31 October 2008

Racial and Ethnic Discrimination

The House of Representatives (DPR) passed the Bill on the Elimination of Racial and Ethnic Discrimination on 28 October 2008. The bill has been in the process of being passed since 2005 when it first arose as a DPR Initiative. Indonesia already has a racial discrimination law, Law No. 29 of 1999, which is the enactment of Indonesia’s responsibilities and obligations as a signatory to the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.

The premise of the bill is that everyone is born the same in the eyes of God and that everyone is equal before the law. Nevertheless, these aspirations now have a little more gravitas as they have been codified into law. The need for the codification is that all forms of racial and ethnic discrimination are contrary to the principles contained in Pancasila, the 1945 Constitution of the Republic of Indonesia, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The definition of what constitutes discrimination is broad and can be civil, political, economic, social, and cultural. Race and ethnicity are also defined. The point of eliminating discrimination is to promote and ensure harmony, peace, and security, among others. Discrimination is defined as any action that seeks to distinguish or differentiate individuals or makes exceptions for individuals. The bill and the Elucidations are silent on what impact this might have on any affirmative action programs that may arise in the future.

The bill also regulates hate speech and vilification in Article 4.

The supervision of the provisions of the bill is to be done by the National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM).

The bill provides for compensation claims in the event that a citizen has been discriminated against. The claim can be either as an individual or as a class action where there are multiple claimants. Claims are to be lodged at the District Court.

The criminal sanctions in the bill allow for terms of imprisonment of between 1 and 5 years and fines of between IDR 100 million and IDR 500 million. The penalties for corporations attract a premium of 1/3.

Once the bill enters into force all current racial and ethnic discrimination laws remain in place unless they contradict the provisions of this bill. If they do, then the provisions of the bill will prevail.

The bill will come into immediate force once it is enacted.


Brett said...

Interesting... most discrimination enacted in the West over the past 10-20 years has extended the definition of illegal discrimination to include discrimination on the grounds of religion, sexuality/sexual preference, handicap, etc.

Okay, Indonesia's got a long way to go before homo-bashing is outlawed, but adding "religion" to "race and ethnicity" would have been entirely consistent with the Constitution. It worries me that there are elements in the DPR subverting the efforts of a progressive and reformist cabinet.

Rob Baiton said...


There is a bloody long way to go. Yet, this is an interesting place to start because the Constitution really does take care of race and ethnicity issues with regards to discrimination.

I guess the argument is that this gives the general Constitutional provisions some teeth.

On the sexuality / sexual preference front, mate I could not even hazard a guess how far that might be off into the future.

Elements in the DPR subverting a reformist cabinet, do ya think? ;)

anggara said...

Apakah pak rob punya UUnya? kalau boleh mohon dikirim via email ke anggara at anggara dot org terima kasih pak Rob, salam untuk mas Amrie dan pak Yasin

Rob Baiton said...


I have it and will send it later this afternoon. It is on the laptop and I am currently at home working off the wife's desktop.