Last Updated: Monday, 30 May 2016, 14:07 GMT

U.S. Department of State Country Report on Human Rights Practices 1994 - Indonesia

Publisher United States Department of State
Publication Date 30 January 1995
Cite as United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State Country Report on Human Rights Practices 1994 - Indonesia, 30 January 1995, available at: [accessed 31 May 2016]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.


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, and they have traditionally acted swiftly to suppress perceived threats to security, whether from criminal acts, separatist movements, or allegedly subversive activities, with a vigor that has often led to human rights abuses. A few military leaders sometimes 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. Though still a poor country, Indonesia's economy continued to expand in 1994, especially in manufacturing, with gross domestic product expected to increase by 6.7 percent. With inflation remaining under control, 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 70 million in 1970 to 27 million in 1990. Income inequality has been slightly reduced over the past quarter century. Widespread unemployment persists, however, as do corruption and influence peddling.

The Government continued to commit serious human rights abuses and in some areas, notably freedom of expression, it became markedly more repressive, departing from a long-term trend towards greater openness. The most serious abuses included the continuing inability of the people to change their government and harsh repression of East Timorese dissidents. Reports of extrajudicial killings declined. Security forces continued to torture those in custody: some sources reported that the use of torture declined, but definitive statistics are not available. Extrajudicial arrests and detentions continued, as did the use of excessive violence in dealing with suspected criminals or perceived troublemakers.

The Government imposed severe limitations on freedoms of speech, press, and assembly, and suppressed efforts to develop a free trade union movement. The armed forces continued to be responsible for the most serious human rights abuses. Some military leaders showed a willingness to admit misconduct publicly and take action against offenders. The Government in a few cases brought abusers to justice, but their punishment rarely matched the severity of the abuse. The judiciary continued to be largely subservient to the executive branch and the military. Widespread corruption in the legal system remained a serious problem.

The Government withdrew the licenses of three leading publications. It prepared but has not issued a draft presidential decree that would restrict further the activities of nongovernmental organizations (NGO's), and it increasingly cracked down on antigovernmental critics, labor activists, and alleged criminals during the year, including in an anticrime campaign dubbed "Operation Cleanup" by the Government. These constraints, however, did not completely dampen dissenting voices in the media, and the many human rights NGO's continued to be active. The government-appointed National Human Rights Commission established in 1993 showed some independence and a willingness to criticize government policies and actions. On East Timor, no progress was made in accounting for the missing persons following the 1991 Dili incident, and troop levels remained unjustifiably high. Somewhat greater access was permitted to foreign journalists and others, including a July visit by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Summary, Arbitrary and Extra-judicial Executions, although some NGO representatives and foreign journalists continued to encounter difficulties or were denied access to East Timor.


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

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. Although security forces continue to employ harsh measures against separatist movements in these three areas, there were no confirmed reports of politically motivated extrajudicial killings in 1994.

However, there were reports of security forces killing armed insurgents including six Aceh Merdeka supporters in clashes in Aceh. At least four members of the security forces were also reported killed in these clashes. Reliable civilian sources reported that in East Timor security forces killed several Timorese civilians. The number of such reports was lower than in previous years, however. There were no reports of such killings in Irian Jaya.

Troop strength in East Timor declined in 1994. Reliable estimates indicated that about 6,000 army troops from outside the province reinforced the normal garrison of about 3,000. There are also about 3,000 police in East Timor. Commanders there have stated that they intend to review the level of troops in the province for possible further reductions on a twice yearly basis. 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 trying them.

The police often employ excessive force in apprehending suspects or coping with alleged criminals. In Jakarta police in April mounted an anticrime program dubbed "Operation Cleanup," in which they employed deadly force against suspects. In response to protests that the methods used are unjustifiably harsh and amount to execution without trial, police have generally claimed that the suspects were fleeing, resisting arrest, or threatening the police. Although accurate statistics were unavailable, the number of fatal shootings by police seemed to be increasing, with some 150 incidents reported in West Java (including Jakarta) by mid-July. Human rights groups were particularly concerned that this cleanup campaign was intensified in the weeks leading up to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum (APEC) meeting in November. In North Sumatra, 80 shootings by police, including 4 deaths, were reported by mid-December.

