A workshop is taking place at IDLO's Branch Office in The Hague to debate recent developments in legal aid services and access to justice in the host country, the Netherlands, in Indonesia and elsewhere.
A lower middle-income country since 2008, Indonesia has boosted living standards and increasingly more people have access to basic services. Remarkable steps in tackling social and economic challenges have been made. Yet, considerable challenges remain as Indonesia seeks to reduce poverty, eradicate corruption, ensure equal access to justice and protect human rights. Natural resource management is facing serious threats, and vulnerable groups living in remote regions have limited access to social services and legal aid. Conflicting laws and regulations on both the national and local level and a lack of capacity of, and coordination among, government institutions hinder Indonesia from realizing its full potential, while enhancing sustainable and inclusive growth.
Indonesia and the Netherlands have a long-shared history of cooperation in the field of rule of law. The common heritage of legal systems creates an opportunity for partnerships between Indonesian and Dutch justice sector institutions. Given the shared goals of improving access to justice through the rule of law, IDLO is working with the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Jakarta to administer the Indonesia-Netherlands Rule of Law Fund. This program aims to support the development of effective, accountable and inclusive justice sector institutions, and ensure equal access to justice in Indonesia.
The Programmatic Framework for the Indonesia-Netherlands Rule of Law Fund builds on Indonesian development plans and continues the efforts of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Jakarta to support the consolidation of the rule of law and reform agenda. The primary objective of the Rule of Law Fund is to support the development of effective, accountable and inclusive justice sector institutions, ensuring equal access to justice in Indonesia.
Sustainable management of natural resources in Indonesia is negatively affected by overlapping land permits, with local governments, companies, local populations and indigenous people simultaneously claiming the same land. In East Kalimantan, the government has identified several nature reserve areas, but in the same area there are vast coal deposits, oil palm plantation sites and timber, gas, oil and coal extraction companies. Beyond this, local communities claim ownership of land based on historic or customary rights.
Fires are affecting forests and peat lands in Indonesia. This is problematic because these areas are often declared de facto open areas for which the government grants licenses to concession companies. Overlapping permits can result in farmers being displaced on their own lands, tenure conflicts and the criminalization or eviction of rural communities.
Corruption can be difficult to uncover, especially as technology is increasingly used to conceal corrupt behavior. Corruption cases handled by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) that involve electronic evidence, such as e-mails or social media posts, have had a conviction rate of 100 percent. Yet, law enforcement officers do not always allow electronic evidence in courts, and standard operational procedures providing guidance on electronic evidence handling and a digital forensic lab that meets international standards are lacking.
Capacity Strengthening of the Indonesian Government on Cross-Border Asset Recovery and Mutual Legal Assistance (SIGAP)
Indonesia is facing challenges from embezzlement of stolen assets, which has a negative impact on the country’s political, social, and economic development. Asset-recovery procedures prove to be complex, time-consuming and require expertise and political will. The procedures also require various government bodies to coordinate their actions and engage in resource-intensive processes. To respond to these issues, the Indonesian Attorney General’s Office established an Asset Recovery Centre (Pusat Pemulihan Aset or PPA) dedicated to manage all asset recovery-related issues.
Industrial activities in Indonesia can often have a negative impact on communities living along rivers. Regional governments have difficulties monitoring and acting upon industrial water pollution cases, as clear strategies, guidelines and mechanisms to hold those responsible accountable are often absent. Pollution victims are frequently forced to deal with the issue themselves, and tend to settle for low financial compensations, leaving wider environmental challenges unresolved.