Available from gopher://dosfan.lib.uic.edu:70/1

Title:  Indonesia Human Rights Practices, 1995  

Author:  U.S. Department of State   

Date:  March 1996   








The Indonesian political system, despite a surface adherence to 

democratic forms, remains strongly authoritarian.  President Soeharto 

(now in his sixth 5-year term), a small group of advisers, and the 

military dominate the political life of this heavily populated 

developing country, whose people come from hundreds of different 

cultural, linguistic, and ethnic backgrounds.  The Government requires 

allegiance to a state ideology known as "Pancasila," which includes 

belief in a Supreme God, a just and civilized humanity, national unity, 

democracy, and social justice.  It has used Pancasila as a justification 

for restricting the development of opposition elements. 


Under a doctrine of "dual function," the military is given special civic 

rights and responsibilities, including unelected military seats in 

Parliament (DPR) and local legislatures, in addition to its defense and 

security roles.  The 450,000-member armed forces, including 175,000 

police, consider the maintenance of internal security as their primary 

mission.  They have traditionally acted swiftly to suppress perceived 

threats to security, with a vigor that has often led to human rights 

abuses.  Some military leaders have raised questions about the validity 

of this "security approach."  There continued to be numerous, credible 

reports of human rights abuses by the military and police, although they 

exhibited some restraint in controlling crowds and demonstrations. 


In contrast to its restrictive political system, Indonesia has an 

increasingly open and deregulated economy.  Although still a poor 

country, the economy continued to expand, especially in manufacturing, 

with gross domestic product expected to increase by 7.2 percent in 1995.  

The continued economic growth has produced steady gains in living 

standards for much of Indonesian society.  The number of people living 

below the poverty line has fallen from over 60 percent of the population 

to under 15 percent.  Widespread underemployment persists, however, as 

do corruption and influence peddling. 


The Government continued to commit serious human rights abuses.  The 

most serious abuses included harsh repression of dissidents in East 

Timor, Aceh, and Irian Jaya.  Reports of extrajudicial killings, 

disappearances, and torture of those in custody by security forces 

increased.  Reports of arbitrary arrests and detentions and the use of 

excessive violence (including deadly force) in dealing with suspected 

criminals or perceived troublemakers continued.  Prison conditions 

remained harsh, and security forces regularly violated citizens' right 

to privacy. 


The Indonesian people continue to lack the ability to change their 

government.  The Government continued to impose severe limitations on 

freedoms of speech, press, assembly, and association.  It suppressed 

efforts to develop a truly free trade union movement, but encouraged 

some developments that appear to open the door to greater flexibility 

within the registered trade union federation.  Labor organizations 

trying to compete with the official trade union federation were subject 

to continuing harassment and intimidation.  Elements of the armed forces 

continued to be responsible for the most serious human rights abuses.  

Military leaders in some cases showed willingness to admit publicly 

abuses by military personnel and take action against them, including in 

a brutal incident in East Timor.  Punishment, however, rarely matched 

the severity of the abuse.  The judiciary, while still largely 

subservient to the executive branch and subject to widespread 

corruption, made several significant decisions against government 

interests that suggested somewhat greater judicial independence.   


The Government continued to exert strong pressure against antigovernment 

critics, independent journalists, and labor activists.  These 

constraints, however, did not completely dampen dissenting voices in the 

public and the media.  Many human rights nongovernmental organizations 

(NGO's) remained active, and the Government tolerated wide press 

coverage of some sensitive issues.  The Government announced a phasing-

out of a discriminatory symbol on the identification cards of ex-

political prisoners and their families, and some easing of restrictions 

on the right of free assembly both beginning in early 1996.  The 

government-appointed National Human Rights Commission displayed 

increasing independence, spotlighting abuses and occasionally taking 

positions at variance with government policies and actions. 


On East Timor, no progress was made in accounting for the missing 

persons following the 1991 Dili incident or the 10 other Timorese that 

disappeared in 1995.  Troop levels remained unjustifiably high.  The 

armed forces used excessive force in making arrests following anti-

integration rioting in Dili in October.  The Government reimposed 

restricted access to the province by foreign journalists.   


In Irian Jaya, tensions with indigenous inhabitants seeking greater 

autonomy or independence led to violent repressive measures by military 

units, resulting in deaths and other human rights abuses documented by 

several sources, including the National Human Rights Commission, the 

Catholic Church, and NGO's.  Security forces reportedly killed 16 or 

more civilians throughout Irian Jaya between mid-1994 and mid-1995. 




Section 1   Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom 



   a.   Political and Other Extrajudicial Killings 


Historically, politically motivated extrajudicial killings generally 

have occurred most frequently in areas where separatist movements were 

active, such as East Timor, Aceh, and Irian Jaya.  Security forces 

continue to employ harsh measures against separatist movements in these 

three areas.  Security forces in East Timor killed six unarmed civilians 

in Liquisa province in January.  The military court-martialed two 

soldiers for this killing (see below).  There were also several other 

mysterious killings in East Timor; the limited evidence available 

suggests some of these too could also be cases of summary execution by 

security forces, though at least seven are attributed to East Timorese 

insurgents.  There were credible, detailed reports from church and NGO 

sources that security forces killed 16 or more civilians in Irian Jaya 

between mid-1994 and mid-1995.  Knowledgeable sources report at least 

two unconfirmed instances of security forces in Aceh province killing 

civilians without justification. 


There were reports that security forces killed members of insurgent 

groups in armed clashes, including five Aceh Merdeka supporters in Aceh 

as well as a number of alleged armed opposition members in East Timor.  

Insurgent groups also attacked and killed security forces. 


The Government withdrew two army battalions from East Timor in 

September, but there has been no noticeable decrease in military 

activity in the territory.  After October riots in Dili, some antiriot 

units were reinforced.  The Government offered a general amnesty to 

members of the Timorese resistance who surrender their arms, and it was 

reported to have released some who were apprehended rather than put them 

on trial.  A similar policy was applied to several leaders of the 

Timorese Clandestine Political Movement. 


The police often employ excessive and sometimes deadly force in 

apprehending suspects or coping with alleged criminals.  In response to 

protests that the methods used are unjustifiably harsh and amount to 

execution without trial, police generally claim that the suspects were 

fleeing, resisting arrest, or threatening the police.  In North Sumatra, 

for example, 45 shootings by police, including 3 deaths, were reported 

by mid-August.  Accurate statistics were unavailable, however. 


In the past the authorities almost never took action against police for 

using excessive force.  However, there is some indication that this 

situation is improving, although action taken by the authorities is 

still not commensurate with the gravity of police abuses.  Among a 

number of disciplinary actions taken by authorities, three policemen 

were reported to be facing court-martial in Padang, West Sumatra, on 

charges of deliberately striking a motorcyclist with their car during a 

chase in April, although the trial had not begun as of late August.  In 

June a military court-martial sentenced an army second lieutenant to 4 

and 1/2 years in prison and a private to 4 years for killing six 

unarmed, bound civilians in Liquisa Regency, East Timor in January.  In 

October military authorities arrested a second lieutenant and three 

privates suspected of killing civilians in Irian Jaya (see above), and 

planned to court-martial them beginning in January 1996.  Seven 

policemen were detained in Aceh Province on suspicion of torturing a 

suspected rapist and causing his death in late July.  In Northern 

Sumatra, at least two civil cases of alleged excessive force on the part 

of police officials, in one of which the victim died, were settled out 

of court through monetary compensation. 


   b.   Disappearance 


There were credible reports that security forces abducted five civilians 

in Dili, East Timor, in January.  The Government did not respond to 

repeated requests from the National Human Rights Commission and from 

foreign governments to clarify the fate of these persons.  At least five 

other persons disappeared in East Timor under circumstances suggesting 

possible involvement by the security forces, and some credible sources 

believe they have been executed.  Indonesian NGO's documented reports of 

at least four civilians who disappeared after being detained by military 

forces in Irian Jaya at the end of 1994.  The whereabouts of those 

abducted are not known, and credible sources believe they are dead.  

Security forces did not acknowledge the abductions, but announced that 

they were investigating the Irian Jaya reports and related charges of 

military killings and torture in that province.  Since their 

investigation of the Liquisa incident in East Timor in January, security 

forces have become less willing to provide information or to undertake 

investigations about new cases of concern.  Security forces in areas of 

conflict sometimes hold suspects incommunicado for periods of time 

before acknowledging their detention.  This appears to have become more 

frequent in East Timor during the latter part of 1994 and early 1995, 

before easing somewhat later in the year.  Suspects are also frequently 

held for substantial periods of time without formal charges being 



The Government made no new efforts to account for the missing and dead 

from the November 12, 1991 military shooting of civilians in Dili, East 

Timor.  Of those still listed as missing in a report the military gave 

to Human Rights Watch/Asia, no additional cases were resolved during the 



Government spokesmen implied that their failure to locate those missing 

was primarily due to those persons wishing to evade detection.  Many 

knowledgeable observers, however, continued to believe that most of the 

missing are dead and that some members of the armed forces know where 

their bodies are located. 


