Discriminatory regional regulation on the rise

A discussion held by Setara Institute in Ashley Hotel, Jl. KH Wahid Hasyim 73-75, Central Jakarta, Tuesday, August 13, 2019. (photo: IO/Dan)

Jokowi urged to establish National Legislative Center

IO, Jakarta – Nowadays, intolerant and discriminatory regional regulations and other regional legal events are on the rise. Therefore, there are requests made that President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) set up a National Legislative Center to watch over the content of regional regulations.

This request is not groundless. According to a study performed by SETARA Institute from September 2018 to February 2019, there are 91 regional legal cases in West Java and 24 others in Yogyakarta with a high potential of discrimination relating to access to public service. These various forms of regional legal cases are indeed legal direct and indirect discrimination against members of the public. The study further concludes that discriminatory regional regulation are human right violations by rule, and they request that holistic State Administration measures be taken to mitigate them.

Ismail Hasani, SETARA Institute’s Executive Director, stated that the plan to establish a National Legislative Center announced by President Joko Widodo in January 2019 is the optimal opportunity to do two things at once. The first is to respond to existing discriminatory regional legal products, finally performing a political review on each of these regulations and their originating regions. Second, to design and perform integrated and continuous monitoring of regional regulations and other regional legal products.

The establishment of such an agency needs the joint monitoring authority of both the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights. It must also end the conflicting authority and sectoral ego of the two Ministries in handling regional legal products. “In order to establish this agency, Jokowi need only issue a Presidential Regulation that integrates all of the executive authorities distributed among Ministries and Provincial Governments into this new agency. In medium-term, the new agency must be strengthened by making limited revision of two regulations, i.e. Law no. 23/2014 concerning Regional Government and Law No. 12/2011 concerning the Procedures for Drafting Rules and Regulations,” Ismail said.

Before the National Legislative Center is established, the Central Government creates through the Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of Justice and Human Rights a Task Force whose duty is create an integrated and centralized index of regional policies. The Task Force must also establish a data repository that contains details and recommendations for revising or revoking regional legal cases, and it must do so within a framework that does not conflict with relevant Judgments of the Constitu­tion Court.

“The Provincial Government and Regency/Municipal Government that are proven to have issued discriminatory regional legal products must simultaneously and jointly review these cases. Then they must revise these rules and restore the rights to public services for affected citizens. There are three types of mitigation in these cases: First, for Gubernatorial Regulations, Regent Regulations, and Mayoral Regulations. In these cases, the relevant regional government can immediately make the required revisions. Second, for Regional Regulations. The Governor and the Regent/Mayor takes the initiative to perform a legislative review through the legislative mechanisms of the Provincial Regional House of Representatives (Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat Daerah – “DPRD” and Regency/Municipal DPRD. Third, the relevant regional government immediately restore the rights of citizens affected by the discrimination, as well as drafting new, tolerant, and anti-discriminatory regulations,” he said.

The Ministry of Home Affair’s Acting Director General Regional Autonomy Akmal Malik said that the Directorate will invite various relevant agencies and discuss these findings with them. “The study results caught me by surprise. Naturally, I have made appointments – we will hold a meeting next week. We will invite SETARA Institute, the Ombudsman, as well as the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights in order to be able to review the study results more carefully,” Akmal stated after the SETARA Institute seminar.

Akmal stated that even though the Ministry of Home Affairs is no longer authorized to revoke regional regulations, it would attempt to establish communications with regional governments in order to facilitate the drafting of tolerant and anti-discriminatory legal products. “We believe that with good, sincere heart-to-heart communications with our colleagues in the Regional Governments, they would be moved to change any intolerant and discriminatory rules that they have made,” Akmal said.

On the other hand, Ombudsman RI Ninik Rahayu said that the Ombudsman Office will monitor the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights’ mitigation of discriminatory legal cases. “As I see it, my friends from the National Commission of Women have taken some steps and the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights have followed up on these steps. The Ombudsman Office will only serve as a gateway that monitors the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights’ resolution of these discriminatory regional regulations,” she said.

Ninik further stated that the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights has already established several Task Forces to resolve the issue. These Task Forces will be reviewing legal cases and submitting them to Regional Governments for either revision or revoke. “This is how the Task Forces will be coordinated when they are firmly established, i.e. through the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights,” she said. (Dan)