Thursday, April 30, 2020

Book Sale

“Ini sebuah buku yang lama saya bayangkan untuk melihat Indonesia, separuh reportase jurnalistik, separuh penjelajahan atas berbagai literatur, dan keduanya dijalin dengan narasi layaknya sebuah catatan perjalanan. Ini memungkinkan Andreas untuk menengok ruang-ruang sempit yang mungkin sering terabaikan, seperti bicara dengan peziarah di makam Soekarno, atau dengan saudari tiri pemimpin kharismatik Aceh. Cara seperti ini juga membuatnya leluasa untuk masuk ke konflik-konflik besar, semacam revolusi kemerdekaan maupun tragedi 65, tapi juga problem-problem sektarian lokal yang terjadi di mana-mana. Sebuah kesaksian luar biasa mengenai saling-sengkarutnya peta kekuasaan yang berkelindan dengan sentimen ras dan agama.”

Eka Kurniawan, novelis, Cantik Itu Luka dan Lelaki Harimau

KHUSUS pembeli di Indonesia, Monash University Publishing memberi rabat untuk buku Race, Islam and Power: Ethnic and Religious Violence in Post-Suharto Indonesia seharga Rp 550,000 (termasuk ongkos kirim).

Transfer Bank Central Asia nomor 5800159930. Kirimkan bukti transfer kepada Ruth Ogetay: +62-813-1544-9128. Andreas Harsono akan menandatangani buku yang dibeli lewat blog ini. Mohon kirim nama lengkap. Ruth Ogetay akan kirim lewat ekspedisi atau pos atau tergantung lokasi. Biasanya tiga hari sampai di Pulau Jawa. Luar Jawa perlu sedikit hari lagi.


Podcast Ubud Writers' and Readers' Festival featuring Janet Steele and Andreas Harsono
Andreas Harsono has covered Indonesia for Human Rights Watch since 2008. His new book Race, Islam and Power: Ethnic and Religious Violence in Post-Suharto Indonesia is the result of his 15-year project to document how race and religion have become increasingly prevalent in the nation’s politics.

South East Asia Research: Race, Islam and Power

South China Morning Post:
Is Indonesian democracy doomed to repeat a cycle of violence?

The Jakarta Post: ‘Race, Islam and Power’ A troubling tour through a pained land

Asia Pacific Report: Indonesia’s political system has ‘failed’ its minorities – like West Papuans

Human Rights Watch: New Book on Ethnic, Religious Violence

Video Sydney Southeast Asia Centre: Race, Islam and Power

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Virtuous women, virtual sex and COVID-19

A pregnant woman wearing a face mask as a precautionary measure walks past a street mural in Hong Kong, on March 23, 2020. (AFP/Anthony Wallace)

Julia Suryakusuma

BOY, am I glad I am way past my childbearing years! Imagine being pregnant, especially for the first time, and having a baby during this unprecedented global pandemic. Not only do you have fears of being infected, you would also be worried sick that your unborn baby could be too.

An expectant mother needs to have regular prenatal visits. How do you do that with the social distancing regulation in place? Well actually, there is such a thing as teleconsultation, to replace in-person visits, but they are still relatively few in Indonesia.

What about contraception that needs replenishing every one to three months? Or emergency contraception (the morning-after pill). That certainly is something that can’t be done virtually. Virtual sex, anyone?

Pregnancy was one of the topics discussed at the second International NGO Forum on Indonesian Development (INFID) webinar on women and COVID-19 held on Friday, presented by Zumrotin K. Susilo from the Women Health Foundation, the first speaker.

The second speaker was Nani Zulminarni, founder and director of the Women-Headed Household Empowerment Foundation (PEKKA). She spoke about the fate of PEKKA members, many of who are women daily workers unable to earn an income due to social distancing: farmers and farm laborers (37 percent), market vendors (15 percent), handicraft and food producers (9 percent), services (9 percent), factory workers (6 percent), teachers (2 percent), office workers (1 percent), fisherwomen (1 percent), civil servants, police, military, retirees (1 percent) and the unemployed (19 percent).