In the past the authorities almost never took action against police for using excessive force. However, there is some indication that the situation is improving, although action taken by the authorities is still not commensurate with the gravity of police abuses. For example, a military court in Medan sentenced a policeman accused of killing a suspect in 1993, who was allegedly trying to escape, to 3 months in prison in 1994. In March a military court sentenced four policemen in Palembang to prison terms of 2 to 3 months for shooting, but not killing, a suspect at close range. The five police officers detained in 1993 in North Sumatra in connection with the death of Syamsul Bahri were not tried, apparently because the family did not pursue the case. At least one of the 10 police cadets accused of beating a man to death in Kupang in April was sentenced to 2 years in prison. At year's end the military claimed to be still investigating the September 1993 killings by security forces of four demonstrators who were peacefully protesting construction of a dam in Madura; some two dozen police and military personnel are involved. Residents from the area met with representatives of the National Human Rights Commission in May and December to request legal action against civilians and military personnel accused of involvement in the shootings.

b. Disappearance

There were no politically motivated abductions. Security forces in areas of conflict often hold suspects for long periods without formal charges, but these cases usually end with official acknowledgement of detention (see Section l.d.). Reliable sources report that all those alleged to have disappeared during the mid-July disturbances at the University of East Timor have been located.

Government efforts to account for the missing and dead from the November 12, 1991 military shooting of civilians in Dili, East Timor, remained inadequate. No additional cases of those still listed as missing in a report the military gave to Human Rights Watch/Asia were resolved during the year. 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 Punishment

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, security forces continued to employ torture and other forms of mistreatment, particularly in regions of security concerns such as Aceh and East Timor, although some sources reported that the use of torture declined. Legal protections are both inadequate and widely ignored. According to the January, 1994 report of the Special Rapporteur on Torture to the United Nations Human Rights Commission, the most commonly used methods are: beating on the head, shins, and torso with fists, lengths of wood, iron bars, bottles, rocks, and electric cables; kicking with heavy boots; burning with lighted cigarettes; electric shocks; slashing with razor blades and knives; death threats, faked executions and deliberate wounding with firearms; pouring water through the nose; prolonged immersion in fetid water; hanging upside down by the feet; placing heavy objects on knees and other joints; isolation; sleep and food deprivation and genital mutilation, sexual molestation, and rape. Civilian sources in East Timor report that security agencies still employ torture before releasing suspects to police custody, particularly electric shocks, though its incidence has decreased.

Police often resort to physical abuses even in minor incidents, and 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. Officials have publicly condemned police brutality and harsh prison conditions and occasionally instigate disciplinary action, including transfer, dismissal, and trials leading to prison. In August a civilian employed at a Medan jail was tried on charges of causing the death of an inmate who died from injuries sustained in a beating. He was sentenced to 6 months in jail. 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 1994 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. In January the authorities suspended visitation rights for jailed East Timorese Fretilin leader Xanana Gusmao for 1 month following release of a letter he sent to the International Commission of Jurists which Indonesian authorities deemed objectionable.

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. Some persons suspected of involvement in the Medan riots in April were arrested before formal warrants were issued.

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 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 but in March 59 people being held in connection with the 1989-91 Aceh insurgency were released without charges or trials, bringing the total number released since 1990 to around 965 persons. Many had been held incommunicado without knowing the charges against them; some, including at least five of those released in 1994, had been held for over 2 years. The authorities require many of those released to report back at regular intervals. Three other Acehnese convicted previously of subversion were released in 1994 after serving two-thirds of their sentences. The decline in armed separatist activity led to fewer detentions, and fewer than 100 Acehnese were believed to be in detention without trial at year's end. An additional five persons were sentenced for subversion in Aceh in 1994, and the trials of five others on charges of subversion and narcotics smuggling were scheduled to begin in mid-December.

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. Three East Timorese students detained by police in August for bringing forbidden books and foreign items into the province were released, but two of them are required to report to the authorities. Six East Timorese who received lengthy sentences in connection with the November 1991 shootings in Dili were transferred to the maximum security prison in Semarang without prior notice to their families or humanitarian organizations, and their whereabouts were unknown for several days. Jose Antonio Neves, an acknowledged member of the clandestine proindependence movement, and in detention since May, was charged with sedition in September. His defense attorney asked for dismissal of the charges, citing procedural flaws in Neves' arrest. They also allege that police denied him access to legal representation for the first 2 months of his detention. Around 100 people were arrested during demonstrations and outbreaks of violence in Dili around the time of the November APEC meetings. Some remained in custody at year's end.

