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Realising the human right to adequate housing in Indonesia through accountability as a process

PhD ceremony:Ms E. (Erna) Dyah Kusumawati
When:January 13, 2020
Supervisor:prof. dr. M.M.T.A. (Marcel) Brus
Co-supervisor:dr. mr. A.G. (Antenor) Hallo de Wolf
Where:Academy building RUG
Realising the human right to adequate housing in Indonesia through
accountability as a process

Adequate housing plays a central role in people’s lives as housing conditions influence people’s health, the relationship between members of the households as well as their social life. As a developing country, Indonesia faces alarming challenges to provide affordable and adequate housing for its citizens, particularly for disadvantaged groups. The right to adequate housing is recognised in international conventions ratified by Indonesia and is also incorporated in Indonesian domestic legislation. However, this is not sufficient to guarantee the realisation of such right in practice. This study has identified that the right to adequate housing is often infringed at the local level, for instance through discriminatory regulation of access to affordable housing and in cases of forced evictions.

The understanding of the human rights perspective at all levels of government is needed in implementing the right to housing. This requires a comprehensive approach. The right to housing is not just a matter of providing buildings, but it involves careful planning and budgeting, transparent regulations regarding land ownership and availability, social and economic acceptability, as well as cultural customs and expectations.

To support the implementation of the right to housing, this study proposes that Indonesia improves its processes of decision making on the basis of the concept of “accountability as a process”. This process contains the following elements: participation, monitoring, accountability mechanisms, remedies and redress, and enforcement measures.  Taking these elements seriously at the local and national level will assist in developing housing policies and law that are consistent with international and national human rights obligations. This study makes a number of concrete recommendations for Indonesian legislators and policy-makers to fully integrate these elements into their housing policies and law.