Only about 4 percent earned Rp 2 million (US$129.10) per month, over 10 percent earned between Rp 500,000 and Rp 1 million, over 45 percent earned less than Rp 500,000 and 19 percent had no income at all. Many were already in a cycle of poverty but without any external assistance, the COVID-19 literally puts them in a dead end. And with women-headed households making up 17 to 25 percent of households in Indonesia, we are talking big numbers here.

Nur Iman “Boni” Subono, the third speaker, on the editorial board of Jurnal Perempuan (Indonesian Feminist Journal) since its inception in 1995, drew attention to those at the front line of the battle against the coronavirus: nurses. First of all, the ratio of medical workers (including nurses) to the general population is 1:100,000. So pandemic or not, don’t get sick, OK? Especially if you are poor.

As of 2019, nurses in Indonesia number 345,508, with almost half in Java and the rest spread out thinly in other areas.

Even in normal times, nurses are vulnerable to workplace violence, but in the current pandemic atmosphere of fear, frustration and stress, they become punching bags in all areas of their lives. In the workplace, they are treated harshly, threatened, even raped. On the way to work, they face bullying, sexual harassment and worse.

What a relief to come home, no? No. Especially if the husband can’t go to work because of large-scale social restrictions (PSBB), feeling emasculated because he has to stay at home while his wife, a nurse, has to go out to go to work. Guess what happens? Domestic violence, which is on the rise generally anyway.

With traditional gender roles still in place, women still have to do the bulk of housework and to deal with restless kids who suddenly have to be schooled at home — if the nurses can go home, that is.
With the overload of patients, COVID-19 and otherwise, sometimes they have to stay for weeks at their workplace.

Imagine the extreme stress and fear of getting infected and dying, which does happen, especially since they are not always provided with adequate personal protective equipment (PPE). No hazmat suit? Hey, no problem, plastic raincoats will do!

As Clare Wright wrote in The Guardian: “A pandemic isn’t a war, but our healthcare workers are heroes.” However, instead of being treated as such, Boni found in his research that nurses are stigmatized and treated like pariahs when they return to their communities who fear being infected.

And obviously, their children suffer. I saw a heartbreaking photo in Boni’s presentation of a little boy with a distraught look on his face holding up a sign that read: “My mother is a nurse. She distances herself from me so that she can help you.”

What nurses in Indonesia experience also happens to nurses in many other countries. And while what they experience may be extreme, nurses — as caregivers — actually epitomize the life of many women worldwide, even in this day and age.

But wait, good news! “All six countries with the best response to COVID-19 have one thing in common: Women leaders.” This is the title of one of several articles I read with the same observation. These countries are New Zealand, Norway, Iceland, Germany, Belgium and Taiwan.

On the other hand, “COVID-19 Could Set Women Back Decades on Gender Equality” is the title of another article that typifies many others with similar messages.

Why the gap? It’s only six countries out of 195 in the world! And anyway, simply having a woman leader is not enough; a feminist or gender perspective has to be included in every national and international policy.

In a misogynistic world, that’s an uphill battle, but in combating COVID-19, the six women leaders have proven that they can do better than their testosterone-laden counterparts, so perhaps they can do better in other areas as well!

The writer is the author of Sex, Power and Nation.

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Buat L.Ch & A.B.

Catatan Irawan Saptono dari Salatiga (26 April 2020): 

Ini sajak Widji Thukul, penyair kiri pendiri Jaringan Kerja Kebudayaan Rakyat, untuk Leila Chairani dan Arief Budiman. Thukul diburu tentara Orde Baru, menyingkir dari rumahnya di Jagalan, Solo, mampir dan menginap di rumah Arief Budiman di perbukitan Bugel, Salatiga. 

Thukul tak pernah mengetuk pintu rumah Leila lagi hingga Arief meninggal kemarin lusa. Ia hilang, dihilangkan secara paksa. Mudah-mudahan hari ini mereka bisa berjumpa di suatu tempat entah di mana.

