"The establishment of the Institute for Migrant Rights and its publications program is a very important initiative in Indonesia. It is the first organization of its type in this country and indicates substantial progress by the non-government sector. The step is also a brave one as Indonesia has had very little focus, to date, on the rights of migrant workers."

Dr Robyn Iredale (BA Hons, MA, PhD) Adjunct Associate Professor,Australian Demographic and Social Research Institute, Australian National University, Canberra

 

INSTITUTE FOR MIGRANT RIGHTS

Advancing the Humanizing Laws

The treatment of migrants within Indonesia, particularly trafficked sex workers and domestic workers, is a growing human rights issue in the region. However, the traditional models of advocacy that predominate have produced very limited results in terms of actual government protection for this population. This initiative is aimed at enriching the existing approaches by enlisting international fora to address the deplorable situation of migrant workers in Indonesia and elsewhere. This undertaking will also bring to light the best-practices that are rapidly coming to the fore as a result of the recently in force UN Convention that protects migrant workers, particularly in the area of the administration of justice. The publication of abuses of migrant rights to the international community would also expand awareness of the problem and facilitate the dedication of more technical support to address it. In addition, the initiative would further the acceptance of human rights norms in Indonesia, since it could make public the benefits of the international human rights regime.

 

WHO WE ARE

The treatment of migrants within Indonesia, particularly trafficked sex workers and domestic workers, is a growing human rights issue in the region. However, the traditional models of advocacy that predominate have produced very limited results in terms of actual government protection for this population. This initiative is aimed at enriching the existing approaches by enlisting international fora to address the deplorable situation of migrant workers in Indonesia and elsewhere. This undertaking will also bring to light the best-practices that are rapidly coming to the fore as a result of the recently in force UN Convention that protects migrant workers, particularly in the area of the administration of justice. The publication of abuses of migrant rights to the international community would also expand awareness of the problem and facilitate the dedication of more technical support to address it. In addition, the initiative would further the acceptance of human rights norms in Indonesia, since it could make public the benefits of the international human rights regime.
Despite its locality, the initiative will introduce the Indonesian public as being part of a global community rather than resist it. The resistance toward globalization is considerably felt widespread among local public figures. This situation can be remedied by introducing something that shows them the practical benefits of the globalization itself. Mostly, the existing initiative has failed to link the international law and human rights. International mechanisms has rarely been used or considered neither by the activists or scholars. Therefore, the initiative will be a pioneer in exploring the international law for the benefits of individuals. And it will also be useful to the migrant workers, mostly the low income migrant sex worker and Indonesian migrant workers, who couldn’t access the luxury of the international law. Additionally, the aspiration of these low-income workers can also be heard by the international community that in turn will urge them to respond in appropriate ways.Therefore, the initiative will serve as a bridge between the aspiration of locals and the applicable international norms.
This initiative is woman-centered. Every decision that is taken reflects the representation of women in the Institute. Therefore, every effort is putting significant more emphasis on addressing the peculiarity of the women’s conditions by focusing on the situation of female Indonesian domestic workers and foreign sex workers in Indonesia. Recently, the Institute have also adopting the policy of affirmative action by placing women, at least one, in the board of directors as mandatory. In addition, the Institute is also placing particular emphasis on the contribution of ethnic minorities in every project.

 

