Indonesia executes six drug convicts, five of them foreigners

Indonesia executes six drug convicts, five of them foreigners
Widodo has pledged to bring reform to Indonesia

Ban appeals to Indonesia to stop death row executions

Ban appeals to Indonesia to stop death row executions
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has pleaded to Indonesia to stop the execution of prisoners on death row for drug crimes. AFP PHOTO

Pope: 'Death penalty represents failure' – no 'humane' way to kill a person

Pope: 'Death penalty represents failure' – no 'humane' way to kill a person
The pope wrote that the principle of legitimate personal defense isn’t adequate justification to execute someone. Photograph: Zuma/Rex

Obama becomes first president to visit US prison (US Justice Systems / Human Rights)

Obama becomes first president to visit US prison   (US Justice Systems / Human Rights)
US President Barack Obama speaks as he tours the El Reno Federal Correctional Institution in El Reno, Oklahoma, July 16, 2015 (AFP Photo/Saul Loeb)

US Death Penalty (Justice Systems / Human Rights)

US Death Penalty (Justice Systems / Human Rights)
Woman who spent 23 years on US death row cleared (Photo: dpa)


"The Recalibration of Awareness – Apr 20/21, 2012 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Old Energy, Recalibration Lectures, God / Creator, Religions/Spiritual systems (Catholic Church, Priests/Nun’s, Worship, John Paul Pope, Women in the Church otherwise church will go, Current Pope won’t do it), Middle East, Jews, Governments will change (Internet, Media, Democracies, Dictators, North Korea, Nations voted at once), Integrity (Businesses, Tobacco Companies, Bankers/ Financial Institutes, Pharmaceutical company to collapse), Illuminati (Started in Greece, with Shipping, Financial markets, Stock markets, Pharmaceutical money (fund to build Africa, to develop)), Shift of Human Consciousness, (Old) Souls, Women, Masters to/already come back, Global Unity.... etc.) - (Text version)

… The Shift in Human Nature

You're starting to see integrity change. Awareness recalibrates integrity, and the Human Being who would sit there and take advantage of another Human Being in an old energy would never do it in a new energy. The reason? It will become intuitive, so this is a shift in Human Nature as well, for in the past you have assumed that people take advantage of people first and integrity comes later. That's just ordinary Human nature.

In the past, Human nature expressed within governments worked like this: If you were stronger than the other one, you simply conquered them. If you were strong, it was an invitation to conquer. If you were weak, it was an invitation to be conquered. No one even thought about it. It was the way of things. The bigger you could have your armies, the better they would do when you sent them out to conquer. That's not how you think today. Did you notice?

Any country that thinks this way today will not survive, for humanity has discovered that the world goes far better by putting things together instead of tearing them apart. The new energy puts the weak and strong together in ways that make sense and that have integrity. Take a look at what happened to some of the businesses in this great land (USA). Up to 30 years ago, when you started realizing some of them didn't have integrity, you eliminated them. What happened to the tobacco companies when you realized they were knowingly addicting your children? Today, they still sell their products to less-aware countries, but that will also change.

What did you do a few years ago when you realized that your bankers were actually selling you homes that they knew you couldn't pay for later? They were walking away, smiling greedily, not thinking about the heartbreak that was to follow when a life's dream would be lost. Dear American, you are in a recession. However, this is like when you prune a tree and cut back the branches. When the tree grows back, you've got control and the branches will grow bigger and stronger than they were before, without the greed factor. Then, if you don't like the way it grows back, you'll prune it again! I tell you this because awareness is now in control of big money. It's right before your eyes, what you're doing. But fear often rules. …

Saturday, February 26, 2011

House expected to pass gender equality law soon

Antara News, Sat, February 26 2011

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The House of Representatives (DPR) is expected to pass a law on gender equality soon, Minister of Women`s Empowerment and Child Protection Linda Gumelar said.

"The House already has the draft of a law on gender equality, and I hope it can be passed this year," the minister told ANTARA here Friday.

Linda said a developed country was one that was successfully applying gender equality values. "If a country has reached equilibrium in gender, then it may be rightfully called a developed country," said Linda in opening remarks at a seminar themed "Regional Development from the Gender Perspective" held by the Association of Islamic Students Alumni (Kahmi).

Linda also said she hoped that after the law on gender equality was enacted, the Indonesian public should be properly familiarized with it.

"Although it takes time to get a bill passed into law but I hope this can be done soon. So my ministry will support every effort or movement to make the public aware of the importance of gender equilibrium in a country," Linda said.

Meanwhile, Yoga Mauladi, the Head of Kahmi, said the seminar`s aim was creating harmony between central and regional administrations on gender equality.

"Through this seminar , I hope there will be good coordination among officers to optimize people`s participation, either men or women, as well as aiming to the effective, efficient and sustainability human resource in Indonesia," he said, here Friday.