Widji Thukul

darahku mengalir hangat lagi
setelah puluhan jam
sendi-sendi tulangku beku
kurang gerak

badanku panas lagi
setelah nasi sepiring
sambel kecap dan telur goreng
tandas bersama tegukan air
dari bibir gelas keramik yang kau ulurkan dengan senyum manismu

kebisuan berhari-hari
kita pecahkan pagi itu
dengan salam tangan
dan kabar-kabar hangat

pagi itu
budimu menjadi api

tapi aku harus pergi lagi
mungkin tahun depan
atau entah kapan
akan kuketuk lagi
daun pintumu
bukan sebagai buron

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Renungan soal Wabah Covid19 dari Senayan

Pada 19 Februari berangkat
ke Amsterdam dgn masker N95.
Kami sekeluarga mulai karantina mandiri sejak 12 Maret 2020 --atau 10 hari sesudah pengumuman pertama dua kasus coronavirus oleh Presiden Joko Widodo pada 2 Maret.

Kami praktis tak keluar rumah walau sempat mendatangi upacara pernikahan anak tetangga pada 14 Maret di daerah Cilandak, Jakarta Selatan. Kami hanya berada di gereja tersebut tak sampai 30 menit. Seram juga lihat ratusan orang berkumpul dalam upacara nikah itu.

Sapariah dan saya sebenarnya sudah kuatir dengan wabah coronavirus ini sejak awal Februari 2020. Saya pribadi memperhatikan ketika provinsi Hubei (ibukota Wuhan) dikunci oleh pemerintah Tiongkok pada 23 Januari 2020. Ada penerbangan langsung Wuhan-Jakarta dan Wuhan-Bali setiap hari.

Pada 19 Februari, ketika harus terbang ke Amsterdam, lalu naik kereta api ke Paris, saya praktis tak berjabat tangan. Saya bahkan pakai masker tipe N95 ketika berada di tempat ramai termasuk bandar udara. Virus tersebut sudah ditemukan positif di Malaysia, Singapura dan Thailand. Saya kuatir di Indonesia juga sudah ada walau belum ada bukti sampai 2 Maret.

Makan malam di Paris.
Di Paris, saya ikut pertemuan tahunan Human Rights Watch, selama seminggu di Paris Marriott Rive Gauche Hotel & Conference Center.

Saya sempat makan malam --sate, nasi goreng, dan es campur-- di Restaurant Indonesia. Ada Ibaruri, putri dari ketua Partai Komunis Indonesia, D.N. Aidit, maupun Nita, putri dari Sobron Aidit, salah satu pendiri restoran tersebut serta saudara D.N, menyambut saya di sana. Mereka membicarakan bagaimana Arief Budiman, kolumnis surakabar dan dosen saya di Salatiga, pertama kali menulis restoran tersebut. Masih ada kliping esai Arief ditaruh di pigura.

Saya juga sempat berhenti di Brussels dan Amsterdam, bertemu dengan beberapa kenalan. Di Amsterdam, saya lihat bandar Schiphol jauh lebih sepi dari biasa. Brussels dan Paris terlihat tak ada kekuatiran terhadap wabah. Orang masih jalan. Museum ramai. Restoran ramai.

Belakangan saya tahu bahwa pada 18 Februari ada pertemuan selama lima hari dari gereja Christian Open Door (Église Porte Ouverte Chrétienne) di Mulhouse, sebuah kota kecil di Perancis, dimana banyak orang dari berbagai benua datang. Setidaknya 2,500 orang Kristen terbukti terkena coronavirus di Mulhouse. Kini sudah setidaknya 21,000 orang meninggal karena wabah di Perancis.

Saya kembali ke Jakarta pada 1 Maret 2020 dan keesokan harinya Jokowi mengumumkan dua kasus pertama di Depok.

Kembali ke tanah air, saya tak bisa membatalkan tiga janji kuliah di Surabaya dan Yogyakarta pada 9-11 Maret. Saya sekali lagi berjalan dengan masker dan alkohol buat bersihkan tangan. Berkali-kali saya mohon maaf buat mahasiswa dan dosen di Universitas Ciputra (Surabaya) dan Universitas Gadjah Mada (Yogyakarta) maupun Pergerakan Mahasiswa Islam Indonesia (Surabaya) bahwa saya tak berjabat tangan.

Mereka maklum karena Jakarta sudah dianggap sebagai episentrum wabah.

Di Yogyakarta, saya menginap di rumah adik saya, Yohana Harsono, serta mengobrol dengan suaminya Benny Gunawan. Sebuah kesenangan kecil bertemu dengan dua keponakan saya. Rumah mereka didisain sendiri dengan apik.

