China’s Five Major Development Concepts

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Today the relations between Indonesia and China is strengthened by an agreement on diplomatic relations. First, it was signed on 13 April 1950 and ended on 30 October 1967. The Indonesian Government has suspended diplomatic relations between the countries after many individuals and some military leaders became victims of movement which was assumed to be associated with the communist government in China. The relationship between the countries had been cooled off for about 23 years.

Second, the relationship between the countries was reassumed on 8 August 1990 and the relationship has been well re-developed. The memorandum of normalization of the diplomatic relations between the countries specified the provision that Indonesia is allowed to develop non-governmental economic and trade relations with Taiwan. Since then, the relations between the two countries continued to grow fairly intense and increasingly strengthened, both in economy, trade, and investment. The establishment of Joint Commission between the countries has not only marked the bilateral relationships but also embraced the three pillars of cooperation, namely political and security, economic, and social cultural (people-to-people contacts), to strengthen the prospect of such cooperation.

The recent invitation extended by the Chinese Government on 5 – 10 December 2016 was meant to increase Indonesia’s Senior Diplomat’s knowledge on China’s development and policies in bringing its economy to its current stage. The opportunity to have site visits also enabled to gain first-hand knowledge of China’s economic policies on trade such as Shanghai free trade zone and innovation such as the Waigaoqiao #3 power plant, and a presentation by the Director of China Railways during the journey to Shanghai by the bullet train. Indeed, the visit was well arranged to have a clear and comprehensive picture of why China is what it is today.

China’s economy is in historic transition. Opportunities and challenges are varied. Currently, China’s problems are daunting, from issue of slower growth, social imbalances, industrial overcapacity, excessive debt, massive pollution, and many other challenges and opportunities. In this context, lesson-learned are taken during the visit is how China’s able to address such diverse, complex issues? And, the key of success is because China has an overarching, guiding strategy so-called the “Five Major Development Concepts”. This model of China’s development to move forward will be driven by “innovation, coordination, green, openness and sharing”. My next curiosity is why these five concepts? How does each work? Why this order? Why now this guiding, integrated strategy? Would that be possible if Indonesia can through follow such guiding principles?

Throughout series of presentations during the visit, neither in Beijing nor in Shanghai, I was so pleased to find out that “Innovative Development” in the top spot, the first of the five development concepts. It signals that China’s appreciate the primary role of reform in the country’s economic and social transformation. Reform requires change, change requires doing things differently, and doing things differently requires innovation. I looked for two kinds of innovation, namely science and technology.

Why is the second development concept “Coordinated Development”? I believed that in order to optimize economic development, the efficient allocation of resources is essential. While China now recognizes that the market must play a “decisive” role, still there are issues, such as when provinces and cities compete with each other by developing similar industries. Other issues requiring coordination include how to integrate diverse regions and rebalance urban and rural areas.

The third development concept is green. Polution has become a scourge in China, the debilitating consequences of rapid industrial development. Chinese people are exceedingly displeased to see their air, water and soil so polluted, and the government has responded by elevating “Green Development”, the third development concept, to highest national importance.

The fourth development concept “Open Development” is exemplified by China’s free trade zones, the Belt and Road Initiative, and Chinese companies going abroad (building infrastructure, selling high-speed rail, even buying foreign companies). The development and improvement of Shanghai’s city and China’s high speed railways (Beijing – Shanghai) were among the symbol of modernization and human civilization which reflects China’s comprehensive power as an advance country. Sooner or later, China is developing to be the next power house of the region and global major player.

Why “Shared Development” to be the fifth development concept is so vital. In my view, shared development comes last, not because it is least important, but because it requires the success of the first to four development concepts. China cannot become a “moderately prosperous society” until its economic and social imbalances between rural and urban areas are reduced and poverty is eliminated.

Why now these guiding principles are an integrated strategy? For China to fulfill its first comprehensive goal of becoming a “moderately prosperous society” by 2020, its economy must transition and its society must re-balance and to bring about such major transformations; therefore, the Five Major Development Concepts are crucial for China. Having said that I am of the view that there are two levels of issues that Indonesia should consider from above-mentioned guiding principle to be taken.

First, Indonesia should develop further technical cooperation in the field of science and technology. Innovation is the primary role of reform in the country’s economic and social transformation. Reform in Indonesia requires change, change requires doing things differently, and doing things differently requires innovation.

Second, Indonesia should develop further trade and investment cooperation with a cautious condition that the increased trade and investment of China and the increasing number of Chinese workers/technicians in Indonesia not to take over the employment of Indonesian workers/technicians. The “Open Development” is exemplified by China’s free trade zones, the Belt and Road Initiative, and Chinese companies going abroad (building infrastructure, selling high-speed rail, even buying foreign companies) are among those to be highly considered to support Indonesia’s initiative improving its infrastructures.

Taking into account the above options, it is suggested that Indonesia should consider implementing or follow through the above-mentioned “Five Major Development Concepts”, with consideration that the second option should remain to be prioritized. Indonesia-China relations would then have to be reviewed cautiously in the context of a bilateral framework in order to leave a room for Indonesia to be more flexible for other untapped potentials, particularly innovation on China’s science and technology.

