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Press Release – Indonesian Government Scholarship Programme Discriminates People Living With HIV/AIDS

Jakarta, 6 February 2017

Lembaga Bantuan Hukum Masyarakat (LBH Masyarakat) condemns the requirement of HIV-free for applicants of Eastern Indonesia Scholarship Programme, managed by the Indonesia Endowment Fund for Education (LPDP).

In the booklet issued by the LPDP, applicants of the above scholarship programme must enclose a letter from healthcare providers stating that they are ‘free from HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and drug use’. Such requirement is a direct discrimination against and violation of the right to education of people living with HIV/AIDS, as guaranteed by the Constitution of the Republic of Indonesia, and Indonesian regulations and laws.

Article 28 C Paragraph 2 of the Constitution, Article 12 of the Law Number 39 Year 1999 regarding Human Rights, and Article 4 Paragraph 1 of the Law Number 20 Year 2003 regarding National Education System guarantees that education must be carried out in a democratic and non-discriminatory manner; respecting human rights principles, religious and cultural values, as well as nation’s diversity. Thereby, the scholarship programme, as part of the implementation of education system, should be implemented in accordance with those principles. Further, it should not limit or hinder access or opportunity for anyone to scholarship, including those living with HIV/AIDS.

Education is an indispensable means of realizing other human rights. Therefore, the prohibition against discrimination on the right to education “is subject to neither progressive realization nor the availability of resources; it applies fully and immediately to all aspect of education.”[1] The Government of Indonesia, therefore, has no justification whatsoever to apply such requirement.

In addition to the discrimination on the basis of HIV/AIDS status, such requirement is also a direct discrimination against eastern Indonesians, as it applies only to applicants from the eastern part of Indonesia.

With regard to this matter, LBH Masyarakat urges the Government of Indonesia to:

  1. Repeal the requirement of ‘free from HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and drug use’ for applicants of Eastern Indonesia Scholarship Programme;
  2. Guarantee the fulfilment of the right to education of people living with HIV/AIDS in any level and type of education, including in accessing domestic and international scholarship provided by the government;
  3. Reiterate the non-discriminatory principle in any Indonesian regulations and laws; and,
  4. Eliminate discriminatory practices and policies against people living with HIV/AIDS in any aspects of their lives.

Contact Persons:

Ajeng Larasati

Coordinator of Programme, Research, and Campaign

+62 812 1276 1876

Naila Rizqi Zakiah

Public Defender

+62 812 9373 2988

[1] General Comment No. 13: The Right to Education (Article 13 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights), paragraph 31.

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