Pada Januari, saya ingin batal ikut
pertemuan di Paris namun sulit
karena sudah beli tiket. 
Pada 11 Maret malam, saya tiba di Jakarta dan keesokan hari saya praktis sudah menolak bertemu orang kecuali satu janji dengan Kedutaan Selandia Baru atau beberapa kawan dekat datang ke rumah.

Secara umum, dalam beberapa naskah dan wawancara, saya mengatakan pemerintah harus meningkatkan jumlah tes dan transparansi data dalam menghadapi wabah ini.

Sebuah pernyataan saya, lewat siaran pers Human Rights Watch, cukup sering dikutip media, “The Indonesian government needs to ramp up testing to know the true extent of the coronavirus outbreak in the country. The authorities should also uphold the right to information and provide accurate statistics to the public.”

Worldometer menunjukkan bahwa Indonesia adalah salah satu negara dengan tingkat tes terendah di dunia. Hanya 204 orang dites per sejuta penduduk Indonesia. Bandingkan dengan 2.043 per sejuta orang di Thailand, 3.515 per sejuta orang di Malaysia, atau 24,738 per sejuta orang di Jerman.

Seseorang menulis dalam tanggapan Twitter saya, "... the U.S. had tested in average 150,000 people in a single day. Indonesia has tested less in 3 months than USA is testing every 8 hrs.”

Perbandingannya, di Amerika Serikat, sudah 45,000 orang meninggal karena coronavirus. Di Indonesia, "hanya" ada 635 korban meninggal.

Saya kuatir angka resmi tersebut tak mencerminkan kenyataan di lapangan. Sedikitnya tes ini menunjukkan pemerintahan Jokowi belum siap hadapi wabah. Alat laboratorium, pakaian pengaman, zat kimia maupun organisasi dan prosedur belum siap.

Sampai hari ini tes masih dilakukan kurang dari 56,000 orang untuk negara dengan penduduk 280 juta ini. Ini belum lagi dengan kematian para pekerja kesehatan. Sudah lebih dari 40 dokter dan perawat meninggal karena coronavirus.

Di Surabaya, saya melatih aktivis
Pergerakan Mahasiswa Islam Indonesia

pada 9 Maret --tanpa jabatan tangan.
Dampak dari kekurangan ini adalah dimunculkan beberapa istilah resmi soal wabah ini: ODP (Orang Dalam Pengamatan); PDP (Pasien Dalam Pengamatan) maupun OTG (Orang Tanpa Gejala).

Di negara-negara dengan tes memadai, istilahnya cuma satu saja: positif atau negatif. Perhatikan Worldometer. Tak ada ODP, PDP atau OTG.

Semuanya hanya menggambarkan bahwa Kementerian Kesehatan belum sanggup bikin tes secara memadai. Sampai pertengahan Maret hanya ada satu laboratorium di Jakarta buat menguji virus ini. Kini sudah ada 28 laboratorium namun belasan provinsi masih belum punya lab buat lakukan tes.

Tanpa tes yang memadai, kita ibaratnya masuk pertempuran melawan wabah ini dengan "mata tertutup." Di Jakarta, kita tak tahu cluster mana saja yang ada. Beberapa media menyebut ada cluster di Petamburan. Ada juga cluster dari Karawang, Bogor dan Sumedang.

Kelemahan ini bukan kejahatan. Mungkin beberapa orang yang mengambil kebijakan ini teledor, bahkan ceroboh.

Namun meratapi kecerobohan atau kebodohan mereka takkan membawa perubahan. Pemerintahan Jokowi berusaha mengadakan mesin laboratorium lebih banyak juga mesin ventilator yang vital dalam mengatasi kesulitan bernafas di paru-paru pasien. Di seluruh Indonesia jumlah ventilator tak lebih dari 9000. Saya menghargai langkah-langkah kecil ini walau terlambat.

Saya sempat menulis puisi pendek soal udara Jakarta yang bersih berkat wabah:

Jakarta terlihat cantik minggu ini. 
Langit biru, awan putih empuk, pepohonan hijau, bunga bermekaran.
Pejalan kaki tenang, tanpa kuatir trotoar mereka dirampas motor atau mobil.
Semua terlihat tenang dan aman. 

Mirip intro film horor yang menegangkan.