BREXIT AND ITS IMPLICATIONS FOR INDONESIA

By Maria Renata Hutagalung, Noorman Effendi, Rio Budi Rahmanto, S. Sayoga Angkasa Kadarisman, Yuni Suryati

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Britain’s surprised vote to leave the European Union signals a new era for the post-World War II globalization drive, leaving open the question of how best to rein in an increasingly connected and interdependent world economy. Anti-European Union (EU) feelings have deepened among the British in the wake of EU’s inability to respond effectively to the global downturn and the Eurozone crisis as well as to manage the heavy migration from Eastern Europe and more recently waves of refugees from the Middle East. As a consequence on 23 June 2016, Britain has voted, by a substantial margin, to leave the European Union (EU).[i] The new government in United Kingdom has set a timetable for a two-year process that ultimately would see Britain extricated from the EU by summer 2019.

With Britain leaving the EU, regional economic integration will be impacted, not only for the EU but also globally. This article examines the reasons why Britain choose to leave EU and also its implications towards Indonesia bilaterally?

The issue of refugees and Eurozone crisis sparked Britain’s decision to be independent in managing its sovereignty. There are 630,000 foreign nationals settled in Britain in the single year 2015. Britain’s population has grown from 57 million in 1990 to 65 million in 2015, despite a native birth rate. On Britain’s present condition, the population would top 70 million within another decade, half of that growth is immigration-driven.[ii] They oppose the flow of immigrants to live and work in Britain and argue that membership impinges on Britain’s sovereignty. It is further exacerbated since most of Britain’ regulations and laws are decided in Brussels. Another contributing factor is the Euro economic crisis. At the same time, the global recession had a bad impact on the world economy, and the future of Eurozone is more unpredictable. Thus, Britain’s exit sparked turmoil in the financial markets, with long term economic and geopolitical ramifications yet to emerge.

Globally, Britain’s vote will reinforce the backlash against globalization and economic integration that has favored Asia, including Indonesia: Being an emerging market, Indonesia is vulnerable to global economic or political shocks as these shocks trigger a flight to safety. These developments imply that Indonesian stocks and the rupiah would come under heavy pressure in the case of Brexit, particularly as foreign investors hold a large portion of Indonesian stocks. However, the impact of a Brexit-inflicted shock is temporary. Brexit has limited impact on Indonesia. A Brexit will impact the global financial sector.

In this regard, Indonesia can consider these recommendations to be taken.

First, Indonesia should closely monitor and assess the EU-UK Withdrawal Agreement negotiations and ensure Indonesia-EU related agreements will be honoured by the UK. Indonesia-EU agreements that might have future implications are: implementation of the World Trade Organization agreements; Framework Agreement on Comprehensive Partnership and Cooperation (PCA); Voluntary Partnership Agreement on Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT-VPA); and Agreement on European Union on Certain Aspects of Air Services (the last agreement has not been ratified by Indonesia). The main challenge is that the UK has not initiated article 50 to proceed with the withdrawing process so there is not discussion yet.

Second, Indonesia should make an in-depth assessment on economic impacts for Indonesia as a consequence to Brexit considering the UK is an important source of trade (US$ 2.3 billion in 2015), tourism (269 thousand tourist in 2015) and investment (US$ 503 million) for Indonesia. During the aftermath of the UK referendum, Pound sterling dramatically dropped 6% vis-à-vis US dollar and decreased 13% towards Japanese Yen. There have been talks about companies moving from the UK to the European mainland. Indonesia should continue to monitor the economic impact will Brexit have on the UK since this would impact also our bilateral relations

Third, Indonesia must follow closely the possible contagious effect namely a crisis in one country could easily spread to another neighboring state or community. The Asian financial crisis and the Greek economic crisis, for instance, have proven to be very dangerous and prone to contagious impacts. Precautionary measures will ensure stability of Euro. The main problem is the lack of capacity to examine closely in situation.

Taking into account the above options, it is suggested that Indonesia should implement the abovementioned three options, with consideration that the first option should be prioritized. Indonesia-UK relations would have to be reviewed in the context of a bilateral framework. Brexit will leave a room for Indonesia to be more flexible for other untapped potentials, particularly Indonesia-UK’s bilateral relations.

[i]                   From 282 polling stations placed around the country, 51.9% agreed to leave EU and 48.1% to remain.

[ii]                   http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2016/06/brexit-eu/488597/

 

Bridging a Closer Relation between African Union and ASEAN

By Group 3

Edi Suharto, Gibson Ehari Oeka, Sebastianus S.C.A. Kadarisman, Clarence Pana Kikolo, Noorman Effendi, Pak Myong Guk and Rio Budi Rahmanto

 

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The African Union (AU) was established on May 26, 2001 and launched on July 9, 2002, in South Africa. The AU has 52 members in Africa except Morocco. The regional organization consists of total population of 1.05 billion and total GDP around US$ 3.76 trillion. The AU is playing a greater role in setting the norms and standard setting in the region. The AU is involved in a wide-range of issues in the region, such as peace, security and political affairs; as well as economic affairs, infrastructure, energy, science and technology, trade and industry, and social affairs.

