Friday, November 24, 2017

Rebeka Harsono dengan Disabilitas Sosial dan Psikologi


Rebeka Harsono (baju hijau) dan Susanna Harsono (baju corak bunga) bersama mamanya, Metri W. Harsono, ketika hendak membawa Rebeka berlibur ke Jember pada Juli 2017. Ini dilakukan sesudah pemeriksaan psikiater di rumah sakit jiwa Grogol, Jakarta. 

Rebeka Harsono, adik saya, kini menjalani pengobatan gangguan jiwa. Selama bertahun-tahun dia menolak usul keluarga agar memeriksakan kesehatan jiwa. Dia bersedia pergi ke psikiater tahun ini. Diagnosa seorang psikiater mengatakan Rebeka memiliki schizophrenia paranoid. Dua psikiater lain setuju dengan paranoid namun belum pasti soal schizophrenia. Seorang dari mereka mengatakan bipolar.

Saudara kembarnya, Susanna Harsono, menjalani pengobatan schizophrenia paranoid sejak 1991 sesudah tak selesai kuliah di tiga perguruan tinggi di Malang, Manila dan Solo.

Rebeka sendiri lulusan sarjana ilmu politik dari Universitas Gadjah Mada (Yogyakarta) pada 1993 dan master Monash University (Melbourne) pada 2000. Dia sempat bekerja dengan sebuah lembaga swadaya masyarakat, membantu komunitas Cina Benteng di Tangerang.

Pada 2007, saya perhatikan wicaranya cepat sekali, sering tanpa titik, isinya sering tidak fokus, bisa bicara sendiri tanpa mendengarkan lawan bicara, mudah marah tanpa alasan, temperamental, campur aduk antara fiksi dan fakta. Dia mengaku kesulitan menulis buku soal diskriminasi terhadap perempuan Tionghoa. Dia punya data banyak namun sulit merangkai. Dia minta dibantu agar buku tersebut bisa selesai.

Saya perkenalkan Rebeka dengan kenalan saya, Basilius Triharyanto dari Yayasan Pantau, guna menyelesaikan buku Jalan Berliku Menjadi Orang Indonesia: Kisah Tujuh Perempuan Tionghoa Korban Diskriminasi. Basilius bersedia bantu Rebeka. Dia bekerja dengan kesabaran. Buku tersebut terbit pada 2008. Ia menolong Rebeka namun tak membuatnya stabil.

Pada 4 Juni 2011, Rebeka mendadak menyebarkan undangan pernikahan dengan seseorang yang disebutnya "Mark Housego" dari London. Dia belum pernah bertemu dengan orang tersebut. Hanya kenalan lewat internet.

Saya curiga penipuan. Rebeka menuduh saya menghalangi dia menikah.

Seseorang yang klaim sebagai pengacara Housego memakai alamat 221B Baker Street, London. Cukup lewat Google bisa diketahui ia adalah alamat dari Museum Sherlock Holmes --detektif dalam serial karya Arthur Conan Doyle.

Menjelang hari pernikahan, "Mark Housego" kirim email ke Rebeka dan minta dikirimi US$3,000 karena dompetnya dicopet di Beijing dalam perjalanan ke Jakarta. Saya menolak meminjamkan uang kepada Rebeka.

Rebeka lantas batalkan "pernikahan" dengan alasan "... pihak keluargaku tetap tdk setuju menikah terburu2 -begitu pengantin cowoknya datang."

Makin tahun makin banyak kelakuan error Rebeka. Saya menerima keluhan orang yang dibuat jengkel Rebeka. Mulai dari temannya sampai tetangga, mulai dari orang tua yang anak-anaknya dimaki sampai saleswoman yang dibuatnya jengkel.

Belasan karyawan di lingkungan saya tinggal dan bekerja juga mengeluh soal Rebeka. Entah mereka diomeli atau dibentak. Dia sering menuduh orang tak menghormatinya. Dia berpendapat dia layak "memberi nasehat" dan dihormati sebagai "orang tua." Ketika menginap di rumah kami, pernah dia mengusir seorang anak muda, tamu isteri saya, dari Ternate.

Rebeka juga delusional soal dapat pendanaan buat organisasinya. Selalu berkhayal akan ada dana. Dia suka mengirim macam-macam pesan lewat Whatsapp maupun Facebook soal lembaga swadaya masyarakat. Pekerjaannya morat-marit. Sejak 2013, dia sering minta uang kepada keluarga dengan janji akan dibayar "sesudah donor masuk."

Pada Juni 2014, isteri saya, Sapariah Saturi, dan saya mulai minta Rebeka berobat. Rebeka menolak buat pengobatan. Dia marah karena dituduh "gila." Pada 2015, dia dapat warisan dari orang tua kami (Papa meninggal dua tahun sebelumnya pada Juli 2013).

Rebeka Harsono sesudah rumahnya 
selesai renovasi di Cisauk, Tangerang.
Uang warisan sebagian "dipinjam" kawan dekatnya tanpa kepastian akan dikembalikan. Dia juga beli sedan Toyota, kredit dari bank, tapi dia tak bisa setir ... lalu di-Uber-kan. Sopirnya lari, menjual mobil. Kini jadi urusan polisi. Mobil tampaknya takkan kembali. Tanpa pekerjaan, kehilangan uang warisan, Rebeka makin hari makin kewalahan membayar kredit rumahnya di Cisauk. Kami juga mengetahui bahwa atap rumah bocor dan saluran air buntu.

Juni 2017, Mama kami, Metri Harsono, dan Susanna Harsono, datang dari Jember guna membujuk Rebeka memeriksakan kesehatan jiwanya. Singkatnya, Rebeka menerima tawaran dan bersedia menemui dokter di rumah sakit jiwa Grogol.

Ruth Ogetay, seorang ahli kesehatan masyarakat dan teman keluarga kami, mengantar Rebeka ke rumah sakit. Namun Rebeka tak cukup dengar opini seorang psikiater saja. Dia menemui dua psikiater lagi. Hasilnya sama: schizoprenia paranoid. Rebeka kadang menerima, kadang membantah. Dia kadang minum obat, kadang tak minum obat.

Kami sekeluarga menganggap ini cobaan buat kami. Kami berunding apa yang bisa dilakukan buat mengurangi kerusakan yang muncul. Mama berpendapat minimal rumahnya diperbaiki dulu.

Pada September 2017, sesudah Rebeka kembali dari Jember, Mama minta sebuah team tukang buat renovasi rumahnya. Saya kebetulan kenal dengan beberapa tukang. Mereka bersedia membantu renovasi dan menghadapi tingkah-laku Rebeka. Mama lakukan supervisi terhadap renovasi rumah. Kami harap renovasi rumah hingga rapi dan pengobatan bisa mengurangi khayalan maupun kengawuran isi pembicaraannya.

Dokter usul Rebeka diberi caregiver. 
Namun dokter mengusulkan agar Rebeka tak tinggal sendirian. Dia diminta ditemani caregiver --seseorang yang membantu dia minum obat maupun mengingatkan dia bila kumat. Ini cukup pelik karena kami sekeluarga tak ada yang bisa memberikan tumpangan. Rumah saya kecil hanya dua kamar. Adik-adik lain juga berhalangan. Tak ada satu pun dari kami yang bisa tinggal di rumahnya di Cisauk. Rebeka juga tak mau diminta kembali ke kota kelahirannya Jember.

Menariknya, Susanna yang sudah berobat sejak 1991, kini menjadi stabil, jarang mengamuk serta bisa bekerja merajut berbagai tas dan baju. Susanna banyak membantu mama kami bila sakit atau bepergian.

Saya tak bisa membayangkan tekanan dan kesulitan yang dihadapi Mama. Dia sering bilang dalam bahasa Jawa, "Sing waras ngalah." Kesulitan dengan dua anak kembarnya ini membuat saya menaruh perhatian besar pada persoalan kesehatan jiwa di Indonesia. Saya ikut membuat video, "Menangani Kesehatan Jiwa dengan Cara Dipasung."

Kasus ekstrim adalah orang dengan gangguan jiwa dipasung. Keluarga mereka capek dengan anggota keluarga yang punya gangguan jiwa. Kini ada lebih dari 57,000 orang dipasung di Indonesia karena ketiadaan pengobatan dan perawatan. Kami tentu menentang praktek tersebut.

Saya harap bila Anda dengar Rebeka bicara ngawur mohon tidak diladeni. Dia sering pelintiran sana dan sini, kadang dicampur dengan masalah agama dan ras, sulit mengukur derajat kepercayaan terhadap omongannya. Dia sering menyebut nama-nama, dari pejabat sampai aktivis, dari dosen sampai anggota keluarga, serta memakai nama-nama tersebut buat keperluannya. Mudah-mudahan pengobatan ini membantu kesehatan jiwanya. Mudah-mudahan dia mau tertib minum obat. Kami juga mendorong Rebeka buat pergi rawat inap di rumah sakit jiwa agar bisa mendapat pemantauan 24 jam. Bila pengobatan akurat dan tertib, dia bisa kembali "stabil" --walau tetap minum obat seumur hidup-- dan memanfaatkan pendidikan dan pengalamannya buat bekerja teratur.

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Menjaga Kerukunan Agama, Menjaga Keutuhan Bangsa

Kesaksian di Mahkamah Konstitusi soal Ahmadiyah dan penodaan agama

Oleh Dr. Ahmad Najib Burhani


Yang Mulia Ketua Majelis Hakim Mahkamah Konstitusi Yang Mulia Anggota Majelis Hakim Mahkamah Konstitusi Sidang Mahkamah Konstitusi yang berbahagia

Assalamu’alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh


Pendahuluan

Dr. Ahmad Najib Burhani di
Mahkamah Konstitusi
Saya ingin menegaskan terlebih dahulu bahwa kekehadiran saya dalam sidang ini bukanlah untuk melakukan pembelaan terhadap Ahmadiyah. Saya bersedia hadir menjadi saksi ahli karena menginginkan pasal-pasal dalam UU No. 1/PNPS/1965 itu tidak disalahartikan dan disalahgunakan.

