Press Releases
Tue, February 07 2012 12:24
Statement by ARTICLE 19
Indonesia: Jakartaâs Water Agreement muddied by lack of transparency

The lack of information on water privatisation in Jakarta has resulted in an opaque and unaccountable system, excluding civil society from crucial decisions regarding their fundamental right to access water. ARTICLE 19 calls on the government to recognise that information is key to realising the right to water, and urges them to publish the Water Agreement.

Over the last year, a group of Indonesian NGOs led by the People’s Coalition on the Right to Water (KRuHA) has been calling on Jakarta’s public waterworks sector to release details of its 25-year-long privatised Water Agreement.Despite repeatedly calling for the release of the Water Agreement, all of KRuHA’s public disclosure requests have been rejected, in clear infringement of Indonesia’s Freedom of Information (FoI) Act. Since its inception in 1997, the Water Agreement has not been open to public debate or tender.

The Water Agreement provides the framework for the production and distribution of clean water in the city, and as such, directly impacts the rights and livelihoods of the people of Jakarta. Because the Water Agreement is jointly regulated by the Jakarta Water Sector Regulatory Body, private firm PAM Jaya and its concessionary bodies, the lack of transparency not only denies civil society a chance to scrutinise a key public utilities service, but also to hold the government accountable in its dealings with the private sector. KRuHA has lodged several information requests with the water regulators and regional waterworks company (all Public Bodies under the FoI Act), and after repeated rejections, they are now taking their dispute with the Jakarta waterworks sector to the National Information Commission.

ARTICLE 19 fully supports KRuHA in its effort to reinstate the public’s voice in the management of Jakarta’s water supply. As a party to both the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Indonesia is obliged to respect the right to information. In particular, UN General Comment 15 on the Human Right To Water requires states to guarantee ‘the right to seek, receive and impart information regarding water issues’. Furthermore, the Indonesian Freedom of Information Act, which came into force on 1 May 2010, provides a legal guarantee for access to information held by public bodies, obliging them to proactively publish information and to release information upon request.

ARTICLE 19 calls on Jakarta waterworks sector to better integrate the principles of accountability and institutional transparency in its relationship with the public, and to lift this information blockade. The Indonesian authorities must provide full and immediate disclosure of the Water Agreement, including the terms of reference and final contract.

ARTICLE 19 further calls upon the National Information Commission to review the freedom of information dispute between KRuHA and the Jakarta water sector, and to ensure that KRuHA’s information requests are fully met.

For more information, please contact: Judy Taing, ARTICLE 19 Programme Officer for Asia, at or +44 (207) 324 2511.

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