Despite being a comprehensive regional organization, the main problem is that there is still limited cooperation between the AU and Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). The article will try to seek various policy options to enhance cooperation in norm setting and standard setting between the AU and ASEAN.

Let us first observe the trend in the AU. Since the establishment of the AU, members have established a robust system in the peace, security and political sphere in comparison to other regional organizations. The system is developed based on African experience of past conflicts in the region and there are many countries that remain potentially fragile for conflicts, such as unresolved border disputes and economic insecurity due to scares resources. The AU is serious in trying to seek African solutions to Africa problems with the establishment of the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA). One of the instruments being used is the Continental Early Warning System (CEWS) and the African Standby Force (ASF). The instruments would help manage different stages of conflicts (from prevention to reconstruction), make use of mediation and, if possible, peace support operations. The implementation of this mechanism is based on their referential values, culture and an in-depth analysis of the situation.

In the area of human rights, democracy and good governance, there is the African Governance Architecture and Platform with its 5 (five) sub-issues, namely governance; democracy; human rights; constitutionalism and rule of law; and humanitarian affairs. In addition, the AU has the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) to evaluate implementation in members that consist of 4 (four) components, which are: democracy and political governance; economic governance and management; corporate governance; and socio-economic development. There are 29 AU members that have jointed the system and 13 have volunteered to be assessed.

In the economic front, the AU has adopted a number of important documents establishing norms at continental level that include the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption (2003), the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance (2007), the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) (2001) and its associated Declaration on Democracy, Political, Economic and Corporate Governance. NEPAD core objectives are to encourage poverty eradication, to promote sustainable growth and development, and to empower women. NEPAD was designed to aid Africa in its Millennium Development Goals (MDG’s).

The article therefore suggests several policy options in which ASEAN could pursue in its relationship with the AU. First, from the perspective of political point of view, ASEAN should learn from the AU particularly in human rights mechanism. The African Commission on Human and People Rights is an international human rights instrument that is intended to promote and protect human rights and basic freedoms in the African continent. The Commission is relatively more independent and has greater authority for promotion, protection and interpretation of human rights compared to the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR). The challenge here is that there might be resistant from some ASEAN members to apply a more independent and robust AICHR.

Second, in economic point of view, ASEAN could tap the potential markets of African countries. In this regard, ASEAN should initiate discussion on the possibility of linking markets between two regional organizations, in the form of Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) or Free Trade Agreement (FTA). The AU and ASEAN should combine both markets of approximately 1.8 billion people. ASEAN members could also utilize the existence of African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) and Lomé Convention to Intensify ASEAN investment in Africa.

Third, African and Southeast Asian countries should develop greater solidarity and South-South cooperation making use of the New Asian African Strategic Partnership (NAASP) that remains the only forum that brings together countries from Asia and Africa. Both regions should continue to develop solidarity norms by providing greater exchange among officials and technical cooperation in which member has comparative advantage. The main obstacle might be the availability of resources for exchange programs.

To conclude, the article would like to suggest that economic cooperation between the AU and ASEAN is more feasible to be materialized. Improving peace and stability in the African region coupled with tremendous promising economic growth as well as rich untapped natural resources seem to place African region as an important region to reckon with. Those facts should encourage ASEAN to initiate trade and investment linkages through CEPA or FTA. In this regard, due to historical and traditional closeness and good relations between Indonesia and African countries, we should play pivotal role in bridging linkages of the two most growing regions in the world.

Indonesia Is A Strong Partner In The War Against Drugs Trafficking

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President Joko Widodo of Indonesia has declared a drug emergency in the country of 250 million, calling the rising flow of narcotics as serious a security threat as militancy. Today Indonesia has employed tough decision in fighting drugs and drugs trafficking across border by death penalty execution. The Indonesian government has carried out four of the planned executions of 14 people found guilty of drug crimes. The convicts were shot by firing squad at the Nusa Kambangan Island on 27 July 2016.

For Indonesia carrying the death penalty is necessary for narcotics-related crimes because the country is facing a drugs epidemic particularly affecting young people. President Joko Widodo’s two-year administration has executed more people than were executed in the previous decade. However, the article tries to argue that while the legal arguments being made before the Indonesian courts have focused on Indonesian law there is also an international law dimension to the imposition of death penalty or capital punishment which is of also equal importance.

Regardless of what Indonesian law may have to say on the matter and irrespective of the imposition of the capital punishment in some countries for the most serious categories of murder, some may argue that the imposition of death penalty for drug crimes is not permissible under international law to which Indonesia is subject. In this respect, the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which Indonesia joined in 2006 is the pivotal treaty. The covenant was drafted in the recognition that at the time of its conclusion the death penalty was not illegal per se but that its application should be severely limited.  The Article 6 (2) of covenant stated that “In countries which have not abolished the death penalty, sentence of death may be imposed only for the most serious crimes in accordance with the law in force at the time of the commission of the crime.”

In this regard, Indonesia is fully aware of this obligation when it accepted the covenant and the limitations the treaty imposed on its imposition of the death penalty for anything but the most serious crimes. As a party to the covenant Indonesia is obliged under international law to perform its treaty obligations in good faith, respecting its solemn commitment to abide by its international legal obligations. This is especially the case when the human rights of foreign citizens are at stake.

