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Last updated 13 May 2013
Update: The House of Representatives may pass the Mass Organizations Bill in the first session of parliament in 2013. Some problematic provisions create a two-tier registration system and require national NGOs to uphold “religious values” and foreign NGOs to not disrupt the “stability and oneness” of Indonesia or “diplomatic ties.” NGOs see the bill as similar to the Suharto-era law that it would supersede because the Bill places authority in the Directorate General of National Unity and Politics of the Ministry of Home Affairs, which has a history of seeking to control civil society. Experts from the UN have also warned that the Bill contains “undue restrictions” on the rights to freedom of association, expression, and religion.
Civil society as an academic discourse is considerably new in Indonesia but the concept of having organized groups that strive for social and/or political purposes has been well-recognized in Indonesia since the colonial time as a part of the independence movement. The struggle for independence started with the establishment of organizations, based on regions, religions and labor unions. The importance of such organizations continued after the nation’s declaration of independence on August 17, 1945.
From 1966 to 1998, however, civil society organizations (CSOs) were given little room by the authoritarian Suharto government. Freedom of association and freedom of expression were constrained by the regulatory framework, as well as extra-legal measures, such as kidnappings and tortures, targeting those who actively challenged the government. Few CSOs were active during that period.
The situation changed significantly after Suharto stepped down in May 1998. The freedoms of association and expression are now better protected. As Indonesia underwent constitutional amendment in 1999-2002, a set of human rights provisions mirroring the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was inserted in the second amendment in August 2000. Further, on October 28, 2005, Indonesia ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which provides clear protection of fundamental freedoms. Since 1998, many important reforms have been introduced and supported by civil society, including the constitutional amendment of 1999-2002 and the ratification of ICCPR. After 1998, CSOs have also entered another phase in their relationship with the state. Beyond the ‘traditional’ way of being in opposition to the state, some CSOs work together with certain state institutions, such as the Supreme Court and the police, in conducting institutional reform projects.
Apart from the legal basis regarding the freedom of association and the freedom of expression that provides space for CSO activities, the status of legal entity or organizational form for CSOs are regulated in different laws. There are two types of organizational form for CSOs, namely Association (perkumpulan), which is membership-based, and Foundation (yayasan), which is not membership-based. The statutory framework is important in the Indonesian context as the Indonesian legal system is heavily based on statutes under the civil law tradition inherited by the Dutch colonial government.
 Amnesty International, "Indonesia: Power and Impunity: Human Rights under the New Order", 1 September 1994, ASA 21/017/1994.
|Registration Body||Ministry of Law and Human Rights||Ministry of Law and Human Rights|
|Approximate Number||Unofficial data shows that there are 21,669 non-profit organizations registered at the Ministry of Law and Human Rights However, these numbers do not reflect the type of the organization.||Unofficial data shows that there are 21,669 non-profit organizations registered at the Ministry of Law and Human Rights However, these numbers do not reflect the type of the organization.|
|Barriers to Entry||Complex procedures for foreign organizations seeking to operate in Indonesia.||Barriers to establishment of foreign foundations, including required “safe” partnership with local foundation.|
|Barriers to Activities||Insufficient legal and judicial protection for CSO human rights activists.
Establishment of GONGOs.
|Insufficient legal and judicial protection for CSO human rights activists.
Establishment of GONGOs.
|Barriers to Speech and/or Advocacy||No legal barriers specifically against CSOs. Libel charges, however, have been brought against CSO activists.||No legal barriers specifically against CSOs. Libel charges, however, have been brought against CSO activists.|
|Barriers to International Contact||No legal barriers||No legal barriers|
|Barriers to Resources||Associations not permitted to engage in economic activities.||Foundations permitted to engage in economic activities only through corporate subsidiary.|
|Type of Government||Republic|
|Life Expectancy at Birth||Male: 68.26
Female: 73.38 (2009 est.)
|Literacy Rate||Male: 94%
Female: 86.8% (2004 est.)
|Religious Groups||Muslim: 86.1%; Protestant: 5.7%; Roman Catholic: 3%; Hindu: 1.8%; other or unspecified: 3.4%; (2000 census)|
|Ethnic Groups||Javanese: 40.6%; Sundanese: 15%; Madurese: 3.3%; Minangkabau: 2.7%; Betawi: 2.4%; Banten; Banjar: 1.7%; other or unspecified: 29.9% (2000 census)|
|GDP per capita||$3,900 (2008 est.)