Kalaulah ada bagian yang menyangkut Ahmadiyah, yang saya lakukan bukan sebuah pembelaan, tapi menyampaikan apa yang saya tahu tentang komunitas keagamaan ini. Ada tiga hal utama yang ingin saya sampaikan di sini: 1) Beberapa kesalahpahaman kita tentang Ahmadiyah, 2) Pendefinisian penodaan agama dan ancaman diskriminasi terhadap berbagai kelompok agama, termasuk Nahdlatul Ulama dan Muhammadiyah, jika tidak ada penafsiran bersyarat beberapa pada dalam undang-undang aquo, dan 3) Memahami posisi minoritas agama.

Kesalah-pahaman dan Stereotype tentang Ahmadiyah

Majelis hakim yang mulia!

Saya sudah mengkaji dan meneliti tentang Ahmadiyah ini bukan hanya dalam hitungan hari atau minggu atau bulan, tapi sudah beberapa tahun. Paling tidak, sudah tujuh tahun secara serius saya mengkaji gerakan ini. Saya tidak hanya mendatangi satu lokasi tempat komunitas ini berada, tapi saya hadir di beberapa tempat: ke pusat Jemaah Ahmadiyah Indonesia di Parung; desa Manis Lor, Kuningan, yang lebih dari separuh penduduknya adalah Ahmadi; Transito di Mataram, Nusa Tenggara Barat, tempat warga Ahmadiyah menjadi pengungsi selama lebih dari 10 tahun sejak rumah-rumah mereka dihancurkan; ke Pandeglang dan Cikeusik, tempat tiga anggota Ahmadiyah dibunuh; ke Bandung, Surabaya, Medan, Praya, Cirebon, dan beberapa tempat lain dimana Ahmadiyah menghadapi kesulitan menjalankan keyakinannya. Saya juga hadir pada jalsa salana (pertemuan tahunan) yang diadakan oleh Ahmadiyah Jakarta, Yogyakarta, dan Tangerang.

Di luar Indonesia, saya juga datang ke komunitas Ahmadiyah di Texas, Amerika Serikat; Manchester, Inggris; Jepang, dan Singapura. Terakhir, dan ini menjadi pengalaman yang sangat penting, saya ikut jalsa salana di Qadian, India, tempat kelahiran Ahmadiyah, dimana saya tinggal atau menginap di Dar al-Masih atau rumah Mirza Ghulam Ahmad selama 10 hari. Berdasarkan pengalaman itu, saya ingin menunjukkan beberapa hal yang kurang pas dalam pandangan kita selama ini terhadap Ahmadiyah, kesalahpahaman saya terutama, sebagai bagian dari umat Islam non-Ahmadiyah. Kesalahpahaman yang sering melahirkan prejudice dan tuduhan terhadap komunitas ini.

Pertama, tentang tuduhan ibadah haji Ahmadiyah.

Memang ada tempat-tempat tertentu di Qadian yang mendapat perlakuan khusus, atau katakanlan sebagai tempat suci (sacred space), seperti Minaratul Masih, Masjidil Aqsa, Masjid Mubarak, Bahishti Maqbarah, dan Darul Masih. Namun ketika membahas tentang tempat suci, orang sering menyalahartikan antara tempat suci dan tempat ibadah haji. Atau lebih jelasnya, terdapat sikap yang mendua dari sebagian kita umat Islam berkaitan dengan ibadah haji orang Ahmadiyah. Pada satu sisi, mereka sering dituduh memiliki tempat ibadah haji sendiri yang berbeda dari umat Islam lain, yaitu di Qadian, India. Namun pada sisi lain, ketika orang Ahmadiyah hendak melaksanakan rukun Islam kelima, berhaji ke Baitullah di Makkah, beberapa orang menghambat pendaftaran mereka.

Saya sudah hadir di tempat-tempat itu dan menyaksikan bahwa yang mereka lakukan bukanlah seperti bayangan orang bahwa mereka melakukan haji. Tidak ada ketentuan waktu untuk berkunjung, tidak ada ketentuan urutan beribadah, dan tidak ada ritual yang baku. Itu lebih mirip ziarah ke tempat suci, seperti ziarah ke makam Wali Songo dalam tradisi kita. Qadian memang menjadi salah satu tempat istimewa atau tempat yang perlu dikunjungi oleh jemaah Ahmadiyah. Sama halnya dengan pengikut Syiah melihat Qum dan Karbala sebagai tempat untuk melakukan ziarah spiritual. Qadian adalah tempat kelahiran Ahmadiyah, tempat terjadinya berbagai peristiwa penting dalam komunitas ini. Namun demikian, Qadian bukanlah tempat berhaji dan berkunjung ke tempat ini tidak dianggap sebagai ibadah pengganti haji.

Kedua, tentang kitab suci Ahmadiyah.

Ada beberapa buku yang beredar di sekitar kita yang menyebutkan bahwa kitab suci orang Ahmadiyah adalah Tazkirah, bukan Al-Qur’an. Saya sudah membaca buku-buku Ahmadiyah, tidak ada yang menyebutkan kitab sucinya adalah Tazkirah. Saya datang ke rumah-rumah dan masjid-masjid Ahmadiyah, yang saya temukan adalah Al-Qur’an, bukan Tazkirah. Saya datang ke perpustakaannya di Qadian yang ketika itu sedang ada penulisan mushhaf Al-Qur’an. Sekali lagi Al-Qur’an, bukan Tazkirah. Tentu saja ada beberapa individu yang memiliki Tazkirah dan beberapa kantor Ahmadiyah juga memiliki itu. Tapi itu bukan kitab suci. Sama seperti pembedaan antara tempat suci dan tempat ibadah haji di atas, perlu pula dibedakan makna “suci” dalam Tazkirah dan kitab suci Al-Qur’an. Itu tidak memiliki makna sama dan tidak berada pada level yang sama.

Ketiga, tentang keyakinan Ahmadiyah mengenai Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. Ini yang paling kontroversial.

Ketika saya di Qadian, kamar yang saya tempati berada di atas kamar yang dulu ditempati oleh Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. Bukan persis di atasnya, mungkin 10 meter sebelah utara dari kamar tempat lahir Ghulam Ahmad. Saya datang ke kamar tempat Ghulam Ahmad dilahirkan, kamar tempat ia sering berdoa, kamar tempatnya sering menghabiskan waktu untuk menulis. Saya ikut sholat di Masjid Mubarak dan Masjid al-Aqsa yang cukup keramat dan bersejarah bagi warga Ahmadiyah. Saya mengamati, apakah orang Ahmadiyah telah menempatkan Ghulam Ahmad lebih tinggi dari Nabi Muhammad? Apakah Ghulam Ahmad disanjung lebih tinggi dari Nabi Muhammad? Setahu saya, itu tidak terjadi. Sanjungan dan pujian yang dilakukan di tempat-tempat itu adalah kepada Nabi Muhammad.

Di pagi dan sore hari, saya sering duduk tak jauh dari makam Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. Selama berjam-jam dalam beberapa hari secara berturut-turut. Saya memperhatikan dan mengamati pengikut Ahmadiyah dari berbagai negara yang berkunjung ke tempat itu. Apakah ada yang aneh dari mereka? Apakah ada yang menyembah atau memuja berlebihan terhadap Mirza Ghulam Ahmad? Tidak ada yang mulia. Tidak ada pemujaan berlebihan. Tidak ada yang menangis keras-keras. Tidak ada yang mengambil tanah untuk jimat. Tidak ada yang menaruh bunga. Tidak ada yang melempar koin. Tidak seperti bayangan kita bahwa mereka memuja berlebihan terhadap Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. Bisa jadi, sikap orang Ahmadiyah ketika berkunjung ke makam Ghulam Ahmad tak ada apa-apanya dibanding dengan sikap orang NU ketika berkunjung ke makam Gus Dur di Jombang.

Majelis hakim yang mulia!

Saya menyaksikan sendiri bagaimana orang Ahmadiyah beribadah; dalam berpuasa dan menjalankan sholat. Sebagai orang yang separuh pendidikannya ditempuh di pesantren dan separuhnya dalam pendidikan Barat, saya merasa seperti orang sekuler di hadapan orang-orang Ahmadiyah. Saya tidak bisa menonjol-nonjolkan, melebih-lebihkan atau mengurangi tentang Ahmadiyah. Sebagai peneliti, saya memiliki kode etik untuk tidak berbohong dalam melakukan penelitian dan menyampaikan hasilnya. Saya bisa saja salah, namun saya tak boleh berbohong.
Pendefinisian Penodaan Agama dan Diskriminasi

Majelis hakim yang mulia!

Saya belajar tentang berbagai Undang-Undang terkait HAM (Hak Asasi Manusia), Deklarasi Universal HAM, Kovenan Internasional tentang Hak-hak Sipil dan Politik, tentang kebebasan beragama, dan sebagainya. Sudah 13 tahun saya menjadi pelajar dan peneliti di beberapa negara; di Amerika Serikat, Inggris, Belanda, Jepang, dan sekarang di Singapura. Saya sudah menulis sejumlah makalah tentang Ahmadiyah yang terbit di berbagai jurnal internasional ternama, termasuk yang terkait teologi atau akidah Ahmadiyah yang sering diperdebatkan dan juga terkait berbagai fatwa tentang Ahmadiyah. Tapi untuk kali ini, saya tinggalkan itu semua. Saya berharap kita berbicara dengan hati, bukan mencoba untuk saling mengalahkan. Saya sudah agak lelah dengan perdebatan teologis itu. Saya ingin mengetuk hati saya sendiri sebagai bagian dari mayoritas umat Islam Indonesia.

