Development Human Rights Indonesia

Challenges Facing the Use of Human Rights to Address a Negative Impact in Development, A Case Study of Indonesia

I’ve been wanting to publish a kind of short version of my dissertation. The idea is to highlight the concept of development hazard. It hasn’t been easy, unfortunately.

My article on “Challenges Facing the Use of Human Rights to Address Negative Impacts in Development” published in The Law and Development JournalVol. 4(1), 2011: 247-268, is one of these attempts. This article brings into focus the complexities between state-market relationship as one of the challenges.


The importance of human rights in development is gaining prominence. In concrete settings and contexts, however, contesting development practices with human rights normative standards is controversial. The article outlines this controversy and complexity in Indonesia. It highlights tensions in human rights regulatory frameworks and development policies pertaining to housing and promotions of healthy environments. The main challenge faced by human rights to address development in Indonesia is to understand the complexity of state and market relationship, in designing the process and mitigating the negative impacts of development. Such a complexity is argued to shape the enforcement and susceptibility of international and national human rights laws.

Development Human Rights Indigenous Peoples Indonesia

Declared – Not Acquired

I am planning to do a field research on the negotiations of human rights in the context of agricultural modernisation in Merauke, Papua, next year. In preparation for this visit, I have written a paper that addresses the complexity, or cornucopia, of laws in Indonesia regarding food, food security, and general food law. I added a small case study on hunger in Yahukimo to illustrate my argument.


The right of everyone to be free from hunger is recognised as fundamental in the international human rights laws. This means that states have the obligation to take immediate measures against this adversity. However, optimism towards state compliance in this regard is challenged by the intricacies in state laws, regulations and practices that buttress the measures to eradicate hunger. This chapter depicts the complexity of addressing hunger as a violation of the right to food in Indonesia. Based from a comparative analysis of the Indonesian human rights law, general food law and disaster management law as well as an examination of state measures against the hunger in Yahukimo, Papua, the chapter highlights that one can expect little when normative points of the right to food are being used as the standards of enforcement. In reality, people’s actual command to food commodity is being governed according to the prevailing struggles and relationships of people, context and power.

This article will be published in the book ‘Governing Food Security: Law, Politics and the Right to Food’, which I co-edited with my colleague, Dr. O. Hospes.

Human Rights Indonesia

Defensive Enforcement: Human Rights in Indonesia

There are not many academic articles that portray the general description of human rights in Indonesia in peer-reviewed international journal.

This article entitled ‘Defensive Enforcement: Human Rights in Indonesia’ published in Human Rights ReviewVol. 11(3), pp. 373-399, is attempt to explain the factors behind the current status of human rights enforcement in this country.

The objective of the article is to examine the human rights enforcement in Indonesian legal and political system. This is done by studying the legal basis of human rights, the process of proliferation of human rights discourse, and the actual controversies of human rights enforcement. The study has the effect of highlighting some of the immense deficits in ensuring that violations are treated under judicial procedure and the protection of human rights is available and accessible for victims. The author inevitably came into a conclusion that the openness of legal and political arenas for human rights discourses is not followed with a tangible impact on the entitlement positions of the people. The problems of the weak institutions and the unenthusiastic enforcement show that, in Indonesia, human rights are formally adopted as a political strategy to avoid substantial implementation.

Food Security Human Rights Indonesia

Food Security and Human Brights

My article on ‘Food Security and Human Rights’ is published in Development in PracticeVol. 20 (1), 2010, pp. 122-130.

Here is the abstract:

Food is crucial to an adequate standard of living. The acknowledgement of the right to food in government policies is fundamental to the protection of human dignity, particularly in relation to food insecurity. It allows the right-holder to seek redress and hold government accountable for non-fulfilment. With reference to Indonesia, the article highlights deficits in meeting obligations to the right to food as stipulated in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. The state links food policy to the issue of national stability, with a resulting focus on the national rather than household or individual levels, and the inhibition at the grassroots of the right to food.

Food Security Indonesia

Beyond Eradicating Hunger

The Jakarta Post | Opinion | Tue, September 15 2009, 9:40 AM

Two facts demonstrate the irony of the present global food situation. One is that hunger and malnutrition are very widespread. The other is that there is enough food produced in the world to satisfy the needs of all.

In Indonesia, a similar situation also occurs. Hunger and malnutrition remain an annual problem in many remote areas, such as in East Nusa Tenggara, while the country enjoys self-sufficiency in rice.

Noble laureate Amartya Sen once argued that food problems relate to entitlement failure. This means food supplies are more than just about the commodity, but also about the relationship between people and that commodity.

Here one touches upon the lack of an effective and lawful protection of the individual in the entitlement to food, in the sense that the individual demands for just procedure fail to be honored. The right to food attempts to address this concern.