20 December 2010

Anticorruption rallies end in chaos

Sarinah, Perempuan Mahardhika & KPRM PRD member
Jakarta Post - December 10, 2010

Andi Hajramurni and Ruslan Sangadji, Makassar/Palu -- Some student rallies 
to mark International Anti-Corruption Day on Thursday in a number of big cities throughout country turned ugly.

Rallies ended in chaos in Makassar, South Sulawesi; Palu, Central Sulawesi, and Kefamenanu, East Nusa Tenggara, where protesters were involved in violent clashes with police officers.

In Makassar, a clash took place along the 200-meter distance between the South Sulawesi governor's office and the campus of Indonesian Muslim University.

Government faces anger from Merapi victims

Jakarta Post - December 10, 2010

Slamet Susanto and Arya Dipa, Yogyakarta/Bandung -- Thousands of survivors of the Mount Merapi eruptions staged a rally in Yogyakarta on Monday, demanding that the government fulfill its promise to compensate them for livestock killed during the eruptions.

The protestors arrived in trucks to the governor's office in Kepatihan and to the National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB) office on Jl. Kenari. "We want the government to act on its promise," Kemirah of Wukirsari village in Cangkringan, Sleman, said.

The survivors also demanded that temporary homes for them be built as soon as possible.

The BNPB previously said it would disburse funds to the affected local administrations to purchase livestock for survivors. The agency reported that it would purchase nearly 4,000 cows.

6 December 2010

ARM: for an alternative disaster management

Nightly meeting at Dampit Post
Zoe Safia Kenny*
Over the last month, as I have been staying in Yogyakarta, I have witnessed the unfolding of the Merapi volcanic disaster. Merapi first erupted on October 26 followed by more eruptions until another major eruption on November 5. The fallout of the eruptions has been more than 200 casualties, the evacuation of 340,000 people as well as the destruction of many houses, farm land and crops and livestock. 

The government, while succeeding in evacuating most people before the first eruption, responded slowly and inadequately to the disaster. For example, the government did not anticipate the eruptions and construct shelters in advance of the event, instead waiting until thousands of refugees needed shelter and depositing them in universities and stadiums throughout Yogyakarta and Magellang. In the immediate sense this was as a result of a lack of forward preparation, however the government's failure in this situation is only symptomatic of deeper problems: the endemic corruption and inefficiency fostered by Suharto's New Order regime. Indonesia's political elite are involved in politics in order to serve their own interests, and the welfare of the people is a secondary consideration. In the context of a natural disaster situation, these skewed priorities are clearly exposed.

4 December 2010

Workers Strike Over Wage Hike They Say Is Too Low

Jakarta. Thousands of workers in and around an industrial estate in East Jakarta went on a daylong strike on Friday over the new monthly minimum wage announced for the capital.

Striking workers brought much of the Kawasan Berikat Nusantara industrial estate to a standstill with their action.

The Jakarta administration last month announced a monthly minimum wage of Rp 1.29 million ($140) for next year, a 15.8 percent increase from the current minimum wage of Rp 1.12 million.

Labor unions criticized the increase as too low while employers complained it was too high.

During Friday’s action, the workers said the new minimum wage still fell short of the Reasonable Living Cost Index (KHL), which for Jakarta is pegged at Rp 1. 4 million a month this year.

26 November 2010

Indonesia government plans to finalize land reform law by end of year

Jakarta Globe - November 24, 2010

Shirley Christie, Jakarta -- A draft bill to regulate land acquisition for public projects was sent to the president last week and would reach the legislature before the end of the year, the head of the National Land Agency said on Wednesday.

The assurance came during a luncheon hosted by the Jakarta Foreign Correspondents Club, where Joyo Winoto, the head of the agency, also known as the BPN, was a guest speaker.

According to Joyo, the government plans to conduct "peaceful and lawful" agrarian reform to accelerate the country's infrastructure development and correct land ownership imbalances.

Former McDonald's workers stage rally

Jakarta Post - November 25, 2010

Jakarta -- More than 100 former employees of the McDonald's fast food restaurant chain held a rally in front of the Jakarta Police on Jl. Gatot Subroto, South Jakarta.