Saya juga sudah menulis makalah tentang ketertiban umum dan penodaan agama dengan logika dan argumen-argumen akademis yang cukup detail. Sekali lagi, kali ini ini saya ingin meninggalkan itu semua. Jika bapak-ibu tertarik membacanya, silahkan meminta ke pengacara. Saya sudah menyerahkan kepadanya. Untuk sementara saya hanya ingin mengetuk hati saya sendiri dan mengajak kita semua kembali ke hati, sebagai manusia, sebagai umat yang bersaudara, dan kemudian merenungkan apa dan siapa yang benar-benar menghina agama.

Ada beberapa hal yang sering disebut sebagai penodaan atau penistaan agama. Ketika sebuah koran di Denmark, Jyllands-Posten, memuat kartun-kartun tentang Nabi Muhammad pada 30 September 2005, orang menyebutkan itu sebagai pelecehan agama. Demikian juga dengan koran Perancis Charlie Hebdo yang sering memuat poster dan kartun anti-agama. Geert Wilders dari Belanda dengan film Fitna-nya juga memberikan eksplorasi dan penafsiran terhadap ayat-ayat Al-Qur’an yang berbeda dari penafsiran umumnya. Di Indonesia, kelahiran undang-undang ini juga terkait dengan kegiatan PKI (Partai Komunis Indonesia) yang anti- agama dan merongrong kepercayaan kita kepada Tuhan.

Apakah kita hendak menyamakan apa yang dilakukan oleh Ahmadiyah dengan itu semua? Saya tidak tega jika kita hendak melakukan itu.

Perbedaan penafsiran tidak bisa dimaknai sebagai penodaan. Jika tidak diberi penafsiran bersyarat, maka pasal ini bukan hanya mengenai Ahmadiyah, tapi juga kelompok agama lain. Bulan lalu (Oktober 2017), terdapat pelarangan pendirian masjid dan bahkan pembakaran tiang Masjid At-Taqwa Samalanga, Bireun, Aceh. Ini bukan Masjid Ahmadiyah, tapi Muhammadiyah.

Mengapa? Karena Muhammadiyah di sana dianggap memiliki pandangan keagamaan yang berbeda dari masyarakat. Muhammadiyah dianggap bukan Ahlussunnah Waljamaah. Itu yang tertulis resmi dari pihak-pihak berwenang di Aceh. Muhammadiyah dituduh Wahabi yang menyimpang dari keyakinan pada umumnya.

Mari kita bayangkan, jika ada kelompok yang tidak toleran terhadap slametan dan tradisi keagamaan yang selama ini dipraktekkan oleh kelompok NU, lantas tiba-tiba kelompok ini berkuasa di negeri ini, maka NU akan dianggap sesat, melakukan penafsiran agama yang menyimpang dari Islam. Kelompok seperti ini benar-benar ada, bukan hanya dalam imajinasi kita, tapi berada di tengah-tengah masyarakat kita. Keberadaan mereka bukan khayalan semata. Mereka ini aktif berteriak-teriak. Maka bangunan keagamaan kita bisa runtuh dengan sikap mereka, dengan bersenjatakan pasal-pasal ini. Ada kelompok agama di Jawa Tengah yang sangat benci terhadap NU dan bahkan berkali-kali menuduhnya sesat. Bukan di abad lampau, tapi saat ini. Jika kelompok ini atau yang seperti ini menjadi bagian dari penguasa, maka dengan menggunakan pasal-pasal dari undang-undang ini mereka bisa menuduh NU telah melakukan penodaan agama.

Dua orang saksi fakta dari Ahmadiyah, Dedi (Cianjur) dan Fati (Kendal), duduk di samping Dr. Ahmad Najib Burhani, hari bersamaan di Mahkamah Konstitusi. 

Penutup

Majelis hakim yang mulia!

Saya bagian dari bapak dan ibu semua. Saya lahir dan besar dalam lingkungan NU, dari orang tua yang merupakan kiai kampung, yang mendedikasikan seluruh hidupnya untuk mengajar Islam di kampung. Saya mengikuti pendidikan agama di madrasah dan pesantren sejak TK hingga Madrasah Aliyah atau SMA. Ketika kuliah S1 di IAIN Syarif Hidayatullah Jakarta, saya mulai menjadi aktivis Muhammadiyah dan sekarang merupakan wakil ketua Majelis Pustaka dan Informasi PP Muhammadiyah. Model keberagamaan saya adalah bagian dari yang bapak dan ibu ikuti. Saya adalah bagian dari kelompok mainstream di Indonesia. Tapi mari kita, sebentar saja, merasakan menjadi Ahmadi, yang ingin diperbolehkan beribadah dan menundukkan diri kepada Allah.

Dalam pengadilan-pengadilan, kita sering disuguhi dengan berbagai argumen yang pelik dan brilian, namun ada sesuatu yang kadang terlewatkan, yaitu hati kita. Dalam salah satu sabdanya, Nabi Muhammad menganjurkan pengikutnya untuk meminta fatwa atau keputusan kepada hati, istafti qalbak. Tidak banyak yang dituntut oleh Ahmadiyah, mereka hanya minta untuk diperbolehkan beribadah sesuai dengan keyakinannya. Mereka ingin menyembah dan memuja Allah di rumah mereka. Apakah kita tega melarang itu? Terus-terang, jika ternyata Ahmadiyah itu sesat, maka tidak usah dilarangpun mereka akan hancur sendiri. Tanpa SKB atau regulasi lain, Ahmadiyah pasti ditinggalkan orang, jika ternyata kelompok ini memang
sesat. Ahmadiyah hanya menuntut bisa berdoa di tempat ibadahnya. Karena itu yang mulia, mohon berikan tafsir konstitusional bersyarat terhadap pasal 1, 2, dan 3 dalam UU No. 1/PNPS/1965. Mohon berikan penafsiran konstitusional bersyarat seperti yang diminta oleh para pemohon.

Jakarta, 6 November 2017

Monday, October 23, 2017

US Telegram Reveals Brutality of 1965 Indonesian Papua Massacre

Full Release of Classified Materials Critical for Accountability

Andreas Harsono
Indonesia Researcher
Human Rights Watch

The Act of Free Choice in Sorong, West Papua, on July 28, 1969. It took place after
the massacre in nearby Manokwari in 1965-1966.

“Bitterness thus created not easily healed.”

That’s the prophetic assessment of a telegram from the US Embassy in Jakarta describing a massacre by Indonesian security forces in Papua in July 1965.

The telegram, dated September 15, 1965, reports that an attack by pro-independence Papuans on Indonesian soldiers prompted a vicious reprisal of indiscriminate killings on civilians in the town of Manokwari. “Indonesian reaction was brutal. Soldiers next day sprayed bullets at any Papuan in sight and many innocent travelers on roads gunned down.”

That document, one of 39 published last week by the US-based public transparency group National Security Archive, provides a chilling insight into the US government’s detailed knowledge of large-scale killings in Indonesia between 1965-1968. Taken together, the materials suggest the US government knew about tens of thousands of killings by the military, paramilitary groups and Muslim militias of suspected members of the Communist Party of Indonesia and ethnic Chinese, as well as trade unionists, teachers, activists, and artists.

The telegram’s reference to the Manokwari brutality, which resulted in the deaths of at least 50 Papuans, underscores the long history of impunity for human rights abuses by Indonesian security forces in that region. Although the government of President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has repeatedly promised a new approach to Papua, home to a low-level insurgency and a peaceful pro-independence movement, the reality has not matched the rhetoric and security forces continue to kill Papuans without any accountability.

In April 2016, the Indonesian government announced it would seek accountability for 11 high-priority human rights cases in Papua from past years. But the government has not provided any details as to when, where, and how the cases would be addressed. Meanwhile, the unlawful killings of Papuans by security forces continue and independent reporting on human rights abuses in Papua – both past and present - is hobbled by authorities continuing to restrict access to the region for foreign journalists and rights monitors.

It is crucial for justice for decades of abuses by Indonesian security forces that the US and Indonesian governments now release all other classified documents on the killings. Until they do so, the bitterness felt by so many Papuans will only deepen.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Kursus Jurnalisme Sastrawi XXVI


Jakarta, 8-19 Januari 2018

Yayasan Pantau terletak di daerah
Kebayoran Lama, Jakarta
Sudah 17 tahun Janet Steele dan Andreas Harsono mengampu sebuah kelas di Yayasan Pantau soal menulis panjang. Mereka mengikuti gerakan Tom Wolfe yang menggabungkan disiplin jurnalisme, riset akademis dan daya pikat sastra. Genre ini mensyaratkan liputan mendalam namun memikat.

Menurut Nieman Reports, sejak 1980an, suratkabar di Amerika banyak memakai elemennya ketika kecepatan televisi membuat suratkabar tampil dengan laporan mendalam. Kini dotcom pun, termasuk New York Times dan The New Yorker, masuk ke format penulisan panjang dengan website berbayar.

Yayasan Pantau kembali buka kelas baru selama dua minggu. Kursus diadakan setiap dua hari –Senin, Rabu, Jumat—agar peserta punya waktu membaca. Setiap hari diadakan dua sesi –pukul 10-12 dan pukul 13-15-- agar tak terlalu lelah.

