In the early 2000s, following the collapse of the authoritarian regime of Suharto and Indonesia’s embrace of democratic governance, numerous socially progressive reforms were adopted. There were new laws protecting basic human rights, women’s rights, and ethnic rights. Yet those early gains have recently triggered a backlash from powerful anti-reform actors and a full-scale attack on the modest progress made in the past two decades. IBJ is responding to this through their recently launched project ‘Advancing Justice for Women in Indonesia Initiative (AJWI)’ which began in 2020.

Impact in Numbers

Being a Human Rights Defender (HRD) in Indonesia is a high-risk profession. HRDs, especially women, face threats, intimidation, arbitrary arrest and torture because of their work. IBJ launched their women’s program in 2020 in response to the numerous curtails on women’s freedom and social mobility and the difficulties that women lawyers face.  IBJ is aiming to change this.

  • 21 million people reached through rights awareness campaigns
  • 912 cases represented
  • 10 local roundtable events and 1 National Roundtable held
  • 67 recommendations made to increase early access to justice for vulnerable groups
  • 362 justice sector stakeholders engaged in regional and national roundtable discussions
  • 85 key justice sector stakeholders engaged in a National Networking Forum
  • 156 lawyers trained in two training events on criminal defense skills and how to effectively handle cases of women with disabilities.
  • 10 women lawyers awarded JusticeMakers Fellowships
  • 6 Indonesia-specific legal eLearning modules created
  • 1 Defender Resource Manual developed.

Data as of December 2023

Systems Change

Our current project in Indonesia is being implemented with the help of five local third-party organizations situated throughout Indonesia. LBH APIK Jakarta, LBH APIK NTT, LBH APIK Makassar, Women’s Crisis Center Jombang, and Yayasan Embun Pelangi Batam. Together, we are working to create an inclusive, equitable, fair and sustainable society through legal, structural and cultural changes. We are actively helping women who have suffered gender-based violence through training, awareness-raising campaigns and legal representation.

High impact successes include:

  • Significantly improved relationships between the legal aid providers and law enforcement officials through the signing of 8 MoU’s with regional offices of the Ministry of Law and Human Rights and detention facilities, to facilitate lawyer’s access to detainees.
  • As a direct result of the National Networking Forum, and IBJ’s non-confrontational approach,  lawyers in Jombang have been invited to conduct visits to the Women’s prison to take on cases and give free legal consultations.
  • As a direct result of her JM project, Joan Patricia Riwu has managed to acquire birth registration rights for the children of refugees based in Kupang , giving them the same legal rights as Indonesian citizens– this is something that is currently only done is three provinces in Indonesia (Aceh, Kalimantan, and now Kupang).

Defender Resources

Amongst our activities, we provide free legal assistance, develop training tools, hold legal training seminars, local and national roundtables, and rights awareness consultations in detention facilities. All of these events and activities allow us to support and strengthen Indonesian civil society leaders and human rights defenders to promote the rights of women in conflict with the law and end gender-based violence within the criminal justice system.

  • DefenseWiki – references, legal codes, and assessments
  • eLearning Modules– in-depth and topic-focused training (login required).


What we need

There are many ways to get involved, to help make a long term difference. Please get in touch.