Search Results

Sort by
News
In December 2021, I had the chance to talk with a bright 14-year-old girl named Maria Tunbonat, a fifth-grader in a state school in Tarakan, North Kalimantan. Her father, Ayub, also joined the video call as we spoke about her school and her…
220114asia_indonesia_jehovahs
News
“Nothing about us without us” – that was the call from the indigenous rights advocate Ghazali Ohorella from the Alifuru people in the Maluku Islands, Indonesia during a panel at the climate summit in Glasgow.  This plea was echoed by many…
Georgina Wabano and her mother cooking traditional food for school children in Peawanuck, ON, December 18, 2019. : © 2019 Daron Donahue
News

All Children Should Have Access to School

Why did you focus on Kazakhstan for this report? The Kazakh government has committed to improving education opportunities for children with disabilities, but so far we haven’t seen that commitment lead to meaningful change. We wanted to better…
First grade math class in a mainstream inclusive school in Almaty, Kazakhstan, includes at least one child with disabilities.
News
In the next week, Indonesian President Joko (“Jokowi”) Widodo will decide whether to encourage parliament to move forward with a draft tobacco bill aimed at increasing domestic tobacco production. The bill would gut many important existing health…
An 8-year-old girl sorts and bundles tobacco leaves by hand near Sampang, East Java.
News
I met Eka (not her real name) in 2014. After traveling for hours on pothole-filled road, I finally reached her village in Cianjur, in West Java. I went to her home, and her father pointed toward a shabby outhouse with a locked door and boarded windows. As…
This man lived shackled in stocks, a traditional form of pasung, for nine years in a back room in his family’s home in Cianjur in West Java. When he was released, his legs had atrophied from disuse.
News
Zulfa Nur Rohman, a student at a vocational public school in Semarang, Central Java, failed the 11th grade because of his religious faith. School administrators informed Zulfa, an adherent of a Javanese traditional faith Hayu Ningrat, that he cannot…
A sign on an Ahmadiyah mosque in South Jakarta, Indonesia reads, "This building is sealed due to inappropriate usage." The mosque was closed by government authorities in July 2015.
News
Ayu is only 13 years old, but has already worked for several seasons on her family’s tobacco farm in West Java, Indonesia. Every year, she says she gets sick while carrying tobacco leaves during harvest time. “My stomach is like, I can’t explain, it’s…
A young girl ties tobacco leaves onto sticks to prepare them for curing in East Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara.
News
I met “Gita,” a petite, 13-year-old girl in East Lombok on a hot September day in 2014. As she sat on the floor in her brown school uniform, her knees tucked to one side, she described spending her afternoons, weekends, and school breaks working on…
An 11-year-old girl ties tobacco leaves onto sticks to prepare them for curing in East Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara.
News
More than 57,000 people in Indonesia with mental health conditions have been chained and locked up in overcrowded rooms or filthy sheds at least once in their lives. About 18,000 are still believed to be shackled, despite a 1977 government ban on pasung, …
A man with a psychosocial disability lies chained at the wrist on a platform bed at the Bina Lestari healing center in Brebes, Central Java. All residents of the healing center are chained. © 2015 Andrea Star Reese for Human Rights Watch
News
When Abid was five, immigration officials arrested him and his family, Pakistani refugees fleeing religious persecution. The officials took them to the squalid immigration detention centre in central Bangkok. There, they joined hundreds of other refugees…
News
“My parents thought I was possessed — they used to put garlic and salt on my body to rid me of evil spirits,” Erifah, 49, who lives in Jakarta, told me. Erifah started having symptoms of schizophrenia affective disorder when she was in the sixth grade,…
News

Oped on cnn.com

This week kicks off one of the busiest travel periods of the year. Millions will set out for Thanksgiving, a holiday that celebrates how refugees from religious persecution found freedom in a new land. I’ll be one of those traveling. And while I’m looking…
News
In February last year, guards at the Pontianak Immigration Detention Center in West Kalimantan beat Taqi Naroye, an Afghan asylum-seeker, so badly that he died. A new Human Rights Watch report finds that this was not an isolated instance — rather, the…
News
“My children asked and asked, ‘When can we go outside?’ but we could not answer,” Safia A., an Afghan refugee, told me. “We are responsible parents, but we have no answers for them.” Safia was speaking of the year when the Indonesian government detained…
News
'We kept climbing higher and higher as the boat was sinking,'' Arif B. told me, describing how he spent three nights clinging to a sinking boat as he tried to reach Australia. Many of his fellow passengers died, he said.   Arif was only 15 when he fled…
News

Migrant Children Face Abuse, Neglect in Indonesia

As told by Alice Farmer, children's rights researcher I met Arif, a 16-year-old boy from Afghanistan, in a Pizza Hut near Jakarta, Indonesia. He dressed neatly, with his hair carefully slicked back. He held himself with confidence, dressed in a pressed,…
News
In March, Religious Affairs Minister Suryadharma Ali made headlines by announcing plans to ban skirts above the knee, calling such attire “pornographic.” That month, the speaker of the House of Representatives, Marzuki Alie, proclaimed: “There have been a…
News
Being forced into domestic servitude is one of the most common forms of human trafficking. Yet it remains one of the most invisible, including meager media coverage and law enforcement efforts. On June 27, the US State Department released its Trafficking…
News
Asma - not her real name - left her village at age 13 to journey to Indonesia's capital, Jakarta. She had just graduated from elementary school, but was being pressured to marry a 23-year-old man. To avoid this, she allowed her cousin to arrange a job for…
News

A Challenge on Indonesia's National Children's Day

Siti was 16, but seemed older.  I met her the year after I graduated from high school in her hometown, Bogor. Siti was just back from Jakarta to care for her ailing mother, the caretaker of the home where my mother and I were vacationing in the middle of…