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



The Criminal Code makes it a crime punishable by up to 4 years in prison 

for any official to use violence or force to elicit a confession, and it 

establishes pretrial procedures to give suspects or their families the 

right to challenge the legality of an arrest or detention.  In practice, 

legal protections are both inadequate and widely ignored, and security 

forces continued to employ torture and other forms of mistreatment, 

particularly in regions of security concerns such as Aceh, Irian Jaya, 

and East Timor. 


In August NGO and church sources provided eyewitness accounts to the 

National Human Rights Commission of over 40 victims of alleged torture 

by military personnel in Irian Jaya in late 1994 and early 1995.  

According to these sources, methods of torture employed included kicking 

with heavy boots; beating with fists, sticks, stones, and rifle butts; 

starvation; shackling thumbs, arms and legs; taping eyes shut; stamping 

on hands; and forcing victims to stand for prolonged periods while 

bearing heavy weights or to kneel with an iron bar in the knee hollow.  

In East Timor, torture increased in frequency beginning in November 

1994, and included electric shocks, mock execution, severe beatings, and 

burning with cigarettes.  Following complaints, this problem appears to 

have eased in the case of the provincial police, but continued or 

worsened in detention facilities run by military intelligence. 


Police often resort to physical abuse, even in minor incidents.  Prison 

conditions are harsh, with violence among prisoners and mistreatment and 

extortion of inmates by guards reportedly common.  The incidence of 

mistreatment by prison officials drops sharply once a prisoner has been 

transferred from police or military custody into the civilian prison 

system, and prison conditions generally have improved in recent years.  

Sporadic cases of ill-treatment have been reported in East Timorese 

prisons.  Officials have publicly condemned police brutality and harsh 

prison conditions and occasionally instigate disciplinary action, 

including transfer, dismissal, and trials leading to prison.  Such 

actions, however, are an exception to the rule of general impunity.  

Political prisoners are usually mixed with the general prison 

population, although in the Cipinang Prison in Jakarta high-profile 

political prisoners are segregated.  In 1995 the Government allowed the 

International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to visit prisoners in 

Cipinang in Jakarta and also granted access to prisons elsewhere in 

Java, Sumatra, Aceh, and other provinces as well as East Timor.  The 

Government also has allowed the ICRC to organize family visits to 

political prisoners.  Authorities allowed visiting diplomatic officials 

or NGO representatives to visit East Timor prisoners of their choosing 

on at least two occasions. 


   d.   Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile 


The Criminal Procedures Code contains provisions against arbitrary 

arrest and detention which are routinely violated.  The Code specifies 

the right of prisoners to notify their families, and that warrants must 

be produced during an arrest except under specified conditions, such as 

when a suspect is caught in the act of committing a crime.  It also 

authorizes investigators to issue warrants to assist in their 

investigations or if sufficient evidence exists that a crime has been 

committed.  Despite these requirements, authorities sometimes make 

arrests without warrants.  Security forces reportedly arrested members 

of the Alliance of Independent Journalists in March before formal 

warrants were issued (see Section 2.a.).  The number of persons detained 

at least temporarily without warrant by security forces in East Timor 

increased during late 1994 and 1995. 


The law presumes defendants innocent and permits bail.  They or their 

families may also challenge the legality of their arrest and detention 

in a pretrial hearing and may sue for compensation if wrongfully 

detained.  However, it is virtually impossible for detainees to invoke 

this procedure, let alone receive compensation, after being released 

without charge.  In both military and civilian courts, appeals based on 

legality of arrest and detention are rarely, if ever, accepted.  The 

Code also contains specific limits on periods of pretrial detention and 

specifies when the courts must get involved to approve extensions, 

usually after 60 days.  In areas where active guerrilla movements exist 

such as East Timor, Irian Jaya, and Aceh, people are routinely detained 

without warrants, charges, or court proceedings.  Bail is rarely 

granted, especially in political cases.  The authorities frequently 

prevent access to defense counsel and make it difficult or impossible 

for detainees to get legal assistance from voluntary legal defense 

organizations.  The authorities routinely approve extensions of periods 

of detention.  In addition, suspects charged under the 1963 

Antisubversion Law are subject to special procedures outside the 

Criminal Procedures Code which allow, for example, the Attorney General 

the authority to hold a suspect up to 1 year before trial.  He may renew 

this 1-year period without limit.  Special laws on corruption, economic 

crimes, and narcotics are similarly exempt from the Code's protections. 


The Agency for Coordination of Assistance for the Consolidation of 

National Security (BAKORSTANAS) operates outside the Code and has wide 

discretion to detain and interrogate persons thought to threaten 

national security.  It is impossible to state the exact number of 

arbitrary arrests or detentions without trial, particularly in Aceh and 

Irian Jaya.  In 1995 authorities released at least 64 supposed Aceh 

Merdeka supporters who were being held without trial, bringing the total 

number of accused Aceh Merdeka supporters released since 1990 to around 

1,000 persons.  Many had been held incommunicado without knowing the 

charges against them; some had been held for over 2 years.  The 

authorities often require those released to report back at regular 

intervals, but in May 916 former detainees were relieved of this 

obligation.  In East Timor, military authorities continued the practice 

of detaining people without charges for short periods and then requiring 

them to report daily or weekly to police after their release.  About 100 

people were detained without charge during demonstrations and outbreaks 

of violence in Dili around the time of the November 1994 Asian Pacific 

Economic Cooperation (APEC) meetings.  Detentions continued during 

further disturbances in December 1994 and January 1995.  The authorities 

eventually charged and sentenced some of these detainees for involvement 

in civil disturbances or antigovernment protests, including at least 

eight East Timorese who received prison sentences of 12 to 30 months.  

Five other East Timorese, widely considered wrongly accused, were 

sentenced to 5 months' imprisonment for involvement in mysterious 

nighttime incidents of harassment, beating, and fearmongering by persons 

termed "ninjas."  More than 200 persons were arrested in additional 

disturbances in September and October 1995.  Authorities have announced 

that several dozen will be put on trial. 


The Government does not use forced exile. 


   e.   Denial of Fair Public Trial 


The Constitution stipulates the independence of the judiciary, but in 

practice the judiciary is subordinated to the executive and the 

military, and in many cases procedural protections, including those 

against coerced confessions, are inadequate to ensure a fair trial.   


A quadripartite judiciary of general, religious, military, and 

administrative courts exists below the Supreme Court.  The right of 

appeal from district court to high court to Supreme Court exists in all 

four systems of justice.  The Supreme Court does not consider factual 

aspects of a case, only the lower courts' application of law.  A panel 

of judges conducts trials at the district court level, poses questions, 

hears evidence, decides guilt or innocence, and assesses punishment.  

While there were some significant exceptions in 1995, initial judgments 

are rarely reversed in the appeals process, although sentences are 

sometimes increased or reduced (both the defense and the prosecution may 



In January the 3-year sentence of independent Labor leader Muchtar 

Pakpahan was increased by the high court to 4 years, but the Supreme 

Court later overturned his conviction (see below).  The sentence of 

Amosi Telaumbanua, another union leader, was raised from 15 months to 3 

years (later reversed by the Supreme Court, see below.)  Defendants have 

the right to confront witnesses and to produce witnesses in their 

defense.  An exception is allowed in cases in which distance or expense 

is deemed excessive for transporting witnesses to court.  In such cases, 

sworn affidavits may be introduced.  However, the Criminal Procedures 

Code does not provide for witnesses' immunity or for compulsory process 

of defense witnesses.  As a result, witnesses are sometimes too afraid 

of retribution to testify against the authorities. 


In cases tried under the 1963 Antisubversion Law, trials in absentia are 

permitted and public access generally requires advance approval by the 

military.  The courts commonly allow forced confessions and limit the 

presentation of defense evidence.  Defendants do not have the right to 

remain silent and can be compelled to testify in their own trials.  The 

Criminal Procedures Code gives defendants the right to an attorney from 

the moment of their arrest through the investigation and trial.  The law 

requires that a lawyer be appointed in capital cases and those involving 

a prison sentence of 15 years or more.  In cases involving potential 

sentences of 5 years or more, a lawyer must be appointed if the 

defendant desires an attorney and is indigent.  In theory, destitute 

defendants may obtain private legal help, such as that provided by the 

Legal Aid Institute.  In practice, however, defendants are often 

persuaded not to hire an attorney, or access to an attorney of their 

choice is impeded.  The military held five alleged Aceh Merdeka members, 

who were sentenced in early 1995 (see below), for up to a year without 

access to attorneys; the authorities did not allow them to chose their 

attorneys, and those appointed by the court could not see the defendants 

until just before the trial. 


The Supreme Court theoretically stands coequal with the executive and 

legislative branches, but it does not have the right of judicial review 

over laws passed by Parliament.  The Supreme Court has not yet exercised 

its power (held since 1985) to review ministerial decrees and 

regulations.  In 1993 Chief Justice Purwoto Gandasubrata laid out 

procedures for limited judicial review.  Judges are civil servants 

employed by the executive branch, which controls their assignments, pay, 

and promotion.  They are subject to considerable pressure from military 

and other governmental authorities.  Such pressure often determines the 

outcome of a case, and was widely suspected of being behind an attempt 

by the Chief Justice to thwart the implementation of a Supreme Court 

ruling against the government of Irian Jaya in a land compensation 

dispute.  Corruption permeates the legal system.  In civil and criminal 

cases, the payment of bribes can influence prosecution, conviction, and 

sentencing.  To address judicial corruption, the Government doubled 

judges' salaries in 1995. 


