On 24 September 2019, I joined the Reformasi Dikorupsi movement, the largest protest Indonesia has ever witnessed since 1998. I arrived pretty early, at around 11 AM, in front of the House of Representatives (DPR) building in the Gatot Subroto area, Central Jakarta. Thousands of other protesters, mostly students from different universities in Indonesia, came before me. Other civilian elements, such as labor unions, high school students, taxi and bus drivers, and fellow activists, were also there. Several reports claimed that the number of protestors reached tens of thousands (BBC, 2019; Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 2019; The New York…


The United States (US) withdrawal resulting in the Taliban blitzkrieg-like takeover of Afghanistan invited various reactions from the wider international community. On 24 August 2021, the United Nations (UN) High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, urged “all States to create safe pathways for Afghan refugees and migrants, broaden asylum and resettlement programs and immediately halt the deportation of Afghans who seek protection (OHCHR, 2021a).” The call for States to respect, protect, and fulfill the rights of Afghan refugees and asylum seekers has been amplified by various human rights and humanitarian bodies (Amnesty International, 2021; Human Rights Watch, 2021).

On…


As a signatory to the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance (ICPPED), Indonesia is, in principle, endorsing the global attempts to fight enforced disappearance. However, despite its moral support to the ICPPED, many cases of enforced disappearance in Indonesia are still left unresolved.

Illustration: Missing loved ones under the shackles of impunity.

For instance, according to the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM), more than 32,000 people disappeared during the 1965–1966 massacre. Additionally, according to the Commission for the Disappeared and Victim of Violence (KontraS), around 18,600 people disappeared during Indonesia’s occupation in East Timor between 1975–1999. …


A little over a month ago, the Indonesian civil society elements were upset by the Indonesian government’s decision to vote against Resolution A/75/L.82 of 10 May 2021 regarding the inclusion of the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) question on the United Nations General Assembly annual agenda item (United Nations, 2021; Sekarwati, 2021). Fifteen countries voted ‘No’ on the subject matter, including those having questionable track records concerning the protection of human rights, such as China, North Korea, and Russia, which generated a negative precedent amongst civil society elements toward the Indonesian authorities (Alexandra, 2021).

On social media, human rights activists claimed…


Introduction

Indonesia’s foreign policy has always been imbued by the free and active (bebas-aktif) doctrine ever since the concept was originally introduced by the country’s first vice president, Mohammad Hatta, in 1948 (Parameswaran, 2014). The doctrine entails Indonesia’s non-alignment to a particular axis of power while seeking dynamic roles in preserving peace and stability in world affairs (Parameswaran, 2014; Panjaitan, Mahroza, & Widodo, 2020; Santoso & Marnani, 2020). …


Source: https://www.wikiwand.com/en/Morning_Star_flag

West Papuans’ struggle for independence is a long history filled with historical grievances, sustained human rights abuses, economic injustice, ‘slow genocide,’ and institutional racism (MacLeod, 2011; MacLeod, Moiwend, & Pilbrow, 2016). During the colonization period, the Melanesian peoples of New Guinea island were colonized by three powers: the British and the Germans controlled the island’s eastern parts, while the Dutch established their presence in the western parts (Robinson, 2010). The Dutch colonized areas were named the Dutch New Guinea and formed part of the Dutch East Indies, the nucleus of modern-day Indonesia. When Indonesia was granted independence in 1945, the…


On 15 September 1999, the United Nations Security Council authorized the use of force in East Timor. Through the adoption of Resolution 1264/1999, the Council deemed it necessary to establish a multinational force to protect the United Nations Mission in East Timor (UNAMET) and end human rights abuses in the region (Security Council, 1999a). Soon after, the Australian-led International Force, East Timor (INTERFET) was deployed to the ground on 20 September 1999, authorized to use all means necessary since the condition in East Timor was considered as a threat to global peace and security (Security Council, 1999a; Robinson, 2003).

Source: http://www.easttimor.org.uk/images/easts/war12.jpg

Generally…


Nowadays, relatability is a term widely used by human rights activists and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to plan their advocacy and campaign strategies. Years of using jargon and legal terms within their work have proven ineffective in today’s world, where people are more attracted to personal human stories that are easily digestible and further ‘connect’ with them (Forbes, 2019).

For the people, even the term human rights is quite alien. A survey by the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) shows that although 42 percent of Indonesians understand that everyone is born with and possess the same rights, 36 percent…


On 16 January 2020, Attorney General ST Burhanuddin made a remorseless remark during a hearing with the House of Representative’s (DPR) Commission III, stating that the Trisakti, Semanggi I, and Semanggi II (TSS) shootings were not gross human rights violations (Jakarta Post, 2020). He referred to the findings made by the Special Committee (Pansus) of DPR in 2001, which many activists deemed unconstitutional due to the non-existent mandate for the DPR to conduct such an investigation.

The Attorney General’s statement sparked disapproval from the victims of TSS shootings. The victims used the findings from the Commission for Investigating Human Rights…


Human rights theorists and activists often present the idea of justice (or injustice) in the relational contexts between the state, its people, accountability, and the rule of law (Gready, 2008). Therefore, the units of analysis regularly revolve around the government, the legal structure that sustains it, or the civil society being governed most times improperly. Furthermore, utilizing jargon and juristical terms is seen as an ordinary and necessary practice by either theorists or activists.

Such an assumption of the usual practice in campaigning for justice is not wrong. However, it has the potential to place the locus of human rights…

Aldo Kaligis

Student in the dual degree program Master in Transdisciplinary Development and International Law for Human Rights in AdMU and University for Peace.

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