The Indonesian Anti Discrimination Movement (Gerakan Perjuangan Anti Diskriminasi-GANDI)

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13 – 15 May 1998 riots against the Indonesian Chinese in Jakarta, Solo, and other cities, were shocking so deeply in the hearts and minds of the Chinese. The riots spread so quickly and so fiercely, happened in three consecutive days in a metropolitan city and recorded by so many television life broadcast, and yet, without any evidence of effective efforts from the authority to control, creating an impression that it was deliberately intended to hurt the Chinese at large.


The burning of homes and shops at such a large scale, the bloodshed, the killing and raping of innocent people, young and old, were indeed a very traumatic life experience for the Chinese, unprecedented, in Indonesia. Literally, it was a barbaric venture : thousands of people disappear and died of organised violence. These were the tragic moments that will not be easily forgotten ! 


Very concerned with this tragedy, a group of Indonesian Chinese businessmen and executives gathered and after so much deliberation decided to form an institution to fight for our dignity and human rights. KH Abdurrachman Wahid (Gus Dur), who was the President of Nahdlatul Ulama (union of Islam clerics), responded instantly and declaring his support to our plea. In fact, the name GANDI was his idea, referring to the great man Mahatma Gandhi. GANDI was officiated by Gus Dur on November 6, 1998 at his house (Ciganjur), observed also by Megawati Sukarnoputeri (now the Vice President of Indonesia).




Looking ahead to the future, the national unity needs to be strengthen by all and every constituent. A nation that is multi-culture, multi-ethnic, and multi-religion shall not allow discriminative behavior and acts, because this will promote hatred, conflict, violence and ultimately, disintegration in the country.


In the era of Third Millenium, Indonesia as a country will have to integrate into common life with all nations in the world, in line with the expanding globalization, that supports human rights and democracy principle. Racial and ethnic discrimination is against human rights and democracy principle, therefore it has to be abolished once for all.




Our mission is to support national unity, and promote harmony in social and communal relations, in respect to equality in human dignity and human rights. 



In the short-term (until 5 years) GANDI’s program are aimed toward abolishing those legal regulations that are discriminative to the Indonesian people (ethnic and religion minorities) regarding on race and religion. In the case of ethnic minorities, while racial tension and conflicts emerged and spread across the nation, only the Indonesian Chinese are treated unfairly under a legal framework. Starting from the very top, we observe TAP MPRS (People’s Representative Assembly Decree) number : 27/1966 and 32/1966, down to the regional or local authority decree, regulating and controlling the life of the Chinese differently than other Indonesian citizen. And in the long –term, GANDI’s program are aimed toward eliminating all of forms of discrimination whether in legally and social-culture life in Indonesia for all people in Indonesia, based on equality, dignity, and justice for all.  GANDI’s programs are :(1) to identify and review all policies (formal and informal), that is discriminative, and provide recommendation and resolution to the government and related institution to abolish those policies; (2) to identify international convention on abolishment of all forms of discrimination, and in cooperation with other NGOs to support ratification of those convention; (3)  to reform all of discriminatory regulation and to arrange and propose some new regulation to assure anti-discrimination and tolerance; (4)  to educate community on non-discriminative policie; (5)  to educate community on norms and values of different ethnic, religion, and community, to encourage open dialog and better understanding; (6)  to develop cooperative networking with other NGOs, domestic and abroad, promoting anti-discrimination, human rights, and democracy; (7)  To monitoring the implemantion of law reform and the new discriminatory regulation and pratice in all regions of Indonesia. 



(1) Elimination (reformation) of discriminatory Citizenship, Civil Registration, and related  laws by legislation of new laws; (2) Establishment of legal framework in guaranteeing equality for minorities such as legislation of Elimination of Racial Discrimination law; (3) Legal resolution for 13-14 May, 1998; (4) Political and social awareness of anti-discrimination principle; (5) Reformation of all governmental policies c.q policies that have related with Citizenship, Civil Registration, and related related sectors; (6) Establishment of legal framework and mechanism in guaranteeing equality for all people in all sectors of live, such as in education, work, etc; (7) Public Awareness of anti-discrimination principle for all people in Indonesia; (8) Minimatization of racism and racial discrimination in society; and (9) Harmony and tolerance inter-groups, ethnic, religion and all people in Indonesia 



To aim our mission, because the most cases of discrimination in Indonesia starting from government policies, GANDI think importanly to reform the thinking of government officer by collaborated with them. To change the policies in Indonesia, we must be intensively and consistenly argue and discuss with the policymaker (c.q. Department, and Parliament), and in the same time to aware public to participate.  