Peserta adalah orang yang biasa menulis. Bisa wartawan, bisa aktivis organisasi nirlaba, akademisi, dan terutama orang yang hendak menulis panjang. Setidaknya berpengalaman sekitar lima tahun. Bahan bacaan akan dikirim dua minggu lebih awal. Peserta maksimal 18 orang. Calon peserta diharapkan mengirim biodata dan contoh tulisan. Biaya pendaftaran Rp 3.5 juta.

INSTRUKTUR

Janet Steele dari George Washington University, spesialisasi sejarah media, mengajar mata kuliah narrative journalism. Menulis buku The Sun Shines for All: Journalism and Ideology in the Life of Charles A. Dana, Wars Within: The Story of Tempo, an Independent Magazine in Soeharto’s Indonesia serta Email dari Amerika.

Andreas Harsono dari Human Rights Watch, salah satu pendiri Aliansi Jurnalis Independen, Institut Studi Arus Informasi, South East Asia Press Alliance serta Yayasan Pantau, anggota International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, mendapatkan Nieman Fellowship di Universitas Harvard. Menyunting buku Jurnalisme Sastrawi: Antologi Liputan Mendalam dan Memikat. Menulis antologi "Agama" Saya Adalah Jurnalisme.

Fahri Salam dari Tirto akan jadi pembicara tamu. Dia salah satu redaktur paling menarik di Jakarta belakangan ini, pernah bekerja buat Yayasan Pantau dan Pindai, ikut menulis buku Adat Berdaulat: Melawan Serbuan Kapitalisme di Aceh. Dia biasa menulis laporan panjang.

PENDAFTARAN

Estu R. Fanani
Mobile 0818-177-136
stufanani@gmail.com

Dian Nur Afniati Fannellisy
Mobile 0895-2119-2526
Email dian.naf.dn@gmail.com

Yayasan Pantau
Jl. Raya Kebayoran Lama, Jakarta 12220
Tel. 021-7221031

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Threats to the Rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Indonesians

The University of Melbourne, 20 September 2017


In early 2016, the basic rights and safety of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people in Indonesia came under unprecedented attack, following an onslaught of hateful and misinformed rhetoric from government officials and politicians. Anti-LGBT statements by government officials provided social sanction for harassment and violence against LGBT activists and individuals. In some cases, the threats and violence occurred in the presence, and with the tacit support, of government officials or security forces. On 20 September, Human Rights Watch Indonesia researcher Andreas Harsono discussed the increasing attacks against sexual and gender minorities in Indonesia. Below are excerpts from his presentation and discussion.


Andreas Harsono has covered Indonesia for Human Rights Watch since 2008. Before joining Human Rights Watch, he helped found the Jakarta-based Institute for the Studies on Free Flow of Information in 1995, and in 2003 he helped create the Pantau Foundation, a journalism training organisation also based in Jakarta. A staunch backer of the free press, Harsono also helped establish Jakarta’s Alliance of Independent Journalists in 1994 and Bangkok’s South East Asia Press Alliance in 1998.

What were the origins of the attacks against the Indonesian LGBT community?

Although anti-LGBT sentiment had already been growing for several years, I believe the LGBT issue really took off in September 2014, when the Aceh provincial legislature passed its Islamic Criminal Code, the Qanun Jinayat. This extended shari’a law to non-Muslims, and criminalised same-sex sexual acts, as well as adultery. Under the Qanun Jinayat, same-sex relations can be punished with up to 100 strokes of the cane or up to 100 months in prison. This was the first legal product explicitly criminalising homosexuality in Indonesia, including under the Dutch East Indies. The Qanun Jinayat came into force in October 2015 and within minutes of it becoming official, Aceh’s shari’a police, the Wilayatul Hisbah, arrested two suspected lesbians, aged only about 18 or 19. They were detained by the shari’a police for three days for questioning, and were sent to a psychological rehabilitation centre as if they had a mental illness. That was when the gates were opened.

In January 2016, the Minister of Higher Education Muhammad Nasir said that he wanted to ban LGBT student organisations from university campuses. He later backtracked on Twitter but it was too little too late. Within weeks, anti-LGBT sentiment, ranging from the absurd to the apocalyptic, echoed through Indonesian media. This all occurred within about three or four months of the Aceh Islamic Criminal Code becoming active. Of course, I should point out that no Indonesian national law specifically protected LGBT Indonesians against discrimination, but neither was there any national law criminalising same-sex behaviour.

What has been the impact of this national demonisation of the LGBT community?

Within about three months, the cacophony had died down but the story was not over. Militancy was unleashed. We have seen raids on LGBT individuals and groups, in city after city, from Aceh to Yogyakarta. On 30 April, police arrested 14 gay men that they accused of holding a ‘sex party’ in a hotel in Surabaya. On 24 May, two gay men from Aceh were caned 83 times each in front of a cheering crowd. They had been caught having sex a few months earlier, when vigilantes broke into their private accommodation. The men were not represented by a lawyer at any stage of their questioning or trial, and were subjected to involuntary HIV tests during their time in detention. In Jakarta, also in May, 141 gay men were arrested following a raid on a sauna. Just recently, a local village official in West Java forcibly evicted from their homes 12 women who were suspected of being lesbians.

In addition to these attacks, the government has restricted foreign donors, like the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Hivos (from the Netherlands) from providing funding to any LGBT-related organisations. Even HIV-related activities have been restricted. That is one of the most dangerous things about this development, it could lead to an increase in sexually transmitted infections. A few months after the Aceh legislature passed its Islamic Criminal Code, in May 2015, LGBT activists held a demonstration for the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOT) at the Hotel Indonesia Roundabout in Jakarta. This would be the last time that they could hold such an activity. There have been no more public LGBT events since the controversy in early 2016.

Why do you think this is happening now? Why didn’t it happen earlier, for example, under Soeharto?

The attacks on the LGBT community are related to the broader trend of discrimination against women and religious minorities that has occurred in the democratic era. From 514 districts in Indonesia, 129 districts have now passed mandatory hijab regulations. These are also the same areas where we have seen the closure of minorities’ houses of worship. During the decade-long presidency of Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, we saw the closure of 1,056 churches and 33 Ahmadiyah mosques. Where is this happening? The trend is strongest in the three provinces of Aceh, West Sumatra, and West Java, and to a lesser extent in South Sulawesi, North Maluku, and Lombok. These are generally the same areas where we see anti-LGBT sentiment rising.

Could you comment on the Constitutional Court challenge that seeks to criminalise same-sex relations?

This could be incredibly dangerous. At the time of the initial controversy in 2016, a group of Islamists submitted a challenge to the Constitutional Court over articles in the Criminal Code (KUHP) that they viewed as providing a loophole for consensual sex outside marriage and same-sex relations. The case has now died down, after one of the most controversial of the nine judges hearing the case, Patrialis Akbar, was caught with a woman and $A200,000 at a mall in Jakarta. He was recently sentenced to eight years in prison. After he was arrested, the hearing stopped. I don’t think the decision is going to be announced for some time – I suspect the Constitutional Court is waiting for a politically beneficial moment to announce the verdict. The judges are mostly conservative and if they agree to criminalise consensual sex outside of marriage, you can imagine what will happen to Indonesia. These kinds of legal changes take many years, even decades, to reverse.

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

Kesehatan Jiwa Sama Penting Kesehatan Badan

Pengantar buat buku Belum Kalah: Kisah Perjuangan Orang dengan Gangguan Jiwa karya Avent Saur dari Ende

Oleh Andreas Harsono


BUKU Pope Francis: Politics and Society mengisahkan bahwa Paus Fransiskus pernah menjalani pengobatan psikoterapis dan psikoanalis selama enam bulan ketika umur 42 tahun, di Argentina.

Paus Fransiskus, nama aslinya Jorge Bergoglio, waktu itu memimpin Orde Jesuit sebagai provincial superior di Argentina. Artinya, dia adalah kepala semua pastor Jesuit. Dia menjalani pengobatan pada tahun 1978-1979 pada seorang dokter ahli psikoanalis.

Belum Kalah karya Avent Saur
Ini terjadi pada periode gelap ketika Argentina ada di bawah kediktatoran militer sejak kudeta terhadap Presiden Isabel PerĂ³n pada 24 Maret 1976. Kudeta tersebut diikuti penghilangan paksa dan pembunuhan terhadap sekitar 30 ribu aktivis muda. Ia sering disebut sebagai “Dirty War” Argentina. Bergoglio terjepit antara junta militer dan kalangan kiri.

Wawancara terhadap Fransiskus dilakukan sosiolog Perancis Dominique Wolton buat buku setebal 432 halaman tersebut. Wolton mengatakan bahwa Fransiskus menyediakan waktu dan diskusi panjang lebar, total 12 kali, soal masa gelap tersebut.

Menurut Fransiskus, pengobatan tersebut membantu dia tetap waras, “Selama enam bulan, saya pergi ke rumahnya, seminggu sekali, bicara soal beberapa hal yang ingin saya jernihkan. Dia seorang dokter dan psikoanalis. Dia selalu terbuka dan membantu.”

“Suatu hari, sebelum dia meninggal, dia menelepon saya. Bukan untuk menerima sakramen – karena dia orang Yahudi – namun buat sebuah dialog spiritual. Dia orang baik,” kata Fransiskus.

Kini Paus Fransiskus sudah beres dengan kesulitan jiwa yang pernah dia hadapi. Dia menjadi pribadi yang sehat dan siap menerima tanggung jawab di Vatikan. Ini bukan tanggung jawab ringan. Dia adalah kepala Gereja Katolik seluruh dunia dengan segala masalah dan skandal.

Coba Anda bayangkan bila Jorge Bergoglio tinggal di Indonesia pada 1970-an. Bagaimana dia bisa mendapatkan pelayanan psikoanalisis?

Mungkin dia berjuang sendirian menghadapi tekanan batin.