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 three-judge panel conducts trials at the district court level, poses questions, hears evidence, decides guilt or innocence, and assesses punishment. Initial judgments are rarely reversed in the appeals process, although sentences are sometimes increased or reduced (both the defense and the prosecution may appeal). In 1994 for example, the 4-year sentence of a student tried in Jakarta for insulting the President in leaflets he distributed near the Parliament in November 1993 was increased to 5 years upon appeal of the prosecutor. The relatively light (6 months) sentences of 21 other students who were also convicted of insulting the President during demonstrations at Parliament in December 1993 were increased to between 8 and 14 months following appeal by the prosecutor. In August the Supreme Court ordered the release of those among the 21 students whose sentences had been raised to 8 months when they were still being held a week following completion of their sentences.

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. For example, the court trying the suspects in the Marsinah murder admitted their confessions into evidence and convicted them of the murder, even though the defendants claimed that their confessions had been obtained by coercion and torture. The court allowed defense attorneys for the student mentioned above whose sentence was raised to 5 years on appeal, to call only one out of 17 witnesses they wished to present. Mochtar Pakpahan was not allowed to call expert legal witnesses in his defense (see Section 6). 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 must 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 authorities reportedly pressured several defendants tried in Medan on charges stemming from labor unrest in April, which turned into anti-Chinese riots, to decline attorneys, while some attorneys involved in the cases were subjected to official harassment of various kinds. Five East Timorese sentenced to 20 months imprisonment for publicly expressing anti-Indonesian sentiments during a banner-waving incident in the presence of foreign journalists were not represented by counsel. Authorities claim they declined the right to counsel, while nongovernmental sources indicated access to counsel was impeded, and that the defense lawyers were not notified in advance of their appearance in court that sentencing was to begin.

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 judicial procedures for limited judicial review, and some cases of this kind were initiated in 1994. 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 control often determines the outcome of a case. Corruption permeates the legal system. In civil and criminal cases, the payment of bribes can influence prosecution, conviction, and sentencing. To address this problem, the Government announced that the salaries of judges would be doubled as of January 1, 1995.

The Supreme Court bowed to government pressure in a longstanding land dispute between the central Java government and 34 farmers who had been forced to sell their land for the construction of the Kedungombo dam, a development project funded by the World Bank. The villagers sued for increased compensation. The Supreme Court initially overturned decisions of both the Semarang district court and the central Java high court in favor of the Government, awarding the plaintiffs even greater compensation than they had sought, including "nonmaterial losses." However, the Supreme Court later reversed its own ruling after the Government refused to accept it and asked the Court to review it again.

In an unusual move in November, the East Java High Court overturned the conviction of the reputed mastermind of the Marsinah murder for insufficient evidence. The Government has appealed the decision to the Supreme Court despite provisions of the Criminal Code which disallow an appeal in such circumstances.

For the fourth consecutive year, there was a decline in the number of persons prosecuted under the 1963 Antisubversion Law, which carries a maximum penalty of death. The authorities tried at least five persons in 1994 under the Law for subversion in Aceh and sentenced them to from 19 to 20 years' imprisonment. The Antisubversion Law 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 makes it possible to prosecute people merely for peaceful expression of views contrary to those of the Government.

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. Informed sources estimate the number of people serving sentences for subversion in 1994, 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 around 300. 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. Six prisoners convicted of subversion remained under death sentence. Five of these were associated with the Indonesian Communist party, are 78 or more years old, and have been imprisoned for 29 years. In June two students convicted of subversion in 1993 for possessing banned literature and participating in illegal discussion groups were granted conditional release after serving two-thirds of their sentences. Three alleged members of Aceh Merdeka convicted of subversion were released after serving lengthy sentences.

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

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. The Government stated in late 1990 that this latter group then totaled 1,410,333 people. 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, which readily identifies them to prospective employers or government officials.

The Government's transmigration program which moved large numbers of people from overpopulated islands to more isolated and backward ones has been criticized by nongovernmental human rights monitors. They say that it not only violates the rights of indigenous people but also those of the transmigrants, claiming that they are frequently duped into leaving their home villages without any means of return (see Section 5.).