Several important court decisions against the Government in 1995 may be 

a sign of nascent judicial independence.  In February the Supreme Court 

commuted the 1993 sentence of an Acehnese serving 5 years for subversion 

and ordered his release.  It also upheld the appeals court's quashing of 

the conviction of the alleged mastermind in the 1993 murder of labor 

activist Marsinah and overturned his conviction.  It also reversed the 

remaining eight civilians' convictions as well for insufficient 

evidence, indirectly vindicating charges by the National Human Rights 

Commission and some NGO's that their confessions had been coerced.  In 

May the Supreme Court provisionally released convicted labor leader 

Muchtar Pakpahan pending a decision on his appeal under a seldom honored 

provision of the Penal Code, and later overturned his conviction.  It 

also reversed the high court decision that increased Amosi Telaumbanua's 

sentence from 15 to 36 months (see above).  An administrative court in 

Jakarta found in favor of the plaintiffs, employees of the banned 

periodical Tempo, in their civil suit against the Minister of Justice 

for revoking Tempo's publication license in 1993.  The High Court 

unanimously upheld this decision in November, stating that the 

ministerial regulations permitting publications to be banned were in 

conflict with press freedoms contained in the Constitution.  The 

Government has appealed the High Court ruling to the Supreme Court.   


The Antisubversion Law, which carries a maximum penalty of death, makes 

it a crime to engage in acts that could distort, undermine, or deviate 

from the state ideology or broad outlines of state policy, or which 

could disseminate feelings of hostility or arouse hostility, 

disturbances, or anxiety among the population.  The excessively vague 

language of this law makes it possible to prosecute people merely for 

peaceful expression of views contrary to those of the Government.  In 

Aceh province, authorities sentenced at least five accused Aceh Merdeka 

supporters under the Antisubversion Law to 6 to 20 years in prison (see 

Section 1.e.). 


The Government does not make available statistics on the number of 

people currently serving subversion sentences or sentences classified as 

felonies under the so-called Hate-Sowing or Sedition laws.  President 

Soeharto granted clemency in August to three former high officials, 

Subandrio, Omar Dhani, and Sugeng Sutarto, who were serving life 

sentences in connection with the abortive Communist coup in 1965.  Six 

prisoners convicted of subversion in past years remained under death 

sentence.  In August the authorities announced that two of them, whose 

appeals for clemency were denied by the President, were soon to be 

executed, but the executions had not been carried out as of year's end.  


Different sources estimate the number of people serving sentences for 

subversion in 1995, including members of the banned Communist Party of 

Indonesia (PKI), Muslim militants, and those convicted of subversion in 

Irian Jaya, Aceh, and East Timor, at between 250 and 350.  Scores, and 

possibly hundreds, more were believed to be serving sentences under the 

Hate-Sowing or Sedition laws.  Some of these persons advocated or 

employed violence, but many are political prisoners who were convicted 

for attempting to exercise such universally recognized human rights as 

freedom of speech or association or who were convicted in manifestly 

unfair trials.  The courts sentenced three members of the Alliance of 

Independent Journalists (AJI) and a fourth underground journalist to 

prison terms of 20 to 36 months under the Hate-Sowing articles (see 

Section 2.a).  In September a court sentenced a well-known psychic to 7 

months in jail under the articles for blasphemy against Islam in a 

closed academic seminar in April (see Section 2.A.).  In February a 

district court in Malang, East Java sentenced Jose Antonio Neves to 4 

years in prison on charges of sedition for advocating East Timorese 

independence and accusing the army of human rights violations in letters 

to international organizations. 


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



Judicial warrants for searches are required except for cases involving 

suspected subversion, economic crimes, and corruption.  However, 

security agencies regularly make forced or surreptitious entries.  They 

also intimidate by surveillance of persons and residences and selective 

monitoring of local and international telephone calls without legal 

restraint.  Government security officials monitor the movements and 

activities of former members of the PKI and its front organizations, 

especially persons the Government believes were involved in the abortive 

1965 Communist-backed coup.  These persons and their relatives sometimes 

are subject to surveillance, required check-ins, periodic 

indoctrination, and restrictions on travel outside their city of 

residence.  Their legally required identification cards carry the 

initials "E.T." which stand for "Ex-Tapol," or former political 

prisoner.  This readily identifies them to prospective employers or 

government officials and subjects them to various forms of official and 

unofficial discrimination.  The number of persons bearing E.T. on their 

identification cards totaled 1,352,896 in 1992, according to the 

Government.  The Government announced that it would phase out the use of 

E.T. in the process of introducing a new type of identification card 

beginning in early 1996, while leaving other forms of monitoring and 

control in place.   


The Government has in recent years significantly reduced its 

transmigration program, which moves large numbers of people from 

overpopulated islands to more isolated and backward ones.  The program 

is criticized by human rights monitors who say that it not only 

sometimes violates the rights of indigenous people but also those of 

some of the transmigrants who claim that they are duped into leaving 

their home villages without any means of return. 


Section 2   Respect for Civil Liberties, Including: 


   a.   Freedom of Speech and Press 


Government restrictions on press freedom continued, following the 

revocation of the publishing licenses of three well-known newsmagazines 

the previous year.  In May former employees of Tempo, one of the banned 

periodicals, won a lawsuit against the Minister of Information in 

administrative court contesting the revocation; the Government lost its 

appeal of the decision to a higher court, but has appealed to the 

Supreme Court. 


Although the Constitution and the 1982 Press Law provide for freedom of 

the press, the issuance of publishing licenses under a 1984 ministerial 

decree is one method the Government uses to control the press.  Other 

means of control include regulation of the amount of advertising 

permitted and of the number of pages allowed in newspapers.  Authorities 

continued in some cases to issue instructions, more or less subtle, to 

local journalists on what they could print.  The practice of telephoning 

editors to caution against publishing certain stories--the so-called 

telephone culture--continued.  In August the Attorney General warned in 

a press conference that newspapers carrying speculative stories about 

the rumored existence of a Soekarno-era Revolution Fund risked criminal 

charges.  Authorities also warned editors to end coverage of the 

Minister of Information's alleged public misreading of Koranic verses, 

which had caused a public outcry, and temporarily banned the Sunday 

edition of a Jakarta daily newspaper for carrying stories on sensitive 

subjects.  Self-censorship continued to be another publicly acknowledged 

brake on free expression.  In Medan, coverage of sensitive issues such 

as work stoppages and peasant protests against land clearance operations 

has remained at a low level since the press bannings of June 1994. 


In March the Government struck against two of the unlicensed underground 

publications which had appeared in defiance of government attempts to 

limit free and open news reporting.  Police arrested the editor of 

"Kabar Dari Pijar" and three persons associated with the Alliance of 

Independent Journalists (AJI), which publishes the underground bulletin 

"Independen."  They were tried and sentenced for sowing hatred against 

the Government (see Section 1.e.).  AJI was formed to work for press 

freedom in 1994 by journalists outraged by the Government's revocation 

that year of the publication licenses of three periodicals. 


The government-controlled Association of Indonesian Journalists (PWI) 

expelled 13 AJI members, and the Government threatened licensed 

periodicals with sanctions if they employed journalists not affiliated 

with the PWI.  Active opposition to the new government press measures 

still continued, however.  Independen and a number of other unsanctioned 

journals continued to publish, providing critical coverage of 

controversial issues to a limited audience mainly in major cities.  

Vigorous debate on a number of sensitive topics such as corruption, 

collusion, the role of the first family in business, and lack of 

government accountability for funds expended rebounded during 1995, 

particularly in the English language press.  However, major Indonesian 

language newspapers remain cautious in covering controversial subjects 

and the statements of prominent critics of the Government. 


While public dialog is more free than it was a number of years ago, the 

Government continues to impose restrictions on free speech.  Bandung 

authorities prohibited noted poet W. S. Rendra from reading some of his 

poems at a fund-raising event, although he had been allowed to read them 

earlier in Surabaya.  In March the authorities withdrew permission for 

"recalled" Unity Development Party (PPP) legislator Sri Bintang 

Pamungkas to address a seminar on economics at Garut, East Java.  

Pamungkas was one of two legislators withdrawn or recalled from 

Parliament by their parties (the other was from the government-

controlled GOLKAR organization--see Section 3) for their outspoken 

criticisms of the Government.  The police also investigated Pamungkas on 

various charges related to his alleged involvement in protests against 

President Soeharto during the President's April visit to Germany and at 

year's end were trying him on charges of insulting the President during 

a speech he made in Germany.  In April Medan police briefly detained and 

questioned but did not charge eight student protestors for allegedly 

slandering President Soeharto.  In May the Jakarta office of the 

Directorate of Social and Political Affairs, which together with several 

other government entities must give approval for theatrical 

performances, blocked a permit for a workers' theater group to perform a 

play in the capital about exploitation of factory workers.  In September 

Jakarta police prevented a different group from staging another play on 

a labor theme for which authorities had already granted permission.   