Mungkin dia hanya dianjurkan berdoa serta diberitahu bahwa dia berhadapan dengan roh jahat?

Mungkin dia disalahkan oleh keluarga atau masyarakat?

Mungkin dibilang tidak waras?


Puluhan Ribu Terpasung, Fasilitas Minim


Pada Maret 2016, Human Rights Watch, sebuah organisasi hak asasi manusia, menerbitkan laporan soal miskinnya pelayanan kesehatan jiwa di Indonesia. Laporan tersebut, Hidup di Neraka: Kekerasan terhadap Penyandang Disabilitas Psikososial di Indonesia, menguraikan bagaimana orang dengan gangguan jiwa sering kali berakhir dengan dirantai atau dikurung dalam panti penuh sesak, kotor, tak sehat, tanpa persetujuan mereka.

Keadaan ini terjadi bersamaan dengan minimnya jasa psikoterapi dan dukungan pelayanan berbasis masyarakat. Mereka sering mendapatkan kekerasan fisik dan seksual, menjalani pengobatan paksa – termasuk terapi kejut listrik – dibelenggu, dan dipaksa menerima kontrasepsi, bagi perempuan dengan gangguan jiwa, agar tak hamil.

Human Rights Watch merekam bahwa setidaknya 57.000 orang di Indonesia pernah hidup dalam pasungan, setidaknya, sekali dalam hidup mereka. Berdasarkan data pemerintah, sekitar 18.800 orang masih dipasung. Meski pemerintah melarang pasung sejak tahun 1977, dalam praktik, keluarga, paranormal, praktisi pengobatan alternatif, dan pegawai panti terus membelenggu penyandang disabilitas psikososial, terkadang selama bertahun-tahun.

Dalam satu kasus, seorang ayah dari perempuan penyandang gangguan jiwa, mengunci putrinya di sebuah kamar setelah minta masukan dari paranormal.

Ketika si putri mencoba gali jalan keluar dari ruang itu, si ayah mengikat tangannya di belakang punggung.

Dia telanjang, duduk dan tidur di atas serakan kotoran: makan, tidur, kencing dan berak di ruangan tersebut, selama 15 tahun.

Namun membebaskan mereka dari pasung sering tanpa ada pelayanan psikoterapi dan obat-obatan. Keluarga akan tetap kewalahan menjaga anggota keluarga yang punya gangguan jiwa. Dampaknya, mereka dikurung lagi.

Persoalannya, dengan penduduk sekitar 250 juta jiwa, Indonesia hanya memiliki 600 hingga 800 psikiater - satu orang menangani 300.000 hingga 400.000 orang - dan hanya ada 48 rumah sakit jiwa --lebih dari separuh berada di Pulau Jawa.

Tujuh dari 34 provinsi di Indonesia tak memiliki satu pun rumah sakit jiwa: Riau, Banten, Kalimantan Utara, Gorontalo, Sulawesi Barat, Sulawesi Barat, Maluku Utara dan Papua Barat.

Menteri Kesehatan Nila Moeloek mengatakan kepada Human Rights Watch bahwa tak mudah membangun rumah sakit karena ia perlu persetujuan Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat. Menteri Moeloek juga tak bisa cepat menghasilkan psikiater karena kebanyakan dokter memilih spesialisasi lain, misalnya, dokter bedah, dokter kandungan, jantung, kanker dan sebagainya.

Psikiater bukan pilihan favorit.

Ada stigma dalam masyarakat terhadap “orang gila” sehingga dokter pun tak tertarik mengurus kesehatan jiwa.

Minimnya fasilitas dan jasa psikoterapi ini membuat banyak hak orang dengan gangguan jiwa tak mendapatkan jalan keluar, macam Jorge Bergoglio di Argentina, sehingga hak mereka dilanggar dengan kekerasan dan kurungan.

“Bayangkan hidup di neraka, seperti itulah saya di sini,” kata Asmirah, seorang perempuan 22 tahun, yang dipaksa tinggal dalam sebuah panti pengobatan keagamaan di Brebes.

Saya menulis kata pengantar buat buku Belum Kalah.

Manusia Langka

Avent Saur merupakan sedikit orang yang peduli pada kesehatan jiwa di Indonesia. Dia mendirikan organisasi sosial kemanusiaan Kelompok Kasih Insanis, sebuah kelompok virtual yang peduli terhadap orang dengan gangguan jiwa. Nama Facebook-nya, Kelompok Kasih Insanis: Peduli Orang dengan Gangguan Jiwa.

Saur seorang pastor dari Societas Verbi Divini (SVD), sebuah organisasi Katolik di Pulau Flores, Nusa Tenggara Timur. Sehari-hari, Saur bekerja sebagai wartawan Flores Pos di kota Ende –sebuah kota mungil di selatan Flores tak jauh dengan Danau Kelimutu.

Menurut Saur, Pulau Flores hanya ada dua panti rehabilitasi jiwa milik swasta. Di Maumere, ada Panti Santa Dhymphna khusus untuk perempuan, milik suster-suster Congregatione Imitationis Jesu. Di Ruteng, panti Renceng Mose milik bruder-bruder Fraterum Caritas.

Di pinggiran kota Kupang, ibu kota Provinsi Nusa Tenggara Timur di Pulau Timor, ada sebuah rumah sakit jiwa milik negara, baru diresmikan Mei 2017, dengan hanya satu psikiater merangkap direktur. Masih ada dua psikiater lagi di Kupang, bekerja di rumah sakit lain.

Di semua kabupaten lain di Nusa Tenggara Timur, dari Pulau Alor sampai Pulau Sumba, tak ada poli jiwa, tak ada psikiater, tak ada perawat jiwa.

“Saya pernah menangis karena selama tiga bulan, pasien-pasien yang ditangani Kelompok Kasih Insanis tak konsumsi obat. Ketiadaan obat,” kata Saur.

Saya perhatikan isi grup Facebook KKI terdapat banyak gambar orang dipasung. Saur bilang di Ende ada sekitar 100 lebih orang dipasung.

Saur bersama Kelompok Kasih Insanis minta Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat Daerah dan Pemerintah Daerah Ende untuk mengeluarkan aturan terkait adanya psikiater bertugas di Ende serta obat-obatan. Usahanya mulai berhasil. Setiap bulan, seorang psikiater datang ke Ende dari Kupang, mengunjungi orang dengan gangguan jiwa dan memberikan obat.

Gangguan jiwa sama dengan gangguan badan. Persoalan dan penyebab macam-macam.

Bandingkan dengan orang yang menderita diabetes atau asma – harus minum obat terus-menerus. Skizofrenia atau bipolar juga harus minum obat terus-menerus.

Diagnosa harus dilakukan dengan teliti. Takaran obat harus akurat. Ini akan memulihkan kesehatan pasien bahkan bisa bekerja kembali seperti semula. Saya punya banyak kenalan di New York atau Bangkok atau Sydney dengan gangguan jiwa namun kami bekerja sama dengan nyaman.

Beruntung, Ende memiliki seorang Avent Saur. Ada adagium bahwa kekuatan suatu masyarakat ditentukan oleh berapa banyak cendekiawan, orang berpendidikan, yang mau berbuat sesuatu untuk masyarakatnya. Avent Saur adalah kekayaan buat Ende, kekayaan buat Pulau Flores dan Nusa Tenggara Timur. Dia akan membantu kesehatan jiwa warga di daerah ini.

Bila kelak ada seseorang macam Jorge Bergoglio muncul dari Flores, saya kira, Avent Saur berjasa menyiapkan jalan kewarasan buatnya.

***


Saturday, August 05, 2017

The Toxic Impact of Indonesia’s Abusive Blasphemy Law


By Andreas Harsono

Donald Ignatius Suyanto, a chef living on the Hindu-majority island of Bali, on March 21, 2016 uploaded a video to YouTube in which he questioned the integrity of the Islamic shahada, or statement of faith. That prompted complaints from some Muslim bloggers and on July 27, 2017, police arrested Suyanto for blasphemy. He is currently behind bars awaiting trial.

In May 2017, Aking Saputra, a real estate executive in Karawang, West Java posted on Facebook his opinion that the majority of cadres of the Indonesian Communist Party, banned since 1966, had been Muslim clerics. A local Islamist group protested that those comments were blasphemous. Police arrested Saputra for blasphemy on June 9 and he is currently facing trial.

These are just two of the two dozen or so blasphemy prosecutions filed since President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo took office in October 2014, according to databases of the Setara Institute and the Southeast Asia Freedom of Expression Network, two Jakarta-based nongovernmental organizations. At least 10 of those prosecutions have produced convictions that have resulted in the imprisonment of 15 people. There have been zero acquittals. That compares to a total of 89 blasphemy prosecutions during the 2004-2014 administration of former President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and suggests that despite Jokowi’s rhetorical support for respecting human rights, he is content to allow abusive blasphemy prosecutions to continue unchecked.

The threat of Indonesia’s blasphemy law is nothing new. The law, article 156a of the Indonesian criminal code, was passed in 1965 and punishes deviations from the central tenets of Indonesia’s six officially recognized religions with up to five years in prison. The blasphemy law has been used to prosecute and imprison members of religious minorities and traditional religions. Recent targets of the blasphemy law include three former leaders of the Gafatar religious community following the violent forced eviction of more than 7,000 members of the group from their farms on Kalimantan island last year, as well as former Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Purnama, who a court sentenced to a two-year prison term for blasphemy in May 2017 due to a reference he made to a Quranic verse in September 2016.

