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Jakarta Post

Law yet to return sovereignty to villages

  • Dewi Hutabarat

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PREMIUM
Jakarta   /   Mon, February 25, 2019   /  11:09 am
Law yet to return sovereignty to villages Todo customary village on Flores, East Nusa Tenggara (JP/Markus Makur)

Indonesia’s villages existed even before the republic was born, but they have been neglected and weakened for decades, especially under Soeharto’s regime. Despite a law on villages passed in 2014, problems have persisted, preventing villagers from reclaiming their sovereignty in Indonesian politics. Before the nation was born, many groups of people lived as self-regulating communities within tribes or small and large kingdoms. Nusantara (archipelago) had been a melting pot of thousands of communities, some with their own governing systems. After independence, Nusantara became the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia, incorporating those communities under the government. During the early years of independence under Sukarno, villages were still recognized of their rights, including their right to govern themselves as entities that existed before Indonesia. Four laws...

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