Section 2 Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

a. Freedom of Speech and Press

The trend toward greater openness and freedom of expression in the press, which began in 1993 and continued through the first half of 1994, suffered a serious setback on June 21 when the Government revoked the publishing permits of three of Indonesia's best known weekly publications: Tempo, Detik, and Editor. Tempo was the nation's most influential newsmagazine, founded in 1971 and widely respected for the breadth and depth of its coverage. Detik was a hard-hitting tabloid specializing in political affairs and social issues. Editor was a respected voice on public affairs. The official reasons given for revocation of the licenses were that Tempo had endangered national security through its reporting, and that the other two had committed administrative violations. It is widely believed, however, that reporting of alleged differences in the Cabinet over a controversial military procurement issue was the proximate cause of the Government's action. 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. Three other publications had their licenses revoked in the last decade, although two later reappeared with new names and changes in top management. In December Minister of Information Harmoko stated that the Government would issue no new press licenses during 1995 for publications on current affairs, and he said there was no chance that the majority group of journalists from the former Tempo magazine would be issued a press permit to found a successor publication; rather, the Minister noted that a press permit had already been issued to a smaller group of former Tempo employees. Other means of control include regulation of the amount of advertising permitted and of the number of pages allowed in newspapers. The practice of telephoning editors to caution against publishing certain stories--the so-called telephone culture--continued, and its incidence seemed to increase following the action against the three publications in June. Self-censorship continued to be another publicly acknowledged brake on free expression whose effectiveness increased after June.

Military and civilian authorities continued in some cases to issue instructions, more or less subtle, to local journalists on what they could print. For example, after extensive coverage of the April strikes and riots, press coverage of labor issues dropped markedly in Medan following directives from authorities to cut back on controversial issues. In Jakarta, papers were warned against covering topics ranging from the prolonged summer drought to the ban of the three publications. Medan police tried to curb foreign coverage of the April disturbances by insisting on special permits from the ministry of information, and at least two foreign reporters were forced to leave the city. The staff of East Timor's only newspaper were subject to various forms of intimidation by unknown sources, and a newspaper-owned vehicle was burned and heavily damaged following the newspaper's coverage of a mid-July demonstration which was at variance with the official account. The Government's actions against press freedom in 1994 limited the increasingly vocal and independent press that has emerged in recent years. Although protest demonstrations dwindled following the harsh government reaction against some demonstrators, active opposition to the new government press measures continued in other channels. A number of unsanctioned journals continued to provide critical coverage of controversial issues, but they were circulated in small numbers largely in major cities. In August, 55 journalists founded the Alliance of Independent Journalists, rivaling the government-sponsored Indonesian Journalists Association (PWI), to work for freedom of expression and oppose any form of censorship and interference in press freedom. In September the former chief editor of Tempo brought a lawsuit in Jakarta administrative court against the Minister of Information over the revocation of Tempo's license, the first ever such lawsuit. At year's end, this suit was still not decided. In October most of the editorial staff of Detik joined the staff of the existing publication Symphony and revamped it to resemble Detik. However, publication was suspended after only a few days when the PWI withdrew its legally required approval, thus jeopardizing Symphony's own publication license.

While public dialog is still freer than it was a few years ago, the Government continues to impose restrictions on free speech. For example, on August 29 security forces prohibited noted human rights activist Adnan Buyung Nasution from addressing a seminar on development in Indonesian society in Surabaya. The Government also prevented several other public figures, including members of the National Human Rights Commission, from participating in public seminars on one or more occasions. Authorities often capriciously applied these strictures without clear justification for the prohibition. In East Timor authorities denied permission for NGO's and the local university to hold an open seminar on development and the local environment. In February authorities in East Java banned the performance in Surabaya of a play by well-known author Emha Ainun Nadjib, which was critical of government land policies in development cases. Subsequently the authorities allowed performance of the play, which had been previously performed in Jogjakarta. Two U.S. movies were banned following protest by Islamic religious leaders. However, a play about the controversial murder of labor activist Marsinah was staged in Jakarta in September.

The electronic media remained more cautious in their coverage of the Government than the printed media. The Government operates the nationwide television network, which has 12 regional stations. Private television companies continued to expand, with a fifth station scheduled to begin operation in November. All are required to broadcast government-produced news, but many also produce public affairs style programming that borders on news.

Approximately 600 private radio broadcasting companies exist in addition to the Government's national radio network. 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, many broadcast interviews and foreign news as well.

Foreign television and radio broadcasts are readily accessible to those who can afford the technology, and satellite dishes have proliferated throughout the country. The Government makes no efforts to restrict access to this programming.