Not even the 22-year-old son of Jokowi, Kaesang Pangarep, has been immune to blasphemy accusations. On July 6, 2017, a resident of Bekasi, outside of Jakarta, filed a complaint of “blasphemous” content in a video that Kaesang posted on YouTube. Police declined to pursue charges because of “lack of evidence.” Despite the law’s abusive nature, Indonesia’s Ministry of Religious Affairs is seeking to reinforce and expand its scope through the so-called Religious Rights Protection bill, which parliament is likely to debate by the end of 2017. The government’s refusal to abolish the law, despite pressure from both the United Nations as well as the Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation raises troubling questions about the government’s willingness to respect its international human rights obligations.


But there is a new and equally sinister form of abuse of the right of freedom of expression linked to the same strain of intolerance fueling the recent spate of blasphemy prosecutions: vigilante-style persecution by militant Islamists of individuals who publicly express support for Ahok or concern about the blasphemy law. Statistics compiled by the Southeast Asia Freedom of Expression Network indicate that militant Islamists have targeted at least 55 people since September 2016 with abuse including online threats, verbal harassment and physical intimidation.

Their victims include Dr. Otto Rajasa In Balikpapan, East Kalimantan province. On November 4, 2016, Rajasa wrote a Facebook posting questioning the rationale of fellow Muslims who travelled from Balikpapan to Jakarta for a huge Friday prayer-cum-protest organized by anti-Ahok militant Islamists. That prompted a campaign of online and offline harassment from individuals who accused Rajasa of blasphemy. On December 21, 2016, the Indonesian Ulama Council, an umbrella of Muslim groups in Indonesia, issued a non-legally binding edict that Rajasa was guilty of blasphemy. Within weeks, that campaign prompted his employer to transfer Rajasa to a remote area in reprisal for his remarks. Classmates and a teacher of his 14-year-old son tormented the boy by calling his father a “blasphemer.” Police detained Rajasa on May 23, 2017 and on July 26, the Balikpapan court sentenced him to a two-year prison term for “spreading online hostility and hatred against Muslims.”

Fiera Lovita, a doctor in Solok, West Sumatra, fled her home with her family on May 29, 2017 after members of the thuggish militant group the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) subjected her and her family to a relentless barrage of threats and insults in response to critical Facebook comments she posted about the group’s leader, Rizieq Syihab. That intimidation peaked on May 23 when FPI members confronted her at her workplace and demanded that she delete those postings and issue a written apology to Syihab. Rather than arrest the FPI members implicated in those abuses, local police “mediated a dialogue” between the FPI and Lovita. Lovita and her family have now relocated to Jakarta and have no plans to return to Solok due to personal safety concerns.

Until the Indonesian government abolishes the abusive blasphemy law and ensures that the police protect the rights of Indonesians rather than pander to the prejudices of those who deny those rights, blasphemy prosecutions and intolerant acts of harassment and intimidation by militant Islamists will continue.

Andreas Harsono is the senior researcher on Indonesia at Human Rights Watch.

Monday, July 03, 2017

Telum Talks to Andreas Harsono

Independent Journalist and Indonesia Researcher of Human Rights Watch

Andreas Harsono used to work for The Jakarta Post, Pantau (Jakarta), American Reporter, The Nation (Bangkok), and The Star (Kuala Lumpur). He previously published 'Agama' Saya Adalah Jurnalisme, an anthology on journalism, and co-edited Jurnalisme Sastrawi on narrative reporting, all in Bahasa Indonesia. Harsono previously received the Nieman Fellowship on Journalism from Harvard University.

Tell us a bit about your upcoming book, A Nation in Name: Ethnic and Religious Violence in Post-Suharto Indonesia.
It’s basically a review about racial and religious violence in Indonesia after authoritarian President Suharto had stepped down from power in 1998. His departure prompted various parties to get better positions in their respective interests, using religion, race, and separatism to mobilise power. Many parties use legal and democratic means. Unfortunately, many parties also tolerated violence in their political struggle. I estimated at least 90,000 people were killed in communal, sectarian and state violence between 1997 and 2005.

I travelled for six years, on and off, ranging from Aceh and Papua to the Madurese massacres in Kalimantan. I also covered East Timor’s independence and the sectarian violence in the Moluccas Islands. Sulawesi, with relatively less violence, is also covered in trying to understand these dynamics to find a new equilibrium in post-Suharto Indonesia. I guess these struggles are not over yet. We see how Islamist organisations still campaign for the so-called Sharia to be implemented in Indonesia. The anti-Ahok campaign is obviously a part of their ongoing campaign. I am now negotiating with a publisher in Australia. The title might be changed. I also need to reduce the length of my manuscript, now at 125,000 words.

Besides being an independent Journalist and Author, you currently also work as Researcher for Human Rights Watch. Please tell us about your role and duties.
Basically, I am doing research, interviews and writing for Human Rights Watch. I have some other colleagues who do research also on Indonesia including the specialists on LGBT rights, children rights and disability rights. We are focusing on a range of subjects, such as stopping the shackling (pasung) of mentally disabled people. We’re also trying to have the Indonesian government ban children working in tobacco farms because tobacco leaves do have nicotine and hazardous chemicals. We’re also concerned to see the rise of discriminatory regulations against religious and gender minorities in Indonesia, ranging from female genital mutilation to criminalising homosexuality.

What is the most recent human right issue you are working on now?
My current works are mostly related to religious freedom in Indonesia. You might know that Indonesia is seeing an increase of religious intolerance with many political Islam groups taking over public discourse, discriminating religious and gender minorities. Many government officials talk about the threat from the Islamic State terrorist group. Islamist groups are increasingly using huge rallies, sometimes also violence, to advocate the implementation of the Islamic Sharia in Indonesia.

It began when President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono came to power in 2004 in which he passed discriminatory regulations i.e. strengthening the blasphemy law, replaced “religious freedom” with “religious harmony” principle, passed anti-Ahmadiyah decree, tolerated hundreds of women’s discriminations. In March 2006, Yudhoyono decreed a “religious harmony” regulation and set up government advisory bodies, skillfully named the Religious Harmony Forum, in every province and regency. The forum’s credo says, “The majority should protect the minorities and the minorities should respect the majority.” But it basically denies equal rights to Indonesian citizens. In many Muslim-majority areas, the credo allows Muslims to have effective veto power over the activities of religious minorities. More than 1,000 churches were closed down during the Yudhoyono decade.

What are the challenges you've faced as a Journalist?
The internet has changed a lot of our journalism. It’s not only terminating the gatekeeper role of traditional media but also squeezing the advertisement income among many news companies. We’re also seeing the rise of fake news. Social media is offering opportunities but also sensations. I am pretty troubled to see people who only care about the number of followers on one’s Twitter account. I know many substantial individuals with limited followers.

The challenge is always about substance. Sooner or later, citizens will look for substantial news reports. Human Rights Watch provided me with a platform to have substances. My works are usually based on long reporting, interviews, field works. I also have to answer a lot of questions from my editors and lawyers. I love long form writings. I guess it help to answer questions substantially.

What does a day in the life of Andreas Harsono look like?
It really depends on my location. I travelled quite a lot. I usually spend my early morning reading and answering email. I also do my writing mostly in the morning. Meetings and interviews take place during the day -- my research often makes me a source for Journalists. I return to my desk in the evening.

Would you like to share few words of wisdom to young Journalists?
I believe in quality journalism. The more quality a society has in its journalism, the more options it has to shape their public opinion, thus the society will be better informed to make their public decisions. The quality of our journalism relates directly to the quality of our society, our democracy.

Monday, June 05, 2017

Persatuan Sais Dokar di Salatiga

Selama hampir seminggu saya berada di Salatiga, bertemu kawan lama serta berkunjung ke terminal dokar Salatiga, mengobrol dengan rekan-rekan dari Persatuan Sais Dokar. 

Pada 1989 sampai 1993, saya pernah bekerja bersama para sais dokar, termasuk ikut bantu mendirikan Persatuan Sais Dokar bersama kusir-kusir dokar termasuk Achmadi, Sukardi, Pitoyo, Suwarno, Djuman dan sebagainya. 

Ia bermula dari rencana Dinas Perhubungan Salatiga ingin hapus becak dan dokar dari kota Salatiga. Alasannya, dokar bikin kotor dengan tahi kuda sedang becak "tidak manusiawi." Ia hendak diganti dengan mobil-mobil kecil, biasanya merk Daihatsu, biasa disebut angkota (angkutan kota) di Salatiga. 

Kami tak setuju dengan cara pandang orang-orang Dinas Perhubungan. Intinya, kami melihat cara pandang mereka menekankan pada motorisasi sebagai jawaban terhadap keperluan transit di kota Salatiga. 

Cara pandangnya adalah membangun jalan aspal, menganjurkan angkota dengan pelayanan yang tak nyaman (mobil kecil, berdesakan, tanpa jadwal, ngetem dimana-mana, bikin kemacetan di tempat banyak penumpang, belum lagi perokok dalam angkota). Saya pribadi memilih naik sepeda pancal di Salatiga. 

Jarak tempuh kebanyakan orang setiap hari hanya 5 KM. Saya banyak membaca argumentasi dari Michael Replogle, seorang ahli pembangunan dan transportasi dari New York, yang mendirikan Institute for Transportation and Development Policy. Becak bisa dinaikkan tarifnya bila para tukang becak bisa bikin serikat. Kusir dokar tinggal pasang bagor buat menampung tahi kuda. Kusir tanpa bagor bisa didenda. 

Kebijakan motorisasi ini bukan monopoli Salatiga. Ia praktis terjadi dari Jakarta ke seluruh Indonesia. Dampaknya, ia mendorong orang untuk membeli kendaraan pribadi, baik motor maupun mobil. Ia mendorong sistem transportasi antar-moda jadi berkurang a.l. kereta api, trotoar, jalur sepeda, becak, dokar dan sebagainya. 

