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Democratic standards worsening, says UN

Latest index points to rise in violence year on year

Democratic standards worsening, says UN
Violence worsened in Indonesia in 2010, UNDP reported (AFP photo/BIMA SAKTI)

The United Nations Development Program said yesterday that civil liberties and political rights were diminishing in Indonesia resulting in an overall decline in the country’s democratic standards.

In its index for 2010, the most recent year for which figures are available, the UNDP gave Indonesia 63.17 points for democracy, lower than the 67.30 score given in 2009, with violence repeatedly cited as a cause for concern.

“We recorded that on almost every day throughout the year [2010] there were protests ending in violence in each province,” Maswadi Rauf, one of the index’s authors, said at a press briefing in Jakarta yesterday. “This is not democracy.”

UNDP Country Director Beate Trankmann suggested that Indonesia should improve political rights and respect people’s right to get involved in peaceful protests.

“Also, further steps are needed to maintain freedom of speech, especially during general elections, and to uphold religious freedom,” she said.

Indonesia saw a slight improvement in democratic institutions in 2010 in what was otherwise a year of diminishing freedoms in Indonesia.  

In response, Minister of Home Affairs Gamawan Fauzi accepted that democratic principles had been upheld.

“A number of fights between different communities, which were intentionally or unintentionally related to religious and ethnic issues, can be said to be indicators of an ailing democracy,” he said.

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