Source: The World Factbook. Washington, DC: Central Intelligence Agency, 2009.
|Ranking Body||Rank||Ranking Scale
(best – worst possible)
|UN Human Development Index||124 (2011)||1 – 182|
|World Bank Rule of Law Index||31.3 (2010)||100 – 0|
|World Bank Voice & Accountability Index||48.3 (2010)||100 – 0|
|Transparency International||100 (2011)||1 – 180|
|Freedom House: Freedom in the World||Status: Free
Political Rights: 2
|Free/Partly Free/Not Free
1 – 7
1 – 7
|Foreign Policy: Failed States Index
||63 (2012)||177 – 1
International and Regional Human Rights Agreements
|Key International Agreements||Ratification*||Year|
|International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)||Yes||2006|
|Optional Protocol to ICCPR (ICCPR-OP1)||No||--|
|International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (ICESCR)||Yes||2006|
|Optional Protocol to ICESCR (OP-ICESCR)||No||--|
|International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD)||Yes||1999|
|Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW)||Yes||1984|
|Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women||No||2000|
|Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)||Yes||1990|
|International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families (ICRMW)||No||--|
|Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)||Yes||--|
* Category includes ratification, accession, or succession to the treaty
The prevailing Constitution of Indonesia is the 1945 Constitution, which was amended in 1999-2002. The second amendment to the 1945 Constitution guarantees the freedom of association (Article 28) and freedom of expression (Article 28E section (3)). These provisions read as follows:
Article 28. The liberties of association and assembly, the freedom of thought expressed verbally or in writing and similar rights, are to be determined by law.
- Each person is free to worship and to practice the religion of his choice, to choose education and schooling, his occupation, his nationality, his residency in the territory of the country that he shall be able to leave and to which he shall have the right to return.
- Each person has the right to be free in his convictions, to assert his thoughts and tenets, in accordance with his conscience.
- Each person has the right to freely associate, assemble, and express his opinions.
National Laws and Regulations Affecting Sector
Relevant national-level laws and regulations affecting civil society include:
- Indonesian Civil Code (Article 1653), August 18, 1945 (originally Dutch civil code; continued to apply under Clause II of the Transitional Provision of the 1945 Constitution). 
- Law No. 12 of 2005 regarding the Ratification of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), October 28, 2005.
- Law No. 16 of 2001 on Foundations (Yayasan), August 6, 2001.
- Law No. 28 of 2004 regarding the Amendment to Law No. 16 of 2001 on Foundations, October 6, 2004.
- Law No. 8 of 1985 on Societal Organizations (Organisasi Kemasyarakatan), June 17, 1985.
- Staatsblad (State Gazette) 1870-64 on Associations with Legal Person Status, March 28, 1870.
- Government Regulation No. 63 of 2008 on the Implementation of Law on Foundations, September 23, 2008.
- Government Regulation No. 18 of 1986 on the Implementation of Law No. 8 of 1985 regarding Societal Organizations, April 4, 1986.
- Instruction from the Minister of Home Affairs No. 8 of 1990 on Non-Governmental Organization Supervision, March 19, 1990.
- Law on Public Information, 2008
- Ministry of Home Affairs Regulation No. 38 of 2008 on the Obtainment and Granting Societal Organization Donations From and To Foreign Entities, August 15, 2008.
- Ministry of Home Affairs Regulation No. 15 of 2009 on Guidelines on Cooperation between the Ministry of Home Affairs and Foreign Non-Governmental Organizations, March 4, 2009.
- Government Regulation No. 93 of 2010 on Donations for National Post-Disaster Rehabilitation, Research and Development, Educational Facilities, Sports, and Social Infrastructure Construction Costs which are Deductible from Gross Income, December 2010.
- Intelligence Law, 2011
- Ministry of Home Affairs Regulation No. 33 of 2012 on Guidelines for Societal Organizations Registration
 Article 1653 of Chapter 9 of the Third Book of the Civil Code is generally regarded as the source of Indonesia’s non-profit legal forms -- the foundation and association.
In the closing speech of the First Session of House of Representatives in December 2012, the House Speaker Marzuki Ali said that the Bill on Societal Organizations was one of 29 priority bills with an extended period for discussion. It is expected that the House of Representatives will pass the Bill in the first session of parliament in 2013. The House, National Police, and the Attorney General’s Office have reportedly agreed not to include criminal sanctions into the bill to avoid overlapping with current provisions of the Indonesian Criminal Code (KUHP). However, the administrative sanctions will be included into the bill. Previously, the NGO Coalition for Freedom of Association and Expression has demanded that the House of Representatives stop deliberations on the Bill and called on President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to revoke any regulations that restrict freedom of expression and association. The Minister of Home Affairs Regulation No. 33 of 2012 on Guidelines for Societal Organizations Registration is one such restrictive regulation. The Bill is expected to address foreign NGOs, the dissolution of societal organizations, and acts of violence by societal organizations.
