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Indonesia: Bylaw on Cultural Heritage of Bali Proposed

(June 13, 2014) On June 9, 2014, Bali’s Governor, Made Mangku Pastika, submitted a proposed bylaw on preservation of cultural heritage to the province’s legislative council. Balinese culture is based on the predominant Hinduism of the island, and Pastika argued that this “cultural heritage must be preserved and developed for the interest of our future generations.” (Ni Komang Erviani, Bylaw on Culture Heritage Preservation Proposed, THE BALI DAILY (June 10, 2014).)

Bali is one of Indonesia’s 26 provinces whose local governance is regulated by the country’s law on regional administration. (Law of the Republic of Indonesia Number 32, Year 2004 Concerning Regional Administration (unofficial English translation from Akbar & Akbar Law Office), available at NATLEX; Undang-undang Republik Indonesia Nomor 32 Tahun 2004 Tentang Pemerintahan Daerah, available at NATLEX.) Under this law, local governments have the obligation to “conserve socio-cultural values” (art. 22 (n)), as well as to enact and enforce laws “in accordance with their authority” (art. 22 (o)).

Pastika cited this law and the Indonesian Constitution in his statement on the necessity of a bylaw on preserving Balinese cultural heritage. The Constitution states, “[t]he cultural identities and rights of traditional communities shall be respected in accordance with the development of times and civilisations.” (Erviani, supra; The 1945 Constitution of the Republic of Indonesia (as of 2002), art. 281 (3), World Intellectual Property Organization website.)

The bylaw will protect, among other aspects of culture such as art and dance, a traditional farming system known as subak. The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has included subak as a part of the world’s heritage that must be protected. (Erviani, supra; World Heritage List, UNESCO (last visited June 11, 2014).) According to Ketut Suastika, the head of the Bali cultural agency, “[o]ur priority, once the bylaw has been enacted, is to record tangible and intangible cultural artifacts and heritage. Then, we will focus on how to protect it.” (Erviani, supra.)