Jokowi accused of playing key role in collapse of democracy over last 3 years

CNN Indonesia – October 20, 2022

Jakarta — The Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence

(Kontras) believes that President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has played a significant role in the state of democracy in Indonesia which is collapsing.

The Kontras made this assessment in commemorating three years under the leadership of Widodo and Vice President Ma’ruf Ami, which falls on October 20.

“President Jokowi has played a significant role in causing democracy to collapse by allowing the development of the discourse on three presidential terms and extending his term in office by hiding behind the pretext of democracy”, said Kontras Coordinator Fatia Maulidiyanti in a press release on Thursday October 20.

According to Maulidiyanti, the ambition to secure a third trim and the discourse on extending the president’s term in office indirectly indicates that Indonesia is experiencing a trend towards autocratic legalism.

Maulidiyanti explained that although the president is elected through democratic mechanisms such as elections (pemilu), over the period of his leadership Widodo has attempted various strategies to destroy constitutional democracy.

“Some public opinions suspect that the discourse on extending the presidential term would be consolidated in order to make, namely constitutional amendments to allow the president to serve more than two terms”, she said.

“If this was indeed what was to happen, Indonesia could be considered to no longer adhere to a system of rule of law (rechtsstaat) but instead practice a system of state power (machtstaat)”, she added.

Maulidiyanti said that a state power must be founded upon the wishes of the majority of people. The people, she continued, have the authority to limit, change and revoke the mandate of the power holders.

“The discourse on postponing the pemilu not only breaches the constitution, but it also clearly violates constitutional rights”, she said.

Furthermore, Maulidiyanti said that over these three years there has been a narrowing of civil freedoms. This has been shown by the use of the Information and Electronic Transaction (ITE) Law to silence citizens.

“The president is kind of blessing a situation that continues to deteriorate. Ongoing repression is continued against those who are critical both in the public or digital domain, moreover the actors do not just come from the authorities”, said Maulidiyanti.

“Likewise also with the attacks and criminalisation of human rights defenders which is making them increasingly vulnerable”, she added.

Maulidiyanti along with human rights activist Haris Azhar and have been declared suspects based on a police report submitted by Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan for alleged defamation.

The pair were reported over the content of a video titled, “There is Lord Luhut behind the Economic Relations-Military Operations in Intan Jaya!! There are also State Intelligence Agency Generals!!”. Azhar uploaded the video on his YouTube account.

On August 23 President Widodo said that the democratic climate in Indonesia at the moment is actually very free. According to Widodo, this is apparent from people’s freedom to express a view.

“What freedoms are still lacking? People berate the president, insult the president, mock the president, ridicule the president also, every day we hear this”, said Widodo in a video of an interview with TV One media personality Karni Ilyas which was uploaded on his Twitter account @Jokowi.

He even asked what other freedoms of expression the public wants saying that democracy in Indonesia is already very liberal.

“[Indonesia’s] democracy is very very liberal I think, even though we’re an eastern people who are very well mannered, ethical and have refined ways, but now we, I think, it’s already very very liberal”, he said.

In addition to this, on the discourse about a third presidential term, Widodo asserted that he will obey the constitution and said that the constitution clearly limits the number of presidential terms to two.

“Once again, I will always obey the constitution and wishes of the people. I repeat, I will obey the constitution and the wishes of the people”, said Widodo when opening the Indonesian People’s Consultation

(Musra) in Bandung, West Java, on August 28. (ryn/tsa)

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “KontraS Kritik 3 Tahun Jokowi-Ma’ruf: Demokrasi Ambruk”.]



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AMAN Secretary-General calls on indigenous peoples to rise up and unite

2) AMAN Secretary-General calls on indigenous peoples to rise up and unite

 Indigenous Peoples Congress Of The Archipelago – 

News Desk 26 October 2022

Sentani, Jubi – Secretary-General of the Indigenous Peoples Alliance of the Archipelago (AMAN) Rukka Sombolinggi has called on all indigenous peoples in the archipelago to rise up and unite against all forms of violence and injustice in the country. Sombolinggi stated this in her speech at the opening of the sixth Indigenous Peoples Congress of the Archipelago (KMAN VI) in Sentani, the capital of Jayapura Regency, on Monday, October 24, 2022.