The employees demanded the police arrest the owners of Indonesia's McDonald's franchises because they did not pay the employees' salaries when ownership was handed over to Toni Jack's Indonesia.

"The welfare benefit money has been embezzled, the last six months' salaries remains unpaid, savings and cooperative money has also been defrauded, the workers have been neglected," one of the protesters, Guntur, said in a statement.

Indonesia survey says early marriages lead girls into lives of desperation

Jakarta Globe - November 24, 2010

Nurfika Osman, Jakarta -- A new study has found that Indonesian girls aged 10 to 18 who were forced into early marriage struggled to secure good futures for themselves or their children due to higher health risks and less access to education.

The Health Ministry study, which collected data from over 20,000 respondents from across the country, showed that 68.5 percent, a little over 13,700, came from villages, many of them from far-flung regions, forcing them to rely upon substandard health care.

Human rights violations increasing

Jakarta Post - November 23, 2010

Makassar -- Over the past ten years since Indonesia's reformation, human rights violations have been escalating, said the National Commission for Human Rights (Komnas HAM).

Commission member Hesti Armiwulan said at a media conference in Makassar on Monday that during the period between 2008 and 2010 the number of complaints filed to the commission showed an increase. "We received 4,000 complaints in 2008 and 5,000 in 2009. This year, up to October, we had more than 5,000 complaints," Hesti said.

21 November 2010

Transgenders battle for license to live a decent life

Jakarta Globe - November 18, 2010

Nurfika Osman, Jakarta -- Many transgenders are finding little sympathy from the government as they struggle to obtain vitally important ID cards.

The national ID card, known as the KTP, is required for everything from getting a driver's license and applying for a loan to enrolling at a school and registering to vote. It is also required when seeking medical treatment 
at state and private hospitals.

Many transgenders are denied a KTP because ward officials refuse to register them under the gender they choose to identify with.

16 November 2010

Workers mark Obama visit with protest against labour law revisions

Reject Labor Law No.13 2003 Revision, SBY-Boediono Regime Capitalist

Metrotvnews.com - November 10, 2010

Jakarta -- Several moments before the arrival of US President Barack Obama in Jakarta on the afternoon of Wednesday November 10, thousands of workers held a protest action demanding the cancellation of planned revisions to Law Number 13/2003 on Labour, which they say will harm workers.

During the action, the workers "occupied" Jl. Medan Merdeka Barat in Central Jakarta and as a consequence, traffic heading north from the Hotel Indonesia traffic circle to Harmoni was brought to a complete standstill.

Several demonstrators also forced Transjakarta busses coming from Harmoni in the direction of Sudirman to stop in order to attract the attention of officials, so police would open access to the road in front of the State Palace. This created tensions between the workers and police.

15 November 2010

"People-to-People Movement" emerging in absence of state assistance in Merapi disaster


One of the houses which the Alliance of Peoples' Struggles (ARM)--
a coalition of womens', students', labour and peasant organisations--
is providing emergency relief to.

SITUATION ANALYSIS by Team News Jalin Merapi- Friday, November 12, 2010 (translated and abridged by Zoe Kenny)

Merapi disaster refugees are suffering physical and mental fatigue due to having to constantly move between the refugee camps. Changes in conditions, especially after the large eruption on November 5, have caused thousands of residents of Mount Merapi to exodus to locations as far and as safe as possible. Areas exposed to the disaster which was originally concentrated in certain areas, has expanded to cause more people to be displaced in places previously unimaginable. Thousands of refugees are being forced to take care of themselves independently as the government’s efforts are slow and de-centralised.

According to the records of the National Agency for Disaster Management (BNPB) the number of refugees reached 136,562 people in Yogyakarta and Central Java reached 233,466 people. The victims of the eruption of Mount Merapi are spread over 635 points in camps in various districts of Yogyakarta Special Region and Central Java.