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 normally available, although several issues were delayed or embargoed in 1994 when they carried stories on matters considered sensitive, such as East Timor.

Special permission is necessary for foreign journalists to travel to East Timor, and the Government organized a number of group trips to the province during the year. Approval for individual trips by journalists to the province, and for travel outside Dili, remains difficult. During the November APEC meetings, the Government approved travel to the province by several dozen foreign journalists, the largest number to visit the province in many years. Some six journalists and freelancers who had not obtained permits were denied access to the province or instructed by authorities to leave East Timor.

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 tightly controlled. Scholars sometimes refrain from producing or including in lectures and class discussions materials that they believe might provoke government displeasure. An Indonesian academic who has conducted studies on East Timor and whose conclusions are at variance with those of the Government was strongly criticized by government figures and his house stoned by unknown youths. Publishers sometimes refuse to accept manuscripts dealing with controversial issues. On occasion the Government bans publications and books outright. In January it banned a book dealing with President Soeharto's rise to power, and in August, the Attorney General banned a book published by the leader of the messianic Islamic sect Darul Arqam, the third book of this group to be banned in Indonesia. On the other hand, "The Fugitive," a book by the prominent Indonesian novelist and former political prisoner Pramoedya Anata Toer, which together with other works by Pramoedya had been banned for many years, was published in August.

b. Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association

Although the Constitution provides for freedom of assembly and association, the Government places significant controls on the exercise of this right. All organizations must have government permission to hold regional and national meetings. Public marches and demonstrations also require permits, which are frequently not granted. During the year, government and military authorities returned to a more restrictive policy on authorizing public protest demonstrations, after loosening such restrictions for a while during the latter half of 1993. Many jurisdictions often require prior approval for smaller gatherings as well. While obtaining such approval is usually routine, the authorities occasionally withhold permission or break up peaceful gatherings for which no permit has been obtained. In 1994 authorities broke up a meeting between an attorney and his clients in a labor compensation case, and a public seminar on land issues which was sponsored by a well-known NGO.

The courts sometimes hand out stiff penalties to persons convicted in cases involving free expression, as in the two cases of student demonstrators (mentioned in Section l.e. above), whose sentences were increased on appeal, while at other times they are more lenient. On June 27, security forces violently broke up two peaceful marches on the Ministry of Information by persons protesting the withdrawal of publication licenses from the three publications mentioned above. Approximately 30 persons were detained by the authorities and several demonstrators were injured. The Jakarta central district court sentenced all but one of the persons arrested on the day after their arrest for demonstrating without a permit, and they were released after paying a nominal fine equivalent to $1. The remaining person, a parolee, was returned to prison to finish his sentence. On July 7, police entered the compound of the Legal Aid Society, a prominent Indonesian human rights NGO, and arrested 41 hunger strikers who were protesting the media banning. These demonstrators, too, were sentenced to pay token fines and released after 2 days. Other demonstrations on this issue during this period were allowed to take place without incident, such as a July 5 demonstration of journalists in Jakarta.

A group of several hundred people, who had assembled at the University of East Timor wishing to march to the provincial assembly to air their views about an incident of alleged religious disrespect the previous day, were dispersed by riot police who refused to let the march proceed without a permit. Around a dozen individuals were lightly injured in this incident, and a number were briefly detained. The authorities showed greater restraint than in past incidents involving crowds, using police rather than the army and avoiding the use of firearms.

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. The 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 late 1994, the Government prepared a draft presidential decree that would bring the more than 700 NGO's under controls similar to the ORMAS Law. The draft decree made available by the Government for comment indicated that NGO's would have to receive government approval for the use of any foreign assistance they accept, and such assistance must be deemed consistent with national development policy and not detrimental to national interests. NGO's would also be prohibited from engaging in political activity and would receive government guidance on fulfilling their declared functions. Many NGO's, fearing that the proposed new decree is an effort by the Government to control their organizations or curb some of their activities, reacted strongly to the draft which, at year's end, the Government had not yet put into effect.

c. Freedom of Religion

The Constitution provides for religious freedom and belief in one Supreme God. The Government recognizes Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, and Hinduism, and permits 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. Some restrictions on certain types of religious activity exist (see below).

