INDONESIA: National Laws

Summary: General overview of Indonesia's national legal provisions on children's rights, including guidance on how to conduct further research.

National laws on children's rights 

Status of the CRC in national law

Article 7(2) of Law No. 39 of 1999 on Human Rights provides that provisions set forth in international law concerning human rights, including those in the Convention on the Rights of the Child, are recognised as legally binding in Indonesia. Article 67 further provides that everyone within the territory of the Republic of Indonesia is required to comply with ratified international law concerning human rights and article 71 explicitly requires the government to respect, protect and uphold international law on human rights. It is not clear, however, if Indonesian courts have applied the Convention in their judgments or whether the Convention would be applied in place of domestic law which it contradicts.

Constitution: Chapter XA of the Constitution of Indonesia contains a number of rights provisions that apply regardless of age, but a small number of provisions that specifically address the rights of children can be found throughout the Constitution:

  • Article 28B(2): enshrines the right of every child to live, grow and develop, the right of every child to protection from violence and discrimination.

  • Article 31(2): provides that every citizen has the obligation to undertake basic education, and the government has the obligation to fund this.

  • Article 34: provides that impoverished persons and abandoned children shall be taken care of by the State. The article also includes more general provisions that relate to the State's obligations with regards to the education system. 

Legislation: there is no comprehensive or consolidated Children's Law in Indonesian law, though the Law on Child Protection covers much of the law that is relevant to children. Legislation of particular relevance to children includes, but is by no means limited to:

  • Law No. 23 of 2002 on Child Protection

  • Law No. 39/1999 on Human Rights

  • Law No. 62 of 1958 on Nationality

  • Law No. 3 of 1997 on Juvenile Justice

  • Law No. 13 of 2003 on Labour

  • Law No. 20 of 2003 on the National Education System

  • Law No. 23 of 2004 on the Elimination of Domestic Violence

  • Law No. 12 of 2006 on Indonesian Citizenship

  • Law No. 21 of 2007 on the Eradication of Trafficking in Persons 

Legal Research

The Constitution of Indonesia is available in English through the website of the Indonesian Embassy in the United States ( and the website of the People's Representative Council provides access to legislation in Bahasa Indonesia ( The Asian Legal Information Institute also provides access to Indonesian legislation in Bahasa Indonesia ( and the World Law Guide provides access to a selection of domestic legislation in English ( In addition, the GlobaLex initiative at New York University has published a guide to legal research in Indonesia ( and the U.S. Law Library of Congress ( and the World Legal Information Institute ( both provide access to a selection of legal and governmental resources.

Case Law

CRC Jurisprudence

Please contact CRIN if you are aware of any cases in national courts which reference the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Case Law Research

The Asian Legal Information Institute provides access to the decisions of the Constitutional Court ( as does the court's official website ( The Supreme Court also publishes its case law online ( All resources are in Bahasa Indonesia.

Compliance with the CRC

Indonesia has not reported to the Committee on the Rights of the Child since 2004, but the Committee's Observations of that year welcomed legislative reforms undertaken by Indonesia, particularly the adoption of the Human Rights Act. However, the Committee expressed a number of concerns, including that the ratification of Convention on the Rights of the Child had not been backed by an Act of Parliament and that a number of areas of national law remained inconsistent with the rights and principles contained in the Convention.

In depth analysis

A number of more specific concerns about the compatibility of Indonesian law with the Convention also emerged from the Committee's 2004 Observations. Perhaps the most basic issues raised by the Committee were in relation to the definition of the child. The Committee expressed concern that girls could legally marry from the age of 16, three years before marriage was legal for boys, and that in practice a large proportion of children, particularly girls, were married before the age of 15. Under the law married children would then be considered adults and lose some of the protection Indonesian law affords children. The corresponding recommendations urged the State to review age limits applicable to children to ensure that they are not discriminatory and to ensure that all children enjoy their full rights under the Convention.

The Committee noted a general failure of the State to integrate the overarching principles of the Convention into domestic law, particularly non-discrimination, the best interests of the child and respect for the views of the child. The Committee specifically noted that discriminatory provisions remained in national legislation that denied children born out of wedlock the right to know their father and denied children with a foreign father Indonesian citizenship. The Committee also expressed concern that adoption legislation discriminated between groups of people on the basis of ethnic origins and did not take account of the best interests of the child.

The Committee expressed serious concerns about the pervasive problems in relation to juvenile justice in Indonesia. In particular, the Committee expressed concern at the low minimum age of criminal responsibility (8 years); the large number of children subjected to custodial sentences for minor offences; the poor conditions in detention facilities and the detention of children with adults. The Committee urged the State to undertake comprehensive reforms to address these problems.

Current legal reform projects

Please contact CRIN if you are aware of any current legal reform projects.


Please note that these reports are hosted by CRIN as a resource for Child Rights campaigners, researchers and other interested parties. Unless otherwise stated, they are not the work of CRIN and their inclusion in our database does not necessarily signify endorsement or agreement with their content by CRIN.