International Development Law Organization

Indonesia-Netherlands Rule of Law and Security Update

The Netherlands and Indonesia have a longstanding relationship in the fields of rule of law and security cooperation. The two countries' legal systems share a common heritage in substantive law and legal structure, and remain important partners today.

As part of this collaboration, IDLO co-organized the Indonesia-Netherlands Rule of Law and Security Update 2018 on January 17 – 18 in Jakarta, to discuss progress made on legal reform initiatives in Indonesia, where strengthening the rule of law continues to be of utmost importance.

“Where the rule of law is not firmly established, poverty, suffering, and marginalization worsen,” commented Indonesia’s Minister of Law and Human Rights, Mr. Yasonna Laoly (pictured, right), in his opening remarks. 


  • In November 2014, the Indonesia Justice and Development Working Group of the KPSRL organized the first Indonesia-Netherlands Rule of Law and Security Update in the Netherlands to look at emerging legal trends in both countries and identify themes for post-2015 legal cooperation.
  • In December 2015, IDLO, together with Dutch and Indonesian partners, hosted a Comparative Justice Policy Workshop to share experiences and approaches to access to justice legal frameworks and legal aid services.
  • In May 2016, IDLO co-hosted the ASEAN Regional Consultation on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Access to Justice and Legal Aid. The conference gathered regional participants to discuss best practices on providing legal aid for vulnerable populations and strengthening access to justice provisions in ASEAN countries. 

Bringing together over 300 Dutch and Indonesian participants in the fields of rule of law and security in Indonesia, the meeting aimed to highlight achievements, identify areas of future progress and bolster networks between Dutch and Indonesian legal actors.

The meeting marks a culmination of broad collaboration underway between Indonesia and the Netherlands, namely through The Hague-based Knowledge Platform Security and Rule of Law (KPSRL) and its Indonesia Justice & Development Working Group.

The KPSRL serves as the main conduit for discussion for justice actors, ranging from the Dutch Government, legal institutions, universities, civil society organizations, international organizations involved in Indonesia – including IDLO, who is a KPSRL consortium partner. 

Indonesia-based networks were also involved to prepare a broad update on the rule of law in Indonesia. KPSRL collaborated with the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Jakarta, Indonesian Government representatives and a preparatory committee, comprising Kemitraan - the Partnership for Governance Reform, Atma Jaya University, Nuffic Netherlands Education Support Office, and IDLO’s team in Indonesia.

"The idea is to work together, Indonesia and the Netherlands, because we have the same foundation, and see if we can come up with new, innovative solutions based on rule of law," remarked Mr. Rob Swartbol (pictured above, left), the Dutch Ambassador to Indonesia.

At the meeting, IDLO participated in two panel discussions: Progress Towards Achieving SDG 16.3 in Ensuring Equal Access to Justice for All and Natural Resource Management. 

“Where the rule of law is not firmly established, poverty, suffering, and marginalization worsen” - Mr. Yasonna Laoly, Indonesian Minister of Law and Human Rights

Indonesia-Netherlands Rule of Law and Security Update

In 2015, IDLO, supported by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Jakarta, began managing the Indonesia-Netherlands Rule of Law Fund, launching a series of projects to advance the rule of law and legal reform. Projects address a range of subjects – including asset recovery, environmental regulations, and managing electronic evidence – to support broader access to justice goals in Indonesia.

Drawing on its experience working in Indonesia, IDLO participated in the panel discussion on the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 16

The Indonesian government established access to justice as a priority through its National Strategy on Access to Justice and the 2011 Law on Legal Aid. Since then, several efforts have been carried out by government agencies and civil society to provide legal assistance to the poor as mandated under the law.

Indonesia's Minister of Law and Human Rights, Mr. Yasonna Laoly, speaks at the Indonesia-Netherlands Rule of Law and Security Update in Jakarta, co-organized by IDLO.

In anticipation of the adoption of SDG 16.3, which aims to “promote the rule of law at the national and international levels, and ensure equal access to justice for all”, Indonesia has been one of the pilot countries advocating for innovative approaches to national planning and monitoring, as well as the development of access to justice indicators in the national context.

IDLO is currently working to develop an Access to Justice Index as well as an initiative to strengthen the legal aid system and service capacity in Indonesia.

During the second panel, IDLO presented its project to empower village paralegals to protect and restore communities’ rights to peat lands and forests, which can be under threat by larger entities. Land conflicts can generate forced evictions, sometimes of indigenous populations, leaving local communities few legal pathways to assert their rights. Peat lands also suffer from illegal practices, which breach environmental laws.

Participants discussed the challenges faced by village paralegals, the legal frameworks needed to decrease land disputes, and lessons learned so far in implementation. The paralegals project is an example of how community practices can feed into national policies or be duplicated in other areas to further Indonesia’s national priorities on Goal 16.

Minister Yasonna reinforced the idea that the most vulnerable members of the society must be able to access justice for themselves and their communities. “Indonesia and the Netherlands […] should intensify collaboration to support the SDGs,” he remarked. “Indonesia is committed to [ensuring] access to justice and legal aid for the poor."

“Indonesia is committed to [ensuring] access to justice and legal aid for the poor." - Minister Yasonna Laoly

History of cooperation

Over the years, Dutch legal institutions, researchers and practitioners have been active in the Indonesian legal sector through research, technical assistance and cooperation projects with Indonesian counterparts. Many of the fundamental issues in the Indonesian rule of law reform process, such as public trust in legal institutions and access to justice for common citizens, are mutually significant subjects for exchange and cooperation.

Highlighting the importance of cultivating this partnership, Ambassador Swartbol commented, "What it means is that we need to review the common legal DNA between our two countries in order to keep it relevant.”


Read or download the Update 2018