ACTIVITIES

INTERNATIONAL LEGAL CLINIC

The establishment of international legal clinics is aimed to provide free legal assistance for the non-traditional victims of human rights abuses, i.e. non-citizens, to benefiting from the international human rights mechanisms. One of the major impetus to enlist international law in human rights promotion in Indonesia is due to the fact that the current national human rights regime is inadequately addressing the human rights concerns of non-Indonesians. Arguably, the underdeveloped scholarship of international law that persistently defending its state-centered paradigm is significantly denied its humanizing impacts. As far as we are concerned, the prevailing discourse on human rights is predominated by constitutional law scholars who somewhat championing some kind of legal-nationalism. Worse still, the national mainstream human rights groups turn a blind eye on this fundamental issue as it undermined the very idea of global movement of human rights itself. The introduction of this clinics is supposed to be something of a new era of human rights activism in Indonesia by taking advantage of the liberal potentials of the latter.
Broadly speaking, this initiative highlights the internationalist strategies that include: “(1) ‘broadcasting’ domestic violations to international entities, (2) international law formation, and (3) importing international standards into domestic advocacy” (Beth Lyon 2008). Supposedly, this model of advocacy will be of enormous significance in terms of its practical as well theoretical contributions for the development of law in democractic Indonesia. At the practical level, the most significant contribution would be the introduction of “another” fora for the benefits of the individuals who lack of access to national justice system. Meanwhile, theoretically the initiative will directly expose the intersection between two distinct legal systems that eventually challenge the established viewpoint of the conventional scholarship that stress the compartmentalization between those two. Ultimately, this would propel the ongoing process of democratization building into a more liberal direction that stress the importance of human rights as rights for every human being.
Moreover, the underlying rationale for this cannot be separated from the fact that today’s Indonesia is entering the fifth phase of Risse and Sikkink’s spiral model in which “[g]overnment accepts the validity of human rights norms, but still continue to [violate human rights] . . . [but] is not fully in control of their police and military forces . . . it is crucial for this phase . . . that the domestic-transnational-international networks keep up the pressure in order to achieve sustainable improvements of human rights conditions” (Thomas Risse and Kathryn Sikkink 1999). Based on the above contention, it makes sense for the Institute to view that international law “provides a resource in litigation should the government be less than eager to comply” (Beth Simmons 2009). In addition, the burgeoning studies have been invaluable in confirming the importance role of international law in supporting the socialization process of human rights norms in domestic sphere. More importantly, this initiative is not only another intellectual exercise but also in the long run would also provide a constitutional legitimacy for international law in Indonesian legal system.

SCHOLARLY PUBLICATION PROGRAM

The Indonesian Journal of International & Comparative Law: Socio-Political Perspectives is a forum for progressive domestic entrenchement of the cosmopolitan values that has been going on for over six decades at the international plane which is an initiative of the Institute for Migrant Rights, an academic based initiative that emphasize the inadequacy of the prevailing models that tends to exemplify the State centrality in international issues. As the Institute noted in its founding document, "the traditional models of advocacy that predominate have produced very limited results in terms of actual government protection for this population [that] failed to link the international law and human rights." As a result, "[i]nternational mechanisms has rarely been used or considered neither by the activists or scholars." To support this pioneering undertaking, the Journal is intended to publish cutting edge multidisciplinary works that promote the introduction of cosmopolitan democracy in Non-western society that support the further acceptance of universal human rights protection beyond the conventional notion of the citizens' rights. Likewise, the main contention behind the establishment of the Journal is cannot be separated from the fact that that this kind of issues is largely neglected in the academic discouse on the legal development in the Global South that tends to be heavily dominated by the Statist perspectives. In particular, the very objective of the Journal's publication has an importance that goes beyond the traditional scholarship that centered around the issues of States’ interests. In the light of the spirit of free inquiry, this publication is representing dynamics of diverse perspectives and approaches in legal and social sciences in general that contribute to the progress of humanizing process in the region and elsewhere. The importance of finding new directions in terms of furthering humane values might be best described in the plight of humanity as a result of the international flow of humanity that transcend State's boundaries.

 

ADVISORY BOARD

 

ABDULLAHI AHMED AN-NA'IM

Member

Professor An-Na’im is Charles Howard Chandler Professor of Law at Emory University and well recognized as the world leading Muslim scholar in the field of international law of human rights and Muslim world and human rights in cross-cultural perspective. His distinguished body of scholarly works that is considered under the grouping of “Southern Voices” has become the subject of many serious studies, including by  Professor William Twinning and Professor Mashood Baderin. He was the Executive Director of the African Division of  Human Rights Watch.  His current project “under the working title, The Future of Shari’a, focuses on the struggle of Islamic societies to define themselves and positively relate to the local and global conditions under which they live. A key aspect of this process is the constitutional and legal dimensions of the post-colonial experiences of Islamic societies, especially the relationship among Islam, state and society.” His latest publication, Muslim and Global Justice, has been translated into Bahasa Indonesia by Professor Jawahir Thontowi of Universitas Islam Indonesia and published by the Institute for Migrant Rights Press (2012).

EXECUTIVE BOARD

 

SARU ARIFIN

Executive Director

Saru Arifin joined the Institute for Migrant Rights with the vision and drive to improve upon our Non-Profit, and focused on developing the organization with strong background in academic world and organizational management. Mr Arifin is a lecturer in law at Universitas Negeri Semarang (Unnes), Jawa Tengah, and has conducted many field research and published his articles in many leading national journals on various legal issues. He earned his Master of Law (LLM) in International Law from Universitas Gadjah Mada, Yogyakarta. In addition, he formerly appointed as Senior Researcher of UII’s Research and Development Directorate (2003-9).

