Aug 09, 2020 Last Updated 3:42 AM, Aug 7, 2020

A fair go for all

Published: Jul 26, 2007


Wahyu Effendi

In late 1998 a group of Indonesians concerned by the violence of May 1998, banded together to form the Indonesian Anti Discrimination Movement (Gerakan Perjuangan Anti Diskriminasi, GANDI). The group includes ethnic Chinese businessmen, professionals and clerics from Nahdlatul Ulama (Union of Islamic Clerics, NU).

Former chairperson of Nahdlatul Ulama, Abdurrahman Wahid, declared his support for the organisation and chose the name GANDI, intended as a reference to the great Mahatma Gandhi. On 6 November 1998, Wahid formally established the organisation in a ceremony at his home in Ciganjur. Megawati Soekarnoputri was also in attendance.

GANDI’s express aim is to fight for an end to discrimination and for the dignity and human rights of all Indonesians in accordance with democratic principles.

Legal reform

In recent years Indonesia has seen racial violence against ethnic Chinese as well as against Madurese in Sambas, West Kalimantan. Discrimination and racism can lead to a cycle of violence and revenge. Government policy has a key role to play in building harmony or creating disharmony in communities.

With its limited resources, GANDI chooses to focus its work on the elimination of ethnic and religious discrimination in the law. GANDI provides legal advocacy against various discriminatory regulations, and pushes for the development of a legal system that protects and guarantees the existence of all ethnic and religious groups.

In 2002, GANDI, together with the National Institution of Human Rights (Komnas Ham) and the Communication Forum for National Unity (FKKB), formed a Working Committee for the Study of Discriminatory Regulations. The Working Committee proposed establishing a new Indonesian Citizenship act to reform the current Act No. 62/1958 which continues to discriminate against some groups including the ethnic Chinese. In February 2004, the government had not yet considered the Committee’s findings.

GANDI is currently working together with a range of non-government organisations including the Jakarta Legal Aid Foundation (LBH-Jakarta), the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef), Plan International, as well as a number of government departments. They have formed the Civil Registration Consortium, the aim of which is to push for revisions to the Indonesian Civil Registration Act, which covers the recording of births, deaths, marriages, and adoptions. The existing act was put in place under Dutch colonial rule and requires Indonesians to register in one of four ethnic and religious categories: European, East Asian (Arabian, Chinese, Indies), Christian Native, and non-Christian native. The Consortium hopes that the revised Civil Registration Act will be introduced before 2005.

GANDI is also lobbying government for the adoption of legislation to eliminate discrimination of the basis of race or ethnicity. This legislation is currently being discussed in parliament. GANDI also campaigns for tolerance in the media and for greaterpublic awareness.

Wahyu Effendi (gandi_72@hotmail.com) is GANDI’s General Secretary. You can also email them at gandian@infoasia.net.id.

Inside Indonesia 78: Apr - Jun 2004

Latest Articles

A generation of resistance

Jun 26, 2020 - IVO MATEUS GONCALVES

Students demonstrate at Santa Cruz cemetery, 12 November 1991 / Author

East Timor’s student movement and the struggle against oppression

Essay: Celebrating Imlek, Catholic style

Jun 22, 2020 - JOSH STENBERG

/ Josh Stenberg

Practices such as Imlek masses are a welcome example of tolerance and plurality

West Papua and Black Lives Matter

Jun 17, 2020 - SOPHIE CHAO

We are not monkeys / Twitter

A movement seeking justice, healing, and freedom for Black people has become a powerful rallying call for Indigenous West Papuans

Artists seek assistance

Jun 14, 2020 - RAHMADI FAJAR HIMAWAN

Several pesinden accompanying a wayang performance / Rahmadi Fajar Himawan

Javanese traditional musicians are among the many artists and performers struggling to survive, or qualify for government payments under COVID restrictions

A house of cards?

Jun 02, 2020 - YULIDA PANGASTUTI

ANTARA FOTO/Saiful Bahri/wsj

The COVID-19 crisis has highlighted the exploitation of non-formal early childhood educators 

Subscribe to Inside Indonesia

Receive Inside Indonesia's latest articles and quarterly editions in your inbox.

 


Lontar Modern Indonesia

Lontar-Logo-Ok

 

A selection of stories from the Indonesian classics and modern writers, periodically published free for Inside Indonesia readers, courtesy of Lontar