As an entity, indigenous people possess rights that are governed not only in capacity of national citizens and local indigenous community, but also as a part of global indigenous community. However, in Indonesia, the situation is problematic since although Indonesia has acknowledged the rights of indigenous people in the international level through the signing of UNDRIP, until now there has not been a legislation that specifically regulates the fulfillment of indigenous people’s rights.
To discuss the aforementioned issues, Friday (1/3), Institute of International Studies held “Discussing and Thinking about International Relations” or “CANGKIR TEH” in its Bahasa acronym for the first time, with the title of “Indigenous People’s Rights and Politics of Citizenship in Indonesia.” This agenda was held in BA-502 Room, FISIPOL UGM and presenting Ayu Diasti Rahmawati, lecturer in the Department of International Relations Universitas Gadjah Mada who is also the main researcher of “Plural Citizenship and the Politics of Indigenous Rights in Indonesia” research project supported by SHAPE-SEA institution.
On this event, Ayu laid out the problems and initial findings of her research that is still currently in progress. The research aims to analyze the complexity behind the fulfillment of indigenous peoples in Indonesia using two main case studies, which are indigenous people in West Kalimantan and Pati.
“Right now, there are already three versions of draft bill regarding indigenous rights, but up until now they have not reached validation,” stated Ayu.
One of the factors that contribute to this status quo is the “rights-talk” condition of indigenous people’s rights. Any actor that is involved and the power held by each actor behind the discourse of indigenous rights play a big part. This is because not every actor has the same level of power and this creates unequal discourse conflict which then makes it difficult for indigenous rights to be legislated and recognized in the state level.
Furthermore, politics of citizenship in Indonesia also contributed towards the challenges of indigenous rights fulfillment, since membership status of the people itself is often questioned, and even unrecognized by the government. Not only that, many other debates add to the complexity of indigenous rights fulfillment issues, such as the debate regarding the use of terms ‘indigenous’ and ‘adat’; debate regarding what should be recognized first: subject or object; and other polemics.
However, regardless of all the polemics, Ayu stated that the struggle of indigenous people is a collective struggle. We need to remember that indigenous people are actors involved in nature conservation attempts. Rio Declaration on Environment and Development stated that indigenous people are vital in pushing for sustainable development, so in conducting their activities, indigenous people are simultaneously trying to keep the earth from harm.
“They have their own proven methods to take care of and conserve the environment,” added Ayu.
To do those conservation efforts, indigenous people need regulations to guarantee their rights. Therefore, as the general public, it becomes paramount for us to help indigenous people in achieving their rights.
Penulis: Sonya Teresa
Penyunting: Angganararas Indriyosanti
Translator: Heidira Witri Hadayani