Dalam suasana mencemaskan, takkan terhindar, selalu saja ada orang yang mencari keuntungan besar. Misalnya, soal kursus online lewat perusahaan milik seorang penasehat Jokowi. Atau program kredit, juga lewat perusahaan milik penasehat Jokowi lainnya. Ada conflict of interest. Saya kira perlu ada wartawan atau peneliti mulai merekam tindak-tanduk orang beginian.

Jakarta malam hari saat wabah.
Di berbagai media sosial, saya perhatikan banyak orang kuatir krisis kesehatan ini akan menjadi krisis ekonomi. Bila berkepanjangan, seperti 1997-98, krisis ekonomi bisa berubah jadi krisis sosial karena bahan pangan berkurang dalam jumlah besar.

Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat, tak kalah licin, membahas beberapa rancangan hukum yang kontroversial, termasuk Omnibus Law maupun Kitab Undang-undang Hukum Pidana. Ini menyakitkan sekali. Ini akan bikin marah banyak orang bila tiba-tiba produk hukum yang sering diprotes tersebut resmi disahkan.

Saya pernah meneliti dan menulis buku soal kekerasan pasca-krisis ekonomi Asia --Race, Islam and Power: Ethnic and Religious Violence in Post-Suharto Indonesia-- dimana lebih dari 90,000 orang mati dibunuh di berbagai tempat di Indonesia. Masa krisis ini adalah masa dimana orang seyogyanya mengedepankan kepentingan masyarakat daripada lakukan business as usual. Parlemen memang tetap harus bekerja. Perusahaan juga tetap harus bekerja. Namun lakukan demi kepentingan publik. Bukan bisnis dan manuver biasa.

Saya harap krisis ekonomi ini tak berkepanjangan sampai tahun depan.

Langit Jakarta biru, awan putih,
polusi udara minimal, dalam
suasana wabah ini.
Bila baca buku sejarah soal wabah flu Spanyol pada 1918, korban gelombang kedua jauh lebih besar dari gelombang pertama. Wabah tersebut membunuh setidaknya 50 juta orang di seluruh dunia termasuk 675,000 di Amerika Serikat.

Mengapa? Orang cenderung senang ketika pemerintah mengumumkan lockdown selesai dan keluar rumah, bersenang-senang. Capek sekali tinggal dalam rumah berbulan-bulan bukan?

Artinya, sesudah lockdown ini, ketika dibuka, tetaplah berhati-hati karena ia masih bisa mematikan, bahkan lebih mematikan.

Kita tak tahu kapan wabah ini berhenti dan bagaimana akan berhenti. Ia sangat tergantung ditemukan vaksin buat lawan coronavirus. Saya hanya tahu kami sekeluarga sudah enam minggu berada di rumah kami --mengatur pekerjaan rumah tangga bersama, bekerja bersama, mendampingi anak-anak serta komunikasi dengan berbagai kawan dan kolega. Kami sekeluarga seyogyanya juga harus bersiap bila wabah ini berlarut-larut sampai tahun depan.

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Kematian Seorang Waria

Dibakar hidup-hidup di Cilincing, Mira bangkit dan pulang sendiri ke rumah.

Andreas Harsono

Kamar Mira di Gang Salak, Cilincing, ketika Yuri Irawan, kenalan waria mengunjungi pada 10 April 2020. Mira meninggalkan kamar ini pada 4 April dini hari ketika dijemput beberapa preman. Mira tak pernah kembali ke kamar sederhana miliknya.

©Irfan Akhmad
WARIA itu dituduh mencuri dompet dan telepon genggam, pada 4 April 2020 dini hari, di tempat parkir truk di Cilincing, pelabuhan Tanjung Priok, di utara metropolitan Jakarta. Si empunya dompet, seorang sopir, mengadu kepada beberapa preman, yang menjaga tempat tersebut.

Mereka pun mendatangi Mira di kamar kost sederhana miliknya, rumah dua lantai, di Gang Salak. Mira, yang seorang pekerja seks dan sering “mejeng” di tempat parkir, membantah. Mereka mengajak Mira datang ke tempat parkir –nama resminya Longroom New Priok Container-- sekitar 500 meter dari kontrakan, naik sepeda motor.

Mira kenal para preman. Dia bersedia ikutan.