Because the first tenet of Pancasila is belief in a supreme being, 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. There are government procedures for banning religious sects in Indonesia. Among those prohibited are Jehovah's Witnesses and Baha'i. In 1994 the Government banned the messianic Islamic sect Darul Arqam in a number of provinces, prohibited three of its books, and in August forbade its leader, Abuya Sheikh Imam Ashaari Muhammad, from entering Indonesia.

Violence between rival factions in the Huria Kristen Batak Protestan (HKBP), Indonesia's largest Protestant church, continued in north Sumatra throughout 1994, with at least six fatalities. 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. To date, however, 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.

There were widespread reports from religious minorities indicating that the extent of religious tolerance weakened somewhat during the year and that they felt less free to carry out their religious activities unimpeded. High-level officials, including the President, however, spoke out several times to emphasize the importance of religious tolerance. Two army privates accused of provocative behavior during a Catholic mass in East Timor in June were court-martialed. In October both were expelled from the army, and received prison sentences of 2, and 2 and 1/2 years respectively. 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 Indonesia and travel abroad for religious gatherings.

d. Freedom of Movement Within the Country, Foreign Travel, Emigration, and Repatriation

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 in January to a few hundred by August. According to government authorities, no one is now prohibited for political reasons from leaving the country. However, the Government 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, and 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 1994, and it occasional 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 l.f.) to change their place of residence.

In past years the Government admitted large numbers of asylum seekers from Indochina. Only a relatively small number now remain and the Government plans to work with Vietnam under a tripartite Memorandum of Understanding signed in 1993 with the United Nations High commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to peacefully repatriate the remaining asylees 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 an unelected 20 percent of the seats in national, provincial, and district parliaments, and occupy numerous key positions in the administration. The other 80 percent of national and local parliamentary seats are filled through elections held every 5 years. All adult citizens are eligible to vote, except active duty members of the armed forces, convicted criminals serving prison sentences, and some 36,000 former PKI members. 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 l.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-sponsored 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.

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 much more active in scrutinizing government policy through hearings at which members of the Cabinet, military commanders, and other high officials are asked to testify. For example, parliamentary examination brought to light a major scandal in government banks and forced the Government to address it seriously. 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 national Parliament 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 rights operate energetically, some human rights monitors face government harassment such as frequent visits by police or agents from military intelligence, interrogations at police stations, or cancellations of private meetings (see Section 2.b.). Following the April labor unrest in Medan, local security authorities increased surveillance and harassment of NGO's in north Sumatra that were active in labor affairs. Moreover, the Government prepared in 1994 a draft decree which, if issued and fully implemented, would give it broad powers to control the activities of NGO's concerned with human rights and seriously impede their ability to function.

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 unacceptable. In 1994 it pressured several neighboring countries to prohibit or restrict NGO-sponsored human rights seminars on the situation in East Timor.

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. However, as of year's end, the Government had not approved the ICRC's request to open an office in Aceh, though official cooperation on access by its delegates from Jakarta showed substantial improvement in 1994.

ICRC access also greatly improved in other areas, including East Timor where it has an office. The ICRC no longer maintains an office in Irian Jaya but visits that province from Jakarta several times a year. However, in 1994 the visiting representative of Human Rights Watch/Asia, a key U. S. human rights NGO, was denied permission to visit Medan and East Timor. The Government authorized the visit of the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary and Arbitrary Executions and allowed him to see those persons he had requested. The Rapporteur publicly questioned, however, whether all those who might have wanted to speak with him had been afforded full access. In January the National Human Rights Commission, most of whose members were named the month before, began operations. Despite continuing skepticism about the Commission's independence, in part because its members are appointed by the President, commission members during the course of the year actively looked into many of the numerous complaints and petitions presented to it and in some cases showed themselves willing to question government actions. For example, the Commission strongly condemned the Government's revocation of the publication licenses of three publications (Section 2.a.) as an infringement of free speech, and it has criticized the way in which the suspects in the Marsinah murder case were prosecuted, as well as questioning whether all the guilty had been brought to justice. 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 and encourage corrective action. A team visited East Timor in September and December. Operations in 1994 were hampered somewhat by startup logistical and procedural problems.

Section 5 Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Religion, Disability, Language, or Social Status


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 position scale. For example, 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 on a daily only basis. As a result, they are less likely to receive benefits legally mandated for permanent workers.

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.

