Government continues to offer free legal aid to poor

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The government has continued to provide free legal aid to the poor as part of its strategy to increase access to justice and strengthen the rule of law in the country.

The statement was made by Law and Human Rights Minister Yasonna Laoly during the Indonesia-Netherlands Rule of Law and Security Update 2018 held in Erasmus Huis, Jakarta, on Wednesday.

"We are committed to providing funding for legal aid. Due to a limited budget, we have not been able to allocate significant amount of funds for this purpose," he revealed.

In implementing the law, Laoly emphasized that Indonesia has forged strong relations with civil society organizations. Since the establishment of all regulations until the delivery of legal aid and service, this strong relationship has become the key element of the implementation process.

Since 2013, free legal aid for the poor program has reached increasingly more number of beneficiaries. In 2016, the number of beneficiaries had reached almost 40 thousand people.

In 2017, the number had increased to almost 50 thousand people.

"Due to a limited budget, we have established cooperation with associations to promote pro bono services of lawyers to ensure that the poor people can still get access to legal aid," Laoly noted.

Through cooperation with Home Affairs Minister Tjahjo Kumolo, Laoly is formulating a guideline to allocate a legal aid budget through local regulations, or perda, and local budget of regencies and cities in provinces.

Apart from the budget, another challenge posed is the lack of legal aid providers to cover the entire archipelago, with their presence mostly in big cities than rural areas.

Hence, the government has supported paralegals, who are community members harboring an altruistic spirit to help others solve legal problems, uphold certain standards, and meet competencies as outlined in the ministerial regulation.

"This year, we also open the verification and accreditation process for legal aid providers. Hopefully, more legal aid providers would come forward to help greater number of people to get access to justice," Laoly emphasized.

In order to accelerate the delivery of legal aid, the Law and Human Rights Ministry has developed a Legal Aid Information Database System to enable the public to get easy access to any information needed for availing legal aid services.

This online application provides a list of legal aid organizations that have cooperated with the ministry and the type of assisted cases.

Source: ANTARA News

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