The opening ceremony took place at Barnabas Youwe Stadium and was attended by thousands of indigenous people from various regions in Indonesia.

Sombolinggi said the indigenous peoples of the archipelago must continue to strengthen solidarity. According to her, indigenous peoples have proven their contribution to Indonesia.

She said 80 percent of the world’s biodiversity is currently guarded by indigenous peoples. Now, when the world is experiencing a climate crisis, the answer lies in indigenous territories.

“The best investment at the moment, if the world wants to get out of the climate disaster, is in the protection of the rights of indigenous peoples. Not investment in mining or palm oil,” she said.

The KMAN VI event held in the Tabi Customary Territory talks about the struggle of indigenous peoples. According to Sombolinggi, indigenous peoples should not be complacent with what has been achieved because the road ahead is still long. “Our struggle is still long, and it all depends on us,” she said.

She also said that Indonesia would be fine when the State was serious about taking care of indigenous peoples, including recognizing and protecting indigenous peoples through the Indigenous Peoples Bill.

“Now is time for the government to pass the Indigenous Peoples Bill. Otherwise, it will get rusty and the screws will come off,” she said with an analogy.

Sombolinggi said that Indonesia still has many political problems that, according to her, must be addressed in KMAN VI. “We must ensure that violence against indigenous peoples stops immediately and does not happen again,” Sombolinggi said.

“That way, the Indigenous Peoples Defense Association of the Archipelago (PPMAN) could be dissolved because there were no more seizures of customary territories,” she said jokingly.

Sombolinggi explained that to date, according to AMAN’s maps, customary territories total 20 million hectares. Almost all of these maps have been submitted to the government but the government has not yet given legal recognition.

In fact, said Sombolinggi, during the COVID-19 pandemic, indigenous territories were the safest and most comfortable areas. “In indigenous territories, we see that indigenous peoples who are orderly in quarantine are actually in the safest condition. We harvest, plant, and produce medicines,” she said.

However, she also admitted there were indigenous people who were not as lucky during the pandemic because their customary territories had been wiped out by oil palm and mining companies.

In her speech, Sombolinggi also dismissed the notion that indigenous people were technologically illiterate. According to her, this assumption is not true. “That is not true, during the lockdown, we utilize technology as much as possible,” she said. (*)

) Papua Customary Council makes recommendations in KMAN VI

Indigenous Peoples – News Desk

 26 October 2022

Jayapura, Jubi – The Papua Customary Council (DAP) recommended a number of important points in one of the Indigenous Peoples of the Archipelago Congress’ (KMAN VI) workshops in Enggros Village, Jayapura City.

“This recommendation aims to defend indigenous peoples in Papua, especially in Jayapura City,” said DAP Secretary-General Leonardo Imbiri on Tuesday, October 25, 2022.

The first recommendation by the DAP is for political parties in Papua to provide a place for Indigenous Papuan to run for regent and mayor.

The next recommendation, he said, is to establish regional regulations prohibiting land sales. He said there must also be a reconciliation ceremony for indigenous peoples.

“Our last recommendation is the need for transparency and truthfulness of any information for us indigenous peoples before obtaining our consent for several matters,” he said.

According to him, this recommendation is very important to support indigenous peoples in exercising their rights on their own land, therefore essential for the progress and sustainability of indigenous peoples.

“Through this congress, we are building indigenous peoples in Papua, especially in the Tabi region. Because the population of indigenous Papuans continues to decline,” he said.

Imbiri hopes that the strengthening of indigenous peoples through Yo Riya or the workshop will prompt the people to have full authority in taking care of their respective villages. This way, any development including education, health, and the economy that takes place can improve welfare. (*)



Buchtar Tabuni of ULMWP arrested by police

Arrest of Buchtar TabuniNews Desk

18 October 2022

Buchtar Tabuni
United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) figure, Buchtar Tabuni during negotiations with members of the Jayapura City Police at his home, Jayapura City, before being arrested on Monday (17/10/2022) afternoon. – Doc. ULMWP

Jayapura, Jubi – United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) leader Buchtar Tabuni was arrested by police in Jayapura City on Monday, October 17, 2022. Tabuni was arrested at his home in Kampwolker, Yabansai Village, Jayapura City. Until Monday night, Tabuni was still undergoing examination at the Jayapura City Police Headquarters.