Meanwhile, the United Nations Women (UN Women) had set five priority issues to be developed in five years ahead, including expanding women`s voices, participation and terminating violence against women. The UN Women allocated 500 million US dollar for developing education for women in order to support the gender equilibrium in Indonesia.

Editor: B Kunto Wibisono

Friday, February 25, 2011

Removing a Dictator Does Not Make Indonesia a Model for Egypt

Jakarta Globe, Jamie Morgan - Straits Times Indonesia | February 25, 2011

Related articles

On the day of Hosni Mubarak's resignation as president of Egypt, I sat in a coffee shop in Indonesia with a friend who had helped to bring about a similar resignation of Indonesia's former strongman, Suharto, just 12 years ago.

Former President Suharto saluting after announcing
his resignation in a nationwide television address in
Jakarta in 1998. (AP Photo)
Today, Indonesia enjoys what many Western diplomats have praised as a thriving democracy. Yet my friend looked at me and said: "Our biggest mistake was thinking all we needed was Suharto's resignation. We hope Egypt can strive for better."

The feeling of simultaneous regret for his own country's situation and hope for that of countries protesting in the Arab world is not unique to my friend; it is one that has been echoed at food stalls, in universities and on social media outlets across Indonesia.

If senior US policy experts are touting Indonesia as one of the key models for emerging Muslim-majority democracies in Egypt and potentially elsewhere in the Arab world, why have so many Indonesians said that Egypt should learn from their country's failures rather than its supposed successes?

In the years following Mr Suharto's downfall, legalistic and institutional reforms were in many areas broad and thorough. But many Indonesians said those who praise the country's free elections and institutional reforms are missing the point.

The reforms that matter - those that would stem the pervasive corruption, improve social service delivery and stop violent mobs from being able to harm and kill minority groups at will - may have been enacted, but in many cases they have not been implemented. Essentially, Indonesians said they have not yet seen the fruits of democracy in their daily lives.

Without proper polling data it is difficult to determine how reflective these sentiments are of the Indonesian population as a whole. But the extent to which such sentiments have been expressed on social media outlets and in the three regions of the country where I have done fieldwork is striking. When compared with the praise that has been heaped on Indonesia by US foreign policy experts and senior officials, it is startling.

In fact, the contrast points to a much larger problem in the approach to democracy promotion among the most senior levels of US policy making, particularly as it fits into diplomatic relations. By focusing too heavily on the procedural indicators of democracy to judge a country's democratic "success," such as free and fair elections or legal reforms, policymakers as well as commentators risk missing many of the issues that contributed to civil unrest in Indonesia 12 years ago, and they are doing so across the Arab world today.

In fact, by heaping too much praise on governments that continue to fail in the basic fundamentals of liberal democracy and universal rights - such as minimizing corruption or protecting minorities - the US government risks accelerating the frustration and disillusionment with democracy in these societies.

Indeed, Dr Robin Bush, The Asia Foundation's country representative in Indonesia, has written on multiple occasions over the past two years about the threat that ongoing corruption and poor social service delivery present to the Indonesian democracy. She has noted the small but rising nostalgia in some communities for the stability of the Suharto era.

Indonesia was ranked 110th out of 178 countries on Transparency International's Corruption Perception Index last year. Thus, for Indonesians, hearing that their country is a beacon of democracy has seemed to create questions about the applicability of democracy more than anything else.

"This is it?" people wondered.

No one is saying that Indonesia is going to erupt into a wave of regime-change protests tomorrow, or that its citizens' problems are anywhere near those of protesters in many countries now. The fact that I am able to write this is a testament to that fact.

However, if US policymakers hope to promote governments that are truly going to address many of the frustrations creating instability in the Middle East and other parts of the world, it is important that they look soberly at the shortcomings, as well as successes, of countries like Indonesia.

Indonesia's fate is yet unwritten. To sell the country as a wholesale democratic success is to undersell democracy and the sentiments of many of its citizens.

After all, if there is anything that the beginning of the 21st century has shown the world, it is that neither the US government nor any other government can afford to ignore the voice of the individual.

The writer has been in Indonesia for the past year via a grant from the US-Indonesia Society, doing research on US engagement with Muslim communities in the country.

Reprinted courtesy of Straits Times Indonesia. To subscribe to Straits Times Indonesia and/or the Jakarta Globe call 2553 5055.

Tanri Abeng to build cultural museum in Rotterdam

Antara News, Fri, February 25 2011

This is just a piece of the story as I know, there are many more other literacy in this epic. In fact, the original text translator who was invited by the Dutch Government to translate some 6,000 pages of the manuscript, Muhammad Salim is able to translate it in a period of 5.2 years

Makassar, S.Sulawesi (ANTARA News) - Former Minister of State Enterprises Tanri Abeng who became the originator of the staging epic I La Galigo, will build a cultural and historical museum in Fort Rotterdam in Makassar, South Sulawesi.