The electronic media remained more cautious in their coverage of the 

Government than the print media.  The Government operates the nationwide 

television network, which has 12 regional stations.  Private commercial 

television companies, many with ownership or management ties to the 

President's family, continued to expand.  All are required to broadcast 

government-produced news, but many also produce public affairs style 

programming that borders on news. 


Over 600 private radio broadcasting companies exist in addition to the 

Government's national radio network.  They are all required to belong to 

the government-sponsored Association of Private Radio Stations (PRSSNI) 

to receive a broadcasting license.  The government radio station 

produces "National News," which is by law the only radio news broadcast 

in Indonesia, and it is relayed throughout the country by the private 

stations and 49 regional affiliates of the Government station.  By law, 

the private radio stations may produce only "light" news, such as human 

interest stories, and may not discuss politics.  In practice, however, 

many broadcast interviews and foreign news as well.  However, government 

pressure resulted in one talk show on the private station SCTV being 

taken off the air for covering sensitive subjects. 


Foreign television and radio broadcasts are readily accessible to those 

who can afford the expensive technology, and satellite dishes have 

proliferated throughout the country.  The Government makes no efforts to 

restrict access to this programming, and has proclaimed an "open skies" 

policy, although more and more signals are being scrambled by 

broadcasters for commercial reasons. 


The Government closely regulates access to Indonesia, particularly to 

certain areas of the country, by visiting and resident foreign 

correspondents and occasionally reminds the latter of its prerogative to 

deny requests for visa extensions.  The Government requires a permit for 

the importation of foreign publications and video tapes, which must be 

reviewed by government censors.  Importers sometimes avoid foreign 

materials critical of the Government or dealing with topics considered 

sensitive, such as human rights.  Foreign publications are widely 



Special permission is necessary for foreign journalists to travel to 

East Timor, Aceh, and Irian Jaya.  The Government organized at least one 

group journalist trip to East Timor.  Approval for individual trips by 

journalists to the province, and for travel outside Dili (the capital), 

became more restrictive, with a number of journalists repeatedly 

requesting permission, without success, to visit the province.  


While the law provides for academic freedom, constraints exist on the 

activities of scholars.  Political activity and discussions at 

universities, while no longer formally banned, remained constrained.  In 

September a court sentenced a psychic to 7 months in prison for remarks 

he made about the prophet Mohammed in an academic seminar, but it 

provisionally released him from custody the next day. 


Scholars sometimes refrain from producing or including in lectures and 

class discussions materials that they believe might provoke government 

displeasure.  Publishers sometimes refuse to accept manuscripts dealing 

with controversial issues.  On occasion the Government bans publications 

and books outright.  In February the Central Java government ordered a 

new edition of the book "Cerita Dari Blora," by the prominent Indonesian 

novelist and former political prisoner Pramoedya Anata Toer, which had 

been banned in 1976, withdrawn from bookstores, and in April the 

Attorney General ordered the withdrawal of his book "Nyani Sunyi Seorang 

Bisu" from sale.  Most of Pramoedya's works are banned in Indonesia. 


   b.   Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association 


The Constitution provides for freedom of assembly and association.  The 

Government places significant controls on the exercise of this right, 

but announced an easing of the restrictions which are still not 

promulgated.  Until 1995 public meetings of five or more persons, as 

well as academic or other seminars and marches and demonstrations, 

required permits from the police and several government agencies.  While 

obtaining such approval was usually routine, the authorities 

occasionally arbitrarily and inconsistently withheld permission or broke 

up peaceful gatherings for which no permit had been obtained.  The press 

reported 5 instances of authorities denying permits and 26 cases of 

dispersing unauthorized meetings in the first 8 months of 1995.  In 

January a 1-day seminar on the Antisubversion Law at the Jakarta office 

of the Legal Aid Foundation, in which members of the National Human 

Rights Commission participated, narrowly averted being closed by the 

police, who remained on the premises in force during the session.  

Authorities in Jakarta and Semarang broke up May 1 International Labor 

Day demonstrations by students protesting government labor policies, and 

arrested 13 demonstrators in Medan who were protesting government 

investigation of prominent dissidents accused of taking part in 

demonstrations against President Soeharto in Dresden.  The East Java 

government repeatedly denied permission to the head of the PDI party to 

meet with party chapters and hold public rallies in that province.  In 

June Jakarta authorities forcibly dispersed an unauthorized seminar on 

Islam and charged its organizer with holding a public gathering without 

a permit.  If convicted, he faces a maximum 4-year sentence. 


In response to growing public criticism of the permit process, including 

from the National Human Rights Commission, the Government in June 

dropped the permit requirement for university approved on-campus 

scientific seminars.  On August 30, the Government announced that 

regulations requiring permits for other types of meetings would be 

liberalized by the end of the year, to take effect in early 1996.  In 

December the Government promulgated regulations governing public 

gatherings which stipulate that gatherings which are social, cultural, 

religious, or scientific in character--as well as activities held in 

private premises--do not require a permit from or advance notification 

to the police.  Seven days prior notice must be given to the police 

before sociopolitical organizations hold political meetings, and for any 

meetings which will discuss political issues or which aspire to 

influence public policy.  Such meetings will not, however, require 

permits.  Permits are still required for public festivities, fairs, 

carnivals, parades, and rallies.  Such events are assumed to have been 

authorized at least 3 days prior to the scheduled date for the event.  

The new regulations do not govern activities considered to be 



The 1985 Social Organizations Law (ORMAS) requires the adherence of all 

organizations, including recognized religions and associations, to the 

official ideology of Pancasila.  This provision, which limits political 

activity, is widely understood as designed to inhibit activities of 

groups seeking to make Indonesia an Islamic state, revive communism, or 

return the country to a situation of partisan ideological division.  

This law empowers the Government to disband any organization it believes 

to be acting against Pancasila and requires prior government approval 

for any organization's acceptance of funds from foreign donors, thereby 

hindering the work of many local humanitarian organizations.  

Nevertheless, a significant number of organizations, including the 

independent labor organization Serikat Buruh Sejahtera Indonesia (SBSI), 

continue to be active without official recognition under this law (see 

Section 6). 


In the past few years, NGO's have proliferated in such fields as human 

rights, the environment, development, and consumer protection.  In 

general, the Government has given them rather wide latitude to pursue 

their aims, including public criticism of government policies and in 

some cases lawsuits against the Government.  The Government seems to 

have quietly shelved a 1994 draft presidential decree similar to the 

ORMAS Law that would have brought the more than 700 NGO's under more 

stringent controls.  However, there remain limits on certain types of 

NGO activities, and authorities reacted forcefully against certain NGO's 

participating in labor demonstrations or publishing unlicensed 

newsletters.  The Government reacts particularly negatively to NGO 

leaders and others who criticize its policies when abroad. 


   c.   Freedom of Religion 


The Constitution provides for religious freedom and belief in one 

Supreme God.  The Government recognizes Islam, Catholicism, 

Protestantism, Buddhism, and Hinduism, and permits the practice of the 

mystical, traditional beliefs of "Aliran Kepercayaan."  Although the 

population is overwhelmingly Muslim, the practice and teachings of the 

other recognized religions are generally respected, and the Government 

actively promotes mutual tolerance and harmony among them.  However, 

some restrictions on certain types of religious activity exist. 


Because the first tenet of Pancasila is belief in one Supreme God, 

atheism is forbidden.  The legal requirement to adhere to Pancasila 

extends to all religious and secular organizations.  The Government 

strongly opposes Muslim groups which advocate establishing an Islamic 

state or acknowledging only Islamic law and in the fall announced large 

scale questioning and several arrests of people in Central Java alleged 

to advocate the establishment of an Islamic state.  There are government 

procedures for banning religious sects in Indonesia.  Among those 

prohibited are Jehovah's Witnesses, Baha'i, and in some provinces the 

Messianic Islamic sect Darul Arqam.  The Government closely monitors 

Islamic sects considered in danger of deviating from orthodox tenets, 

and in the past has on occasion dissolved such groups. 


Violence between rival factions in the Huria Kristen Batak Protestan 

(HKBP), Indonesia's largest Protestant church, continued in North 

Sumatra throughout 1995, with at least one fatality.  In early 1993, 

citing a threat to civil order, the northern Sumatra regional military 

commander intervened in an internal leadership dispute which broke out 

within the HKBP the previous year, appointing a new bishop and helping 

the new bishop's supporters take over church property.  Civilian and 

military authorities have called the dispute an internal church matter 

that should be resolved by the HKBP members themselves.  For the most 

part, only supporters of the former bishop have been prosecuted for acts 

of violence despite evidence that members of the opposing faction 

engaged in violent acts as well.  In late 1995, however, authorities for 

the first time took action against some partisans of the new bishop as 



High level officials continued to make public statements emphasizing the 

importance of respect for religious diversity in the country, 

particularly following incidents of religious tension in areas such as 

Flores, East and West Timor, and parts of Java.  Lower level officials, 

however, are frequently alleged to be reluctant to facilitate and 

protect the rights of religious minorities.  There was an outbreak of 

religion-based violence in East Timor in September and October.  In 

early September, Timorese burned markets and damaged several mosques 

following reports that an Indonesian official made derogatory comments 

about Catholicism.  The official in question has been sentenced to 4 

years, 10 months in prison.  Several Protestant churches were also 

burned in September, sparked by the celebration of a religiously mixed 

marriage.  Clashes in mid-October between security forces and groups of 

youths led to extensive damage, at least 2 deaths, and 151 arrests.  