12 November 2010

Papuan students reject Obama visit, demand closure of Freeport

Tribunnews.com - November 9, 2010

Alie Usman, Jakarta -- Scores of Papuan students from the Papuan Student 
Alliance (AMP) have again protested against the visit by US President Barrack 
Obama who is scheduled to arrive this afternoon. They are urging and calling on 
Obama to cancel his visit to Indonesia.

The protesters, who gathered in front of the Freeport office in the Kuningan 
area of South Jakarta, plan to continue holding actions by closing off one lane 
of Jl. Rasuna Said. In addition to rejecting Obama's visit, the protesters also 
demanded that the PT Freeport Mc Moran Gold & Cooper mine in Papua be closed 
immediately.

11 November 2010

Update on MERAPI Disaster: Government failing to coordinate aid efforts

ARM members coordinating relief efforts in one of the shelters
Statement by Alliance of Peoples’ Struggles (ARM)
* The ARM is a coalition of womens', students, labour and peasant organisations that is centrally involved in many struggles in Yogyakarta. 

By Christina Yulita, Tuesday November 9

Starting from November 5 2010, the national SBY-Budiono government decided that the Merapi volcano eruption disaster would be led by the National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB). The BNPB Chief will also be helped by the Governor of Yogyakarta (DIY ), the Governor of Central Java (Central Java), Commander IV / Diponegoro, Central Java Police Chief, and Police Chief DIY (source: detik.com). The establishment of this new coordinating structure is symptomatic of the failure of disaster management by the Indonesian government; action is only taken once problem emerge rather than anticipating and preventing those problems in the first place.

For example, the evacuation process was not executed well in advance although the volcano authorities had already informed the government that Merapi was on high alert status. As a result the evacuation of residents only took place about 3-5 days before Merapi erupted, not to mention the situation of residents who did not want to be evacuated. Even if they have already been evacuated, they go back home to check on their cattle and their homes. This situation should have been anticipated from the beginning by the government. Even the government's promise that it has set aside Rp 100 billion (approx AUD$100,000) to buy new livestock was announced after the disaster had occurred.

6 November 2010

MERAPI DISASTER APPEAL*

Merapi disaster appeal!
When the government fails, the people must act

The Alliance of People’s Struggle (ARM), a coalition of womens’, students’, labour and peasant organisations, based in Yogyakarta is appealing for emergency aid to help people affected by the eruptions from Mount Merapi which is having its most violent eruptions in more than one hundred years. The most recent eruption on the morning of November 5 has already killed 58 people, injured dozens more and completely incinerated the village of Argomulya.

A spokesperson from the  ARM Yayak Aslihul said “The situation in Yogyakarta is quickly becoming a humanitarian disaster. As well as the death of toll of more than 100 people, more than 75,000 people have been evacuated from their homes with more than 30,000 people taking shelter in the Maguwoharip Soccer Stadium and thousands more are sheltering in universities throughout Yogyakarta. As well as the trauma of being evacuated from their homes the refugees are suffering from shortages of food, water and sanitary facilities and the local government’s emergency funds are quickly running out”.

2 November 2010

Call for solidarity with striking PT. Kanefusa Indonesia workers


By Zely Ariane*

If there was an easier way to struggle for their rights, the workers from the PT. Kanefusa Indonesia Federation of Indonesian Metal Workers Union (FSPMI) would probably have tried it.



The workers have now been on strike for four months; have camped overnight for three days at the Department of Labour and Transmigration and its regional offices; waylaid Labour Minister Muhaimin Iskandar during a visit to a Toshiba company in Bekasi calling on him to make good his promise to protect workers' rights; waged an ongoing solidarity protest actions against the regional Industrial Relation Settlement office in West Java; and setup a camp in front of PT. Kanefusa Indonesia's factory.

1 November 2010

Labour law revisions will herald 'new kind of slavery': Labour activists

Berita Jogja - October 8, 2010

Labour activists from the Workers Challenge Alliance (ABM), the Yogyakarta Labour Alliance (ABY), the Greater Jakarta Labour Federation of Struggle (FBPJ) and the United Indonesian Labour Movement-Security Employees Union (SPK-PPBI) explicitly opposed further labour liberalisation.