"After staging the epic I La Galaligo, we hope that the cultural and historical museum will also be built in Fort Rotterdam in Makassar," he said here Friday.

He added that there are officials who do not know the heroism saga of South Sulawesi I La Galigo which drove him to establish the museum filled with works of literature like epic I La Galigo.

Tanri Abeng that explained Surek Galigo also called La Galigo was an epic and myth of Buginese civilization in South Sulawesi written between the 13th and 15th centuries in the form of poetry in the ancient Bugisnese language.

The story was written in ancient Bugisnese Lontara letters, composed in pentameter and in addition to tell the story of human origins, also serves as a daily practical almanac.

The epic I La Galigo is the oldest and longest in the world before the epic of Mahabharata of India. It mostly contained poetry written in ancient Bugisnese language.

This epic tells the story of Sawerigading, a courageous hero and also foreigners.

He said that the epic I La Galigo Surek is not a history text because it is full of myth and extraordinary events. However, the epic is still given to show historians the Buginese culture before the 14th century.

"This is just a piece of the story as I know, there are many more other literacy in this epic. In fact, the original text translator who was invited by the Dutch Government to translate some 6,000 pages of the manuscript, Muhammad Salim is able to translate it in a period of 5.2 years," Tanri Abeng noted.

Therefore, the national businessman from Selayar district (South Sulawesi) said, it is very sad if there are officials or many people who did not know the epic figure of I La Galigo who received a recognition as a world heritage.

Hence, I will try to create a cultural and historic museum for the younger generation who wanted to know about the literary works of South Sulawesi and do no need to go overseas to study it, he said.

"If you want to study literature or the heroic figure of the Buginese in Makassar there is is no need to go abroad, and simply go to Fort Rotterdam museum. I do not want the younger generation to forget that in South Sulawesi the world has ever given birth to a legacy" Tanri Abeng said.

Editor: Aditia Maruli

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Miniature traditional Gowa house to be built in South Africa

Antara News, Wed, February 23 2011

Gowa traditional house or Balla Lompoa. (

Maskassar (ANTARA News) - A miniature traditional Gowa house from South Sulawesi, known as Balla Lompoa, will soon be built in South Africa.

South African Ambassador to Indonesia Noel N. Lehoko discussed the plan to build the Gowa traditional house at a meeting with South Sulawesi Vice Governor Agus Arifin Nu`mang here on Wednesday.

The miniature of Gowa traditional house in South Africa is expected to further strengthen cultural ties between the country and South Sulawesi.

"The purpose of my visit here is to connect the cooperation that has been done and to renew a memorandum of understanding that has expired," the South African envoy said.

Relations between South Africa and South Sulawesi have lasted for 300 years but remained strong because there used to be Syeh Yusuf tomb in South Africa but it has been removed to South Sulawesi.

Meanwhile, Agus Arifin said that in the past visit to South Africa by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono the plan to build a miniature of Balla Lompoa in Cape Town was discussed.

"The South African envoy mentioned the from central government and thus we will prepare the miniature of Balla Lompoa to be built in Cape Town," Agus Arifin said.

In addition, he said the cooperation with South Africa in the field of education, culture, trade, and tourism would also be developed.

Agus Arifin said that one of tourism cooperation that could be developed was a tour package to South Africa like Umrah package plus to Cairo and Palestine.

In education field, he said South Africa could also be a choice by South Sulawesi students to take their doctorate degrees in mining.

"South Africa with its surrounding countries have a high economic level and are open to South Sulawesi because of their cultural relations," Agus said.

Editor: Priyambodo

President, US parliament discuss democracy in Egypt

Antara News, Wed, February 23 2011

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and the United States Parliament discussed the democracy in Egypt here on Wednesday.

In a one-hour meeting with a delegation of US Parliament led by David Drier at the presidential office, both sides discussed a possibility of Indonesia to play its important role for the future of Egyptian democracy.

Presidential spokesman for foreign affairs Teuku Faizasyah said the US Parliament at the meeting with President Yudhoyono also asked about Ahmadiyah case.

Thus to the delegation of US Parliament, Teuku said the Indonesian government was trying to find a win-win solution with Ahmadiyah and to apply an unequivocal legal process to anyone engaged in violent acts.

Meanwhile, David Drier said after the meeting with President Yudhoyono that Indonesia as a democratic and the world`s most populous Muslim country had a 12-year transitional experience from authoritarian country to democratic country.

Dries said that although there were a lot of differences between Indonesia and Arab countries, he expressed optimism that Arab countries would take a lesson from Indonesian democracy.

"Latest development in Egypt was mentioned at the meeting and how the two countries cooperate in directing the transition process from

Indonesia`s experience. In various experiences and opportunities, Indonesia and the United States will play their enthusiastic roles," Drier said.

Drier was of the opinion that the development in Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen, Bahrain, and Libya was something inevitable because the people of those countries wanted to have the right of self determination.