Di tempat parkir, sang sopir melancarkan tuduhan. Ada sekitar 25 sopir, kenek, kuli angkutan, menyaksikan. Mira terdesak, tak kuasa membela diri. Seorang waria, seorang pekerja seks yang mulai menua, adalah minoritas ganda yang terlalu sering disingkirkan, dianggap menyimpang dan tak berdaya menghadapi tuduhan di tengah malam di sebuah tempat yang keras di Jakarta.

Beberapa preman menunjuk-nunjuk kepalanya, memukulnya. Mira lemas, jongkok. Lirih dia tetap membantah. Seorang jagoan meningkatkan intimidasi dengan menuangkan dua liter bensin ke kepala Mira. Dia diancam dibakar. Hanya Orin, sesama waria, buang suara dan minta panggil polisi. Korek api dinyalakan, didekatkan ke Mira —percik api jatuh ke pakaian dan tubuh Mira.


Membara dengan cepat, api membakar rambutnya, sampai gundul, wajahnya gosong.

Semua lari. Sopir, kenek, semuanya membubarkan diri. Orin juga lari. Mira dibakar hidup-hidup.

"Yang bakar itu berusaha memadamkan, disiram pakai air. Terus bajunya Mira dilepasin, akhirnya ada got, Mira digeret dan dipadamkan gitu," kata Orin.

Mira lantas keluar dari got, dalam tubuh penuh luka, bangkit, jalan kaki, terseok-seok mau balik ke kontrakan. Entah apa yang ada dalam pikirannya. Dia jatuh terduduk dekat musala sampai beberapa orang datang, mencari bantuan, serta dibawa ke rumah sakit Koja ketika adzan subuh mulai bergema di Cilincing.

Keesokan harinya, Minggu, 5 April 2020, Mira meninggal dunia. Para kenalan dan kawan mengumpulkan sumbangan Rp 4 juta –dikumpulkan lewat Bu RT—buat membayar rumah sakit dan mengubur Mira.

Waria adalah bagian dari minoritas gender yang sering disingkat LGBTIQ –istilah bahasa Inggris, artinya, lesbian, gay, biseksual, transgender, intersex dan queer. Mereka mengalami diskriminasi, penghinaan, penangkapan, ironisnya, sesudah Reformasi mulai bergulir di Indonesia.

Menurut “Catatan Kelam 12 Tahun Persekusi LGBT di Indonesia” karya Arus Pelangi, 88 persen korban kriminalisasi LGBTIQ adalah para transgender atau waria. Mira hanya lulusan sekolah dasar di Makassar. Dia lari dari penolakan keluarga –seperti kebanyakan waria—sehingga tak bisa sekolah dan kebanyakan kerja di salon, menjajakan seks atau menghibur di jalanan. Dia lantas pindah ke Jakarta, mengadu nasib tanpa pendidikan bahkan tanpa KTP.

Arus Pelangi mencatat ada 49 produk hukum dan kebijakan di Indonesia yang diskriminatif dan bisa dipakai buat kriminalisasi LGBTIQ. Ia mulai dari UU Anti Pornografi 2008 –menilai kegiatan seks sesama jenis sebagai “menyimpang”—sampai Qanun Jinayah 2014 di Aceh yang menghukum individu yang terlibat kegiatan tersebut maksimal 100 cambukan atau penjara 100 bulan.

Polsek Cilincing menangkap beberapa preman dengan dugaan “pengeroyokan” –bukan pembunuhan— juga memeriksa Orin. Tanpa KTP, polisi bingung mencantumkan umur Mira. Bahkan nama lahirnya juga tak diketahui. Seseorang menyebut asal saja, Mira berumur 42 tahun.

“Biadab betul ya ampun,” kata seorang netizen.

“Harusnya yang menyaksikan ditangkap juga karena membiarkan terjadinya pembunuhan,” kata lainnya.

Mira dipukuli. Mira dibakar hidup-hidup. Mungkin Mira tak kenal Qanun Jinayah atau UU Anti Pornografi. Mira hanya tahu dia selalu dirudung kesusahan, sejak muda, karena orientasi seksual dan identitas gendernya.