This was conveyed during a public discussion titled "The Fate of Workers under Revisions to Law Number 13/2003 and Solutions for the Indonesian Labour Movement", which was held at the Atmajaya University faculty of law conference room in Jakarta on Tuesday afternoon, October 5.

During the discussion, the representatives from the respective labour groups explained their perspectives in relation to proposed revisions to Law Number 13/2003 on Labour. The ABM, ABY, FBPJ and SPK-PPBI are concerned that these revisions will harm workers bearing in mind that the existing labour law already favours investors.

29 October 2010

Workers say no to law revision

Jakarta Post - October 27, 2010

Yuli Tri Suwarni, Bandung -- Thousands of workers from across West Java 
staged a rally in Bandung on Tuesday protesting a plan to revise Law No 
13/2003 on manpower, claiming it was planned to enhance the investment 
climate by satisfying businesspeople while sacrificing workers' rights.

The protest was held during a visit to Bandung made by Manpower and 
Transmigration Minister Muhaimin Iskandar to officially launch the one-
million job creation program in the province.

25 October 2010

Protesters call out SBY on graft, rights, jobs, prices

National action on the failure of imperialist government and state, 20 October 2010. 
 These kind of actions were spreading out in many big cities in Indonesia. 
Here are some protest actions happening in several cities where we invloved and initiated.

Jakarta. KONTRAS 20 Oktober 2010


The banner is showed Indonesian map with TNC/MNC domination.
It said: "The power of Capitalists in Indonesia should be resisted through the unity of people struggle."
Jakarta. Joint Action Committe.
Jakarta. Joint Action Commitee
The banner said: "Not SBY-Boediono, Ministerial Resuffle or Political Elites; But Democracy and Welfare under People Power."
Adi Wibowo (centre) in front of Presidential Palace
The poster said: "Not SBY-Boediono, Ministerial Resuffle or Political Elites; But the unity of movement for Decent Wages."


Jakarta Globe - October 20, 2010

Bilhuda Haryanto, Jakarta -- High commodity prices, job insecurity, weak 
law enforcement and unresolved human rights issues were just some of the 
grievances aired on the capital's streets on Wednesday as hundreds of 
protesters braved the rain to have their say.

The demonstrations, concentrated outside the Presidential Palace in Central 
Jakarta, were held to mark the first anniversary of President Susilo 
Bambang Yudhoyono beginning his second term.

20 October 2010

Wasteful 2011 budget ignores poorest students, activists claim

Jakarta Globe - October 18, 2010

Dessy Sagita, Jakarta -- Activists have slammed the government for not allocating more funds to aid poor students while preparing to spend billions on its vehicle fleet and laptops.

A coalition of NGOs that monitors the state budget said the Education Ministry had budgeted just Rp 17.3 trillion ($1.94 billion) for school operational aid (BOS) for 39 million elementary and junior high school students next year.

Workers say Yudhoyono little more than foreign puppet, time to step down

Indowarta - October 13, 2010

Jakarta -- The administration of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY) and Vice President Boediono is already facing a heavy challenge as it approaches the first year of its second term in office on October 20.

The reason being that student, worker and urban poor organisations are already preparing to take to the streets to demonstrate at the State Palace with the demand "SBY step down!".

The Workers Challenge Alliance (ABM), according to coordinator Budi Wardoyo, has already carried out a series of consolidations to gather together workers to take to the street along with students and ordinary people to coincide with Yudhoyono and Boediono's first year.

18 October 2010

Support Indonesian Workers!*

The newly-formed union SPK-PPBI (Security Workers Union, aligned with the United Movement of Labour Indonesia) is calling for solidarity from unions and individuals. The SPK was formed out of a labour dispute between security guards working at the Sapphir Square Mall in Yogyakarta who were sacked unilaterally  in late August by the outsourcing company, PT Primanusa, contracted by Sapphir management.
(see previous news: here)

The workers, many of whom had been working for Sapphir Square Mall for several years, were given no notice and were owed one and a half months salary as well as the usual Ramadan holiday pay. The workers took independent action shutting down Sapphir Square Mall for two days in late August and on September 2 a meeting was held between the United Movement of Labour Indonesia (PPBI) and the security workers to form a new union, SPK. Since that time the SPK-PPBI has been actively campaigning for PT Primanusa and Sapphir Mall management to meet their obligations to the workers.