According to him, the movement of the people of those countries was good for the sake of their freedom and right of self determination.

Besides discussing the development in Egypt, the US delegation who had visited Indonesia for five times also talked about Thai-Cambodian border issue with President Yudhoyono.

Editor: Aditia Maruli

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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Dutch soccer star to visit Ambon

Antara News, Tue, February 22 2011

Ambon, Maluku (ANTARA News) - Former Dutch football national team captain Giovani van Bronkhost of Maluku descent is scheduled to visit the eastern Indonesian city of Ambon from March 14 to 17, 2011.

Former Dutch football national team captain Giovani van Bronkhost
Maluku provincial board All Indonesian Football Association (PSSI) chairman Dirk Soplanit said here on Tuesday that Giovani`s planned visit to Ambon was part of so-called "Indonesia Tanah Air Beta" (My Homeland Indonesia) program.

Soplanit confirmed that the assistant coach at the Feyenoord club and the television commentator in Dutch soccer match would visit Maluku provincial city of Ambon.

"I have received a faximile from PSSI about the visit to Indonesia by 20 Dutch football players of Indonesia origin, and one of them is Giovani van Bronkhost whose mother is from Maluku," Soplanit said.

He said the 20 football players from the Netherlands would visit Indonesia at the invitation of Indonesian government.

"It is said in the faximile I received from the PSSI that Giovani and his colleagues are scheduled to meet with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in Jakarta," Soplanit said.

He said preparation for the visit to Ambon by Giovani and his colleagues has been made and would be reported to Maluku Governor Karel Albert Ralahalu who is concurrently the chairman of Maluku National Sports Council (KONI).

"We are going to report to the governor today (Tuesday) about the preparation for the visit to Ambon by Giovani and his colleagues from the Netherlands," Soplanit said, adding that Giovani`s fans in Maluku were looking forward to meeting the Dutch soccer star.

According to him, Giovani and friends would stay at Aston Hotel at Natsepa Beach resort in Suli village during the visit.

Soplanit said they were also scheduled to carry out friendly matches with "Maluku Old Star" soccer team, to provide soccer training to the players of early age, to visit Pombo island tourism resort, and to do other activities.

Editor: Priyambodo

Related Article:

US universities hold US education fair in Jakarta, Medan, Semarang, Surabaya

Antara News, Tue, February 22 2011

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - U.S. Ambassador Scot Marciel, here, Sunday (Feb. 20) spoke at the Spring 2011 EducationUSA Fair, held in partnership with 38 prominent U.S. educational institutions.

U.S. Ambassador Scot Marciel (Antara)
The EducationUSA Fair, which was open to the public, included university representatives and presentations on "Study in the USA" and the student visa application process, a press statement of the US Embassy in Jakarta, said here, Tuesday.

The EducationUSA Fair started on Sunday, February 20 in Jakarta, followed by events in Medan on February 22, Semarang on February 24, and Surabaya on February 26 before concluding in Denpasar on February 28.

Attendees will be able to meet university representatives and follow activities through EducationUSA`s website and social media channels, including Facebook, Skype, and Twitter.

The EducationUSA Fair is an annual advising activity coordinated by AMINEF/EducationUSA that provides accurate and impartial information on studying in the United States by facilitating direct interaction between students and university representatives.

This Fair also enhanced students` exposure to the thousands of possibilities of majors, programs, scholarships and assistantship opportunities available at U.S. academic institutions.

The Fair is part of AMINEF`s EducationUSA initiative to contribute to the goals set forth in the Comprehensive Partnership agreement between the governments of the Republic of Indonesia and the United States of America to double the number of Indonesians studying in the U.S. in the next five years.

During the Fair, representatives of the U.S. Embassy Consular Office provided information on the visa application process.

The Consular section welcomes student visa applications and has made the application process as easy as possible. Student visa applicants are guaranteed an appointment on any Monday the Embassy is open.

The Education USA website at provides more details of the visit agenda along with additional information on universities, courses, and studying in the United States.

Editor: Priyambodo

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Gay imam spreads message: "Homosexuality is not sinful"

RNW, 18 February 2011, by Klaas den Tek

(Photo: RNW)

South African Muhsin Hendricks is an Islamic cleric and a gay man.

He runs a foundation called The Inner Circle, which helps Muslims, who are struggling to accept their sexuality. He has come to the Netherlands to spread a simple message: “It’s okay to be Muslim and gay!”

It’s a message not everyone agrees with and the reason why Mr Hendricks is no longer officially a cleric.

Muhsin Hendricks looks a little tired. He is in the Netherlands at the invitation of the Amsterdam branch of gay rights organisation COC and he’s on a punishing schedule. There is enormous public interest in the “pink imam”, as he’s been dubbed.


But every trace of fatigue vanishes as Mushin Hendricks talks about his faith and his sexuality.

