The Institute for Policy Research and Advocacy (ELSAM) was founded in 1994 from the need to conduct studies related to impacts of development on human rights to provide evidence for policy advocacy. ELSAM focuses on two main strategies, namely conducting studies and policy advocacy with human rights as the main approach. To operationalize it, ELSAM combines the working methods of human rights think tanks and those of human rights advocacy organizations with the goal of creating a society that upholds the values of human rights, justice, and democracy, both as set out in laws and regulations, as well as in their implementation and institutionalization.
Currently, ELSAM has at least four main activities: study and production of human rights knowledge to support policy advocacy; mainstreaming of human rights in policy formation; legal advocacy to encourage policy changes and the defense of victims’ rights; and conducting human rights education. Through the support of the Strategic Partnership Grant from the Knowledge Sector Initiative, ELSAM is targeting two policies - the National Action Plan on Human Rights (RANHAM) 2021-2025 and the Personal Data Protection Bill. In both policies, ELSAM was able to identify key stakeholders and build a memorandum of understanding with the Ministry of Law and Human Rights regarding the Human Rights National Action Plan as well as influence the deliberation of the Personal Data Protection Bill in the Indonesian House of Representatives through the Alternative Problem Inventory List (Daftar Invetarisasi Masalah/DIM).
Human Rights Approach in Policymaking
ELSAM continuously advocates for the integration of human rights principles in every policy formation process. This is carried out in various ways, such as (i) providing input and recommendations to legislative and government institutions; (ii) preparing critical notes through various policy briefs on a draft policy; (iii) providing expert technical assistance to executive and legislative institutions; and (v) engaging in strategic partnerships, especially with a multi-stakeholder approach, to minimize policy risks.
In the context of advocating for personal data protection instruments to ensure the fulfillment and protection of citizens’ privacy rights, ELSAM is in parallel conducting studies and advocacy to accelerate the deliberation of the Personal Data Protection Bill. Since 2017, ELSAM has been actively developing knowledge to policy (K2P) material for derivative technical regulations of the upcoming Personal Data Protection Law. However, even though the government and the House of Representatives of the Republic of Indonesia made efforts to have the bill ratified into law by the end of the 2014-2019 legislative period, the bill has not yet been passed into law. Therefore, ELSAM decided to advocate for the acceleration of the Personal Data Protection Bill deliberations through the factions in the DPR forum and the civil society organizations (CSOs) coalition forum.
Substantively, ELSAM conducted a study to identify the problems with the Personal Data Protection Bill so that they could be addressed. Some of the problems related to the clarity of material and territorial scope, principles and objectives, categorization of personal data types, rights protection of data subjects, obligations of controllers and processors of personal data, personal data protection authorities, and others. In May 2020, ELSAM produced an Alternative DIM that was submitted to the MPs during the Public Hearing (RDPU) on the Personal Data Protection Bill, where ELSAM acted as one of the civil society representatives in the Personal Data Protection Advocacy Coalition.
The results of the Alternative DIM were then developed into advocacy material for lobbying and public campaigns regarding the substance of the Personal Data Protection Bill. In addition to participating in the Public Hearing, the ELSAM research team and the Coalition for the Protection of Personal Data actively conducted discussions aimed at transferring knowledge to members of Commission I of the House and experts staff of MPs who are members of the Working Committee (Panitia Kerja/Panja) of the PDP Bill, such as the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle Faction (PDIP), the Functional Group (Golkar) Party, the National Democrat (NasDem) Party, the Democratic Party, the National Mandate Party (PAN), and the the Great Indonesia Movement (Gerindra) Party.
ELSAM also has a network or ‘champions’, namely members of Commission I who often consult with ELSAM and can convey suggestions from civil society regarding the Personal Data Protection Bill. Thus, the consultation to discuss key issues that were the subject of discussion in the bill’s deliberation continued with expert staff of members of the Personal Data Protection Bill Working Committee, House Commission I. From several meetings held by the DPR RI, as of December 2020, substantively, House Commission I has agreed on several clusters of material for the deliberation of the Personal Data Protection Bill by adopting several DIM items proposed by ELSAM related to changes in the terms and scope of the bill.
Consistency of Human Rights Implementation
Predictions that the human rights situation in Indonesia is trending in a worse direction than in previous years have emerged in line with the various bills currently in discussion that are expected to undermine human rights protections in Indonesia. For this reason, ELSAM considers it a matter of urgency to establish the key document to serve as reference and guidelines for the government in promoting and realizing human rights protections. The document in question is the 2020-2025 National Action Plan for Human Rights (RANHAM), because the 2015-2019 RANHAM stipulated through Presidential Regulation number 33 of 2018 expired on December 31, 2019.
RANHAM is an official document that contains targets, strategies, and priority focus activities used as a reference for ministries, institutions, and local governments in realizing the respect, protection, fulfillment, enforcement and promotion of human rights in Indonesia. Based on ELSAM monitoring, there are crucial points that the government can use in protecting the human rights of citizens, especially the four vulnerable groups that are the targets of the 2020-2025 RANHAM (women, children, persons with disabilities, and indigenous peoples), both from the adverse impacts of development and corporate business operations.
In its advocacy, ELSAM succeeded in establishing a cooperation agreement with the Directorate General of Human Rights of the Ministry of Law and Human Rights to improve the promotion and advancement of human rights in Indonesia. Specifically in the effort to optimize RANHAM, ELSAM supports the preparation of baseline related to the strategic objectives of RANHAM and Human Rights Actions; preparation of the framework for monitoring and evaluation of RANHAM; capacity building of human resources related to human rights; and development of cooperation related to respect, protection, fulfillment, promotion and enforcement of human rights in Indonesia. Besides the related ministries, ELSAM also cooperates with local governments, universities and relevant civil society organizations and networks, especially on the issue of Gender, Disability and Social Inclusion (GEDSI). Eventually, Presidential Regulation No. 53 of 2021 concerning the 2021-2025 National Action Plan on Human Rights was signed by the president on June 8, 2021. This Presidential Regulation also includes information regarding strategic targets and plans for monitoring and evaluating the implementation of the National Action Plan, and will be followed up with the preparation of guidelines for its implementation.
Knowledge Sector Initiative (KSI) Support
For more than two decades ELSAM has made several contributions in pushing for the adoption and implementation of human rights, starting from the ratification of various international human rights conventions, to the formation of a series of laws. Through KSI’s support, ELSAM can specifically promote the inception of legislation to respond to the rapid development of digital innovations, such as personal data protection and cyber security, and ensure consistency in the implementation of human rights through its support in optimizing the RANHAM policy. In the process, KSI also helps ELSAM to reflect and develop the program logic, which includes outputs of quality research, stakeholder engagement, evidence-based policy advocacy and documenting knowledge processes that influence policy change (policy tracking).