Advancing structural legal aid to respond to new legal empowerment challenges in Indonesia
In recent years, Indonesia has experienced a number of challenges related to democratic governance and public accountability. Through this project, the legal aid foundation Yayasan Lembaga Bantuan Hukum Indonesia (YLBHI) will study, for the first time, the successes and challenges of its structural legal-aid approach. Pioneered in the 1980s, this approach, now implemented by 17 chapter organizations across the country, combines legal reform, strategic impact litigation, community legal empowerment, public awareness campaigns, and community mobilization.
The research will analyze structural legal aid’s contributions to systemic change to promote human rights and empower communities to defend their rights against violations. At the same time, the research will seek to understand what changes or new strategies are needed to respond effectively to emerging governance issues.
Case studies are planned in four regions of Indonesia and will focus on a range of justice challenges related to labour rights, education rights, the environment, freedom of association, and legal-aid policy. The project will use participatory action research methodologies with direct participation of community members involved in the case studies, such as farmers, workers, trade unions, parents, and student groups, with a specific focus on strengthening the rights and legal empowerment of women and vulnerable groups.
This project was selected for funding through a competitive call for proposals entitled “Closing the justice gap - a legal empowerment research and learning agenda”. The resulting cohort of projects will cover 12 country case studies in West Africa, East and Southern Africa, and Southeast Asia, and will include a regional hub for each of those sub-regions.