17 October 2010

Opposition to woman's leadership of district wanes

Jakarta Post - October 12, 2010

Hotli Simanjuntak, Banda Aceh -- Opposition by ulema and councilors in Aceh
to a woman becoming district head is reportedly weakening.

Anisa, who became head of Pelimbang district, Bireun regency on May 21,
2010, said the ulema and councilors had initially opposed her promotion
arguing that it was against Islamic law.

"[Opposition] has declined. Many public figures have come to me and
apologized for their previous resistance," she told The Jakarta Post in a recent interview.

Indonesian outrage over 'live bullets madness'

Jakarta Globe - October 12, 2010

Farouk Arnaz, Nivell Rayda & Susilo Wardhani, Jakarta -- Human rights
activists on Monday objected to a new National Police regulation allowing
officers to use live ammunition to control anarchic situations.

"This regulation is madness. It does not minimize police's excessive use of
force but instead increases police brutality further," said Poengky
Indarti, executive secretary of the Indonesian Human Rights Monitor
(Imparsial).

The new regulation, issued by outgoing National Police Chief Gen. Bambang
Hendarso Danuri, allows police officers to used live bullets to handle
rioters when they become uncooperative and start attacking officers.
However, officers are only allowed to shoot to immobilize, not to kill.

9 October 2010

Women still targets of discriminatory bylaws, Women rights group says

Jakarta Globe - October 7, 2010

Dessy Sagita, Jakarta -- The National Commission on Violence Against Women 
(Komnas Perempuan) said on Wednesday there were still plenty of bylaws 
discriminating against women, despite the state's promise to eradicate such 
policies.

"After he was re-elected, [President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono] said 
eradicating discriminatory bylaws would be a priority," said Andy Yentriyani, a commissioner at the agency. "But instead of decreasing, the 
number of these kinds of bylaws is getting bigger," she said.

Last year, Komnas Perempuan criticized the state for its failure to repeal 
154 bylaws nationwide that were considered discriminatory -- 64 of which 
hampered women's rights to free expression and gainful employment.

Indonesia, the angry nation?

Jakarta Globe - October 6, 2010

Tasa Nugraza Barley -- Like any Indonesian, Endah Puspita, 27, was taught 
growing up that she lived in a nation of friendly and polite people.

Recent events, however, have made her question if this reputation still 
held true. "I'm extremely sad to see all these violent conflicts happening 
in this country," said Endah, who works as a project administrator for a 
multinational company in Jakarta.

She is not alone. More and more Indonesians are starting to become 
apprehensive about the prevalence of violent events in the news every day.

Gracia Cassandra, a public relations practitioner in Jakarta, feels the 
situation has gotten much worse. "I'm so angry with the current condition," 
she said, adding that many contentious issues need to be solved.

Indonesian radical groups 'can help security'

Jakarta Globe - October 7, 2010

Farouk Arnaz & Anita Rachman, Jakarta -- Despite public calls for the 
government to disband violent hard-line groups, the sole candidate to lead 
the National Police on Wednesday did not appear inclined to oblige.

"We should be close to all" societal groups, Comr. Gen. Timur Pradopo told 
journalists after meeting with the leadership of the House of 
Representatives. However, Timur, did not specifically name the radical 
Islamic Defenders Front (FPI), which has often been involved in violence.

7 October 2010

STATEMENT ON ASEM AND G20

by South South Peoples Solidarity Network

Brussels, 6th Oct 2010

Asia Europe Meeting (ASEM) was held again in the beginning of October 2010. The forum was established   in bits first meeting in Bangkok, 1996. ASEM is an inter-regional forum consisting of the European Commission, 27 countries of European member countries, 13 members of ASEAN plus threes and as of 2008 India, Mongolia and Pakistan.