In July 2012, the Chairman of the House of Representatives’ Special Committee (Panitia Khusus) for the Bill on Societal Organizations, Abdul Malik Haramain, said that the Bill will require all NGOs receiving funds from overseas to submit a financial report to the Ministry of Home Affairs for auditing. The Minister of Home Affairs Gamawan Fauzi previously said that the government wanted the Bill to require all societal organizations to register with the Ministry. He warned that any organization that did not register with the government would be classified as noncompliant and be ineligible to receive government services, such as public assembly permits.
On a separate occasion, also in July 2012, Abdul Malik Haramain, mentioned a number of issues that need to be addressed in the Bill relating to the involvement of foreign countries in the activities of societal organizations in Indonesia, namely:
- a requirement for foreign NGOs operating in Indonesia to have legal entity status in their country of origin;
- procedures and requirements for Indonesian citizens establishing NGOs affiliated with other countries;
- procedures and requirements on the establishment of foundations in Indonesia by foreign nationals;
- a requirement for foreign NGOs (or national NGOs that are affiliated with foreign nationals) to provide periodic financial reports;
- the ability of the government to monitor foreign NGOs' activities and to issue the operating permit for foreign NGO; and
- for foreign NGOs that violate the provisions, sanctions including warnings and diplomatic sanctions (request for the withdrawal of foreign NGOs).
In May 2012, it was reported that 20 members of the House of Representatives’ Working Committee (Panitia Kerja) for the Bill on Societal Organization were to begin substantial debate of the Bill by considering a total of 64 lists of problems, including the definition of “societal organizations,” the nature of societal organizations, the legal status of societal organizations, and foreign societal organizations. In addition, Deding Ishak, Vice Chairman of the House of Representatives’ Special Committee (Panitia Khusus) for the Bill on Societal Organization, stated that the Bill will include several new provisions, which: (a) require NGOs to be registered as legal entities; (b) clarify the position of foreign NGOs in Indonesia; and (c) regulate the procedure of NGO dissolution through the judicial process.
On October 3, 2011, the Parliament established a Special Committee (Panitia Khusus) for the Bill on Societal Organizations. In late November 2011, the Special Committee held a working meeting with the government to collect information on the issues of social activities and not-for-profit organizations in Indonesia. A number of issues were raised, for example: foreign NGOs, dissolution of societal organizations and acts of violence by societal organizations. Once the Special Committee has completed its review, the Bill will then proceed to the full Parliament for plenary consideration.
In a public hearing on June 8, 2011, PSHK (Indonesian Centre for Law & Policy Studies) submitted a joint statement from a number of NGOs titled “The Societal Organizations Law must be Revoked, Not Revised, and Membership-Based Organizations Must be Regulated in Law on Association.” Crucial matters discussed during the session were related to the ‘principle of establishment’, ‘dissolution’, ‘punishment’, and ‘funding’. But it has been suggested by civil society activists that the problem lies not so much in the details of the Bill, but in the presentation of the Bill itself – i.e., the fact that the societal organizations continue to be acknowledged in a law. NGOs opposing the Bill believe that the form “Societal Organization” is a creation of Suharto’s authoritarian regime designed to control activism within Indonesia. The “Societal Organization” form dates back to the 1985 Law, which is still legally in effect, although it has not been implemented since Suharto fell in 1998.
Other legislative initiatives include the following:
- The Bill regarding Associations was initiated by the Ministry of Law and Human Rights and is backed by CSOs and scholars. The Bill is on the list of the National Legislation Program of 2010-2014, but the House of Representatives and the Government have not set the date for deliberation. 
- The Bill on Civil Society Organizations has been prepared to replace the Law on Societal Organizations. The Bill was presented by the Ministry of Home Affairs to the House of Representatives Committee, but the Committee, backed by CSOs, rejected the proposal. Nonetheless, as the new house members started their work in 2009, the Bill has been placed back on the list of the National Legislation Program of 2010-2014, although the starting date for its deliberation has not been decided.
- The Bill on the Protection of Human Rights Defenders was proposed by a coalition of CSOs working on human rights issues and adopted by the House of Representatives as a House-initiated Bill. It has been put in the National Legislation Program of 2010-2014, but the deliberation date has not been determined.