There has been an Islamic backlash on Java calling for the defense of 

Muslims in East Timor.  Property was destroyed and members of the 

Chinese community harassed in separate incidents in Pekalongan and 

Purworkerto, Central Java, following incidents in which Chinese 

individuals were believed to have insulted Islamic traditions. 


The law allows conversion between faiths, and such conversions occur.  

Marriages between persons of different religions are allowed.  The 

Government views proselytizing by the recognized religions in areas 

heavily dominated by one recognized religion or another as potentially 

disruptive and discourages it.  Foreign missionary activities are 

relatively unimpeded, although in East Timor and occasionally elsewhere 

missionaries have experienced difficulties and delays in renewing 

residence permits, and visas allowing the entrance of new foreign clergy 

are difficult to obtain.  Laws and decrees from the 1970's limit the 

number of years foreign missionaries can spend in Indonesia, with some 

extensions granted in remote areas like Irian Jaya.  Foreign missionary 

work is subject to the funding stipulations of the ORMAS Law (see 

Section 2.b.).  Indonesians practicing the recognized religions maintain 

active links with coreligionists inside and outside the country and 

travel abroad for religious gatherings. 


   d.   Freedom of Movement within the Country, Foreign Travel, 

Emigration, and Repatriation 


Although in 1993 the Government drastically reduced the number of people 

barred either from entering or departing Indonesia from a publicly 

announced figure of 8,897 "blacklisted" people to a few hundred, such 

restrictions still exist.  The Government banned ousted Parliament 

member Sri Bintang Pamunkas from traveling abroad while investigating 

his earlier activities in Germany (see Section 2.a.).  The Government 

has appealed a State Administrative Court decision in December that the 

ban is illegal.  Novelist Pramoedya Anata Toer was unable to travel to 

the Philippines to accept a literary award from the Magsaysay 

Foundation.  The Government also restricts movement by Indonesian and 

foreign citizens to and within parts of Indonesia.  In addition, it 

requires permits to seek work in a new location in certain areas, 

primarily to control further population movement to crowded cities.  

Special permits are required to visit certain parts of Irian Jaya.  The 

military carried out security checks affecting transportation and travel 

to and within East Timor sporadically in 1995, and it occasionally 

imposed curfews in connection with military operations.  The authorities 

require former political detainees, including those associated with the 

abortive 1965 coup, to give notice of their movements and to have 

official permission (see Section 1.f.) to change their place of 



In past years the Government admitted large numbers of asylum seekers 

from Indochina.  Only a relatively small number now remain, and the 

Government continues to work with Vietnam under a tripartite Memorandum 

of Understanding signed in 1993 with the United Nations High 

Commissioner for Refugees to repatriate peacefully the remaining asylum 

seekers to Vietnam. 


Section 3   Respect for Political Rights:  The Right of Citizens to 

Change Their Government 


Citizens do not have the ability to change their government through 

democratic means.  The 1,000-member People's Consultative Assembly 

(MPR), which is constitutionally the highest authority of the State and 

meets every 5 years to elect the President and Vice President and set 

the broad outlines of state policy, is controlled by the Government 

through the appointment of half its membership.  The remaining half come 

from the National Parliament (DPR), 80 percent of whose members are 

elected.  In 1993 the MPR elected Soeharto to his sixth uncontested 5-

year term as President.  Legally, the President is constitutionally 

subordinate to the Parliament, but actually he and a small group of 

active duty and retired military officers and civilian officials 

exercise governmental authority. 


Under a doctrine known as dual function, the military assumes a 

significant sociopolitical as well as a security role.  Members of the 

military are allotted unelected seats in the DPR.  In 1995 the 

Government legislated a reduction in the number of these seats from 100 

to 75, or 15 percent of a total of 500, effective 1997.  The military 

will continue to hold an unelected 20 percent of the seats in provincial 

and district parliaments, and to occupy numerous key positions in the 

administration.  The other 85 percent of national and 80 percent of 

local parliamentary seats are filled through elections held every 5 

years.  All adult citizens, except active duty members of the armed 

forces, convicted criminals serving prison sentences, and some 36,000 

former members of the Communist Party, are eligible to vote.  Voters 

choose by secret ballot between the three government-approved political 

organizations, which field candidate lists in each electoral district.  

Those lists must be screened by BAKORSTANAS (see Section 1.d.), which 

determines whether candidates were involved in the abortive 1965 

Communist coup or pose other broadly defined security risks.  Critics 

charge these screenings are unconstitutional, since there is no way to 

appeal the results, and note that they can be used to eliminate critics 

of the Government from Parliament. 


Strict rules establish the length of political campaigns, access to 

electronic media, schedules for public appearances, and the political 

symbols that can be used.  The Government permits only three political 

organizations to exist and contest elections.  The largest and most 

important of these is GOLKAR, a government-controlled organization of 

diverse functional groups which won 68 percent of the seats in the 1992 

elections.  The President strongly influences the selection of the 

leaders of GOLKAR.  The other two small political organizations, the 

Unity Development Party (PPP) and the Democratic Party of Indonesia 

(PDI), split the remaining vote.  The law requires all three political 

organizations to embrace Pancasila, and none of the organizations is 

considered an opposition party.  Government authorities closely 

scrutinize and often guide their activities.  Members of the DPR and the 

provincial assemblies may be recalled from office by party leaders.  In 

1995 both GOLKAR and PPP recalled legislators who were considered too 



GOLKAR maintains close institutional links with the armed forces and 

KORPRI, the association to which all civil servants automatically 

belong.  Civil servants may join any of the political parties with 

official permission, but most are members of GOLKAR.  Former members of 

the PKI and some other banned parties may not run for office or be 

active politically.  The DPR considers bills presented to it by 

government departments and agencies but does not draft laws on its own, 

although it has the constitutional right to do so.  The DPR makes 

technical and occasionally substantive alterations to bills it reviews.  

In practice, it remains clearly subordinate to the executive branch, but 

recently it has become more active in scrutinizing government policy, 

and exercising oversight of government budgetary expenditures and 

program implementation through hearings at which members of the Cabinet, 

military commanders, and other high officials are asked to testify.  The 

DPR has also become increasingly a focal point of appeals and petitions 

from students, workers, displaced farmers, and others protesting alleged 

human rights abuses and airing other grievances.   


While there are no de jure restrictions on women in politics, only 55 

out of 500 members of the DPR are women; 2 women are Cabinet members. 


Section 4   Governmental Attitude Regarding International and 

Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations of Human Rights 


While various domestic organizations and persons interested in human and 

worker rights operate energetically, some, such as the unrecognized 

trade union SBSI (see Section 6.a.) and the Alliance of Independent 

Journalists, faced government harassment including police raids on their 

offices, surveillance by police or military intelligence, interrogations 

at police stations, or cancellations of private meetings. 


The Government considers outside investigations of alleged human rights 

violations to be interference in its internal affairs and emphasizes its 

belief that linking foreign assistance to human rights observance is 



The ICRC continued to operate in East Timor, Irian Jaya, and Aceh, and 

to visit prisoners convicted of participation in the abortive, 

Communist-backed coup in 1965, convicted Muslim extremists, and East 

Timorese prisoners. 


While receiving wide support for its work from the Government in 

Jakarta, the ICRC continually faced difficulty in implementing its 

humanitarian program in East Timor during 1995.  The ICRC no longer 

maintains an office in Irian Jaya but visits that province from Jakarta 

several times a year.  The ICRC also visits Aceh regularly, but the 

Government has not approved the ICRC's request to open an office there.  

The Government facilitated the visit of U.N. Human Rights Commissioner 

Jose Ayala Lasso to Jakarta and East Timor in December.  Travel to East 

Timor by foreign human rights NGO's has not been approved.  Indonesian 

human rights organizations are able to visit East Timor, but have not 

been authorized to open offices there. 


The government-appointed National Human Rights Commission, in its second 

year of operation, became increasingly active in examining reported 

human rights violations and continued to show independence and a 

willingness to criticize government actions and policies.  The 

Commission's report of its investigation of the January 12 killing of 

six East Timorese in Liquisa charged that the military forces involved 

tortured and murdered the suspects, calling into question the military's 

original contention that they were killed in a firefight.  The 

Commission also sent investigative teams to Irian Jaya in August and 

September, and found evidence to support NGO and church reports of the 

torture and killing of civilians by security forces in that province, as 

well as security police responsibility for disappearances of civilians.  