Sebagian besar waria di Indonesia memang ditolak keluarga. Ketika masih kecil, mereka dihina entah di sekolah, di rumah, akhirnya lari ketika remaja. Tanpa pendidikan, mereka minta bantuan dari sesama waria. Di Makassar, orang macam Mira mungkin bisa menjadi “bissu” --kaum pendeta dalam agama tradisional Tolotang, yang makin sedikit pemeluknya.

Indonesia yang berubah seyogyanya juga memberikan hak kepada mereka sebagai warga negara: pendidikan, administrasi negara, kesehatan dan hak mereka mencintai. Setidaknya Mira bangkit, berjalan dan jatuh dekat musala, meregang nyawa di rumah sakit dan mati. Mira mau bangkit, berjalan, mungkin mau menunjukkan bahwa keadilan dan kebenaran harus ditegakkan.


Andreas Harsono pernah kerja di sebuah perusahaan truk Semarang pada 1992-1993, beberapa kali bertugas di Cilincing, Jakarta.

‘Religious harmony’ regulation brings anything but

Andreas Harsono
The Jakarta Post

A bi-weekly protest outside the Merdeka Palace in Jakarta over the closures of houses of worship in Indonesia. GKI Yasmin in Bogor and HKBP Filadelfia in Bekasi, outside Jakarta, two churches that organize this bi-weekly service, were closed in 2008 and 2011 respectively. These two churches sued the local governments that sanctioned the closures and won their cases in the Supreme Court. But local authorities have not respected the Supreme Court ruling. 

In March, 15 Indonesians filed a lawsuit with the Supreme Court arguing that the government’s shuttering of thousands of houses of worship was being done under a discriminatory law and therefore should not be allowed to happen.

The 15 men and women filing the suit said that authorities had closed thousands of houses of worship, mostly Christian churches, under the discriminatory regulation. It also used the law as a pretext to close down Ahmadiyah and Shiite mosques as well as shrines of local ethnic religions. In some Christian-dominated provinces, it was sometimes used as an excuse to close Sunni mosques.

The people filling the case mostly live in Greater Jakarta, with one woman living in Bali.

“We want every citizen to have the freedom to worship, with equal rights, without any exception. We want our voice to be listened to,” said petitioner Nancy Angela Hendriks, arguing that the regulation contradicted Indonesia’s Constitution, which guarantees equality and religious freedom. A prominent Muslim cleric, Nuril Arifin Husein, and some ethnic Batak and Minahasan leaders backed them up, joining the petitioners when registering the lawsuit.

The 2006 regulation essentially permits regional governments to license the construction of houses of worship. It states that the construction or renovation of houses of worship should be based on the “real needs” and “composition of the population” in the area. It is more restrictive than earlier regulations on houses of worship. A permit requires:

  • A list of names and ID cards of at least 90 people who will use the house of worship with the approval of the village head;
  • A support letter from at least 60 people living in the area, also with the endorsement of the village head;
  • A written recommendation from the local branch of the Religious Affairs Ministry;
  • A written recommendation from the local branch of the Interfaith Communication Forum (FKUB).

The problem lies mostly with the FKUB. Governors, regents and mayors decide who will be members of the forum. According to the regulation, the composition of members should be “proportionate” to the percentage of worshippers in each area, creating, the lawsuit says, a body where minority religions are not given an equal voice.

Jakarta, for example, is 85 percent Muslim, meaning that 85 percent of the 21 members should be Muslim clerics. In Bali, 83 percent of the forum members should be Balinese Hindu leaders.

In practice, the regulation lets the majority religious group in each area have veto power over religious minorities. As a result, most minorities in predominantly Sunni Muslim Indonesia have difficulties establishing or renovating their houses of worship. About 88 percent of Indonesia's 260 million people are Muslims.

In 2014, when running for president, Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s campaign team promised to remove this regulation, saying that it was used mostly to close down religious minorities’ houses of worship. Jokowi, however, never followed through on this pledge. In 2019, when running for reelection, Jokowi picked Muslim cleric Ma’ruf Amin, who drafted the regulation in 2005, to be his vice president.

Ahmadiyah mosque closed in Depok.
The veto power has empowered Muslim extremists to take the law into their own hands, pressuring local governments to close down houses of worship of minority religions. It’s not clear how many churches were closed down as the Religious Affairs Ministry does not publish data on this. BBC Indonesia estimated “hundreds” were closed in a decade. media outlet listed 32 churches that were closed under Jokowi’s first five years in office.