“Being Muslim and being gay are both strong identities. And I think that they are both innate identities for me. So somewhere along the line I had to reconcile the two.”

This was far from easy for Muhsin Hendricks. He was born into an orthodox Muslim family in South Africa. His grandfather was a cleric in one of Cape Town’s most prominent mosques. Mushin discovered at an early age that he was different. He played with dolls rather than cars. He was seen as being feminine and was teased as a result. All this was long before he even knew there was such a thing as homosexuality.

Mushin Hendricks took comfort in his faith, in spite of the fact that many Muslims believe it offers no place to homosexual feelings. Sexual love between two men or two women is prohibited. It is seen as one of the worst possible sins, punishable in some Islamic countries by death.

Sodom and Gomorrah

But Muhsin Hendricks decided to discover for himself what the Qur’an has to say about homosexuality. He pursued his Islamic studies in Pakistan. “It didn’t seem fair for a very merciful and compassionate God to condemn me for something that I didn’t choose.”

Muhsin Hendricks drew a striking conclusion from his studies: nowhere does the Qur’an state that homosexuality is forbidden. Not even in the story of Sodom and Gomorrah. Mushin refutes the interpretation that God destroyed the cities because men had sex with one another. He argues that the cities’ residents were punished for rape, not for consensual sex between men.


The controversial cleric argues that there are even one or two Qur’an verses in which Allah acknowledges the existence of homosexuals. One example is in sura 24, verse 31. “It says that women have to put on extra clothing when they go out in public ... But not in front of those men who have no attraction for women. They must be the gay people,” he laughs.

Despite these discoveries, Mushin still did not feel able to acknowledge and openly express his own homosexual feelings. He married, and he and his wife had three children. Mushin’s wife was aware of his homosexuality but still tried to make the relationship work.

Mushin Hendricks’ knowledge of Islam and Arabic earned him respect in the mosques of Cape Town. But his feelings did not go away. After six years, his marriage ended in divorce and that was the moment when he officially came out of the closet.


His mother fainted when she heard the news that her son Mushin was gay. But little by little she is beginning to understand. Some members of the family want nothing more to do with him.

Now Mushin Hendricks has met the love of his life. His partner follows another faith – Hinduism – and has not yet come out of the closet.

Mushin’s work at the mosque came to an abrupt end. His take on the relationship between homosexuality and Islam does not rhyme with the official doctrine. He has been branded a Satanist. Although he has never been physically threatened, he has to endure much abuse and criticism.


“Imams see me as a threat to their worldview and the way they see Islam. I don’t feel they should be threatened. It’s just another view that I would invite them to look at. My view allows queer Muslims to continue being Muslim but also to accept themselves for who they are.”

Muhsin Hendricks still sees himself as an Islamic cleric. With his foundation The Inner Circle he tries to help Muslims with their coming out. He gives empowerment workshops to make young people more self-aware. He will also give one here in the Netherlands: over sixty people have already signed up for it.

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About the Challenges of Being a Gay Man – Oct 23, 2010 (Saint Germain channeled by Alexandra Mahlimay and Dan Bennack) - “You see, your Soul and Creator are not concerned with any perspective you have that contradicts the reality of your Divinity – whether this be your gender, your sexual preference, your nationality – or your race, ethnicity, religious beliefs, or anything else.”

President always wanting to communicate directly with public

Antara News, Sat, February 19 2011

Related News

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is actually always trying to spend more time on dialogs and meetings with all quarters in society, including inter-faith and political leaders, Cabinet Secretary Dipo Alam said.

In an interview with ANTARA at his official residence here on Saturday Dipo Alam said President Yudhoyono actually had frequently held meetings like that at his residence in Puri Cikeas Indah or the state palace.

The government however also understands that people actually wished for more intensive dialogs and communications with state officials, he said.

"The communications and meetings, according to me, however are still needed to be increased in view of the public`s demand. I am trying to find ways and hopefully there would be time available for them," he said.

Dipo said in the second term of his government President Yudhoyono was indeed busier than in the first term because Indonesia had now become a full member of the G-20 and ASEAN chair for 2011.

President Yudhoyono`s agenda which is already worldwide has affected his working time as head of state that he has to set aside for attending events that have to be attended by him at home and abroad.

"So the time is indeed limited for him to be able to meet with the people," he said.

Dipo however said President Yudhoyono would continue to be able to provide time for meeting with mass media, religious and political leaders on the sidelines of his tight agenda.

"I hope the President would if possible be able to increase communications with them. So if he can I hope he would provide mote time to meet with religious and political leaders. So it would not be limited to members of the secretariate of political party coalition," he said.

Dipo said President Yudhoyono actually is listening various criticisms addressed to him from all parties and had admitted that his government had not met all the development goals that had been programmed.