- Finally, the Ministry of Law and Human Rights is preparing the draft Government Regulation (Peraturan Pemerintah) on the Implementation of Social Welfare (Penyelenggaraan Kesejahteraan Sosial). The draft Government Regulation is intended to help implement Law No. 11 of 2009 on Social Welfare (Kesejahteraan Sosial). In the draft Regulation, CSOs that engage in social welfare activity are required to register with the Ministry of Social Affairs. Foreign CSOs are also required to obtain permits from the Minister of Foreign Affairs before applying to the Ministry of Social Affairs.
 In Indonesia bills are deliberated by the House of Representatives and the government mutually to reach “joint approval.” The deliberation is based on the five-year National Legislation Program set up in the beginning of the House members’ terms of office. The actual deliberation date would be decided each year in the Annual Legislation Program based on the long list of bills on the five-year program.
There are two types of legal entity for CSOs, namely the association and foundation.
Foundations are regulated by Law No. 16 of 2001, as amended by Law No. 28 of 2004 (“Law on Foundation”). A foundation is defined as a non-membership legal entity, established based on the separation of assets, and intended as a vehicle for attaining certain purposes in the social, religious, or humanitarian fields.
Associations are governed by the Dutch Colonial Government inherited law that is still valid, namely Staatsblad 1870-64 (Dutch Colonial State Gazette) on Associations with Legal Person Status. There are two types of associations in Indonesia: (1) incorporated associations, which possess legal personality; and (2) ordinary associations, which do not. An important characteristic of an association that is distinct from a foundation is membership. An association is a member-based organization, whereas a foundation does not have members but is required by the Law on Foundations to have three organs: the Governing Board (Badan Pembina), Supervisory Board (Badan Pengawas), and Executive Board (Badan Pengurus).
It is important to note that there is an organizational status set up by the Suharto authoritarian government to limit freedom of association. Law No. 8 of 1985 regarding Societal Organizations (“Law on Societal Organizations”) covers “all organizations established by Indonesian citizens voluntarily on the basis of similarity of activity, profession, function, or religion.” The concept of “societal organization” introduced by this law was designed to create one organizational status for all types of interests - activity, profession, function or religion - so that it would be easier for the regime to control them. Given its background, the Law on Societal Organizations has strong controlling aspects. Based on the law, the government may dissolve a societal organization that conducts any activities that disturb security and order; receives donations from foreign institutions without the Government’s consent; or provides assistance to foreign institutions that may “harm the nation”. Control over societal organizations based on this law was conducted by the Ministry of Home Affairs, Directorate of National Unity and Politics. Although the Law is still in place, it has not been effective in practice since the fall of Suharto in 1998.
Public Benefit Status
Both foundations and associations may be public-benefit organizations. Public benefit status, however, does not entail any tax or other benefits.
The Law on Foundations provides that "social" foundations might operate to benefit only their stakeholders, which would be inconsistent with public benefit status. The broad term of “social” in this definition might cause a problem in practice, because it is applicable to any not-for-profit activity. Consequently, there is no overall requirement that a foundation must provide public benefit, as opposed to serving only its stakeholders. It depends on the foundation’s statutory purposes.
Barriers to Entry
There is no law that specifically prohibits the formation and operation of ‘unregistered’ groups. Both the Law on Foundations and Staatsblad 1870-64 require registration in order for foundations and associations to obtain legal entity status. Registration here requires the deed of establishment to be in the form of a notarial deed and to be registered at the Ministry of Law and Human Rights. If the registration is accepted by the Ministry, then the deed of establishment will be published in the Supplemental to the State Gazette (Tambahan Berita Negara).
In order to conduct its day-to-day activities as a legal entity (for example, to have a bank account and to appear before the court), a CSO must be registered. Unregistered organizations can still operate, but without recognition as legal entities. Thus if their activities are considered to be in violation of law, the organizations can be easily dissolved and the members/ workers are held responsible in their personal accounts.
Any natural person (not including a minor) or a legal entity can found a foundation and association. The Law on Foundations provides that one person or more can found a foundation. There is no specific rule for associations but as a general rule in the Indonesian civil code, there must be a minimum of two persons to found an association. There are no minimum assets required to found a foundation or an association.
To register a foundation or an association, the notary must submit a request to the Director of General Administration of the Ministry of Law and Human Rights along with two copies of the Deed of Establishment with stamp duty, the foundation’s tax payer’s number (Nomor Pokok Wajib Pajak or NPWP) and the foundation’s certificate of domicile.
