonesia is much better prepared now."

Mira, a freelance content writer in the West Java city of Bekasi, said she is benefiting from the currency fall as she is paid in Singaporean dollars. But she is more concerned about escalating tensions between supporters of Widodo and opposition leader Subianto.

"I'm worried that riots will erupt," the 38-year-old said. "If you look at social media – although there may be some kind of orchestration – supporters are very vicious against each other. I'm worried some people will take advantage of the supporters' fanaticism and do something that will destroy the economy."

Subianto himself is attacking Widodo over the rising foreign debt, and is not missing a beat on the rupiah situation.

"Some people say large debts are no problem, but experts who understand know that debts are threatening the sovereignty of our nation," he said in a Sept. 1 speech. "Our economy is not growing. We're under threat of becoming a poor country forever."

While Widodo will make a strong case for his policies, the nearly 2 million views of the opposition song on YouTube show that his foes are unlikely to be silenced in the run-up to April's election.

[Bobby Nugroho in Jakarta contributed to this story.]

Source: https://asia.nikkei.com/Spotlight/Asia-Insight/Widodo-turns-inward-as-rupiah-slides-and-election-looms

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