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Kebebasan memilih Sikap

Victor Frankl

Diterbitkan 22 Jan 2021 oleh Riza Imaduddin Abdali

Shrinking Social and Political Space for Civil Society Organization in Indonesia


The status of freedom in Indonesia also declining from Free to Partly Free (Freedom Index, 2017). There are three things in civil liberties that caused a deterioration in the status of freedom in Indonesia, which are 1) religious minorities and other minorities group are facing continuous harassment and intimidation, often with actual consent from the local government and security forces, 2) more than 2000 people were reported to have been detained throughout 2016 for participating in nonviolent rallies supporting independence for Papua and West Papua Provinces, and 3) In September 2016, Jakarta Governor, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama made a statement that was claimed to be blasphemy against Islam and resulted in him receiving criminal punishment and serial protests in Jakarta.


Based on data released by the Central Bureau of Statistics (BPS) in 2016, the Indonesian Democracy Index (IDI) suffered a setback to 70.09 from 72.82 (2015). This setback was due to a significant decrease in aspects of civil liberties and democratic institutions. Especially on the aspect of civil liberties, there are two variables that contribute greatly, namely 1) the threat/use of violence by government officials that inhibits freedom of association and assembly and 2) written rules that are discriminatory in terms of gender, ethnicity and groups.

The status of freedom in Indonesia also declining from Free to Partly Free (Freedom Index, 2017). There are three things in civil liberties that caused a deterioration in the status of freedom in Indonesia, which are 1) religious minorities and other minorities group are facing continuous harassment and intimidation, often with actual consent from the local government and security forces, 2) more than 2000 people were reported to have been detained throughout 2016 for participating in nonviolent rallies supporting independence for Papua and West Papua Provinces, and 3) In September 2016, Jakarta Governor, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama made a statement that was claimed to be blasphemy against Islam and resulted in him receiving criminal punishment and serial protests in Jakarta.

The declining status of freedom in Indonesia shows that the social and political space is shrinking more and more, which affected to less space for civil society to express, associate and assembly, including the minority groups. Coalition for Freedom of Association (KKB) has actively been monitoring and evaluating the implementation of Societal-based Organization Law (UU Ormas) since 2013 - 2018. In each year there is an increase in events, expansion of the location and diversity of victims.

One of the factors driving the deterioration of the supporting environment for the freedom of civil society organizations in Indonesia is the implementation of Societal-based Organization Law, especially related to SKT[1], which contradicts the decision of the Constitutional Court (MK). The Verdict of Constitutional Court stated that SKT was voluntary while in its implementation, the government would actually apply it as an obligation.

During the monitoring period, the KKB recorded repressive events or actions in the implementation of Societal-based Organization Law happened in 29 provinces spread across 87 districts/cities in Indonesia and 241 organizations were affected. Following are some examples of key findings:

  1. There are more repressive regulations for civil society organizations after the ratification of Law 16 Year 2017. The government can now dissolve the organization without going through court decisions. In addition, local governments can freeze/prohibit the activities of an organization because they are considered not to have formal legality from the government (they do not have SKT).
  2. The implementation of SKT causes individuals/minorities of religious/belief to lose their right not to be recognized. The government only recognizes the identity of a person's beliefs (outside the six official religions in Indonesia), when he/she becomes a member of a belief organization that is "recognized" by the government (has SKT). If not, then the person cannot (does not have rights) to include his/her belief identity on the Indonesian Identity Card (KTP)[2] and threatened not to be able to carry out their belief activities.
  3. The government requires ownership of SKT for organizations that will access public information. Even though the Law No. 14 Year 2008 on Public Information Openness does not require this. This requirement makes the right to information threatened not to be fulfilled, especially for information applicants from organizational elements (non-individuals).
  4. SKT has limited participation in election supervision. Through the General Elections Commision (KPU) Regulation No. 8 Year 2017 and the Election Supervisory Agency (Bawaslu) Regulation No. 4 Year 2018, it is required that institutions/organizations to supervise elections must have SKT[3]. This provision is contrary to the Verdict of Constitutional Court as described above and is not in line with the concept of expanding community-based election supervision.

Various findings of the implementation of Societal-based Organization Law are very contradictory to the articles of the 1945 Constitution, Verdict of the Constitutional Court Number 3/PUU-XII/2014, and the principles of restrictions regulated in international human rights law. The government has intervened in too many CSO spaces through the limitation and determination of organizational views or ideologies, the requirements for establishing organizations, the coverage areas required for organizations, also to oblige registered organizations and make it a requirement for accessing resources, doing activities, participation and obtaining public information. This is shrinking the social and political space for civil society organizations (CSOs).

[1] SKT is the registration letter issued by Directorate Generate nation Unity and Politics of Ministry Home Affair

[2] Accessed from https://www.tagar.id/kesbangpol-batang-antisipasi-masalah-penghayat-kepercayaan on 19 October 2018.

[3] Accessed from http://kpu-lomboktimurkab.go.id/m/pendaftaran_pemantau.pdf downloaded on 19 October 2018