Indonesian National Human Rights Commission Embraces Artistic Freedom

The Indonesian National Commission for Human Rights (Komnas HAM), pledges for Artistic Freedom in new section of their Standard Norms and Settings.


Over the past years, Indonesia has taken considerable steps to develop its Cultural and Creative Industries. This includes integrating the Creative Economy in their National Mid-Term Development Plan (RPJMN) 2020-2024, and the adoption of law No 5 of 2017 on the Advancement of Culture encouraging culture-based livelihood and law No 24 of 2019 on Creative Economy.


Indonesia has also been working with UNESCO in the framework of the project “Supporting data collection and policy monitoring for the diversity of cultural expressions in Indonesia” to realize the full potential of its creative sector. The project aims to enhance data collection, analysis and monitoring capacities in key policies areas such as artistic freedom, gender equality and media diversity. The long-term objective of this capacity-building project is to build a viable ecosystem within Indonesia, where issues related to artistic freedom may be consciously and systematically monitored, reported and discussed to inform policy decisions.


Artistic Freedom


As an extended family of Human Rights, artistic freedom includes the right to create without intimidation or censorship; to have artistic work supported, distributed and remunerated; to freedom of movement; to freedom of association; to the protection of socio-economic rights; and to participate in cultural life. It also constitutes one of the monitoring areas of the UNESCO's 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural ExpressionsAgainst this backdrop, UNESCO started the sensitization of Indonesian artist associations and Human Right watchers on the Artistic Freedom since September 2019.  


UNESCO has also begun consultation with Indonesian Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) in early May 2021 and both parties are exploring possible collaboration for the sensitization of the government offices on artistic freedom. 


The Komnas HAM, an independent body with the mandate to create enabling conditions for human rights in Indonesia, recently published a new Standard Norms and Setting that has dedicated section on artistic freedom and cultural expressions. The document recognizes the importance of art for individuals and communities to express aesthetically, convey political views, and affirm beliefs and cultural identity.


UNESCO welcomes the move, which will significantly boost the mainstreaming of this little-known dimension of Human Rights.  The organization looks forward to collaboration with Komnas HAM to open a new dialogue with civil society and government institutions to support freedom of opinion and expression and a dynamic art scene.