1University Of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia
Indonesia’s transition to democracy began with the fall of military-backed dictator Suharto in 1998. Political scientists have emphasised the essential nature of a vibrant civil society and human rights protection as the basis of a healthily functioning democracy. Indeed, Indonesia has a diverse and influential civil society sector, segments of which continue to defend human rights. The influential Indonesian social scientist Bob Hadiwinata presents a useful spectrum of civil society work in Indonesia: from ‘welfare’, to ‘development’, to ‘empowerment’. While organisations that work with refugees and asylum seekers are only a small part of broader civil society in Indonesia, they arguably play an even more important role for their beneficiaries – who are non-citizens with limited rights. This paper will adopt Hadiwinata’s framework and present a typology of the organisations working with forced migrants in Indonesia, analysing what this reveals about contemporary political space and human rights in that national context.