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Human Rights Festival 2023: Striving for Equality Through Human Rights Fulfilment for the Protection and Recognition of Indigenous Peoples and Ethnic Minorities.

Land conflicts have led to the loss of living space for many citizens, including indigenous peoples. For them, this not only means a loss of access to land but also of identity and customary values and traditions, which are part of human rights. The state should be present and ensure that every citizen gets their rights, as stated in one of the resolutions of the UN Human Rights Council, which emphasizes that this obligation must be carried out by the central government.

The Human Rights Festival celebration was organized by Komnas HAM, the Presidential Staff Office, Singkawang City Government, and INFID. KEMITRAAN as an institution that focuses on strengthening human rights in Indonesia through the Estungkara program, participated in the Human Rights Festival celebration organized by Komnas HAM, the Presidential Staff Office, Singkawang City Government, and INFID. KEMITRAAN organized one of the workshops with the theme of promoting equality through the fulfillment of human rights for indigenous peoples and ethnic minorities. Speakers included Gatot Ristanto, Head of the Human Rights Enforcement Support Bureau; Muhammad Arman from the Indigenous Peoples Alliance of the Archipelago; Anton Jawamara, an observer of indigenous peoples and Marapu believers; and Muhammad Rozali from the Tangerang District Dukcapil Office.

The discussion began with sharing from Estungkara’s program partners, namely KKI Warsi on the condition of the Orang Rimba and Talang Mamak who are still struggling with the threat of loss of living space in Jambi Province, and from PPSW Jakarta on how the Chinese Benteng ethnic minority still faces challenges related to population documents such as legal identity and marriage documents.

The side event held on 18 October 2023 in Singkawang City aims to convey human rights issues in indigenous and ethnic minority communities and share stories related to advocacy efforts for access to services. The fulfillment of human rights for indigenous peoples certainly refers to several aspects, one of which is related to the right to access basic population services and the right to education for children.

Fulfillment of education services for Marapu children is a long journey, and indigenous educators are one of the important elements to provide guarantees for Marapu children to obtain equal education rights,‘ said Anton, Marapu Observer from East Sumba, in his presentation.

Devi Anggraini, Director of PEREMPUAN AMAN, shared the story of resistance from the Indigenous Women of Rendu, Nagekeo, in facing the construction of the Lambo Dam, which has eliminated the living space and welfare of the community. The confiscation of territory by the state not only eliminates their living space but also erodes the customary values, social ecology of indigenous peoples, and threatens the extinction of local culture and traditions.

The discussion, which lasted for approximately two hours, was interactive. Participants from various backgrounds, including local government, researchers, academics, and CSOs, used this opportunity to ask about the basic issues of human rights fulfillment for indigenous peoples and what Komnas HAM has done or is doing in this regard.

Komnas HAM, represented by Gatot Ristanto, said in his presentation that it fully supports the fulfillment of human rights for indigenous peoples. One way is by conducting studies, providing training and counseling on the District/City of Human Rights to the police sector and the business sector, and providing protection for human rights defenders under Komnas HAM Regulation No. 5 of 2015 concerning the Protection of Human Rights Defenders.

The discussion ended with a common understanding that there are still many challenges in providing protection and recognition of the existence of indigenous peoples, as evidenced by various examples of conflicts submitted by participants. It is hoped that the state will review various regulations and strengthen coordination between state institutions to fulfill the human rights of indigenous peoples and ethnic minorities. Komnas HAM is also committed to receiving and following up on complaints submitted by indigenous peoples. Komnas HAM itself is a strategic partner of the Partnership, especially on issues concerning minority groups or marginalized and vulnerable groups. Since 2015, the Partnership has been working with Komnas HAM on the issue of protection for groups with diverse sexual orientations and is actively discussing the inclusion of the issue of indigenous peoples and agrarian conflict in the 2019 annual report.