According to the Law on Foundations, the Ministry must respond within 30 days after the request for a foundation registration is received. In case a confirmation from a relevant ministry/ institution is needed, the Ministry must respond within 14 days after the confirmation is received or 30 days after the request for a confirmation is submitted. The Ministry may deny a foundation registration request in writing on the ground that the request is not according to relevant laws and regulations. An appeal to such denial is not regulated by the Law. By contrast, the registration of associations is not regulated in detail.
The Law on Foundations permits foreign citizens together with Indonesians or otherwise to establish a foundation under Indonesian law, and foreign foundations, i.e. foundations established under foreign laws, to operate in Indonesian territory, provided that the operation is in partnership with an Indonesian foundation and only in the areas of social, religion and humanity.
The Law on Foundations and relevant regulations outline a set of rules regarding foundations established by foreign individuals or entities. The Law mandates a minimum contribution to the foundation’s assets of 100 million IDR. For registration, the minimum contribution must be documented, the foreign individual/entity must provide identification, and there must be a statement that the foundation will not be detrimental to the Indonesian society, nation and country. Activities must be undertaken in partnership with foundations established by Indonesian citizens/entities that have the same goal and purpose as the foreign foundation. Further, such partnership must be “safe” from the political, legal, technical and security perspective; the Law does not further define what is meant by these terms.
Foundations established by foreign individuals or entities must have a minimum of one Indonesian member on the executive board; that member must serve as the foundation’s chair, secretary or treasurer. In addition, all members of the executive board must be residents of Indonesia. Members of the executive board, governing board and supervisory board who are not Indonesian citizens must have work and temporary residence permits (KITAS or Kartu Izin Tinggal Sementara).
There is no detailed requirement with regard to founding an association. If a foreign individual or entity wishes to found a CSO, the type or the organization apparently must be a foundation, as it is regulated in detail.
As for foreign CSOs that operate in Indonesia, there is a special procedure for registration with the Ministry of Home Affairs based on a letter sent by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to embassies and foreign organizations in January 2008. The letter does not mention the legal basis for the reporting mechanism, but is used in practice as the basis for the Immigration Office and other offices related to immigration documents to issue (or not) visas for the workers/ officials.
In addition, there is a special regulation for foreign organizations to cooperate with the Ministry of Home Affairs. Ministry of Home Affairs Regulation No. 15 of 2009 requires a foreign organization that wants to cooperate with the Ministry of Home Affairs and regional governments to: (1) secure approval from the Indonesian government; (2) get an appointment letter from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to cooperate with the Ministry of Home Affairs; (3) set up a representative office in Indonesia; (4) secure a legitimate source of funding; (5) be listed as an NGO in its home country; (6) secure an approval from its headquarters in the appointment of its representative officer in Indonesia; and (7) secure a recommendation letter from the embassy of its home country. 
 As Indonesia is a unitary state, regional governments, both at the provincial and regency levels, are placed under the Ministry of Home Affairs. Regional autonomy does not include matters concerning foreign politics, defense, security, judiciary, monetary and fiscal, and religion.
Barriers to Operational Activity
There is no CSO activity that is prohibited by law and CSOs are not required to report their activities to the government.
The government does not have the right to interfere with the internal self-governance of a CSO. The Law on Foundations, however, stipulates that the organizational structure of a foundation must consist of three organs: the Governing Board (Badan Pembina), Supervisory Board (Badan Pengawas), and Executive Board (Badan Pengurus). The Law on Foundations also requires every foundation to publish the abridged version of its annual report on an announcement board in its office. Furthermore, foundations that have received donations from the state, overseas parties, or third parties totaling 500 million Indonesian rupiah (IDR) or more, or that possess assets other than endowed assets of over 20 billion IDR, must be audited by a public accountant and have their annual report summaries published in an Indonesian-language daily newspaper.
Although the law does not restrict the activities of CSOs, the government has been accused by CSOs of not providing adequate protection to CSO representatives in the face of threats and violence. A report by a Jakarta-based human rights CSO ‘Imparsial’ showed that between 2005 and 2009 the condition of human rights defenders deteriorated. There were 46 torture cases reported; 29 cases of defenders being arrested with no clear reason; and 25 cases of intimidation, threats and terror against university students, farmers, journalists and NGOs activists.  Therefore, Imparsial and a coalition of CSOs for the protection of human rights defenders have proposed a Bill on the Protection of Human Rights Defenders.