The news of Tabuni’s arrest was conveyed to Jubi by the Secretary of the ULMWP Action Committee, Christianus Dogopia, via WhatsApp message service. “Buchtar was forcefully arrested by the police. Until now, it is not yet known what the reason for the arrest of Buchtar was,” he said.

Dogopia said, on Monday a number of armed police surrounded Tabuni’s house in Kampwolker. “At around 10 a.m. Papua time, heavily armed Indonesian police came to Buchtar Tabuni’s residence in Kampwolker,” he said.

According to Dogopia, the police surrounded Tabuni’s house until around 3 p.m. The police then arrested Tabuni.

“We also don’t know the reason why the police surrounded Tabuni’s residence. Currently, the police have arrested Buchtar Tabuni and brought him to Jayapura City Resort Police,” he said. Dogopia said Tabuni’s arrest was not accompanied by an arrest warrant.

Buchtar Tabuni
Buchtar Tabuni when questioned by investigators from the Criminal Investigation Unit of the Jayapura City Police, Monday (17/10/2022). – IST

Jayapura City Police Chief Sr. Comr. Victor D. Mackbon on Monday afternoon confirmed that his office arrested Buchtar Tabuni. According to him, Tabuni was arrested to clarify the activities held at his home since three days ago. “Buchtar Tabuni’s arrival is to clarify his community gathering activities,” said Mackbon.

He explained that the police came to Tabuni’s residence because they received a report from the community. “We are responding to reports related to community gathering activities carried out by Buchtar Tabuni as they do not have a permit and are considered to have disturbed the community,” he said.

Indonesian police arrest Buchtar Tabuni and two Papuan ‘ministers’

Indonesian police arrest Buchtar Tabuni and two Papuan ‘ministers’

 By APR editor –  October 21, 2022

Asia Pacific Report

Indonesian police have arrested Buchtar Tabuni, one of West Papua’s most important liberation leaders, along with three other United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) ministers, reports the movement in a statement.

“Indonesia are once again suppressing freedom of expression and assembly in West Papua, in an attempt to crush our spirit and commitment to our struggle,” said interim president Benny Wenda.

Buchtar Tabuni is chair of the West Papua Council, and a member of the ULMWP Council Committee. His arrest was confirmed by police.

He was arrested with Bazoka Logo, Minister of Political Affairs, and Iche Murib, Minister of Women’s and Children’s Affairs, said the statement.

The trio were arrested at Tabuni’s house in Jayapura, following an annual ULMWP meeting, and interrogated at a nearby police station.

“What is their crime? What possible justification can there be for this crackdown? This was after a peaceful meeting at a private residence,” the statement said.

“The right to assembly is a basic human right, enshrined in the constitutions of countries around the world, including Indonesia.”

Sharing information
The National Parliament of the ULMWP meets annually to share information on events in their regions and discuss the situation of the struggle.

“West Papuans have the right, under international law, to peacefully mobilise for our independence,” Wenda said.

He called on anybody concerned by the arrests to to express their disgust to the Jayapura police chief.

Wenda said the arrests were in breach of basic principles of international diplomacy and human rights.

Both the ULMWP and Indonesia are members of the Melanesian Spearhead Group, a regional political forum.

“We sit around the table together as equals. Imagine if British police arrested a Scottish parliamentarian following a peaceful meeting in their own home — there would be international outcry.

“This is the brutal reality of Indonesia’s colonial occupation.”

Tabuni targeted
The statement said this was not the first time Tabuni had been targeted by the Indonesian state.

Tabuni has spent much of his life behind bars, and was previously arrested and charged with treason for his involvement in anti-racism protests in 2020. 

“This is political persecution: the harshness of Buchtar’s treatment is due only to his position as a respected leader of the independence struggle,” said Wenda.

“History tells us that there is no such thing as a fair trial for West Papuans in Indonesia. Victor Yeimo is still gravely ill in prison, where he has been held on spurious treason charges since May 2021.

