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Jakarta Post

High school students speak out against Yogyakarta’s land law

  • Bambang Muryanto

    The Jakarta Post

Yogyakarta   /   Mon, July 23, 2018   /   11:14 am
High school students speak out against Yogyakarta’s land law Brave hearts: Students from Stella Duce 1 high school in Yogyakarta, Elisabet Larasati Kartika (right) and Angelina Samodra (second right), speak to visitors about a discriminatory law on land rights in the province. They presented their research during the 2018 Sagasitas Research Exhibition in Gadjah Mada University on Saturday. (JP/Bambang Muryanto) (The Jakarta Post/Bambang Muryanto)


Two high school students are speaking out against a land regulation in Yogyakarta that has been widely criticized as discriminatory.

Elisabet Larasati Kartika and Angelina Samodra, Grade 11 students from Stella Duce 1 high school, raised the issue during the 2018 Sagasitas Research Exhibition organized by the province’s Education, Youth and Sports Agency.

The event took place at the Gadjah Mada University’s Koesnadi Hardjasoemantri Cultural Center from Thursday to Saturday. 

"It all began with a 1975 local regulation on the land rights of non-native Indonesian citizens," Angelina told visitors on Saturday.

Their presentation was based on six months of research, interviewing citizens who oppose and support the law, as well as government officials who enforce the regulation.

Yogyakarta prohibits non-pribumi (non-native) Indonesians, including those of Chinese, Indian and Dutch-descent, from owning land. At most, they can secure a right-to-build certificate, which requires additional payments every 20 years equal to 20 percent of the property’s value.

According to Elisabet, the regulation was passed out of fear that non-natives would monopolize the land in Yogyakarta.

"[But now], there are laws that forbid the use of the term non-pribumi, and land rights should not be based on ethnicity or race,” she added.

She also pointed out that the discriminatory regulation contradicts other prevailing laws, such as the 2008 Law on the abolishment of racial and ethnic discrimination and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which was ratified in 2006.

The two students hoped that their research would be useful for the public and the government. Some 70 people visited their stand during the event, including Ni'matul Huda, a law professor from Indonesia Islamic University.

“May the government provide justice and not discriminate its people by race,” Elisabet said.

The National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) has twice requested for the policy to be repealed, but were rejected each time by Yogyakarta Governor Sri Sultan Hamengku Buwono X. (nor)