Indonesia : The National Commission of Human Rights, Department of Home Affair, Department of Religion, Department of Justice and Human Rights, Department of State Official Empowerment, The National Commission of Law, Legislation Council of House of Representative (Parliament), Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation, Jakarta Legal Aid Foundation, Centre of Strategic International Studies (CSIS), Institute for Social Institution Studies (ISIS), Indonesian Moslem Student Movement (PMII), Indonesian Catolic Student Union (PMKRI), Indonesian Christian Student Movement (GMKI), Islamic Student Union (HMI), Nahdlatul Ulama Youth Movement (GP Ansor), Communities Studies and Advocacy Institution (ELSAM), Indonesian Chinese Union (INTI), Youth Chinese Association (PPT), Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), Inter-faith Dialoque Communities (MADIA), Confusism High Council (Matakin), etc. International : United Nation of Children Funds (UNICEF)), International Movement Against Discrminarion and Racism (IMADR), Plan International, The Asia Foundation, Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ), Asia Pacific Human Rights Networks (APHRN), South Asia Human Rights Documentation Centre (SAHRDC), Minority Right Group, 92nd Street Y, Ford Motor Foundation, etc. 



(1) GANDI has conducted many seminars on discrimination issues, and also arrange meeting and dialog with political parties (lobbying), government officers and ministers, in the effort to push ahead revision of discriminative policies and regulations; (2)  GANDI has been one of strong supporter for the formation of JARI (networks for anti-racist Indonesia), with 38 NGOs  participating,  KADI  ( networks for anti-discrimination in Indonesia), and PANJATASKUMMEI’98 (networks for “Racial May riots 13-15, 1998 Judicial Resolution); (3)  GANDI had submitted the ‘’reform’’ new  citizenship law to Indonesian House of Representative (Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat RI) collaboration with the National Commission of Human Rights supported by The Asia Foundation; (4) GANDI has also contributed reliefs and assistance to social conflict incident,and its victim : dislocated people; (5)  GANDI succeed in advocated and assisted to legislation of the new Indonesian citizenship bill in 2006 which ruling redefinition of term 'Indonesian-native’ and multiple citizenships for children; (6) GANDI succeed in advocated and assisted to the new Civil Registration law which ruling Indonesian citizen and resident administration, collaboration officially with Department of Home Affair, Department of Justice, Department of Religion, Department of State Official Empowerment, The National Commission of Human Rights, Jakarta Legal Aid Foundation, etc. and supported by United Nation of Children Funds (UNICEF), Plan International, and Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ)-German Technical Cooperation, which will be submitted to DPR RI in this year (2003); (7)  GANDI had participated in World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intoleranced in South Africa 2001 and Durban Review Conference 20-24 April 2009 in Geneva; (8)  GANDI is the member of Asia Pacific Human Rights Networks, which based in New Delhi, India; (9) GANDI had been involved in advocacy for some religious discrimination and other related issues in Indonesia such as in National Education System Law, Maintenance of Religious Harmony Law, etc.



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    Unlike Indonesians of Arab or Indian descent, Chinese Indonesians are required to have a document that proves they are Indonesian citizens. Whenever Chinese Indonesians deal with the bureaucracy, they are obliged to produce this document. It is an integral part of their administrative experiences of birth, marriage and death. They need it to get an identity card, to enrol in an educational institution, to obtain a business license and to get a passport.Known by the acronym SBKRI, this document is compulsory for all Chinese Indonesians of 21 years of age or over, even if they were born in Indonesia to parents who were already Indonesian citizens. There is no equivalent document for other Indonesians, who simply have to show their identity card and their birth certificate. In practice, the SBKRI is a mark of ethnicity – for which Chinese must pay dearly – that passes down through the generations without end.Cultural violence.(Inside Indonesia 95,Jan-Mar 2009)

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