Within the same context of argument, there is also considerable legal authority to suggest that drug trafficking does not fall into the category of the most serious crimes. The expression most serious crimes were in the view to be read restrictively to mean that the death penalty should be a quite exceptional measure. A similarly restricted reading of Article 6 (2) came in 1984 when the UN Economic and Social Council adopted the Safeguards Guaranteeing Protection of the Rights of Those Facing the Death Penalty which later endorsed by the UN General Assembly.

Those safeguards provided that “In countries which have not abolished the death penalty, capital punishment may be imposed only for the most serious crimes, it being understood that their scope should not go beyond intentional crimes with lethal or other extremely grave consequences.” Furthermore, in a 2005 resolution of the UN Commission on Human Rights this matter was revisited “To ensure also that the notion of most serious crimes does not go beyond intentional crimes with lethal or extremely grave consequences and that the death penalty is not imposed for non-violent acts.”

Indonesia has pointed to the fact that number of states retain capital punishment but those countries are not parties to the covenant. And if like the United States they are signatories to the covenant they do not retain the death penalty for drug crimes. Indonesia is therefore in a distinctive position. It has accepted the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights retains the death penalty and applies it to drug crimes. Much has been made in recent years of Indonesia being a sovereign state of the need to respect the Indonesian legal system and accepting that Indonesia has tougher drug enforcement laws than many countries. This is all true but importantly in this case Indonesia has also made the decision to accept and abide by the covenant which is one of the foundations of its legal instruments upon which international human rights law is based

In conclusion, tough execution such as death penalty execution for Indonesia now becomes necessary in fighting the drugs and drugs trafficking across border. Carrying the death penalty is law enforcement for narcotics-related crimes because the country is facing a drugs epidemic, particularly affecting young people. For Indonesia drug trafficking and distribution is considered a very serious crime.

 

 

 

 

 

References:

http://nasional.kompas.com/read/2016/08/02/15291181/dirjen.pas.akui.ada.oknum.mengaku.dari.bnn.minta.cctv.di.ruangan.freddy.budiman.dilepas

http://edition.cnn.com/2016/02/11/politics/fbi-georgia-correctional-drug-trafficking/index.html

https://www.unodc.org/documents/wdr2015/World_Drug_Report_2015.pdf

 

DEVELOPING INDONESIA’S CRUISE INDUSTRY: CHALLENGES AND POTENTIALS

By Maria Renata Hutagalung, Noorman Effendy, Rio Budi Rahmanto, S. Sayoga C. A. Kadarisman, Yuni Suryati

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The global cruise industry generated revenue of 37.1 billion US dollars in 2014, a figure which was expected to increase to approximately 39.6 billion by the end of 2016.[i] The industry made significant recovery after revenue fell below 25 billion during the 2009 global recession. The number of passengers carried by the cruise industry has grown year-on-year and is expected to exceed 25 million in 2019.[ii]

Despite data showing encouraging figures for worldwide cruise industry, Indonesia’s potential in the cruise industry has yet to be developed to its full potential. Indonesia, with its more than 17,000 islands, provides many excellent opportunities for cruise tourism. In this regard, the Indonesian Government has taken several measures to boost the tourism industry, including cruise tourism. One of them is related to the cabotage rules. The government of Indonesia has relaxed its cabotage rules imposed on cruise industry and allowed foreign-flagged cruise ships to stop over in five of the country’s largest ports in an effort to boost tourism, namely Tanjung Priok in Jakarta; Tanjung Perak in Surabaya, East Java; Belawan in Medan, North Sumatra; Makassar in South Sulawesi; and Benoa in Bali.

However, this industry still faces other challenges; such as poor facilities and securities as well as domestic ports that have not reached international standard. This article further examines how Indonesia develops tourism industry to capitalize on the emerging cruise markets and eventually increase the growth of foreign tourists to visit Indonesia.

Marine tourism is a focal point for Indonesia accounting for 35% of the targeted development of the industry by 2019. Cruise is one of seven tourism sectors that is being developed to better promote its tourism. Indonesia’s vast archipelago which offers rich culture, heritage and scenery are supporting factors in the development of this industry. As such, this industry continues to grow.

In 2013, around 160,000 passengers arrived in Indonesia by cruise. Up until September 2015, data from the Tourism and Creative Economy Ministry states that around 106, 000 tourists have arrived on 61 cruise ships, while over 900 yachts have brought in around 10,000 tourists. In terms of port calls, in 2013 there were over 300 port calls, which was a 44% increase compared to 2012.

Large cruise ships have contributed significantly to the development of main tourist destinations in Indonesia. Medium-size vessels also play a part in developing the industry, particularly in spreading the benefits of tourism. According to the Ministry, expedition vessels account to over 100 calls in 2013.

These developments are due to a number of factors. First, Indonesia’s attendance in major international sea-trade exhibitions had impacted in cruise liners stopping off in Indonesia. Indonesia is also a member of the Cruise Down Under Association which has benefited in the promotion of Indonesia in Australia, New Zealand and other countries across the Oceania Pacific region.