Rape is a punishable offense in Indonesia. Men have been arrested and sentenced for rape and attempted rape. The National Police reported 1,341 rape cases for 1991, 1,356 cases for 1992, and 1,341 cases for 1993. However, 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 exam 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."In general, the problem of 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. There are no battered women's shelters. Many women rely on extended family systems for assistance in cases of domestic violence.


The Government is committed to children's rights and welfare, but is hampered by a lack of resources in translating 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 is 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. Female genital mutilation (FGM) occurs in some parts of Indonesia; precise statistics are not available. 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.

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 them more closely into Indonesian society than to protect their traditional way of life.

The Government's transmigration program, which moved large numbers of people from overpopulated islands to more isolated and backward ones, has been significantly reduced in recent years. 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.

Human rights monitors have expressed concern about the practices of some logging companies which recruit indigenous people for work. According to Human Rights Watch, this activity in Irian Jaya has separated these people from their traditional economies. Workers reportedly are paid using company-issued credit cards that can be used only at company stores where prices are fixed. Workers go into debt and remain indentured to the company.

Where indigenous people clash with development projects, the developers almost always win. For example, in Kalimantan members of a Dayak tribe were forced from their land by a timber concession in August. In retaliation, they attacked company facilities and several were subsequently arrested. Most civil servants in local governments in Irian Jaya and other isolated areas continue to come primarily from Java rather than the 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. In August the ban on use of Chinese characters was eased slightly to allow firms working in the tourist industry 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 August has been allowed in training 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 1994, and 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 birth place of civil servants, who can be transferred anywhere. East Timorese have expressed concern that the transmigration program could lead to fewer employment opportunities and might eventually destroy East Timor's cultural identity.

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 handicapped partly based on the Americans with Disabilities Act, and President Soeharto gave his approval to submission of these new regulations to the Parliament. 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 handicapped children. While there are some public schools for the handicapped, 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.

Section 6 Worker Rights

a. The Right of Association

Private sector workers including those in export processing zones are free to form worker organizations without prior authorization. Until 1994 only a recognized union could bargain on behalf of employees or represent workers in the Department of Manpower's labor courts. A new regulation promulgated in January provides that workers in a single company with more than 25 employees can join together and negotiate legally binding agreements with their employer outside the framework of the All Indonesian Workers Union (SPSI), the only legally recognized union (see below). The Government encourages these plant-level workers associations to join the SPSI. While 192 of these plant-level associations were formed by the end of the year, only one had concluded a collective bargaining agreement with management. Current numerical requirements for union recognition, though lowered in 1993, still constitute a significant barrier to recognition and the right to engage in collective bargaining. In addition, the Ministry of Manpower enforces a regulation that requires 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.

There is, de facto, a single union system, and it is the Government's stated policy to seek to improve effectiveness of the recognized SPSI unions rather than to further the process for the formation of alternative organizations. The SPSI began in 1993 a transformation from a unitary (centralized) to a federative (decentralized) structure. Its 13 industrial sectors are now registered as independent unions. The only unions recognized by the Department of Manpower are those which previously constituted the SPSI's industrial sectors.

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 3 years ago, is now essentially moribund. The SBSI, created in 1992, claims 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 for registration as a trade union was denied. 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. There have reportedly been tentative overtures to bring the SBSI into the SPSI. The SBSI, however, has refused to accept these offers.

The SBSI also has attempted unsuccessfully three times to register with the Department of Home Affairs as a social organization under the ORMAS Law, a prerequisite to recognition as a labor union. The Home Affairs Department had not replied at year's end to SBSI's most recent request of November 17.

The Government considers the SBSI illegal. Although the Government has not disbanded it, it has continually harassed it, especially after large-scale labor demonstrations, which the SBSI helped to organize in Medan in April, degenerated into anti-Chinese rioting. The Government arrested a number of the Medan SBSI leadership in the spring, and it arrested the National Chairman of the SBSI, Muchtar Pakpahan, in August. They were charged with inciting violence in connection with the riots. The Director General of the International Labor Organization (ILO) sent a strongly worded letter to the Minister of Manpower expressing "serious concern" over the arrest of Pakpahan. The Medan leadership received sentences of between 3 and 15 months in prison. In November Pakpahan was sentenced to a 3-year prison term, a sentence that was extended to 4 years in January 1995 when his appeal was rejected. It is widely believed that the Government's actions against the SBSI leadership are intended to discredit or destroy the organization.