Editor: B Kunto Wibisono

Garuda to Pay Widow Of Munir Rp 3.5b

Jakarta Globe, Ulma Haryanto, February 19, 2011

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The Supreme Court has rejected an appeal filed by flag carrier Garuda Indonesia and upheld an earlier ruling ordering the airline to pay damages to the widow of slain rights activist Munir Said Thalib, lawyers said on Friday.

Munir died of arsenic poisoning on board a Garuda flight from Jakarta to Amsterdam in 2004. The poison was administered by off-duty pilot Pollycarpus Budihari Priyanto, who was sentenced to 20 years in prison in 2008 for the murder.

In 2006, Suciwati, Munir’s widow, sued Garuda’s management, former executive director Indra Setiawan, vice president of corporate security Ramelgia Anwar, flight operator support officer Rohainil Aini, Pollycarpus and five members of the cabin crew on board the flight.

The Central Jakarta District Court ruled in her favor and ordered Garuda and the other respondents to pay Rp 3.5 billion ($396,000) in damages.

Nurkholis Hidayat, director of the Jakarta Legal Aid Foundation (LBH) and a lawyer for Suciwati, said this effectively meant Garuda and the others had to pay up “for the losses caused by Munir’s death.”

“And because Garuda lost its appeal to the Supreme Court, even though it may file for an extraordinary remedy against the ruling, that will not stop Suciwati from claiming what is hers.”

Nurkholis said the ruling could be considered partial justice for Munir and his family, “even though during the criminal trial, the courts never touched the mastermind [behind the murder].”

One of the key suspects in the case, former intelligence chief Muchdi Purwopranjono, was acquitted of the murder.

A former commander of the army’s Special Forces unit (Kopassus), Muchdi was forced to step down after Munir, who founded the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras), shed light on the elite unit’s involvement in kidnapping dissenters.

Choirul Anam, a lawyer for Suciwati who is also deputy chairman of the Human Rights Work Group and coordinator of the Committee of Solidarity Action for Munir (Kasum), said he had been notified about the ruling on Thursday.

He said the Supreme Court’s ruling should inspire more victims and wronged consumers to file civil suits.

“Especially those who were aggrieved by the aviation industry in Indonesia, which is still far from perfect,” he said, adding the court’s decision “marks a success for consumers in demanding compensation.”

“We hope that Garuda, which has been trying to polish its image, will cooperate with us and obey the verdict without making it more complicated,” Choirul said.

Garuda spokesman Pudjobroto declined to comment on the case, telling the Jakarta Globe the company had not yet received official notification of the verdict.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Borobudur’s post-Merapi eruption rehabilitating may take three years: Official

The Jakarta Post, Thu, 02/17/2011

It may take as much as three years to rehabilitate the Borobudur Temple after last year’s eruption of nearby Mount Merapi covered the temple with volcanic ashes and affected the surrounding environment in general, an official said.

“The rehabilitation process includes the revitalization of the environment and the social economic [condition] of local residents,” the Tourism Ministry's director of history, Yunus Satrio Atmojo, said Thursday as quoted by Antara.

He added that ridding the temple’s stones of volcanic sediment would take at least six months.

The next phase would involve planting trees to prevent temperature increase, which can impact on the temple’s stone forms.

Yunus said that activities of local residents had also been affected by the eruption.

“Such a rehabilitation process needs around two to three years for the condition of the temple to return to how it was before the disaster, as long as there are no further Merapi eruptions as intense as the previous ones,” he said.

The Jakarta representative of UNESCO, Hubert Gijzen, said that the organization had donated US$ 3 million to the restructuring process.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Indonesia Rolling Out New Plan to Lift Growth in Papua

Jakarta Globe, Camelia Pasandaran | February 16, 2011

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The government has announced that it would issue new guidelines next month on boosting development in the restive provinces of Papua and West Papua.

The implementation of the guidelines, to be issued in a presidential decree, will be coordinated by the new Government Unit to Accelerate Development in Papua and West Papua (UP4B), the vice president’s office said on Monday.

Yopie Hidayat, a spokesman for Vice President Boediono, said the new policy was expected to “gain optimum results through centralized planning.”

The decree will call for, among other things, affirmative action for Papuans in certain sectors, integrating central and regional government planning and considering social and political factors in development programs.

Of Indonesia’s 33 provinces, Papua and West Papua receive the most money from the budget.

While the government allocated Rp 30 trillion ($3.3 billion) on developing the region last year, local activists claim much of that money was lost through corruption within the local administration.

Yopie said that under the new decree, graft would be eliminated by getting the Papua and West Papua governors directly involved in policy formulation.

“They’ll serve as checks on one another,” he said. “The spending will also be better prioritized to provide greater benefits for Papuans.”

Beside managing the budget, the UP4B will also work to address other challenges, Yopie said.

“It will take social and political problems in each region into account when formulating development policy,” he said. “So it won’t just be about business or project distribution, but also addressing development on a regional basis.”

The decree will also call for affirmative action for native Papuans, who have long complained about the favorable treatment afforded to migrants from other parts of the country.