Income generated from this sector would also impact positively on the economy. According to PT Pelabuhan Indonesia (Pelindo III), a cruise ship would pay US$60,000 to make one stop in Benoa, Bali.[iii]

Meanwhile, efforts to expand ports to attract more cruisers are in place to cater to large vessels. In Banten, developers are looking towards building cruise infrastructure which will feature 300 docks for private yachts and 300 for public use.[iv] Bali is seen as a prospective area to be turned into a turn-around port where cruise passengers can start and end their journey.[v]

In line with Indonesia’s efforts to strengthen its cruise industry, there are several policy options that can be considered to promote Indonesia as cruise destinations.

First, Indonesia should seriously develop an environment to support competitive tourist services in the surrounding port areas in which cruise ships can dock. The main complaint of foreign tourists includes the lack of high-quality tourism services in tourist destinations and lack of hygiene and adequate public facilities (e.g. clean rest room, public transportation). These complaints are in line with the Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report 2015 by World Economic Forum that found Indonesia lacks competitiveness in tourism service infrastructure as well as health and hygiene.

Second, Indonesia should be able to fasten immigration process of cruise ship passengers, possibly using information and communication technology. Although security matters should remain the priority, Indonesia should be able to better accommodate the special characteristic of cruise ships passengers.

Third, Indonesian ports that are targeted for cruise destinations should be enhanced to accommodate large and medium-size cruise ships. There are only few locations in Indonesian in which large and medium-size cruise ships can directly port while the majority of ports in Indonesia’s tourist destinations cannot. This is a missed opportunity for Indonesia considering the benefits Indonesia could gain from cruise ships. The challenge of course is developing infrastructure and ports are capital intensive and would need high technical know-how.

Taking account the above options, it is suggested that Indonesia pursues the first and third options as priorities. The infrastructures that could accommodate large and medium cruise ships are very important because it can boost the number of tourist visiting, therefore, Indonesia will gain a lots of benefit from the tourism sectors. The availability of facilities with high-quality standard of services will also be more attractive for tourists to visit Indonesian tourism destination.

 

 

 

[i] https://www.statista.com/statistics/270605/cruise-passengers-worldwide/

[ii] ibid.,

[iii] http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2013/12/04/indonesia-s-cruise-tourism-sees record-growth.html

[iv] http://www.aseancruising.com/country-report-indonesia/

[v] http://www.aseancruising.com/country-report-indonesia/

Furthering Protection of Human Right in ASEAN: AICHR at the Cross-Road

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In November 2007, the heads of the ten member governments of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) agreed to sign a charter that will once ratified give the association a legal personality, namely the ASEAN Charter. The ASEAN Charter significantly required more of its members than a reassertion of the traditional ASEAN norms of non-interference and the practice of consensus. The ASEAN Charter has listed number of novel goals among the organization’s purposes, namely to strengthen democracy, to enhance good governance and the rule of law, and to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms.  ASEAN Charter was entered into force by the end of 2008.

Within this background, the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) was then inaugurated on 23 October 2009 as a consultative inter-governmental body and an integral part of the ASEAN organizational structure. AICHR was given mandate and functions to develop strategies for the promotion of human rights and fundamental freedoms to complement the building of the ASEAN Community. Likewise, the Terms of Reference of the AICHR (TOR) stipulated a constructive, non-confrontational and evolutionary approach to developing human rights norms and standards in ASEAN member states. The establishment of the AICHR marks an extraordinary evolution. However, despite being a comprehensive regional organization the role of AICHR is still limited.

One of the important outcomes of the 21st Summit of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Phnom Penh in 2012 was the adoption of the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration by the ten ASEAN member states. The ASEAN Human Rights Declaration (AHRD) is best viewed as the start of the journey for ASEAN towards greater promotion and protection of human rights in its region.

To this end for Indonesia the challenges of promoting and protecting human rights in ASEAN do not end only with the adoption of the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration (AHRD) in 2012. Indonesia is remain to conclude the negotiation on remaining issues related to human rights protection, namely the promotion and protection of the rights of migrant workers.

It is believed that there are some outstanding facts that governed the role of the AICHR in dealing with violations of human rights within the ASEAN member states. Firstly, the activities of the AICHR are limited to promotion and protection of human rights within ASEAN. The status of AICHR is only as consultative inter-governmental body and an integral part of the ASEAN organizational structure. Secondly, the AICHR does not explicitly equip the commission with strong protection mandates. This can be seen in from the fourteen mandates and functions set forth in the Term of Reference of the AICHR (TOR) is dominated by activities focused on the promotion of human rights instead of to promote and protection of human rights. Thirdly, the perspective of ASEAN member countries on human rights is still very diverse due to the diversity of social and political conditions of each member states.

Having said that the strengthening AICHR will certainly becoming the important agendas for Indonesia at next ASEAN Summit 2017 in the Philippines, including, concluding the negotiation on ASEAN legally binding document for the promotion and protection of the rights of migrant workers. In this regard, this article would like to propose the Ministry of Foreign Affairs take a lead to encourage review of the ASEAN human rights instruments. This review is an important opportunity to improve the AICHR TOR, which it is believed contains provisions that severely limit AICHR in fulfilling its purpose to promote and protect human rights in ASEAN.