This ASEM is aimed at “helping” to prepare G 20 Summit to be held on  11-12 November 2010 in Seoul  South Korea. These talk shops are the avenue for powerful corporations and their proxy government to reaffirm their orgy of speculation in the expenses of the living standards of millions of people around the world and producing more catastrophes to the planet.

30 September 2010

Free Women condemn attack by Islamic Defenders Front against Q! Film Festival

Perempuan Mahardhika (Free Women) National Network Statement - September 28, 2010

The attacks by the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) against the two-week International Q! Film Festival which opened in Jakarta on September 24 is a violation of basic human rights and threatens democracy in Indonesia.

Since the process of reformasi or political reform that began in 1998, the upholding of democracy in Indonesia has continued to be pushed back. The right to organise, freedom of expression and opinion and the freedom of worship are increasingly coming under threat from reactionary civilian militia groups acting in the name of "eradicating immorality".

Restrictions on the freedom of sexual orientation in society through the construction of the normalisation of heterosexuality have explicitly emasculated the rights of the lesbian, homosexual, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, which are a part of society whose rights must be acknowledged.

28 September 2010

Asian Global Justice School in Manila 2010: Putting the Pieces of world's problems together, a socialist solution

By Zely Ariane*

The never ending traffic jams of Quezon City, Philippines, found its ‘compensation’ in the second Asian Global Justice School on August 2-21.

Representing the Political Committee of the Poor-People’s Democratic Party (KPRM-PRD), along with 10 other left activists from Taiwan, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Japan and Pakistan, I participated in a three-week school in Manila organised by International Institute for Research and Education (IIRE)-Manila.

The participants came from a variety of revolutionary organisations and parties with different traditions, engaging in different areas of national struggle. Some were peasant organisers, labour and women's activists while others worked on rural issues or conflict areas.

25 September 2010

Where We Will Go From Here?

A Reflection on Recent United Front Work in Indonesia
By Zely Ariane[1]

I prefer to consider this article as “a reflection on recent united front work” because it will probably not be able go into as much detail or history as I would like. So let this primarily be a reflection on our united front organisational work in Indonesia to date. But first, I would like to frame this within the strategic aims of our struggle, as a dynamic effort to achieve short and long term goals.

Why do we undertake united front work? Because for us it is a principal tactic by which to bring broader layers of the toiling masses; the poor majority, into the movement challenging the power of the ruling class. It is a tool to bring together and mobilise different forces and build consciousness on a common platform of struggle to increase the power of resistance. At the same time, for revolutionary forces, it is also an arena to propagate the strategic aims of the movement: that is socialism through overthrowing pro-capitalist and imperialist governments and its state and to establish a government of the working class and the poor.

Cross-religious solidarity action for freedom of religion, worship

Jatim News - September 19, 2010

Misti P., Mojokerto (
beritajatim.com) -- Around 50 people from the alliance National Humanity and Anti-Violence Solidarity Concern (SPKKAK) will hold joint prayers in front of the Mojokerto municipal government offices on Sunday September 19.

The event, which will be accompanied with the lighting of 1 thousand candles, is an expression of solidarity over the recent stabbing of a Batak Christian Protestant Church (HKBP) elder.

Alliance spokesperson Hari Cahyono said that the action is being held as a form of solidarity and respect for religious freedom. "We will start at 7pm, with a joint prayer and speeches with a number of demands", he said.

24 September 2010

Rallies across the country mark National Farmers' Day

Jakarta Post - September 25, 2010

Andi Hajramurni, Makassar -- Rallies marked National Farmers' Day and the
50th anniversary of the basic agrarian laws on Friday in South Sulawesi.

In Makassar, students, farmers, activists and workers staged rallies at the
governor's office and the South Sulawesi legislative building.

The rally at the governor's office was marred by pushing and shoving
between public order officers and demonstrators who tried to force their
way into the office to meet Governor Syahrul Yasin Limpo. Both office
entrances were tightly guarded, forcing protesters to voice their
aspirations in front of the office, causing heavy traffic congestion.

