JAKARTA – At a virtual closing event today, the governments of the United States and Indonesia celebrated their joint success in enhancing access to justice for marginalized and vulnerable groups through the United States Agency for International Development’s eMpowering Access to Justice (USAID MAJu) program.
USAID MAJu was a five-year, $11.5 million program implemented by The Asia Foundation. In the last five years, USAID MAJu has helped marginalized and vulnerable groups access their rights to justice through legal aid organizations and support from the Government of Indonesia agencies concerned with human rights promotion and protection.
“When one group’s rights are violated, all of our rights suffer,” said USAID Indonesia Mission Director Ryan Washburn at today’s event. “The U.S. Government is proud to have worked with the Government of Indonesia to expand access to justice and reduce barriers faced by marginalized communities to access legal assistance and representation. This initiative supports our shared objective of achieving equitable access to justice for all in Indonesia, a fundamental human right.”
With USAID support through MAJu, more underprivileged Indonesians are accessing legal aid than ever before. Support to the National Law Development Agency (BPHN) has improved the foundations and regulation of government-funded legal aid, allowing the Indonesian Government to channel funds to accredited legal aid organizations throughout Indonesia, with increasing levels of funding each year.
To date, over 16,700 justice seekers representing around 240,000 members of marginalized and vulnerable groups have directly benefited from legal assistance, education, and consultation provided by over 600 paralegals deployed with USAID MAJu’s assistance.
“For marginalized groups whose civic space has been restricted as a result of stigma and discrimination, the collaboration of all stakeholders, including the government, civil society organizations, and the private sector, for the purpose of expanding their freedom and access to constitutional rights, is something that is crucial,” said The Asia Foundation’s Country Representative, Sandra Hamid, Ph.D.
Collaborating with the Agency for Law and Human Rights Research and Development (Balitbangkumham) under the Ministry of Law and Human Rights, USAID MAJu developed the SIPKUMHAM Legal and Human Rights Online Database Platform, an automated human rights database that will allow the Ministry to formulate evidence-based policies. Looking ahead, the Ministry will further develop SIPKUMHAM to make it more accessible to the public and more relevant to policy-making needs nationwide.
“This year, SIPKUMHAM received a commendation for public service innovation from the Ministry of Administrative and Bureaucratic Reform. USAID MAJu’s support for the development of SIPKUMHAM as an AI-based application allows us to gather real-time data quickly on legal, human rights and public services issues,” said Sri Puguh Budi Utami, Head of the Ministry of Law and Human Rights Research and Development Agency (Balitbangkumham).
Moving forward, USAID will continue supporting Indonesia’s efforts in promoting equitable application of the rule of law, expanding access to improved public services for vulnerable, disadvantaged, and at-risk communities, supporting efforts to improve governance and accountability — including in combating corruption — at the national and sub-national level, fortifying roles and partnerships between local governments, civil society, and the media, and fostering a culture of tolerance among communities.
USAID is the world’s premier international development agency and leads international development and humanitarian efforts to save lives, reduce poverty, strengthen democratic governance and help people achieve self-reliance and resilience. For over 20 years, the U.S. Government, through USAID, has partnered with the Government of Indonesia to strengthen the Indonesian judiciary and rule of law to help improve access to justice in Indonesia.