In conclusion, Indonesia as a leading state governed by norms of democracy, good governance and the rule of law, and promoting as well as protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms should be able to convince other ASEAN member states that the AICHR TOR need to be revised substantially in order this body able to work effectively as a regional human rights body in ASEAN, namely to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms. Likewise, at the same note Indonesia should also reassure other members to improve the selection process of representatives in AICHR, to be in line with good practices with other regional human rights commissions.

 

 

 

 

References:

http://www.todayonline.com/world/asia/asean-political-security-community-still-distant-goal

http://www.asean.org/communities/asean-political-security-community

 

Promoting Democracy as an Important Element of Foreign Policy: Democratic Dividends

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During Press Conference, Joint Commission Meeting between Indonesia and US, in Nusa Dua Bali, Indonesia, July 24, 2011, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has urged Indonesia to promote democracy in Myanmar and countries in the Middle East and North Africa in the throes of upheaval. She said it was successful transition from dictatorship and status as a vibrant Muslim-majority democracy made it an ideal role model for both Myanmar and the Arab world. She also stated that the country’s recent history provides an example for a transition to civilian rule and building strong democratic institutions. Thus, Indonesia has made significant strides toward democracy and shown that Islam and democracy can co-exist.

Indeed, Indonesia is an interesting example to examine the interplay between Islam and democracy. In the last awakening of Islamic resurgence and the growing democratic movements in North Africa and the Middle East, the question remains to be valid whether Muslim countries are going to be more Islamized or secularized becomes increasingly important.

The process of democratization in Indonesia started on 21 May 1998 when President Soeharto publicly announced his resignation from his 32 year rules on the country. The announcement was quite surprising as he was just elected for the seventh time and has committed himself to rule again the country for another five years. It seems that the public pressure from students seemed to be Suharto’s main reasons for his resignation. Student movements had occupied the parliament for three days and riots a week earlier on 14 – 15 May 1998 had brought the capital city of Jakarta to a standstill. The country experienced a severe economic crisis that resulted in the economic dislocation of millions of households, a sharp rise in poverty, a 13% decline in gross domestic product (GDP) and near bankruptcy in the financial sector. President Soeharto long authoritarian regime was losing of traditional sources of support, including the Indonesian Armed Forces. At the same time, Indonesia was also on the brink of financial and political collapse. Consequently, President Soeharto resignation was then the right reaction to respond dire situations.

Many things happened during Soeharto’s New Order regime. Muslims were barred from forming Islamic parties. They were forced to join one of the three parties approved by the regime, namely Golkar, Indonesian Democratic Party (PDI), and Development and Unity Party (PPP). Some scholars argued that the change of Muslim political mindset was greatly due to the way Soeharto treated them. Indonesian Muslims have been politically secularized that their attitude towards politics has no longer been the same.

It was true that Soeharto’s New Order regime had played a crucial role in changing Muslim political attitudes. The shift, however, was not only due to Soeharto who ruled the country repressively, but also due to the long and passionate role played by Muslim intellectuals. What was happening in Indonesia is not happening in Egypt and other Middle Eastern countries. It was the Indonesian intellectuals who had played an important role in changing Muslim political mindset and attitude.

In Indonesia, Muslim intellectuals have been very active in promoting democracy and pluralism to Muslim societies. Abdurrahman Wahid was one of the most influential leaders among the Nahdlatul Ulama members, whom later also became the President of Indonesia. Born in a strong family background and educated in Baghdad and Cairo, Wahid was highly respected by both Muslims and non-Muslims in the country. He read Western literatures and tried to synthesize them with Islamic intellectual tradition.

One of Wahid’s most significant contributions to Indonesia is his untiring campaign for democracy and Pancasila (five principles) as the only basis of the state. Since independence until 1980s, many Muslims believed that adopting Pancasila – not Islam – could dilute their Islamic creed. Wahid argued that Pancasila will not contradict Islam. Throughout his career as an intellectual, Wahid publicly criticized and delegitimized Islamic political parties. He denounced the idea of Islamic state and refused the formal implementation of Sharia Law in Indonesia.

It was also through lectures, writings, and actions many of others Muslim intellectuals had advocated democracy and delegitimized Islamic parties. Unlike in Egypt and other Middle Eastern countries, the Indonesian reform movement has also always been through organizations such as Ahmad Syafii Maarif and Nurcholish Madjid were also Muslim leaders who chaired big organizations. They spread their liberal ideas to Muslim society through organizations. Wahid did it through Nahdlatul Ulama (40 million members), Maarif through Muhammadiyah (30 million members), and Madjid through Islamic Student Association and its alumnae (over 10 million members).

Something that has been happening recently in the Middle East did not happen in Indonesia. Democracy does not side with Islamic parties to win the race for political power. The question should be addressed here is why did the majority of Indonesian Muslims not vote for Islamic parties, but rather to secular (or non-religious) parties? Has not there been an Islamization process in the country? Why is the resurgence of Islam in Indonesia not followed by the success in gaining political power?

There are many answers to these questions. But, the most striking one is that there has been a radical change in the political mindset of Indonesian Muslims. Partly due to the external factors that were boosted by secular-militaristic regime under Soeharto and partly due to internal ones which were pushed by liberal Muslims. These two factors played a crucial role in changing Muslims’ political mindset and the way Muslims perceived democracy.

