Hansip/Linmas (Indonesia)

Country: Indonesia
Details of Formation: The PGM was established in 1961 by then-Minister of Defence General Nasution based on a presidential decree for internal and external defence. The Ministry of Home Affairs took over the maintenance of the group from the military in 1972 based on another presidential decree.
Details of Termination: The PGM is still active.
Purpose: The group was formed due to a shortage of police personnel to fulfil their duty of protecting the population. It is based on the right to defence of the state of every citizen and a shared responsibility of the armed forces and citizens to protect the state. The militia is intended to maintain public order (e.g. patrolling streets, guarding civilians), provide security and assist in local emergencies. Other functions were to prevent outbreaks of violence, generally support police and military, and fight rebels and criminality. Later the focus began to include community protection (including tasks such as organizing neighborhood watches and enforcing arrests but also surveilling and threatening political opponents).
Organisation: The group is controlled by the Department of Home Affairs and supervised by the district head and the province governor. It also reports to the armed forces and cooperates with the local district military command. Its chain of command reaches down to the village/sub-district/county level with one sub-group being responsible for each village.
Weapons and Training: There are contradictory accounts on whether the PGM was armed or trained by the military, the police or not at all, which may be accounted for by the fact that there were many smaller sub-groups in different villages. However, most groups apparently received training (three months in total) and weapons from the military. Some arms included knives or clubs.
Size: --
Reason for Membership: Locals’ desire to protect their own community may have been an incentive to join the group. Regarding payment, some groups received money depending on their location, but this may not have been true for all of them.
Treatment of Civilians: The group was intended to protect civilians and provide public security with a variety of tasks. One source also reports that it threatened political opponents and suppressed locals with one incident of killing and executions.
Other Information: The group is a local civil defence force that is part of Indonesia’s “total people’s defense and security” and is mainly responsible for the safety of communities. Not all members receive training and are armed as the individual groups carry out other community services. Apparently Hansip’s name was changed to Linmas (community protection groups) in 2002. However, the group is otherwise identical and it seems like the names are used interchangeably.
References: Human Rights Watch. 2006. “Condemned Communities: Forced Evictions in Jakarta.” Vol 18(10) (C). September 2006.

Human Rights Watch. 2003. “Without Remedy: Human Rights Abuse and Indonesia’s Pulp and Paper Industry.” Vol 15(1) (C). January 2003.

Information was taken from news sources listed in the PGMD.