CIVICUS, a global civil society alliance, and the Fight Inequality Alliance are appalled by the decision of the Indonesian authorities to disband the activities of civil society groups and harass their organisers in Bali, Indonesia, ahead of the G20 Summit. We call on the government of Indonesia to halt such actions, investigate these human rights violations thoroughly and adhere to the human rights standards enshrined in international law and its own Constitution.
Ahead of the G20 Summit in Bali on 15 – 16 November 2022, the Indonesian government has imposed several measures under the pretext of ensuring the safety and security of the Leaders’ Summit. These include enforcing restrictions on public activities from 12 – 17 November 2022 in Bali and tightening the security within the province. Such restrictions have been disproportionately deployed by the authorities against activities conducted by civil society groups, even those that were located far from the G20 Summit.
In one incident on 9 November 2022, a team of cyclists from Greenpeace Indonesia conducting a bike rally campaign named “Chasing the Shadow” from Jakarta to Bali to voice their concern on climate change during the G20 Summit, were stopped and barred from entering Bali by the authorities in Probolinggo, East Java. The organisers were also physically intimidated and were forced to sign an agreement not to travel to Bali and conduct any campaign activities in the province during the Summit.
On 12 November 2022, a closed-door internal meeting conducted by the Indonesia Legal Aid Foundation (YLBHI) in Sanur, Bali – a venue located far from the venue of the G20 Summit and not on the list of restricted activities, was raided by local police and village authorities, demanding the organisers disband the event. The authorities also insisted on checking ID cards and the electronic devices of participants without a warrant, which was resisted by the organisers as it violates their rights to privacy. Some of the organisers were not allowed to leave the venue and were questioned. They were also put under heavy surveillance before they were allowed to leave the venue.
“Whilst Indonesia is seeking to portray an image of hosting a successful G20 Summit, it has disturbingly come at a cost for civil society as they face intimidation, harassment, restrictions on freedom of movement, and even violence. These incidents of halting and blocking civil society activities is disgraceful and reveals the lack of commitment by the Indonesia government to human rights and civic space as civil society voices are silenced and sidelined,” said David Kode, Advocacy and Campaigns Lead, CIVICUS.
CIVICUS rates civic space in Indonesia as “obstructed’, as the work of human rights defenders and civil society groups critical of the authorities have been continuously muzzled by the government through the use of restrictive laws and excessive force to crackdown on protests.
“Ahead the summit tomorrow, we call on progressive G20 leaders to speak up for the protection of human rights, ensure that the voices of civil society are included and call on Indonesia to adhere to human rights law and standards around freedom of expression and assembly,” said David Kode.
“Attacks on activists standing up for a more equal, just and sustainable Indonesia must stop. The government’s pursuit of marketing the country as an attractive place for foreign direct investment is coming at the expense of people with alternative views and visions of how Indonesia can become a more equal, just and sustainable society,” said Jenny Ricks, Global Convenor, Fight Inequality Alliance.
“The G20 continues to cling to the same neoliberal solutions to the inequality crisis – but it’s not working for people or the planet. It is time to change course. The real leadership for how our biggest challenges can be overcome is coming from the voices the Indonesian government does not want heard this week – people at the frontlines of inequality,” said Jenny Ricks.
Civic space in Indonesia is rated as""Obstructed" by the CIVICUS Monitor.