There are CSOs that are linked to government, either local governments or ministries. They are usually called “red-license-plate CSOs” as government-owned cars in Indonesia have red license plates. They are allegedly created to facilitate corrupt practices and control over government-funded projects as well as to disseminate an opinion countering CSOs that criticize the government actions or policies.
 Camelia Pasandaran, “More Protection Needed For Human Rights Defenders: Komnas HAM,” Jakarta Globe, August 17, 2009. See Imparsial’s report in Indonesian language: Imparsial, “Laporan Kondisi Pembela Hak Asasi Manusia 2005-2009” [Report on the Condition of Human Rights Defender 2005-2009], August 2009
Barriers to Speech / Advocacy
In general, Indonesian law does not hamper the ability of CSOs to criticize the Government or to advocate politically unpopular causes. However, there is concern that the 2011 Intelligence Law contains several articles open to multiple interpretations, which CSOs claim violate and override the Law on Public Freedom of Information of 2008. For example, the Intelligence Law defines “intelligence secrets” as “information that could jeopardize national security,” but provides no further explanation about the definition of “national security.” This is problematic for journalists and CSO activists because the provision could be interpreted in a way which would criminalize spreading of public interest information. Interestingly, the Constitutional Court, in November 2012, rejected a motion from a coalition of civil society groups to amend the 2011 Intelligence Law, saying that the law neither violated the Constitution nor threatened freedom of expression.
There is generally no limit to the ability of CSOs to engage in political or legislative activities. However, the Government can use the penal code against CSOs as well as media outlets that strongly criticize the Government. In 2009, three activists became suspects for libel due to the statements they made in the media against corruption and human rights cases. 
 They are Usman Hamid of KontraS (The Commission for the Disappeared and the Victims of Violence) and Illian Deta Artasari and Emerson Yuntho of Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW). See “Libel Suspects to Disregard Summons,” Jakarta Post, October 14, 2009.
Barriers to International Contact
There is no restriction on the ability of CSOs to contact and cooperate with colleagues in civil society, business and government sectors, either within or outside the country.
Neither the law nor government imposes restrictions on participating in networks or on accessing the Internet or World Wide Web.
Barriers to Resources
Neither the law nor implementation practice imposes any constraints on the ability of CSOs to seek and secure funding, either domestic or foreign funding.
There is, however, a set of rules for societal organizations. According to the Law on Societal Organizations, the government may dissolve a societal organization for, among other reasons, receiving donations from a foreign institution without the Government’s consent. In addition, the Ministry of Home Affairs Regulation No. 38 of 2008 on the Obtainment and Granting Societal Organization Donations From and To Foreign Entities and Government Regulation No. 18 of 1986 on the Implementation of Law on Societal Organizations provide detailed approval and reporting procedures for societal organizations seeking to receive or provide donations to/from foreign entities. These rules are only applicable to registered Societal Organizations and not directly to foundations and associations, but in some discussion forums the Ministry of Home Affairs insists that all organizations are "societal organizations" and subject to this set of regulations. Nonetheless, there has been no implementation of these rules.
The Law on Foundations requires foundations that have received donations from the state, overseas parties, or third parties totaling 500 million Indonesian rupiah (IDR) or more to be audited by a public accountant and to have their annual report summaries published in an Indonesian-language daily newspaper. Foundations are allowed to engage in commercial activities to support the attainment of their objectives through setting up commercial enterprises and/or participating as shareholders in commercial enterprises. Associations, on the other hand, are not allowed to do so. If a foundation sets up its own commercial enterprise, the activities of the enterprise must relate to the foundation’s statutory purposes. These activities are defined broadly, including the fields of human rights, art, sport, consumer protection, education, environment, health, and the pursuit of knowledge. Shareholding by a foundation is allowed, provided that it does not exceed 25 percent of the total value of the foundation’s assets. In order to maintain good corporate governance, no member of the governing, supervisory, or executive board of the foundation can simultaneously serve as a manager, supervisor, member of the Board of Directors, or member of the Board of Commissioners of any commercial enterprise that a foundation establishes or in which it invests.
