Davita Irene, Aida Mardatillah
YLBHI's Office. Photo by: SGP
On 10 July 2017, the Government issued Government Regulation in Lieu of Law No. 2 of 2017
on the Amendment to Law No. 17 of 2013
on Mass Organizations (Perppu 2/2017). Meanwhile, the Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation (YLBHI) and 15 Legal Aid offices (Lembaga Bantuan Hukum
– LBH) located throughout Indonesia have been following the dynamics of the public response to the issuance of Perppu 2/2017 very closely.
Chairman of the official YLBHI Advocacy Team, Mr. Muhammad Isnur, has asserted that the Government is correct to attempt to protect its citizens from discriminatory acts based on ethnicity, religion and race by ensuring security through the issuance of Perppu 2/2017. This is because in recent years, a number of mass organizations in the country have become notorious for committing acts of violence, disturbing public order and even threatening the sovereignty of the Republic of Indonesia.
However, Mr. Isnur has also asserted that at least six errors are contained within the articles of Perppu 2/17. Firstly, the issuance of Perppu 2/2017 has been deemed to not meet three procedural requirements, as required under the Constitutional Court Decision No. 38/PUU-VII-2009.
The first of these requirements involves the need to resolve legal issues based on the law. The second requirement is that there should be a legal vacuum which results from legal absences or inadequacies, and any such legal vacuum should have been deemed impossible to overcome through the normal legal procedures. Furthermore, this requirement has not been met as there has been no legal vacuum situation as regards the imposition of sanctions against mass organizations.
The second error is that Perppu 2/2017 is deemed to violate the principle of freedom of association. Freedom of association is a right that exists under the constitution and various laws and this freedom must be guaranteed and protected by the Government. However, Perppu 2/2017 contains a number of restrictions as regards the freedom of association.
“Restrictions on freedom of association can only be limited if this is deemed necessary in a democratic society so as to ensure national security and the safety of the general public, public order, the protection of public’s health and morals, or the protection of the rights and freedom of others,” said Mr. Isnur.
The third perceived error as regards the issuance of Perppu 2/2017 is that the state is believed to be overreaching itself, as it has ignored and eliminated various legal procedures relating to the suspension of mass organization activities.
Fourthly, Perppu 2/2017 adds a criminal provision on “blasphemy”. This term was not previously well known under the Indonesian Criminal Code (KUHP) Article 156a and Law No. 1/PNPS/1965, which ultimately became the origin for the addressing of blasphemy under Article 156a of the KUHP.
Fifthly, Perppu 7/2017 perpetuates a multi-interpretation article on blasphemy, which many people have fallen foul to as a result of there being no clear definition of the term “blasphemy”.
Sixthly, Perppu 7/2017 strengthens sentences for blasphemy from a maximum of five years to life (meaning at least five years and a maximum of 20 years).
Mr. Isnur has asserted that the state’s efforts to protect the nation’s sovereignty must be carried out in accordance with the principles of the law, as well as the constitutional mandate.
On this basis, YLBHI and 15 LBH offices throughout Indonesia have registered a very strong protest as regards the establishment of Perppu 17/2017.
The 15 LBHs are being represented by: Mustiqal Putra (Director of LBH Banda Aceh), Surya Adinata (Director of LBH Medan), Era Purnamasari (Director of LBH Padang), Aditya B Santoso (Director of LBH Pekanbaru), April Firdaus (Director of LBH Palembang), Alian (Director of LBH Bandar Lampung), Alghifari Aqsa (Director of LBH Jakarta), Willy Hanafi (Director of LBH Bandung), HamzalWahyudin (Director of LBH Yogyakarta), Zainal Arifin (Director of LBH Semarang), M FaiqAssiddiqi (Director of LBH Surabaya), Dewa Adnyana (Director of LBH Bali), Haswandi Andi Mas (Director of LBH Makassar), Hendra Baramuli (Director of LBH Manado), Simon Pattiradjawane (Director of LBH Papua).