22 September 2010

New labor movement spreading in South Asia

Read: STOP layoff and victimization of Workers; Get rid imperialist, political elites and the rotten political parties
AFP & Jakarta Globe - September 19, 2010

From Indonesia to Bangladesh, from Cambodia to India, as factories relocate from China because of rising wages workers are becoming increasingly militant in demanding a larger share of the region's economic success.

The latest uprising came in Cambodia last week, when tens of thousands of workers went on strike to reject a proposed 20 percent pay increase -- crippling Cambodia's export-orientated garment industry, which produces items for renowned brands including Gap, Benetton, Adidas and Puma.

The strike followed a deal between the government and industry that set the minimum wage for garment and footwear staff at $61 a month. Unions want a base salary of $93.


In Indonesia, where three powerful trade unions represent the vast majority of the country's 3.4 million unionized workers, there is also mounting pressure to raise the minimum wage. Garment factories in particular, including some that are foreign-owned, have been hit by strikes and disputes over long hours and low wages.

19 September 2010

Poverty-stricken fields ripe for reforms

Jakarta Globe - September 16, 2010

Teddy Lesmana -- Poverty remains a serious problem in Indonesia, despite the country's improved economic performance and robust economic growth in recent years.

The Central Statistics Agency (BPS) recently showed that 13 percent of the population lives below the poverty line, still far behind the UN Millennium Development Goal to lower the number to 8 percent by 2015.

Over half of our nation's poor are small farmers (those who own less than 0.5 hectares of land) and farm laborers in rural areas.

And their numbers are growing, even with economic growth – agricultural census data in 2003 showed the number of small farmers to be increasing by an average of 2.6 percent per year.

Protesters take to the streets to demand government revoke decree



Jakarta Post - September 17, 2010 -- Hundreds of people joined two rallies in Jakarta on Thursday demanding the government revoke the 2006 Joint Ministerial Decree on Places of Worship as it resulted many interfaith conflicts.

"This decree has provided a justification to prohibit Indonesians from worshipping, with the majority being allowed to decide whether minorities can be granted licenses for their houses of worship," Marinus Yosafat, the head of the South Jakarta branch of the Association of Catholic Students of the Republic of Indonesia (PMKRI), told The Jakarta Post during a demonstration in front of National Police headquarters in South Jakarta.

15 September 2010

Struggle for land rights in Yogyakarta

ARMP in one of their consolidation next to the beach


The beach-side town of Parangtritis, on the southern coast of Yogyakarta, is currently the site of a protracted and bitter struggle over land between the local government and people.
The south coast is an important asset for the tourism industry in Yogyakarta. Foreign investors plan to build a 68.2 hectare golf course, a 55 hectare resort and three- and four-star hotels. This will result in thousands of home evictions.

Since 2006, at least 250 families have been evicted and their homes destroyed. They have been moved to temporary accommodation in the area. Ninety-nine other families are threatened by eviction in this area. Families were given 1.5 million rupiah (about A$190), far less than is needed to purchase a new home. Instead, they were offered a tiny shack, on which they may have to pay rent in the future.

Electricity rate hikes unite Indonesian opposition



Around 800 demonstrators from the National Movement for the Cancellation of Basic Electricity Rate Hikes and the Reduction of Prices held a protest action at the State Palace in central Jakarta on August 7. The movement is a broad alliance involving more than 45 organisations. Actions were also held in Medan (North Sumatra), Bandung (West Java), Makassar (South Sulawesi), Ternate (North Maluku), Surabaya (East Java) and Samarinda (East Kalimantan). Earlier, around 80 protesters from Perempuan Mahardhika (Free Women) held a one-hour action at the Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection Ministry and then joined the protest at the palace.

The national action was a concrete form of united people’s power against the puppet capitalist regime of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Vice-President Boediono, the parliament and the bourgeois political parties.

