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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 

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 

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 

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 

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 

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 

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 

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 

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 

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 

     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 

     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 

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 

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 

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 

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 

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 

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 

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 

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 

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 

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 

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 

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 

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 

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 

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.


[end of document]


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