Discussion on Research Design: Does decentralization have influence to human rights improvement?

ELSAM, Jakarta – Indonesian government through Ministry of Law and Human Right awarded Human Rights City to 228 regions, two days before Human Rights Day 2016. The award is an annual ceremony conducted since 2013. The number of regions awarded has raised since last year, however, the quality of the selected regions still is being questioned: Do those regions actually implement human rights mandate as specified in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and 1945 Constitution?

The institute for Policy Research and Advocacy (ELSAM) realized that decentralization has given greater role to the regions in order to execute various affairs. However, has decentralization become significant system to promote human rights in Indonesia? The methodology on how to evaluate decentralization significance in human rights ecosystem becomes the main topic of methodology discussion held by ELSAM on 16 December 2016 in Jakarta. The discussion entitled Finalization of Research Design on Human Rights Performance of Local Government invited Dodi Ambardi (Executive Director of Lembaga Survey Indonesia), Ifdhal Kasim, Roichatul Aswidah (National Commission on Human Rights), Stanley Adi (Press Council), Research and Development Department of Ministry of Law and Human Rights (Balitbang Kemenkumham), Director of Human Rights Instruments of Ministry of Law and Human Rights, National Commission on Violence Against Women (Komnas Perempuan), Bappenas (National Planning Development Agency), Directorate General of Local Autonomy of Ministry of Home Affairs, INFID and PSHK.

The discussion becomes the important part of research activities which will be conducted by ELSAM in six regions in Indonesia. Wahyudi Djafar, Deputy Director of ELSAM and also the research coordinator, said that decentralization has changed the map of authority between national and local government.

We would like to find out what contribution of the regions in accelerating human rights improvement in Indonesia. Whether decentralization gives influence to the enforcement and promotion of human rights in Indonesia. We also wants to measure the quality of local government performance with its resource and authority after local autonomy,” he said.

Dodi Ambardi as the research supervisor realized that the problem complexity being doubled with different local characteristics in each region become the challenges of the research. Stanley Adi Prasetyo said that instruments made by UNDP on human rights indicators can be the reference of the research.

“We need to know that this evaluation should not only look at the result indicator of human rights performance of local government. The process indicator should also be reviewed whether, for example, the policy making has been pursuant to international human rights standards,” he added.

ELSAM’s research will closely look at the aspects of policy, program and practices in local government. Human rights components to evaluate are economy, social, and culture rights, civil and political rights and rights of vulnerable groups (i.e. women, people with disability and children).

Roichatul Aswidah said that “It is better that the evaluation departs from the component of authority mandated by constitution to local government so that the evaluation can be right-on-target.”

“Good initiatives from the regions need to also be addressed in the research so that it will be a model for other regions,” she added.

Adriana Venny from Komnas Perempuan added,”Policy map, particularly related to women, needs to also be addressed in the research. For example, recently there are 421 local regulations which are discriminative, especially to women and girls, but they have not been revoked. The informant selection for the research should also be considered in order to have balanced information. “Another aspect to concern is the informant from private sector and spatial planning dimension from government,” Mugiyanto from INFID suggested.

From the research, ELSAM expects to obtain evaluation index which can measure government’s performance in the enforcement and promotion of human rights in their regions.