“We urgently need the assistance of all international solidarity groups and NGOs — you must pressure your governments to help secure Mr Tabuni’s release, and all other West Papuan political prisoners.

Wenda said that the ULMWP demanded that Indonesia immediately release him with Bazoka Logo and Iche Murib.

Freedom ‘essential’
“Their freedom is essential in order to keep the peace,” he said.

According to Tabloid Jubi, Jayapura City police chief Senior Commander Victor D. Mackbon had confirmed that his office had arrested Buchtar Tabuni.

He said Tabuni was arrested to “clarify the activities” held at his home.

“Buchtar Tabuni’s arrival is to clarify his community gathering activities,” said Commander Mackbon.


Aceh parliament proposes draft bylaw to legalise medical use of cannabis

Viva – October 4, 2022

Mohammad Arief Hidayat and Dani Randi (Banda Aceh) — The chairperson of the Acehnese Regional House of Representatives’ (DPR Aceh) Commission V for Health Affairs, M Rizal Falevi, has proposed a draft qanun (bylaw) legalising cannabis for medical use so it can be included in the 2023 priority Regional Legislation Program (Prolegda).

The proposal has also been submitted to the Aceh DPR Legislative Body

(Baleg) and Commission V has already held a meeting on the proposal.

“In 2023, one of the qanun which will be a special priority is the qanun on legalising medical cannabis. So, we have already proposed it as a Commission V initiative and we have already submitted a title for it.

I’ve already signed a letter and held a meeting with the Baleg”, Falevi told journalists on Tuesday October 4.

The Aceh DPR still uses Health Ministry Regulation Number 16/2022 as a guideline while it waits for developments in revisions to the Narcotics Law which are being prepared by the House of Representatives (DPR) in Jakarta.

Based on literature and the results of research, said Falevi, cannabis is not foreign or taboo in Aceh. However, what must be given attention is that the plant can be packaged in accordance with regulations so that it does not violate state regulations and the ordinary people won’t be prosecuted.

The Aceh DPR wants cannabis to be able to be available as a medicine which can used by all patients in every hospital and at the same time to raise locally generated revenue (PAD).

The Constitutional Court recently ruled against a judicial review of the Narcotics Law on the issue of cannabis being allowed for medical use.

Therefore it remains illegal for class I narcotics such as cannabis to be used for health or medical purposes for as long as this stipulation remains in force.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “DPR Aceh Usul Rancangan Qanun Legalisasi Ganja untuk Medis”.]


Inauguration of acting governors of three new Papua provinces hasty: MRP

Chairman of the Papuan People’s Council (MRP), Timothy Murib.-Humas MRP

Wamena, Jubi – The Ministry of Home Affairs plan to accelerate the inauguration of the acting governors of the three New Autonomous Regions (DOB) in Papua land at the end of October is considered too hasty by the Chairman of the Papuan People’s Assembly (MRP), Timotius Murib.

Murib when contacted by Jubi on Wednesday, October 5, 2022, said that from the beginning the central government seemed to rush everything, from making changes to the Special Autonomy Law, forming DOBs, and then inaugurating the acting governors and filling the MRP with new representatives.

According to Murib, there is no need to change the number of MRP members as it is a representation of the number of Papuan Legislative Council (DPRP) members.

“So, the MRP members represent two-thirds of the DPRP members. With the new provinces, which members of the DPRP that we are referring to? Is it the original DPRP or the council of the new provinces? “he said. He added that the new provinces had yet to fill in members of its council.

“There must be a consistent process, I wonder how today’s leaders of the Indonesian government are all emotional. That’s why the MRP provides input and suggestions so that every process must be in accordance with the rules, not violating the rules,” he said.

He assessed that both the central government and the House were on the same page of accelerating Papua expansion despite violating all rules.

“Of course, the filling of the acting governor has been designed by the central government, The people, in this case, the MRP cannot do much because this is the wish of Jakarta, it has landed according to their will,” he said.

Murib said the MRP continued to oversee all policies that have been carried out by the central government, ensuring it protected the lives of indigenous Papuans.

“Papuans need life, not development. Development is good but if it is done in ways that are not appropriate and far from the grassroots, I think there will be violations of human rights and basic rights of Indigenous Papuans,” he said.