Also in November, the ILO's Committee on Freedom of Association, in its conclusions on the complaint made by the SBSI against the Government, criticized the Government's policy of recognizing only the SPSI and commented that "beyond the specific events raised in the present case, the Committee feels bound to note that the allegations reveal, from a more general perspective, a situation of a trade union monopoly in practice, and of heavy involvement of the police and armed forces in labor matters," and called on the Government to refrain from showing favoritism toward, or discrimination against, any particular unions.

Because of past Ministry 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 head of the SPSI is a senior member of GOLKAR, and he and two other senior SPSI officials are members of Parliament representing GOLKAR. With one exception, all members of the executive council are members of GOLKAR. 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 midlevel 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.

Under the Criminal Code, police approval is needed for all meetings of five people or more of all organizations outside offices or normal work sites. This provision also applies to union meetings. Permission is routinely given to the SPSI but not to rival organizations such as SBSI, which was prevented from holding several meetings over the last few years, including its first congress in 1993. 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 dissolution.

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.

On April 20 the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions lodged a formal complaint against Indonesia with the International Labor Organization (ILO), supplementing a previous complaint filed in 1987, 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.

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. Sudden strikes, therefore, 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 increased significantly during 1994 compared to the previous year, with the most dramatic increases occurring in the first quarter of the year.

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 recently only recognized trade unions, that is, the SPSI and its components, could legally engage in collective bargaining. As noted, new government regulations also permit unaffiliated plant-level workers associations to conclude legally binding agreements with employers, though only one had done so by year's end. 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 Indonesian companies, consultations are perfunctory at best and usually with management-selected workers; there are also credible reports to the contrary from U.S. 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 negotiated.

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. In addition to Marsinah (see Section 1.e.), several other labor union activists have died under mysterious circumstances during the past 2 years. Some human rights and labor NGO's believe that the authorities have not adequately investigated these deaths.

Charges of antiunion discrimination are adjudicated by administrative tribunals. However, many union members believe the tribunals generally side with employers. Because of this perceived partiality, 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.

The armed forces, which include the police, continues to involve itself in labor issues, despite new regulations promulgated in January to prohibit military interference when there is no threat to security. There is some evidence that the incidence of such military involvement decreased in 1994, and some observers credit government security forces with restraint in restoring order in the Medan riots of April. However, these perceptions are not shared by all observers. 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), even though these programs were approved by the Department of Manpower. In 1993 the military command in Surabaya also halted an AAFLI-SPSI program on legal aid for industrial disputes approved by the Department of Manpower. At year's end the program had not been allowed to resume despite government assurances. 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. NGO reports have alleged that some cases of forced labor in the form of debt bondage by logging companies exist in Irian Jaya. The Government says that it is unable to verify these allegations because they are insufficiently specific. No complaints or information on forced labor in Irian Jaya had come to the attention of the National Human Rights Commission as of late September. (See also Section 5, Indigenous People.)

d. Minimum Age for Employment of Children

Child labor exists in both industrial areas and rural areas. There are an estimated 2.7 million working children between the ages of 10 and 14, according to a 1994 report of the U.N. Human Rights Commission. 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 signed a memorandum of understanding with the ILO to guide their collaboration under this program on May 29, 1992. Recommendations for a plan of action were developed at a national conference in Bogor in July 1993. During 1994, 120 government labor inspectors received ILO-sponsored training on child labor matters under the IPEC program.

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 Labour 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. In September 1993, the Government announced it would review its child labor regulations with the intention of tightening enforcement of restrictions on child labor. At year's end, the review had not been completed.

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 have lagged behind the basic needs figures. Minimum wage rates were raised throughout the country in three stages by province on January 1, April 1, and August 1. While in most cases the new rates still did not equal the basic needs figure, the Government announced in August that new increases would take place simultaneously throughout the country on April 1, 1995. The Department of Manpower projects that at that time minimum wage rates on the average will equal 106 percent of the basic needs figure, up from 97 percent as of August 1, 1994. Payment of the minimum wage is another question. There are no reliable statistics. The Government's estimate in September, that 96 percent of all companies were paying at least the regional minimum wage is certainly exaggerated; independent observers' estimates range between 30 and 60 percent. Government enforcement is weak, and sanctions are light against employers who fail to pay the minimum wage. Nevertheless, as a result of government pressures, the wave of strikes in the first quarter, and the Medan riots, some improvement in the situation seems to have taken place. 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 out of every week. 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.


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