Pekerjaan ini praktis berbuah dengan manis. Rencana Dinas Perhubungan dihentikan. Walikota Salatiga bahkan menyediakan lahan depan rumah sakit buat terminal dokar. 

Universitas Kristen Satya Wacana menciptakan tradisi wisuda mahasiswa dengan naik dokar, keliling kota. Ia lantas diikuti sekolah-sekolah lain, dari taman kanak-kanak sampai entah apa lagi. 

Saya sempat bikin kursus bahasa Inggris di terminal dokar. Para murid dijemput dan diantar pulang dengan dokar. Mereka masih sekolah dasar. Tampaknya kursus tersebut cukup populer. Beberapa mahasiswi jurusan bahasa Inggris ikut mengajar. 

Saya sempat kaget ketika minggu ini datang ke terminal ini ada seorang perempuan muda memanggil, "Mas Andreas. Mas Andreas!" 

Ternyata dia salah satu murid saya dulu ketika mengajar bahasa Inggris. Dulu saya biasa tidur siang di kantor Persatuan Sais Dokar. Mandi di terminal. Pakai air hangat. Kantor bersih. Tidur di atas bangku panjang. 

Ada warung Bu Endang yang menyediakan nasi soto dan teh panas. Ada Pak Achmadi yang bijaksana. Ada Mas Sukardi yang sregep.  Ada Mas Warno yang periang, suka bergurau. 

Namun saya sedih lihat Jalan Sudirman, jalan utama di Salatiga, kini dibuat satu arah dan penuh dengan sepeda motor. Ini bukan gejala baik. Ini gejala kerusakan lingkungan. Polusi udara, suara dan entah apa lagi. 

Kadang saya merenung bila Replogle, yang lantas menjadi pejabat kebijakan transportasi di kota New York, bisa datang ke Indonesia dan memberikan nasehat kepada Kementerian Perhubungan. Replogle menjadi penasehat berbagai pemerintah di berbagai negara, termasuk Tiongkok khusus soal "urban public transport, walking, cycling, and planning world-wide." Dia berperan penting dalam mendorong Tiongkok mengembangkan kereta api dan sistem transportasi inter-moda. 

Saya sendiri pindah dari Salatiga pada 1993 untuk ke Jakarta, bekerja sebagai wartawan The Jakarta Post. Dunia saya perlahan bergeser dari transportasi ke jurnalisme. Namun saya selalu kritis terhadap motorisasi. 

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Indonesia's courts have opened the door to fear and religious extremism

Andreas Harsono

Governor Basuki T. Purnama attended a discussion with people with disabilities in a government shelter in Jakarta in March 2017. Purnama helped set up these shelters. ©Yeni Rosa Damayanti

The Jakarta court that sentenced governor Basuki “Ahok” Purnama to two years’ imprisonment for blasphemy against Islam has sent a chilling message to non-Muslims in Indonesia. How could religious freedom slowly decline in Indonesia? And how could political Islam shape the country?

Ahok, himself a Christian, is the biggest political figure to be victimised under the blasphemy law. He is not only the Jakarta governor, backed by Indonesia’s biggest political party, but he’s also an ally of President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo. Ahok and Jokowi were the dream team: Jokowi with vision, Ahok doing daily management.

Ahok’s imprisonment is a big blow for the president. He too might expect to be called infidel, kafir – a term used by Islamists to describe their fellow Muslim opponents.

Indonesia’s transition from dictatorship to democracy has created space for more freedom of expression for all Indonesians, including Islamists. Emboldened by the government’s inaction on discrimination and violence against religious minorities, over the last 19 years Islamists have increasingly sought to enforce laws like the blasphemy law more strictly to “protect” Islam and move Indonesia from a secular to an Islamic state.

Indonesia’s 1945 constitution guarantees freedom of religion. But in January 1965, then-President Sukarno issued a presidential decree that prohibited individuals from being hostile toward other religions. Sukarno decreed that Indonesia was to protect six religions: Islam, Protestantism, Catholicism, Buddhism, Hinduism and Confucianism. Sukarno never used that law. He lost power in October 1965.

General Suharto, who ruled Indonesia from 1965 to 1998, used the blasphemy law only a handful of times. Three of his successors – B.J. Habibie, Abdurrahman Wahid and Megawati Sukarnoputri—never used it.

The law only became an issue when Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono succeeded Megawati in 2004. Yudhoyono strengthened the blasphemy law offices, which were under the Attorney General’s Office, by creating branches in every province and regency. He also took no action against emerging Islamist militant groups that engage in threats and violence against religious minorities. During his decade in power, Yudhoyono’s administration sent at least 106 blasphemy individual cases to courts – and all were found guilty.

In March 2006, Yudhoyono decreed a “religious harmony” regulation and set up government advisory bodies, skillfully named the Religious Harmony Forum, in every province and regency. The forum’s credo says, “The majority should protect the minorities and the minorities should respect the majority.” But it basically denies equal rights to Indonesian citizens. In many Muslim-majority areas, the credo allows Muslims to have effective veto power over the activities of religious minorities. More than 1,000 churches were closed down in that decade.

In 2014, Jokowi succeeded Yudhoyono. Many opinion makers and moderate Muslim leaders advised Jokowi to undo the discriminatory infrastructure he had inherited from Yudhoyono.

Unfortunately, Jokowi declined to take those steps. He instead sought to foster better ties with moderate Muslim groups such as the nationwide Nahdlatul Ulama in the hope that it would strengthen his hand with the hardline Islamist groups. He clearly miscalculated.

The Ahok verdict endorsed an Islamist narrative of blasphemy. One of the five judges, reciting the Qur’an’s Al-Maidah 51 verse in Arabic, stressed that Muslims should not elect non-Muslim leaders. The court also adopted the Islamist’s position that non-Muslims should not comment on Qur’anic interpretations.

The verdict paints a frightening future for moderate Muslims and non-Muslims who believe in Indonesia’s pluralist society. Non-Muslims will think twice before making comments in public or on social media about diversity and pluralism. Beyond elected officials, public servants and executives of state-owned companies may be next in line.

Will it be OK to talk about opening a food vendor during the Ramadan fasting month? Will it be lawful to discuss mandatory wearing of the hijab? Non-Muslims might risk prison time just by venturing into these very ordinary subjects of Indonesian life.

If someone powerful and once popular like Ahok could be jailed for blasphemy, who is next?

Andreas Harsono is a senior researcher at Human Rights Watch.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Segel Gereja Singkil


PADA Mei 2012, Front Pembela Islam mulai bekerja di Singkil, kabupaten Aceh, dan mereka menuntut 19 gereja dan satu rumah ibadah Pambi ditutup.

Segel sudah disiapkan dan gereja segera ditutup.

Herman dari Kementerian Agama Kabupaten Singkil, mengatakan kepada Kompas bahwa dia hanya hentikan pembangunan sejumlah "undung-undung" --biasa didefinisikan sebagai "rumah kecil yang dipakai ibadah umat Kristiani."

"Jadi tidak benar kalau disegel dan melarang umat Kristiani beribadah. Tapi, mereka tetap bisa beribadah di tempat ibadah yang sudah memenuhi syarat, seperti gereja utama di Singkil, dan empat bangunan undung-undung yang memenuhi izin," kata Herman.





Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Ahmad Taufik: the face of media freedom in Indonesia

Andreas Harsono

Ahmad Taufik, a journalist with Tempo magazine, died in a Jakarta hospital on 23 March from lung cancer, a disease he most likely acquired from second-hand smoke.

I first became close with Taufik in June 1994, when Soeharto’s authoritarian regime closed three publications in Jakarta: Detik, Editor and Tempo. The closures prompted many street protests, involving journalists, artists, environmentalists, human rights defenders and other professionals. But the government-sanctioned Indonesian Journalists Association (Persatuan Wartawan Indonesia, PWI) defended the ban, declaring that it “understood” the government’s rationale.

The PWI position enraged younger journalists. In August 1994, more than 100 journalists established the Alliance of Independent Journalists (Aliansi Jurnalis Independen, AJI). It was a bold decision. Under President Soeharto, all professions were required to have a single, compulsory organisation. Farmers, workers, teachers, fishermen, engineers, architects, journalists – everyone was expected to belong to their respective government-controlled association.

Taufik agreed to be the chairman of the new journalists union. It was a huge risk. He was only 29 and his wife, Syafa Illiyin, had just delivered their first child.

Soon AJI set up a monthly magazine called Suara Independen (Independent Voice), which published uncensored news reports, ranging from corruption among Soeharto’s children, to environmental damage caused by state and private firms. It was another unlawful and risky act.

The 1982 Press Law required all publications in Indonesia to apply for a licence, an SIUPP. The Ministry of Information only provided licences for about 250 newspapers and magazines, which were tightly controlled. Licences could be withdrawn at any time and publications that criticised the government or wrote on sensitive issues could have their permits cancelled without legal process.

Independen challenged the 1982 regulation, publishing stories like any mainstream newspaper, striving to meet the standards of quality journalism. It soon became the hottest publication in Jakarta. Minister of Information Harmoko and his stooges at the PWI asked the National Police to act against AJI.

In March 1995, Taufik and two other AJI members, Eko Maryadi and Danang K Wardoyo, were arrested, tried and sentenced to three years in prison. The Jakarta District Court found Taufik guilty of expressing “hostility, hatred, or contempt for the government”. AJI’s small office in Tanah Abang, Jakarta, was raided and its bank account, under Taufik’s name, was seized.

Soeharto might have expected AJI to lose steam and to close up shop. His military regime had, after all, managed to uproot hundreds of organisations after it came to power in 1965, and oversaw the massacre of at least 500,000 alleged communists, leftist activists and intellectuals.