Previously, Deputy Minister of Home Affairs Wempi Wetipo said the Ministry would accelerate the process of inaugurating acting governors and forming government structures in the three new provinces, namely Mountainous Papua, Central Papua and South Papua.

“The law stipulates that the acting governor should be appointed at the latest six months after the law is passed, meaning in January 2023. However, we are accelerating the process. The inauguration of government structures of the three new provinces will take place at the end of October 2022,” Wetipo said. (*)

Freeport CEO Pledges to Build Papua Smelter in 2024

6 October 2022 17:39 WIB


TEMPO.CO, Jakarta – Chairman of the Board & CEO of Freeport Mc-MoRan, Richard C Adkerson, in an event on Thursday pledged to establish a smelting industry in Papua in 2024, which will also coincide with the completion of the Gresik smelter in East Java.

In an economic transformation event at the Cendrawasih University in Papua, Adkerson revealed that the Indonesian government had also pushed the company to swiftly realize its plan. “The government has warned us to act quickly,” said the CEO on October 6, Antaranews reported. 

This “smelter promise” was initially scheduled to complete in 2023 but was backtracked due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the supply chain disruption that happened on a global scale. 

In the future, Adkerson believes there is an opportunity for Freeport to build industrial facilities, and electricity facilities to support industrial development in Papua. “We are committed to doing that,” he said.

In his presentation, Adkerson claimed that Freeport’s new smelter at JIIPE Gresik, East Java, will be the largest single-line smelter in the world. The copper processing production capacity reaches 1.7 million tons of concentrate per year.

Freeport will also increase the capacity of its first copper smelter, PT Smelting, which is also in Gresik, from 1 million tons of production to 1.3 million tons of concentrate per year. A precious metal refining facility of 6,000 tons per year will also be added.

Indonesia suppresses data on critically endangered Orangutan habitat threats

Baby Orang Utan

Image: iStock

Outsiders doing business in Indonesia are urged to be polite and follow cultural norms. That also goes for academics, and the ones in this story have been exemplars of courtesy. But that hasn’t stopped their findings from getting rubbished and motives trashed.

Hollywood horrors give apes a bad name. Mistaken identity – the shaggy red-furred orangutan (man of the forest) aren’t gorillas, though in the same family, and don’t scramble up skyscrapers.

They’re the real tree-huggers. Their two-metre arms aren’t for swatting fighter planes like mozzies but to reach forest fruit. With 96 per cent of our genes, we could call them rellies. They’re no danger but they do challenge our greed.

Where they live threatens plans for their habitat. Orangutans could enjoy free meals and medical care in zoos but prefer the wild to welfare.

They’re on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s red list as ‘critically endangered’. An Indonesian trekking tour company asserts habitat loss and poaching have left the Bornean orangutans ‘struggling to reproduce fast enough to make up for the fallen numbers’.

A decade ago there were an estimated 230,000. There could be fewer than 50,000 by 2025, according to independent researchers.

Five from Brunei, the US, Malaysia, Germany and the UK who have been raising alarms boast ‘a combined 105 years of experience in orangutan and great ape conservation science’. That suggests their concerns deserve serious examination.

Though not for the Indonesian government which reckons the doomsayers don’t know what they’re talking about.

Conservationists everywhere would hope the authorities’ no-worries version is right, and likewise investors in palm oil and forestry. If the great apes are flourishing and have swinging space to spare, then more land can be cleared.

On International Orangutan Day (19 August) Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya announced that populations weren’t under threat: ‘Ground-based evidence confirms that Sumatran, Tapanuli and Bornean orangutans are far from extinction and instead will continue to have growing populations.’

Foresthints, a website of opaque provenance, headlined Nurbaya’s address as Indonesia ‘leading the way in orangutan protection’.

It reported the Minister suggesting some conservationists were publishing ‘not to collaborate but rather to generate benefits for themselves’ by running ‘unproductive and unconstructive campaigns’.

Two of the five researchers, Dutchman Erik Meijaard and American Julie Sherman then wrote in The Jakarta Post suggesting the long-term bureaucrat-turned-politician might not be reading the right data. The criticism was respectful but blunt:

‘A wide range of scientific studies … show that all three orangutan species have declined in the past few decades and that nowhere are populations growing.’