INTERNATIONAL LEGAL CLINIC

 
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CHRIS CASON

Beginning in law school, Mr. Cason worked to focus the vast resources of the legal community to help disadvantaged populations. On the Board of Governors for the American Bar Association, Law Student Division, he travelled throughout his country to help establish programs for law students to directly contribute to their local environments. While focusing his practice in the United States consisted primarily of Federal commercial litigation and insolvency, his pro bono work was highlighted by his founding of the Debtor’s legal clinic in Seattle, Washington. The clinic focused on protecting the rights of individuals and families swept up by predatory lending practices.
Mr. Cason then turned his attention to education. He taught business law and legal principles at Seattle Pacific University, then went abroad first to South Korea then to his current home in Indonesia. He has been breaking language barriers and preparing lawyers in these countries to deal with foreign legal issues.
Currently, Mr. Cason is using his experience to enhance the Indonesian legal community, working with the IMR on editing the Indonesian Journal of International and Comparative Law, and other comprehensive projects.

BAMBANG SURYOWIDODO

Suryowidodo is a senior legal practitioner on labor law and Founder and Partner at MAAS Law Office, Jakarta (2004 – ). He is also a leading consultant on intellectual property law, member of Asosiasi Kurator dan Penerima Indonesia (AKPI) (2000 – ), and member of Perhimpunan Advokat Indonesia (Peradi) (2000 – ).

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SUDIRMAN

Sudirman is Cianjur’s senior legal practitioner who specializes in Indonesian immigration law and Founder and Managing Partner at Sudirman & Rekan, Cianjur and a member of Advisory Board of Regional Branch of Ikatan Advokat Indonesia (Ikadin) in Cianjur (2009 – 2014).

RESEARCH AND SCHOLARLY PUBLICATIONS

 
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NANDANG SUTRISNO

He is a Senior Lecturer on International Law and Vice President and former Vice Dean at UII School of Law and earned his Doctor of Philoshopy (Ph.D) on International Economic Law at the Law School of the University of Melbourne (2005) and Master of Law (LLM) from McGill University. He specializes in the area of international economic law and international development. His two most recent publications are Using World Trade Law to Promote the Interests of Global South: A Study on the Effectiveness of S&D Treatments which is published by IMR Press (2009) and “Substantive Justice Formulated, Implemented as Formal and Procedural Justice: A Lesson from WTO Special and Differential Treatment Provisions for Developing Countries,” 13 J. Gender, Race & Justice 671(2011). 

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RATNO LUKITO

Professor Lukito is Professor of Comparative Law and Shari’a at Universitas Islam Negeri Sunan Kalijaga, Yogyakarta (1991 – ) and Former President of the Indonesian Student Association in Canada (2005 – 2006). He received his Doctor of Civil Law (DCL) as well as his MA from McGill University. He also teaches at other universities, including post-graduate program in Universitas Gadjah Mada (2007 – ) and Universitas Muhamadiyah Yogyakarta (2007 – 2009). His works have been published widely by some notable publication houses, including Oxford University Press, ISEAS, Routledge, and other learned international journals. At present, he is the editor in chief of Al-Jami’ah: International Journal of Islamic Studies (2007 – ) and Post-doctoral Research Fellow at Van Vollenhoven Institute, Faculty of Law, Leiden University, the Netherlands, SPIN-KNAW Postdoctoral Program, the Netherlands (2009 – 2011). His latest work is Legal Pluralism in Indonesia: Bridging Unbridgeable which is published by Routledge (2011). In addition, he also Director of LibForAll Foundation for Southeast Asia which is co-founded by many distinguished figures such as, HE, KH Abdurrahman Wahid, former President of the Republic of Indonesia, Ahmad Syafii Maarif, former Chairman of Muhammadiyah, Dr. Nasr Abu Zayd, world’s renowned Egyptian Scholar in Islamic hermeneutics, and C. Holland Taylor, international expert on Islam in Southeast Asia. a non-governmental initiative that strive to promote the liberal values of Islamic teaching.

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SARAH INGLE

Ms. Ingle is a Research Assistant and Communications Officer at the International Migration Research Centre (IMRC) within the Balsillie School of International Affairs in Waterloo, Ontario. She has over five years of experience working with sustainable development-focused NGOs, most notably, Free the Children, which she volunteered with as a BlackBerry Build A Village Award Recipient in Rajasthan, India in 2013. This experience prompted her interest in further study of global affairs. She attended the Geneva School of Diplomacy and International Relations in Summer 2015 and will be commencing her BA in International Relations at the University of Toronto’s Trinity College. Her research interests include global political economy, multilateral diplomacy, governance, and international law. 

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