In 2015 the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM  created a team to prepare a draft amendment to the existing 1999 Law on Human Rights (UU No. 39, 1999). Following approval in a plenary meeting of the Commission, the Regulation was finally adopted as the “


According to the International Service for Human Rights*:

“While there is not currently a specific law for the protection of human rights defenders, there are laws that can protect them in certain circumstances. Law No. 39 of 1999 on Human Rights includes provisions  relating to the roles of human rights defenders.84 Specifically, article 100 states that, ‘All people, groups,  political organizations, community organizations, and self-reliant organizations and other nongovernment organizations, have the right to participate in protecting, upholding and promoting human rights.’85 Articles 101 and 102 describe the right for these people and groups to submit reports of human rights violations and proposals on policies to the National Commission on Human Rights or other agencies.86 Article 103 states that these groups, including higher educational institutes and study agencies, have the ‘right to study, educate and disseminate information about human rights.’87In 2012, civil society worked with the National Commission on Human Rights to prepare revisions to the Law No. 39 of 1999, mentioned above, to include language on protecting human rights defenders for the  House of Representatives.88 However, they have been unsuccessful in passing these revisions in  Parliament.89
The 2009 Environmental Protection and Management Law contains further protections for defenders,  with Article 66 stating that, ‘Every person who struggles for the right to a proper and healthy environment cannot be charged with a criminal or civil offence.’90 Article 66 has been used as the basis for protecting the safety and security of environmental human rights defenders.91
In addition, Article 11 of the 2011 Law on Legal Aid similarly states that providers of legal aid cannot be charged with criminal or civil offences.92 The 2002 Law on the Corruption Eradication Commission also requires the commission to protect witnesses and whistle blowers in corruption cases.93
Unfortunately, these seemingly positive laws lack supporting regulations and strong frameworks. As a result, they are poorly implemented and unevenly enforced” (see all footnotes references in the original document, please).


The 2019 Report of the Asian NGO Network on the Performance of National Human Rights Institutions in Asia (ANNI) stated that “The (Indonesian) Government does not seem concerned by the high rate of violence against HRDs. There are still no laws in Indonesia that regulates the protection of HRDs. Although in 2010 there were discussions regarding a draft Human Rights Defender Bill, the proposal was rejected in the Parliament on the grounds that it was not urgently necessary. Komnas HAM* itself had suggested an alternative, by including articles on HRDs in the draft revision of the Law Concerning Human Rights. It is unfortunate that the draft revision of Law however was not made a priority by the DPR” **.

For the composition of the new Parliament (October 2019), ANNI asked Komnas HAM “to encourage discussions on the draft in the Parliament in order to encourage recognition of HRDs and their protection needs” **

In the same report, ANNI regrets the “concerning recent decision of Komnas HAM to abolish the HRD Desk. Komnas HAM should instead increase its commitment to the issue, rather than reducing it by removing the desk” **.

ANNI finally recommends Komnas HAM to “re-establish an HRD desk and speak out about the issues they face in order to inform the public about HRD issue”**.

An ongoing Draft Law for Indigenous People Protection was proposed by civil society in February 2021 (Chapter XII of Community Participation, article 45 paragraph 2), with the aim to ensure legal protection linked to the right of participation: “anyone who carries out their participation as referred to in paragraph (1) cannot be prosecuted criminally or civilly sued”. The draft law is still under debate.
While these regulations should provide a certain degree of legal protection, in practice their implementation is very limited, with a very poor impact on effective protection of HRDs.


*The Indonesian National Human Rights Commission

** ANNI Report 2019, pages 28-31


Asian NGO Network on the Performance of National Human Rights Institutions in Asia (ANNI) 2019: On the Performance and Establishment of National Human Rights Institutions in Asia. ANNI Report 2019. See

Updated: 12/2021

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