But Taufik was easy going and courageous, inspiring his colleagues to keep publishing the magazine. AJI published Suara Independen on the first day of their trial. Underground offices were set up. Secretive printing houses and mobile internet servers were part of their way of doing business. Taufik remained in prison but his spirit inspired his comrades to rise up. Taufik became an icon of the movement for media freedom in Indonesia.

“Inside prison, we mostly spent our time doing push-ups, playing badminton and learning English,” said Tri Agus Susanto Siswowiharjo, another journalist who was sent to prison, in 1995.

But behind bars they also did what they did best: reporting. Where else could you freely interview East Timorese leader Xanana Gusmao, but from inside prison? They also interviewed political prisoners who had been detained following the 1965 coup attempt.

The Brussels-based International Federation of Journalists sent a fact-finding mission to Jakarta in April 1995. In November 1995, the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists gave Taufik an international press freedom award. It was a boost for the movement in Indonesia. He also received Human Rights Watch’s Hellman/Hammett grant during his imprisonment.

Prison guards were apparently incensed by their reporting. The journalists were moved from Cipinang Prison in Jakarta to Cirebon Prison, hundreds of kilometres away, near the Central Java border. But they continued to report, smuggling news stories out with the help of Taufik’s wife and other visitors. Eventually Taufik was moved again, this time alone, to Kuningan Prison, near Cirebon, in early 1997.

In July 1997, Taufik was released from prison on parole, witnessing the Asian Economic Crisis and predicting the end of Soeharto’s rule. In November that year, I accompanied Taufik to New York, where we visited the offices of the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and Human Rights Watch. In May 1998, Soeharto was forced to step down, Tempo was relaunched and Taufik was able to join his magazine again.

Since his release, Taufik has remained committed to human rights issues. Yeni Rosa Damayanti, a disability rights advocate, told me that Taufik was also a champion of the rights people with disabilities, especially those with mental health issues. Ging Ginanjar, another AJI journalist, reminded me that Taufik had also set up a militia, the Freedom Guards (Garda Kemerdekaan) to help protect religious minorities.

On 18 March, I visited Taufik in his house in Tanah Abang, where we spoke about his lung cancer, the rise of violent attacks against journalists and the decline of religious freedom in Indonesia.

He reminded me that he never smoked, “Remember the Tanah Abang office?” he said. 

“We always protested when people smoked at the office, right?”

He listened when I told him about violent attacks on journalists by police, military personnel and government officials, rising to 78 incidents in 2016, compared to 42 in 2015 and 40 in 2014. The 2016 figure was the highest recorded in more than a decade. We discussed our concerns about the increase in attacks and the fact that the 1999 Press Law, which protects free media, is never used to sentence attackers.

He asked his two sons, Ali Anzi Muntazhar and Muhammad Khatami Aji, to greet me. His youngest son, Muhammad, recognised me from the time I visited his Shi’a boarding school in Pasuruan, East Java, when it was under attack in 2011.

Taufik was a Shi’a Muslim. He was also worried about rising attacks against religious minorities, including Shi’a Muslims, in Indonesia. We talked about the Shi’a villagers displaced from Sampang, on Madura Island in East Java. It is now five years since they were forced to leave, but the government seems to be ignoring them. 

“We have to fight,” he said.

That evening, when I said goodbye, Taufik refused to take my hand but asked me to hug him. I did so, and he grabbed my right hand. 

He smiled. “Keep up the fight!”

I knew that it was going to be our last meeting. Five days later, from my friends’ Facebook postings, I learned that he had passed away.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Pantau Foundation introduced Oktovianus Pogau Award in Indonesia

Febriana Firdaus received the award on courage in journalism

Atmakusumah Astraatmadja, a former chairman of Indonesia's Press Council, and
Imam Shofwan, the chairman of the Pantau Foundation, presented the Oktovianus
Pogau award to Febriana Firdaus in Jakarta.
 

JAKARTA, 18 February 2017 – Jakarta has a new award on courage in journalism in honor of the West Papuan editor, Oktovianus Pogau, who passed away last year. It was awarded for the first time to reporter Febriana Firdaus, who had extensively covered human rights abuses in Indonesia, the Pantau Foundation said.

“We want to honor our colleague, Oktovianus Pogau, a smart and courageous journalist, who edited Suara Papua news and highlighted human rights reporting. He passed away at a very young age, just 23 years old. We want to honor his legacy by establishing this Oktovianus Pogau award,” said Imam Shofwan, the chairman of the Pantau Foundation, in a speech to a small gathering at his office on February 13.

Febriana Firdaus with the Oktovianus
Pogau award on courage in journalism
on February 13, 2017. 
The Pantau Foundation selected Febriana Firdaus, a Jakarta journalist, to receive the inaugural award. Firdaus covered Indonesia’s efforts to deal with the 1965-1966 massacres, disappearances and arbitrary detentions. She also covered discrimination, intimidations, and violence against the LGBT community in Indonesia.

“LGBT is a very sensitive subject in Indonesia where many religious communities, including Muslim organizations, still consider homosexuality a psychological disorder. Febriana Firdaus is courageous to stand up for LGBT, to affirm that LGBT is nature, and to expose their side of the story,” said Shofwan.

Firdaus was born in 1983 in Kalisat, a small town in eastern Java, and graduated from Airlangga University in Surabaya in 2007. She worked for Jawa Pos daily, Tempo magazine and Rappler online. She is currently a freelance journalist.

Atmakusumah Astraatmadja, a former chairman of Indonesia’s Press Council and himself an award-winning journalist, presented the award to Firdaus that evening, welcoming the launch of the award and congratulating Firdaus.

Allan Nairn, another award-winning journalist, gave a speech,
talking about courage in journalism in the Trump’s “proto fascism era.”
Nairn spoke about the challenges the press faced in covering a president like
Donald Trump, who lies constantly but is also hugely entertaining.

Allan Nairn, another award-winning journalist based in New York, gave a speech, talking about courage in journalism in the Trump’s “proto fascism era.” Nairn spoke about the challenges the press faced in covering a president like Donald Trump, who lies constantly but is also hugely entertaining.

Nairn noted that the United States provides a warning to Indonesia because the same proto-fascists that rose to power in the United States are also trying to achieve power in Indonesia, though it isn’t clear yet whether or not they will suceed.

In her blog, Firdaus wrote, “… this award is not about me or other future winners. This is a gentle reminder of the name Okto Pogau but it’s also more than about his name. His name represents the unsolved human rights abuses in Papua.”

Every year this award will always remind us about the human rights abuses never addressed in Indonesia since the 1965 massacre.”

Oktovianus Pogau was born in Sugapa in the Central Highlands on August 5, 1992 and died on January 31, 2016 in Jayapura.

He won an Indonesian writing competition when he was 14 years old, letting him to travel away from his native West Papua and to take part in a writing course in Yogyakarta, Java Island. He learned WordPress and created his own blog when he was 16 years old. He moved to Jakarta in 2010, studying international relations and becoming a freelance journalist.

In October 2011, he covered a peaceful gathering of thousands of Papuan men and women in Jayapura, discussing their political aspiration to be independent from Indonesia. Indonesian police used excessive force to disperse them. They fired warning shots, beating and kicking those ethnic Papuans. Three men died of gunshot wounds, around 600 were detained and five of their leaders were tried and sentenced to three years imprisonment.

Pogau was upset when seeing that most Indonesian media did not proportionally cover the abuses. He decided to set up Suara Papua (Papuan Voice) on December 10, 2011, exactly on the international human rights day, to cover rights abuses in West Papua. He made Suara Papua to be a platform for young Papuans to report and to write their stories.

Oktovianus Pogau dengan laptop
Suara Papua.
Pogau also engaged his audience with his sharp political analysis. He used his knowledge and network to advocate for civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights for ethnic Papuans. He was also sympathetic to the National Committee of West Papua, a large Papuan youth organization, which is campaigning for a referendum in West Papua.

In October 2012, when he was covering one of their rallies in Manokwari, he was beaten on a street corner. Several police officers stopped him from taking photos. He suffered bruises and complained. The West Papua police later apologized but his union, Indonesia’s Alliance of Independent Journalists, refused to help him, arguing that Pogau was also an activist and declaring him of crossing the line between journalism and activism.

Pogau wrote extensively about the restriction for foreign journalists to visit West Papua. He protested against the discriminations against ethnic Papuan journalists and the intensive use of journalists, both Indonesian and Papuans, to be military and police informers.

He indirectly made President Joko Widodo in May 2015 to declare the Indonesian bureaucracy to stop restrictions on foreign journalists covering the West Papua. Unfortunately, Jokowi command has not been fulfilled completely. He travelled to the United States in December 2015, writing about African Americans dealing with violence and contemplating about the similar among dark-skin curly-hair Papuans.

The jurors of the award include Alexander Mering (Kampong Journalism Movement in Pontianak, Kalimantan), Andreas Harsono (researcher at Human Rights Watch in Jakarta, Java), Coen Husain Pontoh (chief editor at Indo Progress news portal in New York), Made Ali (environmentalist at Jikalahari in Pekanbaru, Sumatra), Yuliana Lantipo (editor at Jubi daily in Jayapura, West Papua).

The mandate of this award is to exclude financial gift nor a generous ceremony, hoping that it will be sustainable and making the jurors to concentrate only in selecting a winner. It is to be announced every year on January 31.

When presenting the award, Imam Shofwan talked about his personal experience with Pogau, "Once he called me on my mobile and I heard gunshots on the backgrounds. I told him to run but he kep on talking, asking me to tweet. He continuously tried to bring out rights abuses in Papua. He died young but his courage should inspire other journalists."