Statistics should be contested and research methods picked apart. That’s how academic inquiry gets to the truth, though only if there’s open discussion. Instead, the Ministry rejected offers to scrutinise the foreigners’ figures and told them to get lost, banning them from entering National Parks and conservation areas.

Not because they’re trampling rare plants, tossing trash and frightening the beasties with camera flashes, but for ‘discrediting the government’.

Further work must now be supervised to ‘safeguard the objectivity of their results’. Functionaries watching keystrokes looks more like Pyongyang than Jakarta. Meijaard who works out of Brunei (located on Borneo) didn’t reply to this writer’s request for comment on the ban.

The edicts have led some to argue the government is ‘anti-science’ – a follow-on from early Health Ministry dismissals of reports that Covid was dangerous. Some leaders do appear over-sensitive particularly when counter-views come from aliens.

A 2019 law imposes strict requirements on visiting researchers. Violators can be jailed. Indonesian biologist Berry Juliandi feared damage to international collaborations. In 2020 the Environment Ministry scrapped its forest conservation partnership with the World Wide Fund for Nature alleging agreement violations.

In 2020 the Environment Ministry scrapped its forest conservation partnership with the World Wide Fund for Nature alleging agreement violations. Meijaard and mates let the slurs go through to the keeper: ‘The minister’s comment about engaging the palm oil and forestry sectors in a multi-stakeholder approach to managing remaining orangutan metapopulations in production landscapes is also spot on.

‘Indonesia’s recent successes in reducing deforestation rates are commendable and both the government and the private sector have played important roles.’ That wasn’t sufficiently soothing.

Foresthints defended the minister with reasoning which tested the English-language outfit’s ability to argue at their contestants’ level.

The ‘press company’ is run out of a Jakarta high-rise with Western editors and has been online since 2016. It doesn’t carry adverts or appeal for subscriptions so appears to be government-backed greenwashing. Requests for info on funding sources went unanswered.

Indonesian academic Herlambang Wiratraman asserted ‘the anti-science narrative in Indonesia is getting stronger as the Indonesian government continues to suppress the academic freedom of researchers in disseminating their research’.

He reminded readers that two years ago French landscape ecologist Dr David Gaveau, a deforestation expert who’d been working in the country for 15 years, was allegedly booted for a ‘visa violation’.

Gaveau wrote: ‘The Indonesian government deported me for publishing a preliminary estimate of the damage from Indonesia’s 2019 fires for seven provinces that exceeded the government’s own numbers (1.2 million).’

He said 1.6 million hectares had been burned, Further research made this 3.11 million. Chief Investment Minister Luhut Binsar Panjaitan called for audits of NGOs spreading ‘fake news’ about deforestation.

During the 32-year rule of President Soeharto, whatever their expertise few within the Republic dared express opinions in public which undermined the government’s position. When democracy came this century it was assumed freedom of expression was trotting close behind.

Maybe Gaveau and the orangutan researchers have got their data wrong. Years of study doesn’t equal infallibility. But resorting to argumentum ad hominem is worrying many, including networks Indonesian Caucus for Academic Freedom, and Scholars at Risk.

In a joint submission this year to the UN Universal Periodic Review of Indonesia the lobbyists declared the state and some unis were trying to ‘punish and silence dissent, inquiry, and academic expression’.

Notes to their document added that ‘scholars and students play an important role in Indonesia’s vibrant civil society, from promoting social justice and human rights to publicly discussing government corruption and environmental concerns.

‘Without fertile ground, Indonesian scholars and students are hindered in their ability to drive the country’s scientific, social, economic, and cultural progress.’

In Indonesia experts sounding alarms about local issues usually get noticed, though not always respected if they’re from abroad. Targeting authors is easier than critiquing their work.

Duncan Graham

Duncan Graham

+ posts

Duncan Graham has been a journalist for more than 40 years in print, radio and TV. He is the author of People Next Door (UWA Press) and winner of the Walkley Award and Human Rights awards. He is now writing for the English language media in Indonesia from within Indonesia.