Lacking enforcement powers, the Commission attempts to work within the 

system, sending teams where necessary to inquire into possible human 

rights problems and employing persuasion, publicity, and moral authority 

to highlight abuses, make recommendations for legal and regulatory 

changes, and encourage corrective action.  The Commission has yet to 

occupy its own permanent facilities and continues to have very limited 

staff support.  Although the Government appointed the original 

Commission members, the Commission fills vacancies in its ranks 

independently by internal election. 


Section 5   Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Religion, Disability, 

Language, or Social Status 


The Constitution does not explicitly forbid discrimination based on 

gender, race, disability, language, or social status.  However, the 

Constitution stipulates equal rights and obligations for all Indonesian 

citizens, both native and naturalized.  Chapter 4 of the 1993 Guidelines 

of State Policy (legal statutes adopted by the People's Consultative 

Assembly) explicitly states that women have the same rights, 

obligations, and opportunities as men. 


Article 29 of the Constitution grants Indonesians the right to practice 

their individual religion and beliefs. 




Violence against women remains poorly documented.  However, the 

Government has acknowledged the problem of domestic violence in society, 

which some say has been aggravated by recent social changes brought 

about by rapid urbanization.  Longstanding traditional beliefs that the 

husband may "teach" or "control" the wife through several means, 

including violence, also contribute to the problem.  Although women's 

groups are trying to change the law, rape by a husband of a wife is not 

a crime in Indonesia.  While police could bring assault charges against 

a husband for beating his wife, due to social attitudes they are 

unlikely to do so.  The Government provides some counseling, and several 

private organizations exist to assist women.  Many of these 

organizations focus mainly on reuniting the family rather than on 

providing protection to the women involved.  In 1995, the first drop-in 

center for battered women was founded in Jakarta by an NGO.  There are 

no battered women's shelters.  Many women rely on extended family 

systems for assistance in cases of domestic violence. 


Rape is a punishable offense in Indonesia.  Men have been arrested and 

sentenced for rape and attempted rape although reliable statistics are 

unavailable.  Women's rights activists believe rape is grossly 

underreported owing to the social stigma attached to the victim.  Some 

legal experts state that if a woman does not go immediately to the 

hospital for a physical examination which produces semen or other 

physical evidence of rape, she will not be able to bring charges.  Some 

women fail to report rape to police out of fear of being molested again 

by the police themselves. 


By law, women are equal to and have the same rights, obligations, and 

opportunities as men.  However, in practice women face some legal 

discrimination.  For example, in divorce cases women often bear a 

heavier evidentiary burden than men, especially in the Islamic-based 

family court system.  Although some women enjoy a high degree of 

economic and social freedom and occupy important midlevel positions in 

both the public and private sectors, the majority of women do not 

experience such social and economic freedoms and are often 

disproportionately represented at the lower end of the scale.  Although 

women constitute one-quarter of the civil service, they occupy only a 

small fraction of the service's top posts.  Income disparity between men 

and women diminishes significantly with greater educational attainment. 


Women are often not given the extra benefits and salary that men receive 

that is their due when they are the head of household, and in some cases 

do not receive employment benefits for their husband and children, such 

as medical insurance.  Despite laws guaranteeing women a 3-month 

maternity leave, the Government has conceded that pregnant women are 

often dismissed or are replaced while on leave.  Some companies require 

that women sign statements that they will not become pregnant.  Women 

workers also have complained of being sexually victimized by foremen and 

factory owners. 


Women workers in manufacturing generally receive lower wages than men 

and also are more likely to be hired only on a daily basis.  As a 

result, they are less likely to receive benefits legally mandated for 

permanent workers.  Unemployment rates for women are approximately 50 

percent higher than for men. 


Women disproportionately experience illiteracy, poor health, and 

inadequate nutrition.  However, women's educational indicators have 

improved in the last decade.  For example, the number of girls 

graduating from high school tripled from 1980 to 1990.  Several 

voluntary private groups work actively to advance women's legal, 

economic, social, and political rights and claim some success in gaining 

official cognizance of women's concerns. 




The Government is committed to children's rights and welfare, but is 

hampered by a lack of resources to translate this commitment into 

practice.  A 1979 law on children's welfare defines the responsibility 

of the State and parents to nurture and protect children.  However, 

implementing regulations have never been developed, and the law's 

provisions have yet to go into effect.  The Government has made 

particular efforts to improve primary education, maternity services, and 

family planning.  The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) estimates 

that more than 1 million children drop out of primary school every year 

due mainly to the cost of supplies, uniforms and other expenses, in 

addition to the professed need for the children to supplement family 

income.  Thousands of street children living in Jakarta and other cities 

sell newspapers, shine shoes, help to park or watch cars, and otherwise 

earn money.  Many thousands more work in factories and fields (see also 

Section 6.d.).  NGO's criticize government efforts to help these 

children as inadequate. 


Child prostitution and other sexual abuses occur, especially cases of 

incest between stepfathers and stepdaughters, but data on their 

incidence are lacking.  Some child care experts believe it to be low.  

While there are laws designed to protect children from indecent 

activities, prostitution, and incest, the Government has made no special 

enforcement efforts in these areas.  A separate criminal justice system 

for juveniles does not exist; however, the Department of Justice is 

drafting legislation to establish a special court system and criminal 

code for juveniles.  In 1995 media attention focused on the case of a 9-

year old who was arrested for theft and held with adult offenders by 

police.  The child was also allegedly beaten by police during 

interrogation.  Police officials admitted that juveniles are often 

imprisoned with adult offenders. 


Female genital mutilation (FGM) occurs in some parts of Indonesia.  

There are no statistics available; the only information available is 

anecdotal.  In Java, it usually takes place within the first year after 

birth and is performed either at a hospital or by a local traditional 

practitioner or "dukun," especially in rural areas.  Usually a small 

section of the tip of the clitoris is cut or a small incision is made in 

the tip of the clitoris with the purpose of drawing a few drops of 

blood.  Total removal of the clitoris is not the objective of the 

practice, although it does occur if ineptly performed.   


Parliament members asked Department of Health officials to investigate 

the incidence of FGM after the U.S. human rights report came out 3 years 

ago.  They informally contacted the heads of gynecology and obstetrics 

departments at Jakarta hospitals who reported no evidence of health 

problems due to FGM.  


   People with Disabilities 


No national law specifically addresses the problems or status of the 

disabled, nor do they receive special programs or attention.  However, 

during 1994 the Ministry of Social Welfare began drafting regulations on 

treatment of the disabled partly based on the Americans with 

Disabilities Act.  In 1994 President Soeharto gave his approval to 

submit these new regulations to the Parliament; however, the draft is in 

the Cabinet Secretariat being readied for submission in early 1996.  

Virtually no public buildings or public means of transport are designed 

specifically for access by the disabled.  They face considerable 

discrimination in employment. 


The Constitution includes the right of every citizen to obtain an 

education.  In 1989 the Government issued regulations covering education 

for the mentally and physically disabled.  However, the regulations do 

not grant a right to public education for disabled children.  While 

there are some public schools for the disabled, the Government supports 

the concept that education should be provided by the community in the 

form of NGO-run private schools that may receive some public funds. 


   Indigenous People 


The Government states publicly that it recognizes the existence of 

several indigenous population groups, and that they have a right to 

participate fully in political and social life.  Critics maintain that 

the Government's approach is basically paternalistic and designed more 

to integrate indigenous people more closely into Indonesian society than 

to protect their traditional way of life.  Human rights monitors 

criticize the Government's transmigration program for violating the 

rights of indigenous people (see Section 1.f.). 


Where indigenous people clash with development projects, the developers 

almost always win.  Tensions with indigenous people in Irian Jaya, 

including in the vicinity of the Freeport McMoran mining concession area 

near Timika, led to a crackdown by government security forces, resulting 

in the deaths of civilians and other violent human rights abuses.  These 

abuses (see Section 1.b.) were documented by the National Human Rights 

Commission, the Catholic Church, and NGO's.  In its reports on these 

incidents, the National Human Rights Commission did not indicate that 

the Freeport company, which operates a large copper and gold mine in the 

province, was responsible for the human rights abuses in the area.  

Freeport has denied any involvement in the abuses; some NGO's believe 

further investigation is warranted.  Human rights monitors have 

expressed concern about the practices of some logging companies which 

recruit indigenous people for work.  According to Human Rights 

Watch/Asia, this activity in Irian Jaya has separated these people from 

their traditional economies.  Most civil servants in local governments 

in Irian Jaya and other isolated areas continue to come primarily from 

Java, rather than from the local indigenous population. 


   National/Racial/Ethnic Minorities 


Indonesians exhibit considerable racial and ethnic tolerance, with the 

important exception of official and informal discrimination against 

ethnic Chinese, who comprise about 3 percent of the population.  Since 

1959 noncitizen ethnic Chinese have been denied the right to run 

businesses in rural Indonesia.  Regulations prohibit the operation of 

all Chinese schools for ethnic Chinese, formation of exclusively Chinese 

cultural groups or trade associations, and public display of Chinese 

characters.  Since August 1994, firms working in the tourist industry 

are allowed to produce Chinese-language brochures, programs, and similar 

material for Chinese-speaking tourists.  However, Chinese-language 

publications, with the exception of one government-owned daily 

newspaper, may neither be imported nor produced domestically.  Private 

instruction in Chinese is generally prohibited but takes place to a 

limited extent, and since 1994 has been allowed to train employees in 

the tourism industry in functional Mandarin.  State universities have no 

formal quotas that limit the number of ethnic Chinese.  The law forbids 

the celebration of the Chinese New Year in temples or public places, but 

its enforcement was limited in 1995.  Chinese New Year decorations were 

displayed in public shopping areas in major cities. 


