On June 14, 2023, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Indonesian Ministry of Law and Human Rights, and the Indonesia Jentera School of Law headlined the fourth Indonesian Civil Society Forum (ICSF).
The two-day event brought together 250 participants from Indonesian civil society organizations (CSOs), government, academia, and development partners to plan future collaboration on advancing inclusive democracy in Indonesia.
“The United States is committed to supporting Indonesia’s efforts to promote accountable, transparent, and inclusive governance,” said USAID Indonesia Mission Director Jeff Cohen. “Civil society plays an important role in building and maintaining Indonesia’s diverse and tolerant society.”
The 2023 ICSF focused on the topic “Sustaining Civil Society in Indonesia: Civic Space, Capacity, and Sustainability.” The forum provided a platform for the civil society sector and its supporters to better understand each other’s perspectives and discuss the role of civil society in advancing democratic reform in Indonesia.
“Cooperation with civil society and community organizations to strengthen democracy in Indonesia is particularly important as we approach the Presidential and Legislative Election in February 2024. Indonesia’s democracy is inseparable from the philosophy of Pancasila, which is the basis for uniting the very pluralistic nation,” said Minister of Law and Human Rights Yasonna Laoly. “The implementation of democracy in Indonesia must prioritize unity and be based on consensus for the welfare of the people. Every citizen has a role and social responsibility to maintain unity and community welfare”.
ICSF provides a space to acknowledge and support the crucial role of Indonesian CSOs in promoting peacebuilding and social diversity, as well as ensuring that the voices of marginalized groups are represented in public policy.
“Power without oversight and criticism is not a democracy. Because democracy is about accountability to the people,” said Bivitri Susanti of the Jentera School of Law. “Therefore, freedom of speech is an absolute condition for democracy and must not be reduced.”
The United States, through USAID, is a strong supporter of Indonesian civil society, helping the institutional capacity and financial viability of CSOs to promote their self-reliance and sustainability.