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Realising the right to legal identity in Indonesia

Working paper

Written by Anne Buffardi

Working paper

In Indonesia, legal identity documents, including birth, marriage and divorce certificates, are required to enrol in school, receive benefits from government social protection programmes, register to vote, establish head of household status, claim the right to assets and inheritance, and to be eligible for certain jobs. Registration of birth, marriage, divorce, and death are also important for the state to produce accurate vital statistics that are used to plan and allocate budgets for various government social and economic programmes. But despite their importance, millions of eligible Indonesians – particularly those in low income and rural households – do not have them.  In the poorest 30% of Indonesian households, 55% of couples do not have a marriage certificate and 75% of their children do not have a birth certificate.

This is one of three case studies that contribute to an evaluation of civil society organisations' contributions to justice reform in Indonesia. The evaluation was commissioned by the Australia Indonesia Partnership for Justice (AIPJ) and undertaken by ODI in 2015 and 2016. The full report can be found here.

This case study examines efforts of civil society organisations (CSOs) and the Australia Indonesia Partnership for Justice (AIPJ) to expand access for Indonesian citizens to legal identity documents, particularly during the AIPJ project period (2011-2015). It covers efforts to change policy and to implement policies, including, most recently, mobile and integrated services which began in 2014.

It offers insights into the involvement of CSOs, and AIPJ as both a supporter of CSOs and an agent in its own right, across multiple phases of the policy process and between national and subnational levels. That is, how CSOs and AIPJ have contributed to national policy change; how they have contributed to the implementation of these changes at subnational level; and how these experiences have in turn led to further refinement of policies at national and subnational levels to respond to challenges faced during implementation.

Anne Buffardi and Kwan Men Yon