The Law and Human Rights Ministry provides free legal aid for the economically disadvantaged

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Yasonna H. Laoly
Law and Human Rights Minister Yasonna H. Laoly. Photo: RAYI GIGIH/IO

IO – Indonesia’s Law and Human Rights Ministry has brought back its free legal aid program for low-income citizens in 2022. 

Law and Human Rights Minister Yasonna H. Laoly said many people could not afford legal representation when dealing with the law. “This program is the implementation of justice for the poor. This legal aid conveys the role of the state in protecting and guaranteeing citizens’ human rights to access to justice and equality before the law,” he explained Monday (2/7/2022). 

The free legal services are delivered through 619 legal aid organizations (OBH) that have been verified and accredited as legal aid providers. The Minister said those organizations are compelled to provide litigation and non-litigation legal services to the public. Litigation cases are settled through the courts, while non-litigation cases are resolved outside the courts through negotiation or mediation. 

The main objective of the legal aid program is to provide legal assistance to people in need, not to generate profit. 

Thus, Yasonna urges the OBH to maintain their integrity and provide the best service for the low-income citizens until the cases handled have permanent legal force. He believes that those carefully selected organizations have credibility, and they will not conduct any actions that would violate the law. 

However, if during the program implementation violations of legal aid service standards by the OBH are found, the Law and Human Rights Ministry will impose harsh measures, ranging from budget reductions to revocation of accreditation. 

People who want to receive free legal assistance must meet set requirements. First, they have to submit an application, orally or in writing, containing the applicant’s identity and a brief description of the problem. Second, they have to submit documents related to the case. 

“They also have to provide a statement letter of their state of poverty acknowledged and signed by the urban village head, village chief or an official at the area where the clients reside. More detailed information regarding the mechanisms, requirements and list of legal aid organizations can be found at the bphn.go.id website,” Yasonna explained. (eka)