Democratisation and Disability Activism in Indonessia

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Date(s) - 07/09/2017
1:00 pm - 2:30 pm

MAI Conference Room, Level 8, Building S, Caulfield campus


Monash Asia Institute and the Centre of Southeast Asian Studies present:

Democratisation and Disability Activism in Indonesia

Thushara Dibley,   Sydney Southeast Asia Centre, University of Sydney

In 2016, Indonesia passed a new national disability law. The law, which is based on the United Nations Convention for the Rights of People with Disabilities (CRPD), was the result of many years of campaigning by disability activists in Jakarta, supported by the efforts of their counterparts around the country. Coming almost two decades after the democratisation of Indonesia, the national disability law and the process by which it came into being, offers a case study for exploring the relationship between democratisation and disability activism in Indonesia. This paper adds to the limited scholarly work that has been done on the interface between democratisation and disability outside the Global North, arguing that that the processes that Indonesian disability rights activists used to campaign for the new disability law were shaped considerably by the structural changes introduced after democratisation, and that in turn, these same process have contributed to a deepening of the deliberative capacity of Indonesian society and its political system.


Thushara Dibley is a Deputy Director at the Sydney Southeast Asia Centre, University of Sydney. She researches social movements in Southeast Asia, with a particular focus on Indonesia and Timor-Leste. Her recent research projects have focused on the role of NGOs in peace-building in Timor-Leste and Indonesia and on the disability movement in Indonesia. Thushara is the author of Partnerships, Power and Peacebuilding: NGOs as Agents of Peace in Aceh and Timor-Leste (2014). 

For further information, please contact Dr Julian Millie, Ph: 61 + 3 9905 2996 or