On July 1 the Yudhoyono government began the gradual withdrawal of the electricity subsidy, resulting in an average increase to the basic electricity rate of 10%. It is proposing a further increase of 15% in early 2011. The justification for this was increases in the cost of electricity generator components, resulting in a blow-out of basic supply costs for the state electricity company, PLN. It was also influenced by the rising cost of Indonesian crude oil, which is expected to reach US$80 a barrel, and an expected increase in electricity demand of 6.6% in 2010 and 7.4% in 2011.

14 September 2010

Tertiary education becoming more elitist, poor students missing out

Kompas - September 13, 2010

Jakarta -- Tertiary education is becoming more elitist compared with the 1990s 
and 1990s, with the participation of those from less well off families dropping. 
The increasingly high cost of study is the principle obstacle facing the poor 
wishing to attend tertiary education.

This fact can be seen from a study on gross enrollment ratio (GER) rates based 
on the economic background of students.

Looking at population census data for the years 2003-2008, the tertiary 
education GER disparity between students from rich and poor families is 
extremely high.

Hundreds of protesters in Jakarta demand resolution to Munir's murder


Tempo Interactive - September 7, 2010
Rosalina, Jakarta -- A number of organisations that are part of the group Friends of Munir held a protest action in Jakarta on September 7 demanding a full resolution to the death of human rights activist Munir. The protesters, who numbered around 700, gathered in front of the State Palace while giving speeches and holding a theatrical action complete with a human effigy bandaged in white cloth similar to a burial shroud.

According to action coordinator Poltak Agustinus Sinaga, the effigy symbolised the fact that up until this day there has been no resolution for the victims of human rights violations. "Many victims of human rights violations have died but there has been no settlement. So we are asking for a full resolution", he said in front of the State Palace.

Activists say Munir case being systematically weakened and neglected

Tribunnews.com - September 5, 2010

Alie Usman, Jakarta -- Scores of social and non-government organisations that
are part of the Friends of Munir movement gathered today to commemorate six
years since Munir's death, a human rights activists killed mysteriously on his
way to continue studies in the Netherlands six years ago.

As well as holding joint prayers, the Friends of Munir also issued a statement
on the slow pace of law enforcement agencies in handing the murder.

The group believes that over the last two years the government has ignored the
Munir murder as well as other human rights cases. Moreover there is a sense that
the Munir case is gradually starting to be buried and left behind.

12 September 2010

Sleep-in action by dismissed WRP workers enters second week

Tribun-Medan.com - September 7, 2010

Medan -- Since August 31, as many as 55 WRP Buana Multi Corpora workers have held a sleep-over action in front of the North Sumatra Regional House of Representatives (DPRD Sumut).
(see previous news here)

The action was held to demand their rights as workers who were arbitrarily dismissed in June 2009. The workers are demanding severance pay in accordance with prevailing legislation, or to be re-employed by the Malaysian company owned by Mr. Lee Song Hong and their wages paid during the strike.

11 September 2010

Quota for Women in Senior Party Positions Falls Short

Jakarta Globe - September 7, 2010

Armando Siahaan, Jakarta -- The legal requirement that a third of a
political party's executive board be comprised of female officials was
being blatantly ignored, a civil society group said on Tuesday.

Yuda Irlang, from the Civil Society Alliance for Political Law Revision
(Ansipol), said that according to the group's research, not one party had
complied with the 2008 Law on Politics that stipulates 30 percent of all
parties' central executive boards must be made up of women.

No holiday bonus and no job, security officers hold sit-in action

Detik.com - September 7, 2010

Bagus Kurniawan, Yogyakarta – It's like having fallen, and then have the stairs fall on top of you. Such is the fate of scores of Saphire Square security guards in the Central Java city of Yogyakarta.

With the Lebaran holidays at the end of the fasting month fast approaching, not only have they not received any holiday bonuses (THR) but have also been sacked from their jobs.

"We have not had a pay day for one-and-a-half months and there has also been no 2010 Idul Fitri THR", complained Yanto, one of the security guards holding a sit-in protest action in front of the Saphire Square terrace on Jl. Laksda Adisucipto in Yogyakarta on Tuesday September 7.