Do Cities Really Need Human Rights? A Socio-Legal Inquiry of Governance Performance in Decentralised Indonesia

Herlambang P. Wiratraman (presenting author), Ekawestri P. Widiati and Dwi R. Kristianti

The city should be able to ensure its inhabitants access to essential public service such as education, health services, and freedom from all forms of discrimination and intolerances, as well as protect the rights of vulnerable people. In 2016, the Indonesian government, through Regulation of the Minister of Justice and Human Rights No. 34 of 2016, established a set of criteria on Human Rights Cities. This Regulation was passed in order to drive local governments to respect, protect and fulfil human rights. Subsequently this Regulation became the basis for the annual human rights cities award. By the end of 2018, hundreds of Indonesian cities received this award. This included cities known for serious human rights violations. At the same time, civil society organisations also initiated alternative approaches for human rights cities. Hence, the notion of ‘human rights cities’ appears to be contested. This paper analyses and examines achievement of local governments in implementing human rights using human rights-based approach. It identifies the challenges towards the effectiveness of the regulations in place. Based on field research, this paper argues that many cities have allowed oligarchs to exploit natural resources or build their business without considering the protection of rights. Local governments have used formal administrative law in order to facilitate political economic interests. Therefore, this paper argues that despite increasing acceptance of the notion of human rights cities, local governments continue to be complicit in the violation of rights.


Biography:

Herlambang P. Wiratraman is a Lecturer and researcher at Constitutional Law Department and the Center of Human Rights Law Studies (HRLS), Faculty of Law, Airlangga University. His research interests include Constitutional Law, Human Rights, Law and Society, and Press Freedom. He obtained PhD in Law at Van Vollenhoven Institute, Faculty of Law, Leiden University, the Netherlands (2014).

Ekawestri Prajwalita Widiati is a lecturer and researcher at Constitutional Law Department and the Center of Human Rights Law Studies (HRLS), Faculty of Law, Airlangga University. Her research focuses on Human Rights and Legislation.

Dwi Rahayu Kristianti is a lecturer and researcher at Constitutional Law Department and the Center of Human Rights Law Studies (HRLS), Faculty of Law, Airlangga University. Her research focuses on Constitutional Law, Human Rights, Citizenship, and Legislative Drafting.

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