Promoting the Protection of Citizens’ Rights

Speeches Shim

Indonesia continues to face challenges in ensuring the protection of citizens’ rights and equal access to justice for all. In partnership with the Government of Indonesia and other key local actors, the United States is expanding access to justice and the protection of human rights for marginalized groups in Indonesia.

Religious minorities and low-income citizens are often unaware of their rights, unable to access justice institutions, and subject to discrimination and stigma. Civil society organizations (CSOs) focused on rights and justice issues exist, but are only easily accessible in urban centers and often suffer from organizational deficiencies. In a country as diverse as Indonesia, ensuring fair access to justice can mend societal divides, bring closure to latent grievances and enhance political and social stability at all levels.

USAID Empower Access to Justice (MAJu)

In close partnership with the Government of Indonesia and local CSOs, including legal aid organizations and university partners, USAID MAJu works to widen and deepen access to justice and human rights for religious and ethnic minorities, forest-dependent indigenous people in Papua, women facing discrimination and violence, and other marginalized individuals. 

Through collaboration with CSOs and legal aid organizations, USAID MAJu has supported information campaigns, capacity building for key governmental and non-governmental institutions, and targeted advocacy to help ensure that even the most vulnerable Indonesians are protected under the law. USAID MAJu’s support for innovation and incorporation of new technologies is improving the government’s ability to use evidence-based knowledge management to better track and protect human rights.

USAID MAJu is being implemented in Jakarta and Yogyakarta, and in the target provinces of West Java, Central Java, East Java, Papua, and South Sulawesi.


USAID MAJu works closely with the National Law Development Agency (BPHN) under the Ministry of Law and Human Rights, which manages government funding for legal aid across Indonesia. Through advocacy and technical assistance efforts supported by USAID MAJu, the BPHN has continued to increase the legal aid budget since 2017, indicating significant buy-in within the highest levels of the Government of Indonesia. Due to this funding increase, vulnerable populations will be able to more easily access legal aid to promote and protect their rights and to further broaden access to justice. Further, 500 community-based paralegals have been trained to serve as referrers to legal aid organizations. During COVID-19, USAID MAJu expanded its support to the National Disaster Management Board to improve outreach to underprivileged populations and the disabled seeking government support and social relief funding as part of realizing their rights. 

USAID MAJu also worked closely with bar associations and law firms to mainstream the culture of pro bono legal services in private law firms through the release of pro bono guidelines produced in partnership with civil society. Pro bono private lawyers supplement the work of legal aid organizations by representing vulnerable populations amid a limited number of public interest lawyers.


Dondy Sentya, USAID at
Renata Arianingtyas, The Asia Foundation at

Last updated: August 19, 2021

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