East Timorese and various human rights groups charge that the East 

Timorese are underrepresented in the civil service in East Timor.  It is 

difficult to confirm or deny the charges as there appears to be no 

registry of the birthplace of civil servants, who can be transferred 

anywhere.  East Timorese have expressed  concerns that the 

transmigration program (see Section 1.f.) could lead to fewer employment 

opportunities and might eventually destroy East Timor's cultural 

identity.  However, these concerns probably were exaggerated.  In the 

last several years, informal migration to the province has sparked 

socioeconomic tension in urban areas, proving an even greater concern 

than the formally sponsored transmigration program.  In mid-1995, East 

Timor's provincial government instructed its officials to limit the stay 

in the province of non-Timorese seeking jobs to a maximum of 3 months.  

It is too early to assess how well these new measures have been 



Section 6   Worker Rights 


   a.   The Right of Association 


Private sector workers, including those in export processing zones, are 

by law free to form worker organizations without prior authorization.  

However, government policies and current numerical requirements for 

union recognition constitute a significant barrier to freedom of 

association and the right to engage in collective bargaining.  The 

Department of Manpower uses a regulation that requires that a union be 

set up "by and for workers" to deny recognition to groups which include 

people it considers nonworkers, such as lawyers or human rights 

activists, who are involved as labor organizers.  Until 1994 only the 

government-sponsored All-Indonesia Workers Union SPSI could bargain on 

behalf of employees or represent workers in the Department of Manpower's 

labor courts.  A 1994 regulation provides that workers in a single 

company with more than 25 employees can join together as a "plant-level 

union" and negotiate a legally binding agreement with their employer 

outside the SPSI framework, although the Government encourages these 

plant-level unions to join the SPSI.  Over 900 plant-level unions 

existed by December. 


There is a de facto single union system, the SPSI and its 13 federated 

sectoral unions.  The SPSI maintains international contacts but is not 

affiliated with any international trade union organizations except the 

Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Trade Union Council.  The 

SPSI completed in 1995 a transformation from a unitary (centralized) to 

a federative (decentralized) structure.  Its 13 industrial sectors are 

now registered as independent unions and are the only unions recognized 

by the Department of Manpower.  The Minister of Manpower has stated that 

any unions which are formed should affiliate with the SPSI federation, 

and that the Government will not recognize any unions outside the 

federation.  The Government's stated policy is to improve effectiveness 

of the recognized SPSI unions rather than to allow the formation of 

alternative organizations. 


Two other labor groups, Setia Kawan (Solidarity), also known as Serikat 

Buruh Merdeka (SBM, Free Trade Union), and Serikat Buruh Sejahtera 

Indonesia (SBSI, Indonesian Workers Welfare Union), have been organized 

but are not registered.  Setia Kawan, founded 4 years ago, is now 

essentially moribund. 


The SBSI, created in 1992, claims that it has formed the necessary 

number of factory-level units to meet the legal requirements for 

registration as a labor union, but its most recent request (in November 

1994) for registration as a trade union was denied.  The Department of 

Manpower has also blocked SBSI attempts to register with the Department 

of Home Affairs as a social organization under the ORMAS Law.  The 

Government considers the SBSI to be illegal.  Although the Government 

has not disbanded it, it has continually harassed the SBSI, especially 

after large-scale labor demonstrations, which SBSI helped to organize in 

Medan in April 1994, degenerated into anti-Chinese rioting.  The 

Government arrested a number of the Medan SBSI leadership and its 

National Chairman, Muchtar Pakpahan, and tried and convicted them of 

inciting violence in connection with the riots, charges which the 

International Labor Organization (ILO) and many international observers 

believed were unjustified.  This view appears to be correct.  All the 

others have now served their sentences and have been released.  The 

Supreme Court overturned Pakpahan's sentence (see Section 1.e.).  It is 

widely believed that the Government's actions against the SBSI 

leadership were intended to discredit or destroy the organization.  

Government harassment of SBSI, including disbanding its meetings and 

training seminars, continued throughout 1995. 


Because of past Department of Manpower regulations, many SPSI factory 

units are led by persons who have little credibility with their units' 

members because they were selected by employers.  A new regulation 

states that employees must only notify their employer that they wish to 

form a union and that they may proceed if they do not receive a response 

from their employer within 2 weeks.  Despite this new provision, strikes 

continue to occur because employers attempt to prevent the formation of 

union branches.  These strikes are invariably successful, and the 

formation of an SPSI unit follows shortly thereafter.  However, workers 

who are active in the formation of the union are frequently dismissed 

and have no practical protection by either law or government practice. 


Civil servants are not permitted to join unions and must belong to 

KORPRI, a nonunion association whose Central Development Council is 

chaired by the Minister of Home Affairs.  State enterprise employees, 

defined to include those working in enterprises in which the state has a 

5-percent holding or greater, usually are required to join KORPRI, but a 

small number of state enterprises have SPSI units.  Teachers must belong 

to the Teachers' Association (PGRI).  While technically classed as a 

union, the PGRI continues to function more as a welfare organization and 

does not appear to have engaged in trade union activities such as 

collective bargaining.   


Unions may draw up their own constitutions and rules and elect their 

representatives.  However, the Government has a great deal of influence 

over the SPSI and its federated unions.  The new head of SPSI is a 

member of Parliament for GOLKAR, and many members of the executive 

council are also members of GOLKAR and its constituent functional 

groups.  These persons have been given positions in the new federated 

industrial sector unions.  The Minister of Manpower is a member of the 

SPSI's Consultative Council.  Numerous regional SPSI officials also are 

GOLKAR members, sometimes serving in regional legislatures.  According 

to credible reports, the Government interferes in the selection of SPSI 

officers, especially by placing retired military officers in mid-level 

SPSI positions.  The Government has stated that it will cease the 

practice of placing military officers in union positions and eventually 

will remove officials with significant GOLKAR connections.  The 

Department of Manpower supported the SPSI in its successful resistance 

to an attempt by the regent of Kudus, Central Java, to name a retired 

military officer as SPSI district head. 


Under the Criminal Code, police approval is needed for all meetings of 

five or more people of all organizations outside offices or normal work 

sites, though the Government late in 1995 announced its intention to 

relax this regulation (see Section 2.b.).  This provision also applies 

to union meetings.  Permission is routinely given to the SPSI but not to 

rival organizations such as the SBSI which was prevented from holding 

several meetings over the last few years, including its first congress 

in 1993.  In April police curtailed an SPSI third anniversary gathering 

in Jakarta.  The Government may dissolve a union if it believes the 

union is acting against Pancasila, although it has never actually done 

so, and there are no laws or regulations specifying procedures for union 



In 1994 the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions lodged a 

formal complaint against Indonesia with the ILO, accusing the Government 

of denying workers' right to set up unions of their own choosing, 

harassing independent workers' organizations, and of taking other 

actions contrary to ILO standards on freedom of association and the 

right to collective bargaining.  In considering this complaint, the 

ILO's Committee on Freedom of Association declared in April that "legal 

impediments negate the right of workers to establish organizations of 

their own choosing" and deeply deplored "the seriousness of the 

allegations, which led it to believe that the general situation of 

workers in Indonesia has not evolved but is still characterized by 

serious and worsening infringements of basic human and trade union 

rights and violations of freedom of association principles in law and 



While Pancasila principles call for labor-management differences to be 

settled by consensus, all organized workers except civil servants have 

the legal right to strike.  While state enterprise employees and 

teachers rarely exercise this right, private sector strikes are 

frequent.  Before a strike can occur in the private sector, the law 

requires intensive mediation by the Department of Manpower and prior 

notice of the intent to strike.  However, no approval is required.  In 

practice, dispute settlement procedures are not followed, and formal 

notice of the intent to strike is rarely given because Department of 

Manpower procedures are slow.  These procedures have little credibility 

with workers, who ignore them.  Therefore, sudden strikes tend to result 

from longstanding grievances or recognition that legally mandated 

benefits or rights are not being received.  While strike leaders are not 

arrested for illegal strikes, they often lose their jobs and have no 

legal recourse for reinstatement.  The number of strikes has decreased 

significantly since the latter half of 1994, reversing a trend of the 

previous few years.  Government actions to raise and more vigorously 

enforce minimum wage rates may be partly responsible. 


   b.   The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively 


Collective bargaining is provided for by law, and the Department of 

Manpower promotes it within the context of the national ideology, 

Pancasila.  Until 1994 only recognized trade unions--the SPSI and its 

components--could legally engage in collective bargaining.  Since early 

1994, new government regulations also permit unaffiliated plant-level 

workers' associations to conclude legally binding agreements with 

employers, and some 24 had done so by mid-1995, according to government 

figures.  Agreements concluded by any other groups are not considered 

legally binding and are not registered by the Department of Manpower.  

