Promoting democratic governance at village level
Two trainings on ‘rights-based implementation of the Indonesian village law’ were recently held by the NCHR Intenational Department in the districts Southwest Sumba and Lamandau.
Groupwork during the training in Sumba
The trainings targeted village heads, members of village administration, as well as independent villagers outside the formal village government.
They were based on training material jointly developed by Ecosoc Institute and Lakpesdam NU and the NCHR, and endorsed by the ministry of Villages, Underdeveloped Regions and Transmigration.
A law with a great impact
For better or worse, the Indonesian village law is likely to have great impact on human rights at village level. Indonesia has more than 74,000 villages. Roughly half the population, and a majority of the country’s poor, live in villages.
The law contains provisions for more inclusive and transparent village governance, and for increased funds to be transferred to village level.
Potential for corruption
However, as there is little history for accountability at village level, there is also a big potential for corruption, mis-use of funds, and maintenance of increasingly large patronage networks.
The law also contains provisions on mapping of village assets, including land. Ownership and control of land lies at the core of a number of registered conflicts between companies and local communities. Further, the law calls for the establishment of village-owned enterprises.In order to make best use of the possibilities opened up by the law, knowledge building is essential.