Another evidence, since 1998 Indonesia has undergone four general elections which were consecutively won by secular (non-religious) parties, namely Indonesian Democratic Party (1999), Democratic Party (2004), Democratic Party (2009) and Indonesian Democratic Party (2014). These three parties have a great commitment for democracy and Indonesian pluralism. Hence, Indonesia’s own recent history provides respectable example for a transition to civilian rule and building strong democratic institutions.

In recent awakening of Islamic resurgence and growing democratic movements in North Africa and the Middle East, many world leaders had lauded the rise of democracy in Indonesia and called Indonesia as a role model of democracy for the Muslim world. However, there were at least four main reasons why Indonesia’s considered to be a good role model. Firstly, Indonesia is the most populous Muslim country in the world and the fourth largest most populous country that has undergone political transition from authoritarian regime to democracy. Secondly, Indonesia has been able to maintain political stability despite the ethnic conflicts and religious riots in the first years of its political transition. Thirdly, Indonesia has been able to demonstrate stable economic performances. Fourthly, Indonesia is the only Muslim majority country where Islamic political parties have failed to win the general election. Meanwhile, In North African and the Middle Eastern countries, democracy always gives Islamic political parties victory.

The article therefore would like to propose Indonesia through Bali Democratic Forum (BDF) and Institute for Peace and Democracy (IPD) must continue to share and promote its democratic experiences. Indonesia’s approach to sharing democratic experience tends to be unique to develop sharing experience programs. Indonesia has shown that Islam and democracy can co-exist in which Indonesia’s Foreign Policy must gain benefit from its democratic capital. Thus, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs must then take an advantage as challenge and opportunity Indonesia’s international and regional roles to another level, among other is to secure its candidacy for upcoming selection of the new non-permanent Security Council members in mid-2018.

In conclusion, democracy in Indonesia is a good example for the world and shown that Islam and democracy can co-exist. Democracy cannot be taken for granted and democracy is a ‘society-long learning process’. The fact is that Indonesia political transition to a democracy is a delicate and crucial moment: some countries may succeed, some goes backward, and some even become failed states. To this end, democracy in Indonesia is remain growing dynamically, despite many problems that Indonesian government has to face it, the country remained able successfully to keep its economic growth, curbing the unemployment rate, reforming legal system, and building infrastructures.

References:

http://www.asiasentinel.com/politics/indonesias-unlikely-and-steady-democracy/

http://www.kemlu.go.id/en/berita/informasi-penting/Pages/Annual-Press-Briefing-Minister-for-Foreign-Affairs-of-the-Republic-of-Indonesia-H.E.-Dr.-R.M.-Marty-.aspx

http://www.dw.com/id/kerusuhan-mei-1998-menolak-lupa/a-18464585

Confront Future Hostage Crisis: Building Capacity and Strengthening Legal Framework

By Group 3: Edi Suharto, Noorman Effendi, Rio Budi Rahmanto and S Sayoga C.A Kadarisman

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Indonesia has recently faced hostage taking incidents, which were highly publicized by the media and brought people’s attention. Criminal groups or even terrorist groups that operate in remote areas and often operate beyond national borders that take hostages are serious challenges for any country. These groups often take hostages in ungoverned spaces or unstable political and security environments. These groups also target private citizens, government officials or even foreigners to garner media attention and to gain political and financial concessions. In these situations, the related Government should ensure safe recovery of its citizens or foreign citizens taken as captive.

The main challenge in hostage incidents is that the Government would likely be held accountable for the safety of hostages; whether hostage crisis will take place in Indonesia or whether hostages will involve Indonesian citizens abroad. For this reason, the article would like to seek various policy options in strengthening Indonesia’s capacity and legal framework to address hostage situations both at home and overseas.

In the past, there were limited incidents in which hostage incidents took place in Indonesia or Indonesian citizens taken as hostages abroad; however, Indonesia is definitely not immune to this particular crime. One of the most well-known hostage-taking crises was Woyla hijacking in 1981 in which an armed group took control of an Indonesian Garuda airplane with hostages in Bangkok, Thailand. Indonesian authorities successfully convinced Thai authorities and then Prime Minister to allow Indonesian Special Forces to engage and took over the Garuda plane.

Later in 1996, a military operation, which was largely conducted by the Special Forces, freed 9 hostages who were researchers from the Independent Papua Organization (Organisasi Papua Merdeka/ OPM). Unfortunately, 2 hostages could not be saved during this operation.

More recently, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines agreed on May 5, 2016 to conduct coordinated maritime patrols after several ships were hijacked by Aby Sayyaf groups in the Southern Philippines. Indonesian sailors were kidnapped and eventually released. The latest hostage crisis occurred in the capital city in Jakarta after a failed robbery.

Although the above facts indicate that Indonesia is prone to hostage situations, Indonesia currently does not have specific rules and/or regulations concerning hostage crises. The law governing hostage-taking situation is part of Indonesia’s Criminal Code (Kitab Undang-Undang Hukum Acara Pidana/ KUHAP) that determines procedures and rights of individuals, including people suspected or victims of kidnapping, at different stages of the trial process. The other law that is related to hostage crises is part of the Head of the Indonesian Police regulation No. 23/2011 on procedure for prosecution of terrorism acts.