Human Rights Watch documented how former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who ruled from 2004-2014, created discriminatory regulations, including this one, which facilitated religious intolerance and related violence. Under Yudhoyono, more churches closed down than under any other president.

Still, some Christian churches managed to secure permits initially, but Muslim extremists later demanded their closure. Local authorities ordered two churches, GKI Yasmin in Bogor and HKBP Filadelfia in Bekasi, outside Jakarta, to close in 2008 and 2011 respectively. These two churches sued the local governments that sanctioned the closures and won their cases in the Supreme Court. But local authorities have not respected the Supreme Court ruling and both churches remain closed – tall grass grows over their compounds.

Many Muslim communities in Muslim-majority areas built mosques over the last decade easily, sometimes without permits, arguing that they could easily obtain the permits due to their majority status.

In 2010, the Religious Affairs Ministry listed 243,199 mosques throughout Indonesia, around 78 percent of all houses of worship. Now, an ongoing government census, using drones and photographs, has registered at least 554,152 mosques. The census – which kicked off in 2013 – is only about 75 percent done, said team leader Fakhry Affan. The figure suggests that the number of mosques has more than doubled in a decade.

Human Rights Watch has repeatedly expressed concerns that harassment and violence against religious minorities in Indonesia is facilitated by laws that purport to maintain “religious harmony” but in practice undermine religious freedom. The 1945 Constitution explicitly guarantees freedom of religion, as does the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Indonesia is a party.

It’s now Indonesian citizens themselves looking for justice. The Supreme Court will hear this lawsuit, but it is important for the government to also consider the impact of the houses of worship decree. The government should seek to amend or revoke regulations that discriminate against religious minorities, including the 2006 regulation, the 1965 Blasphemy Law and multiple regulations that have followed on from the Blasphemy Law. President Jokowi should have the courage to respect what the Supreme Court had ordered, at a minimum reopening the GKI Yasmin and HKBP Filadelfia churches in a bid to respect the law of the land.


Andreas Harsono is Senior Indonesia researcher for Human Rights Watch.

Friday, April 03, 2020

Fatal Shooting in a Mining Town in Papua

A welcome statue in Timika, Papua.

Indonesian Police Should Invite Independent Investigation

Andreas Harsono
Human Rights Watch

Eight armed men attacked a mining area in Timika, Papua in easternmost Indonesia earlier this week. They shot and killed Graeme Thomas Wall, a New Zealand miner, and wounded four Indonesian workers, two seriously.

Jeffrey Bomanak, the commander of the West Papua Liberation Army, the military wing of the rebel Free Papua Organization, claimed responsibility. Their spokesperson warned employees of Grasberg gold mine, which is operated by PT Freeport Indonesia (PTFI), to leave Papua’s mining areas, which the group declared in 2017 to be “a battle zone.”

The Indonesian police are responsible for investigating the attack and bringing the perpetrators to account. But they should not violate the rights of ordinary Papuans, as happened in 2002 after the fatal shooting of two American teachers and an Indonesian teacher in Timika.

Years after the shooting, in 2006, Indonesian police rounded up a local church leader and his two assistants, while credible reports linking the attack to the Indonesian military were never pursued. The three church workers were wrongfully convicted of “aiding a suspect” when they had actually helped United States investigators interview the criminal suspect.

New Zealand police should offer to send a team to help Indonesian investigators. Criminal investigation in a place such as Timika, with numerous competing political and business interests, is best carried out by an independent investigative team removed from local issues.

Grasberg is the world’s largest gold mine, in operation since 1967, and its owner PTFI says there are more than 1,000 Indonesian security forces and hundreds more private security personnel in the area. Many armed gangs, with various ethnic affiliations, also operate in Timika.

Killings in Timika are not uncommon, though killings of foreigners are rare. In 2015, a local newspaper editor said that since 2003, at least 45 men were shot and killed along the 79-mile route between Timika and Grasberg gold mine, including an Australian miner in 2009. Yet no one has been held to account for these killings.

As well as investigating this latest killing swiftly, the Indonesian government should also allow independent journalists, including from New Zealand’s media, to enter Papua without the region’s highly restrictive travel permit, so that they can freely investigate and report on this crime.