The majority of the collective bargaining agreements between the SPSI 

units and employers are negotiated bilaterally.  Once notified that 25 

employees have joined a registered SPSI or independent plant level 

union, an employer is obligated to bargain with it.  In companies 

without unions, the Government discourages workers from utilizing 

outside assistance, e.g., during consultations with employers over 

company regulations.  Instead, the Department of Manpower prefers that 

workers seek its assistance and believes that its role is to protect 

workers.  There are credible reports that for some companies, 

consultations are perfunctory at best and usually with management-

selected workers; there are also credible reports to the contrary from 

foreign companies.  Over half of the factory-level SPSI units have 

collective bargaining agreements.  The degree to which these agreements 

are freely negotiated between unions and management without government 

interference varies.  By regulation, negotiations must be concluded 

within 30 days or be submitted to the Department of Manpower for 

mediation and conciliation or arbitration.  Most negotiations are 

concluded within the 30-day period.  Agreements are for 2 years and can 

be extended for 1 year.  According to NGO's involved in labor issues, 

the provisions of these agreements rarely go beyond the legal minimum 

standards established by the Government, and the agreements are often 

merely presented to worker representatives for signing rather than being 



Although government regulations prohibit employers from discriminating 

or harassing employees because of union membership, there are credible 

reports from union officials of employer retribution against union 

organizers, including firing, which is not effectively prevented or 

remedied in practice.  Some employers reportedly have warned their 

employees against contact with union organizers from the unrecognized 

SBSI organization.  Charges of antiunion discrimination are adjudicated 

by administrative tribunals.  However, because many union members 

believe the tribunals generally side with employers, many workers reject 

or avoid the procedure and present their grievances directly to 

Parliament and other agencies.  Administrative decisions in favor of 

dismissed workers tend to be monetary awards; workers are rarely 

reinstated.  The provisions of the law make it difficult to fire 

workers, but the law is often ignored in practice. 


Commenting on antiunion discrimination and restrictions on collective 

bargaining in the context of ILO Convention 98 on the right to organize 

and bargain collectively, the ILO's Committee on the Application of 

Conventions and Recommendations' June report expressed deep concern that 

"in spite of the direct contacts mission that went to Indonesia in 

November 1993, the discussion within the present committee last year, 

and the technical advisory mission that went to Indonesia in January 

1995, much progress was yet to be achieved to ensure in law and in 

practice the full application of the convention." 


The armed forces, which include the police, continues to involve itself 

in labor issues, despite new regulations promulgated in 1994 to prohibit 

military interference when there is no threat to security.  There is 

some evidence that the incidence of such military involvement has 

decreased since 1994, but not all observers share this perception.  

Workers charge that members of the security forces attempt to intimidate 

union organizers and strike leaders and have been present in significant 

numbers during some strikes, even when there has been no destruction of 

property or other violence.  Members of military intelligence attended 

and monitored trade union education seminars run by the Asian-American 

Free Labor Institute (AAFLI) and an AAFLI-SPSI sponsored seminar on 

democratization, even though these programs were approved by the 

Department of Manpower.  An AAFLI-SPSI program on legal aid for 

industrial disputes approved by the Department of Manpower, which the 

military command in Surabaya halted in 1993, was never allowed to resume 

despite government assurances to the contrary.  Military officials 

occasionally have been reported present during negotiations between 

workers and management.  Their presence has been described as 

intimidating by plant-level union officials.  A military officer was 

among those convicted in connection with the Marsinah murder case.  


Labor Law applies equally in export processing zones. 


   c.   Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor 


The law forbids forced labor, and the Government generally enforces it.  

However, there are credible reports of teenage children being forced to 

work under highly dangerous conditions on fishing platforms off the 

coast of northeastern Sumatra.  These platforms are miles off shore, 

with access controlled by the employers, and in many cases the children 

are held virtual prisoners on the platforms and forced to work for up to 

3 months at a time for well below the minimum wage.  According to 

knowledgeable sources, hundreds of children may be involved.  The local 

government has done little to address the problem. 


   d.   Minimum Age for Employment of Children 


Child labor exists in both industrial and rural areas, and in both the 

formal and informal sectors.  There are an estimated 2.7 million working 

children between the ages of 10 and 14, according to a 1994 report of 

the UNited Nations Human Rights Commission.  The number of out-of-school 

children age 7 to 15 who are economically active may be as high as 6.5 

million, according to a 1989 study, and the number would be even greater 

if those who have not left school are included.  Indonesia was one of 

the first countries to be selected for participation in the ILO's 

international Program on the Elimination of Child Labor (IPEC), and it 

signed a memorandum of understanding with the ILO on May 29, 1992 to 

guide collaboration under this program.  Recommendations for an action 

plan were developed at a national conference in Bogor in July 1993.  

During 1995, 30 government labor inspectors received ILO-sponsored 

training on child labor matters under the IPEC program.  However, 

enforcement remains lax. 


The Government acknowledges that there is a class of children who must 

work for socioeconomic reasons, and in 1987 the Minister of Manpower 

issued regulation per-ol/men/1987, "Protection of Children Forced to 

Work," to regulate this situation.  This regulation legalizes the 

employment of children under the age of 14 who must work to contribute 

to the income of their families.  It requires parental consent, 

prohibits dangerous or difficult work, limits work to 4 hours daily, and 

requires employers to report the number of children working under its 

provisions.  It does not set a minimum age for children in this 

category, effectively superseding the colonial-era government ordinance 

of December 17, 1925, on "Measures Limiting Child Labor and Nightwork of 

Women," which is still the current law governing child labor and sets a 

minimum age of 12 for employment.  The 1987 regulation is not enforced.  

No employers have been taken to court for violating its restrictions on 

the nature of employment for children, and no reports are collected from 

establishments employing children. 


Act No. 1 of 1951 was intended to bring into force certain labor 

measures, including provisions on child labor which would replace those 

of the 1925 legislation.  However, implementing regulations for the 

child labor provisions have never been issued.  Thus the child labor 

provisions in the 1951 Act have no validity. 


   e.   Acceptable Conditions of Work 


In the absence of a national minimum wage, area wage councils working 

under the supervision of the national wage council establish minimum 

wages for regions and basic needs figures for each province--a monetary 

amount considered sufficient to enable a single worker to meet the basic 

needs of nutrition, clothing, and shelter.  While Indonesia has 

succeeded in dramatically lowering the level of poverty throughout the 

country, the minimum wage rates until recently have usually lagged 

behind inflation and even the basic needs figures.  The Government 

raised minimum wage rates in 1994 and again on April 1.  There is no 

national minimum wage.  The minimum wage varies from province to 

province.  In Jakarta it is about $2 (RP 4600) per day.  While in 

certain provinces the new rates are still below the provincial basic 

needs figures, the Department of Manpower estimates that, on the 

average, minimum wage rates equal 108 percent of the basic needs 

figures, up from 97 percent as of August 1, 1994.  The Government 

announced in November that further increases would take effect April 1, 

1996.  There are no reliable statistics on the number of employers 

paying at least the minimum wage.  Independent observers' estimates 

range between 30 and 60 percent.  The Department of Manpower increased 

the number of labor inspectors and announced a scheme of "blacklisting" 

offending companies, but enforcement of minimum wage and other labor 

regulations remains inadequate, and sanctions too light.  The Department 

of Manpower has drafted a revision of a basic labor law that would raise 

statutory fines, which have been devalued by inflation, to more 

appropriate levels.  Some observers believe increased government 

pressures on employers and memories of the 1994 Medan riots have 

improved minimum wage compliance somewhat. 


Labor law and ministerial regulations provide workers with a variety of 

other benefits, such as social security, and workers in more modern 

facilities often receive health benefits and free meals.  The law 

establishes 7-hour workdays and 40-hour workweeks, with one 30-minute 

rest period for each 4 hours of work.  The law also requires 1 day of 

rest weekly.  The daily overtime rate is 1 1/2 times the normal hourly 

rate for the first hour, and twice the hourly rate for additional 

overtime.  Regulations allow employers to deviate from the normal work 

hours upon request to the Minister of Manpower and with the agreement of 

the employee.  Observance of laws regulating benefits and labor 

standards varies from sector to sector and by region.  Employer 

violations of legal requirements are fairly common and often result in 

strikes and employee protests.  The Ministry of Manpower continues 

publicly to urge employers to comply with the law.  However, in general, 

government enforcement and supervision of labor standards are weak. 


Both law and regulations provide for minimum standards of industrial 

health and safety.  In the largely Western-operated oil sector, safety 

and health programs function reasonably well.  However, in the country's 

100,000 larger registered companies in the nonoil sector, the quality of 

occupational health and safety programs varies greatly.  The enforcement 

of health and safety standards is severely hampered by the limited 

number of qualified Department of Manpower inspectors as well as by the 

low level of employee appreciation for sound health and safety 

practices.  Allegations of corruption on the part of inspectors are 

common.  Workers are obligated to report hazardous working conditions.  

Employers are forbidden by law from retaliating against those who do, 

but the law is not effectively enforced.