However, the decree will not call for an end to transmigration, as demanded by activists.

Despite being resource-rich and receiving the biggest allocation of all provinces from the state budget, the region remains largely underdeveloped.

Many Papuans accuse the government of unfairly distributing the revenue from resources mined there, while a low-level insurgency has persisted for decades, fueled in part by the torture and ill-treatment of Papuans by security forces.

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Bless us

The Jakarta Post, Wahyu Putro, Antara, Yogyakarta | Wed, 02/16/2011

Hundreds of Yogyakartans compete to grab traditional food and agricultural
produce in front of the Kauman Grand Mosque in Yogyakarta on Wednesday.
The so-named Grebeg Maulud is the peak celebration of the birthday of
Prophet Muhammad, and an expression of gratitude to God the Almighty.

Various parties declare commitment to peace in Indonesia

Antara News, Otniel Tamindael, Wed, February 16 2011

Related News

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Too many people think of "Peace" as some sort of will-o`-the-wisp thing that can be discovered through a constant and relentless search.

(ANTARA News/Eric Ireng)
Acts of violence and the issue of peace in Indonesia are not just political and religious matters; they are moral and spiritual issues that have to be solved properly.

Accordingly, many parties in various parts of the country in the last couple of days have called for and declared their commitment to peace, following violence triggered by religious issues recently.

At the Bajra Sandi monument area in Denpasar, Bali, hundreds of Balinese women on Tuesday declared an "Indonesian Women`s Association for Global Peace (IWAG-Peace)."

"The declaration of IWAG-Peace is intended to neutralize violent conflicts in the name of religion in various areas across the country," event coordinator Putu Sri Puji Astuti said in Denpasar on Tuesday.

According to Putu Sri, the declaration of IWAG-Peace in Bali was one of four similar events, organized simultaneously in four Indonesian cities namely Denpasar, Surabaya, Yogyakarta, and Jakarta in conjunction with Valentine`s Day.

She also called on the government to act decisively to resolve conflicts that occur and to prevent them from becoming serious and complicated problems.

Putu Sri pointed out that if the government failed to neutralize emerging conflicts, the IWAG-Peace would unhesitatingly bring them to the United Nations.

"If the government fails to solve emerging problems, the Indonesian women will rise to bring the problem to the international community," she said.

Therefore President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on Tuesday called on all Muslims in the country to solve any arising problem in a peaceful and dignified manner.

In his address at a so-called Dzikir Akbar, a mass religious gathering for joint prayers to observe the Prophet Muhammad`s birthday at the south square of the National Monument here on Tuesday, the president called on Muslims to emulate the prophet who used to overcome problems peacefully.

"The prophet set examples from which can conclude that to make great changes in the right direction and to solve problems, it should be done in a peaceful and dignified manner," the president said.

President Yudhoyono pointed out that if all Muslims in Indonesia seriously followed the examples of Prophet Muhammad, the country would be blessed and all its struggles would succeed.

"Let us make the prophet`s nature and personality as our model, his leadership, his wisdom, and his nurturing nature in our effort to march to a better future," the president said.

The head of state also called on all of his countrymen not to easily give up in facing severe tests and trials.

"Even in a difficult situations, we have to be more cohesive, stronger, and more united instead of making noise and blaming each other," the president said.

Meanwhile, Majelis Rasulullah (prophet-led council) leader Habib Munzir Bin Fuad Al Musawa in his sermon at the gathering also reminded the Muslims in Indonesia of religious tolerance.

The Muslims in Indonesia, according to Habib Munzir, have to get used to living in peace and harmony with the people of different faith.

In Bandung, West Java, religious leaders on Monday also declared peace following violent acts triggered by religious issues in the country.

The declaration was read out directly by the chairman of the West Java chapter of the Indonesian Council of Ulemas, KH Hafidz Utsman, before hundreds of community members from different religions attending the event.

In the declaration they expressed concern over the conflict between Ahmadiyah Islamic sect members and a mob in Cikeusik, Pandeglang, Banten, recently.

They also expressed determination to build inter-religious harmony especially in West Java and settle any inter-religious problem through a dialog.

Not only in West Java, but also in Gunung Kidul district, Yogyakarta, tens of people grouped in Gunung Kidul Interfaith Forum also staged a walking-backwards action and joint prayers recently to call for peace under the slogan of "Unity in Diversity."

"The walking-backwards action is the symbol of our concern over the emergence of various violent acts in the name of religion in this country," the interfaith forum`s coordinator Aminudin Azis said.

He said the bloody violence triggered by religious issues in the country and the burning of several houses of worship recently were truly heartbreaking.

According to him, the second precept of Just and Civilized Humanity in the state philosophy of Pancasila seemed to have no real sense of the words.

Then in the eastern Indonesian city of Ambon, young artists and men of letters of Maluku origin voiced "The Peaceful Sound from the East for Indonesia" recently as part of their solidarity against relentless violence in the country.

