Universiteit Leiden

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Research project

Strengthening Indonesia's Ombudsman in the Regions (SIOR)

How can Indonesia’s Ombudsman in the Regions be strengthened?

2013 - 2016
Adriaan Bedner
Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Ombudsman Republik Indonesia
Nationale Ombudsman

'Enhancing Citizens’ Protection against Improper Behaviour by Government Institutions: Strengthening Indonesia’s Ombudsman in the Regions (SIOR)’

This research, which forms part of a project of co-operation between the Indonesian Ombudsman (Ombudsman Republik Indonesia; ORI) and the Dutch Ombudsman (Nationale Ombudsman; NO) and Leiden University, intends to provide the ORI with the necessary tools to improve its effectiveness. The ORI has expressed its wish to get a better insight into how effective it is in resolving problems of citizens who have filed a complaint, notably in the longer term, and which factors determine this. The objective is to ‘provide insights into the Ombudsman’s effectiveness and its position within the Indonesian institutional landscape in order to enable the ORI to make better grounded choices regarding its approaches and strategies’.

The research is based on field research at three provincial Ombudsman offices, the Kalimantan Timur provincial office in Balikpapan, the East Nusa Tengara provincial office in Mataram, and the North Sumatra provincial office in Medan.

The field research will focus on three different issues. First, in order for the Ombudsman to make well-grounded strategic choices on how to position itself in relation to other institutions, the ORI has indicated that it needs to gain more insights into the jurisdictional and practical issues it runs into. Second, one of the most significant areas of complaints to the Ombudsman concerns land issues, and the ORI and its regional offices have indicated that they currently have insufficient knowledge of the complexity of these cases – both socially and legally – to address them appropriately. Third, little is known about Ombudsman effectiveness more generally. The research will seek to uncover the factors that influence the performance of the regional Ombudsman offices.

The research questions this research tries to answer correspond with those issues:

1) What is the legal position of the ORI in relation to other ‘watchdog institutions’, to what extent are its tasks and powers well defined, how does this legal position translate into practice and how can we explain this translation?

2) What kind of land cases do the ORI (and notably its regional offices) deal with, how are the trajectories of these cases, and what makes the disputes involved so difficult to resolve?

3) To what extent can the regional offices of the ORI resolve the problems brought to them, which factors determine whether they can, and what are the major obstacles to such effective functioning of the regional offices?

Field research consists  of  four components:
1. collection of complaints at the local ORI offices;
2. participatory observation at the local ORI office;
3. semi-structured interviews with ORI staff, complainants, staff of governmental offices, NGOs and other stakeholders;  and
4. a number of in depth case studies.

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