The article therefore suggests several policy options in which Indonesia could pursue. First, enhance cooperation to build capacity related to hostage situations. Negotiation should be the initial step in trying to release hostages situations. Several countries, such as Australia and the US, have sophisticated capacity and Standard Operating Procedure (S.O.P.) to deal with hostage situations. Capacity building might be directed toward Indonesian Police, Armed Forces, and even diplomats in dealing with overseas hostage situations. The possible challenge is that there might be different level of capacity among different countries and there might be issues of legal framework for this type of cooperation.

Second, enhance cooperation within ASEAN countries under the Political Security Pillar of ASEAN Vision 2025. Within this ASEAN framework, cooperation is directed to build a community that adopts a comprehensive approach to security which enhances our capacity to address effectively and in a timely manner existing and emerging challenges, including non-traditional security issues, particularly transnational crimes and trans-boundary challenges. Although hostage situation is not specifically mentioned, it may fall under the framework of non-traditional security issues. The challenge is that there might be relatively similar capacity among ASEAN countries; so the focus would likely be to develop S.O.P. among ASEAN members if a hostage crisis should emerge.

Third, develop legal framework at the national level in order ensure coherency with international practices and laws. The current state of play indicates that the legal framework for hostage taking incidents mainly focus on situation at the domestic level, but there is no clear procedures for Indonesian citizens taken as hostage abroad. The past experience varies from military intervention to diplomatic means to free Indonesian hostages. It is therefore imperative to develop a sound legal framework to deal with the issue of hostage taking crises at the domestic level as well as international level.

Taking into account the above options, we would suggest that the Government should take the first option (enhancing cooperation to build capacity to deal with hostage taking situations) and third options (developing legal framework to support the effective prosecution of the hostage taking acts) in order to tactfully deal with hostage taking issue both at the domestic and international levels. It is for certain that there is no country in the world that wants to deal with hostage crisis, whether it involves its citizens or even foreign national; nevertheless, it would be best to prepare for such eventualities. If we see a possible storm ahead, it is best we prepare an umbrella before it rains.

Lesson- Learned from Asian Financial Crises 1997 – 1998: Democracy needs to be accompanied by smart management and good governance

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Indonesia was the hardest-hit country during 1997 – 1998 Asia Financial Crises resulting in severe economic, political and social disorder. The country experienced a severe economic crisis that resulted in the economic dislocation of millions of households, a sharp rise in poverty, a 13% decline in gross domestic product (GDP) and near bankruptcy in the financial sector. Soeharto’s long authoritarian regime was facing of discontent including significant popular protests in the capital and the loss of traditional sources of support, and similarly the Indonesian Armed Forces which forced him to resign.

Since then Indonesia’s political system has undergone a profound transformation from a highly centralized political and policy decision system with a powerful and dominant president, who held power for 32 years, to a more pluralistic, diffused and evolving system with an increasingly active parliaments.

According World Bank Country Report 2009, Indonesia has subsequently emerged into economically strong and remarkably stable in political terms. The processes through which policies have been shaped no doubt played a critical role during the “Reformasi Period”, and were likely to be important in continuing the positive trajectory in the years to come. However, the internal and external environments have become so challenging for Indonesia in the current periods and therefore durable policy responses to these challenges need to be timely and precise.

In efforts to develop such durable and precise policy, in line leaders of Indonesia needs to go into the nature of policy-making processes and in particular six roles of aspect engaging Indonesia, namely (1) aspect of multicultural; Muslim majority in a newly democratic Indonesia is not easy, (2) aspect of stimulating economic growth and cuddling poverty, (3) aspect of strengthening democracy, rule of law, good governance and ongoing reform in military, (4) aspect of maintaining media freedom, (5) aspect of coping with disintegrative forces, and finally (6) aspect of balancing acts on calamities such quick and responsible responses on natural disaster (Tsunami) and Terrorism.

In defining such policy, it is suggested that policy must be responsive to Indonesia’s main challenge ahead is on how to achieve sufficient economic growth to maximize job creation to make difference for Indonesia’s millions of unemployed. Accordingly, there are still roughly hundred millions Indonesians living less than US Dollar 2 per day. Whereas, the measures of extreme poverty as defined for the purposes of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) was US Dollar 1 per day. Consequently, by this latter measured, about 15 million Indonesians are remains suffered from extreme poverty.

Nevertheless, given time and resource limitations, today Indonesia’s must remain focus largely on policy processes as define by the drawing-up of development plans and budgets, the drafting and enactment of legislation and the development of implementation guidelines in the shape of presidential/government/ministerial regulations, instructions and decrees. At the same time while moving to stabilize the economy, policy makers must pay attention that corruption and bureaucracy are the ultimate obstacles to overall improvement. Thus, there is still need for current administrations to make bureaucracy to be more legitimate and its decision to be more accountable.

In conclusion, Indonesia is a lively democracy with foreign exchange reserves had increased by US$2.2 billion to US$115.7 billion by the end of September 2016 from US$113.5 billion earlier. Therefore, democracy in Indonesia must be accompanied by smart management and good governance.