The Law and Human Rights Ministry is currently preparing a scheme to implement Law No. 16/2011 that will provide government-funded legal aid to low-income members of society.
“We plan to start enacting the law in January next year,” the ministry’s National Law Development Agency (BPHN) chief Wicipto Setiadi said on Monday, on the sidelines of a discussion about the law in Central Jakarta.
Although the law was ratified by the House of Representatives in 2011, Wicipto said, his ministry still needed to draft a ministerial decree and a government regulation that would provide details of the law’s implementation.
To distribute the free legal aid, he said, the ministry would appoint a handful of accredited and verified non-governmental organizations (NGOs), which had actually been providing such a service for the needy since 1980s.
Under the law, he said, the NGOs would also receive incentives from the government
He said, the ministry would allocate around Rp 50 billion (US$ 5.21 million) from the 2013 state budget to be disbursed to selected NGOs throughout the country.
Meanwhile, advocates of free legal aid for the needy warmly welcomed the soon-to-be implemented law.
“This law indicates that finally the country is heeding the importance of free legal aid for the poor,” said Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation chairman (YLBHI) Alvon Kurnia Palma.
However, he felt that the ministry should distribute more information about the law to wider society.
“I have seen some officials from BPHN familiarizing Jakarta residents with the Legal Aid Law and law in general. I think the agency should send more officials to remoter areas of the country,” he said. (riz/iwa)