In October 2011, the House of Representatives passed the zakat (Islamic mandatory alms) management bill into law (Undang-undang tentang Pengelolaan Zakat). According to the new law, the individuals are still allowed to establish zakat collection agencies under the government-owned National Alms Agency (Baznas) supervision, provided that they meet all administrative requirements, including the possession of a recommendation from Baznas and technical ability to run their alms collection and distribution programs. During the House discussion, before the bill was passed, a number of legislators questioned some provisions which provide that alms collection and distribution can only be carried out by a societal organization with legal entity status; the legislators said that the new law will force community-based alms management groups to stop their alms collection and distribution activities since they have no resources or capacity to establish a societal organization with legal entity status.
|UN Universal Periodic Review Reports||Universal Periodic Review: Indonesia (2008)|
|Reports of UN Special Rapporteurs||Indonesia|
|USIG (United States International Grantmaking) Country Notes|
|U.S. State Department||2010 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Indonesia
|Failed States Index Reports||2012 Foreign Policy Failed States Index|
|IMF Country Reports||Indonesia and the IMF|
|International Commission of Jurists||Not available|
|International Center for Not-for-Profit Law Online Library||Indonesia|
While we aim to maintain information that is as current as possible, we realize that situations can rapidly change. If you are aware of any additional information or inaccuracies on this page, please keep us informed; write to ICNL at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Human Rights First published an interview with Human Rights defender Febi Yonesta of Indonesia in which he gives his accounts of the situation of human rights in his country. Read the interview here.
Bill on Societal Organizations set to become law (September 2012)
It is reported that the Bill on Societal Organizations, which is currently being discussed in the House of Representatives’ Working Committee, will be delivered to the Plenary Session for approval to become Law by the end of October 2012.
Politicians determined to clamp down on foreign NGOs (September 2012)
Jakarta’s Governor, Fauzi Bowo, who is currently running as a candidate in the gubernatorial election, affirmed his commitment to take action against foreign NGOs which are considered not to be in compliance with the law. Ashraf Ali, Fauzi’s Campaign Manager, claims that some foreign NGOs, including Greenpeace, which are not registered in the Provincial Department of National Unity and Politics (under the Ministry of Home Affairs), are still a concern of the Provincial Government.
NGO coalition calls for halt to deliberation on Bill on Societal Organizations (September 2012)
The NGOs Coalition for Freedom of Association and Expression demanded the House of Representatives stop deliberation on the Bill on Societal Organizations. The Coalition also called on President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to revoke any regulations that restrict freedom of expression and association. The Minister of Home Affairs Regulation No. 33 of 2012 on Guidelines for Societal Organizations Registration is one such regulation. The Coalition argues that this ministerial regulation ignores the principles of human rights.
National Law Commission discusses the unequal treatment by the government towards CSOs (August 2012)
In a public discussion held by the National Law Commission (KHN), Eryanto Nugroho from the Indonesian Centre for Law and Policy Studies (PSHK) compared the inequality of the government’s policy on the state-society relations and on the state-private sector relations. He said that the government does not see the private sector as a threat to national security, so it provides a variety of conveniences to investors. On the contrary, CSOs are seen as threat to national security, so the approach taken by the state is to control them. Regarding the Bill on Societal Organizations, the KHN recommends the House of Representatives and the Government to elaborate and accommodate the stakeholders’ recommendations; categorize the type of organizations to clarify the procedure of NGO’s register obligation; clarify the permissibility of the use of other organization’s principles beside Pancasila; and provide protection and guarantee the freedom of association to the political party affiliated-mass organizations.
Foreign NGOs labeled an “overdose” by Indonesian Minister (August 2012)
The Minister of Law and Human Rights Amir Syamsuddin said that the campaigns of foreign NGOs in Indonesia are an “overdose” and are disrupting the country’s business environment. He added that it is still under review if the campaigns are based on the interest of business competition. Prof. Romli Atmasasmita, a former Ministry of Law and Human Rights official, previously mentioned that the NGOs registered with the Ministry of Law and Human Rights may be frozen.
Greenpeace Indonesia faces mounting pressure (July 2012)
Greenpeace Indonesia continues to find itself at the center of attacks from both conservative Muslim activists and the government over its activities inside and outside the country. The ANTARA news agency reported that the government is looking at a number of alleged offenses committed by the environmental group, which could potentially lead to its expulsion from the country.
Public funding will make the corruption eradication commission (KPK) more powerful (June 2012)
The Jakarta Legal Aid Institute (LBH Jakarta), one of the groups which joined the initiative to set up funds for the KPK, said that the fundraising program would empower the KPK. “We also want to show the House of Representatives that the new building is very important for the KPK,” LBH Jakarta director Nur-kholis Hidayat told The Jakarta Post.