Such a humanitarian activity at the World Peace Gong monument area was initiated jointly by music groups Bengkel Seni Embun, Ambon Bergerak, Komunitas Manis Pait, and Kalesang Maluku social group.

Hundreds of Ambon residents from various corners of the city packed the monument area to participate in the event where the singers of Maluku origin sang their songs.

"The songs we sing can motivate all of us as the young people of Maluku and of Indonesia to continue to march forwards and maintain peace and security in our country," said a vocalist of Semang band group, Marioni Serhalawan.

"We oppose all kinds of violent acts in the name of any religion in this country," Rudi Fofid said.

After he read out the resolution, children`s choir from Amahusu village came to the stage and chanted the song, "Children of Maluku Love Peace."

Yet they realized that the real peace is not simply the absence of conflict, violence, or any artificial state the world has to offer. Rather it is the deep, abiding peace only the "Prince of Peace" can bring to the heart.

Editor: Priyambodo

Gay man seeking asylum: I can't return to Indonesia

CNN News, By Sarah Hoye, February 15, 2011

  • Anton Tanumihardja came to the U.S. from Indonesia in 2002
  • He applied for asylum because of his sexual orientation
  • He faced deportation on Valentine's Day, but got a last-minute reprieve
  • His attorney says his case spotlights inequalities for same-sex couples applying for asylum

Philadelphia (CNN) -- Anton Tanumihardja had his bags packed, anxious about his flight back to his home country, Indonesia. It was a trip he did not want to make after spending the past eight years in the United States.

Anton Tanumihardja has applied for asylum,
fearing persecution for his sexual orientation
in Indonesia.
He feared his absence would mean the end for his relationship with his boyfriend. In a bitter twist, he would be leaving on the night of Valentine's Day.

At the last minute came a temporary reprieve: Federal immigration officials issued a stay of deportation just three hours before his flight was to take off.

Tanumihardja, who is openly gay, has filed for political asylum, fearing persecution if he is forced to return to Indonesia. He says his homeland is not tolerant of homosexuals.

Although the order gives Tanumihardja more time in Philadelphia, it does not guarantee he can stay forever. It remains in effect until authorities decide whether to reopen his political asylum application.

Tanumihardja, 45, came to the United States in 2002 with a tourist visa from Jakarta, Indonesia. After his visa expired, he filed for political asylum and received a work permit while his case was being reviewed.

When his asylum application and subsequent appeals were denied, immigration authorities told him he had to leave on Monday.

"I got a lot of support from the people who love me and want me to stay," Tanumihardja said before breaking down into tears. "I do not expect anything in return from this country. I just want my status to be legal here."

In addition to his sexual orientation, Tanumihardja is ethnic Chinese and Catholic, making his return to Indonesia more daunting because he would be a triple minority in the predominantly Muslim country.

"Going back to my country means I have to be closed," he said, referring to his sexual orientation. "I cannot come out in my country and have to be hiding who I am."

The root issues of Tanumijardja's case are more complicated than simply deporting someone for an overstayed visa or denying a political asylum application, according to his attorney, Lavi Soloway.

The case sits at the intersection of gay rights and immigration reform, he says.

"Our whole immigration system, 80% of the cases are based on family unification, it's about keeping the family together," Soloway said. "But this just doesn't register with the LGBT community. It's a reflection of anti-gay discrimination."

Tanumihardja started dating Brian Andersen last fall, and they have been inseparable ever since.

Andersen, 28, is an American citizen. If they were heterosexual and planned to marry, Tanumihardja could possibly have been sponsored for residency, Soloway argues.

Under current U.S. law, the sponsorship option does not exist for same-sex couples.

Tanumihardja, who has a degree in accounting and marketing, works at Coventry Deli in downtown Philadelphia where he also doubles as the bookkeeper.

He will continue his fight to stay, he said.

"I do my best for this county, I love this country," he said.

Soloway says he fears for Tanumihardja if he is forced to return to Indonesia.

"He is a gay man who has had the opportunity to live openly as a gay man in Philadelphia. And now he's going back to live where in order to survive, you cannot be open," Soloway said. "We guard against taking for granted our freedom to be with those we love."

The last-minute stay of deportation has Tanumihardja and Andersen relieved, but cautious.

"This is the best we could of hoped for at this point," Andersen said after hearing the news. "It's something that is very real and happening."

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Members of committee of the Q! Film Festival install banners during pre-festival preparations in Jakarta on September 24, 2010. A gay film festival hailed as the biggest in Asia and the only one in the Muslim world kicks off in Indonesia on September 24, hoping to draw 15,000 viewers to screenings and fringe events. In its ninth annual edition, the Q! Film Festival will showcase 150 films from more than 20 countries including France, Japan and the Philippines, highlighting such issues as gay rights and HIV/AIDS. (AFP)