Greenpeace Indonesia urged to disclose financial information (June 2012)
Abdul Malik Haramain, Chairman of the House of Representatives’ Special Committee for the Bill on Societal Organization urged Greenpeace Indonesia to disclose their financial management information. Haramain supports the Students Alliance for Reject Foreign NGOs (Aliansi Mahasiswa Tolak LSM Asing) who had questioned the financial management of public funds by Greenpeace Indonesia. Haramain said that the current Law on Societal Organization (Law No. 8/1985) stipulates that the government may suspend the NGOs who received funds from the foreign party without the government’s approval or provide assistance to foreign parties against the nation’s interests.
Civil society groups want transparency in Jakarta grant disbursement (May 2012)
An anti-corruption watchdog reiterated its demand on Thursday that Jakarta Governor Fauzi Bowo reveal information about Rp 1.3 trillion ($140.4 million) worth of special grants allocated by the city, alleging that some of the money may have gone improperly toward supporting the governor’s reelection campaign. City grants for special events had risen sharply this year, but the process for planning and allocating the money was murky and closed, said Apung Widadi, a researcher with Indonesian Corruption Watch (ICW).
Chairman of House of Representatives calls for greater regulation of foreign NGOs (May 2012)
Abdul Malik Haramain, Chairman of the House of Representatives’ Special Committee for the Bill on Societal Organization, affirmed the urgency of revising the Law No. 8 of 1985 on Societal Organizations. He said that the current law is not adequate to regulate the activities of “foreign NGOs”, so it needs to be revised.
National police struggle to deal with intolerant groups (May 2012)
A lawmaker from the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDIP), Eva Kusuma Sundari, said that the National Police are powerless when dealing with intolerant groups like the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI). There have been several recent incidents when police failed to prevent or resolve clashes, leaving the impression that police were afraid of the groups.
EU-Indonesia dialogue should press for progress on rights (May 2012)
The European Union should press Indonesia to act against growing religious intolerance and to release all political prisoners during the EU-Indonesia human rights dialogue on May 3, 2012. Human Rights Watch said, "The EU-Indonesia dialogue should be more than token statements on human rights, but should discuss concrete measures to address rising religious intolerance and restraints on free expression in Indonesia," said the deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch. "This dialogue should be a wake-up call for Indonesia to protect religious minorities against growing violence and discrimination."
Civil society plays a key role in challenging corruption in the Reformation era (April 2012)
In an analysis of Indonesian civil society's role in fighting corruption, a lecturer from Diponegro University in Semarang details the key strategy of CSOs that now dominate the country's anti-corruption movement. CSOs exert pressure on policy makers by engaging in massive propaganda campaigns to generate public support through the mass media and conducting frequent press conferences to ensure that their opinions are broadcast through a range of media outlets. Activists also use various public forums - from street demonstrations to the podium of conference rooms in five star hotels - to deliver their message. They aim to raise awareness and generate grassroots movements, assist in detecting graft and advocating punishment for guilty parties and work to prevent the loss of state assets. Despite the difficulties for measuring the impact of these kinds of activities, there is no doubt that these organizations have played a key role in the proliferation of anti-corruption attitude throughout Indonesian society.
Mass organizations must not be controlled (March 2012)
A bill on mass organizations proposed by the government to replace the current Law No. 8/1985 has received strong criticism from academics and students in Yogyakarta who consider the move an attempt by the government to control rather than protect mass organizations.
President Yudhoyono tells foreign NGOs not to interfere (December 2011)
Study: Indonesian NGOs must set transparency example (November 2011)
Greenpeace cries foul as eviction papers are served (November 2011)
Officials fail to stop Greenpeace rep (October 2011)
Greenpeace director denied entry to Indonesia (October 2011)
Government to get tough on ‘untransparent’ foreign-funded NGOs (September 2011)
Aliansi Mahasiswa Desak Pemerintah Evaluasi Greenpeace (August 2011)
Christian group wants Greenpeace investigated: Report (August 2011)
Greenpeace on defensive again over lottery funds (August 2011)
Greenpeace to be expelled from Jakarta (July 2011)
Indonesia’s democratic reversal? (May 2011)
NGOs demand Indonesian lawmakers stay home (May 2011)
NGOs demand appraisal on foreign aid (April 2011)
NGO: RI should use Asean chair term to promote rights (January 2011)
The foregoing information was collected by the ICNL NGO Law Monitor partner in Indonesia, Bivitri Susanti of the Indonesian Centre for Law & Policy Studies or Pusat Studi Hukum & Kebijakan Indonesia (PSHK).