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From our Member HRWG, Indonesia – Response to Indonesian UPR Session in UN Human Rights Council

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Geneva, 3 May 2017: Indonesian civil society expresses its greatest appreciation to the Government of Indonesia which has exhibited its commitment to cooperate openly and dialogically with the international human rights mechanism by attending the Universal Periodic Review Session (UPR) at the UN Human Rights Council on May 3, 2017. The UPR meeting was attended by a high-level Indonesian Government delegation which included the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Minister of Law and Human Rights. This level of involvement forms part of the GoI’s commitment to promote and protect human rights in Indonesia.

Some notes should be underlined from the session process, among them are:

  1. There were 105 States that submitted notes, comments and recommendations related to the implementation of human rights in Indonesia. This number is more than many other countries, which signifies that Indonesia is considered to be attention-worthy by the international world.
  2. Almost all human rights issues in Indonesia are addressed by these States, with varying attitudes and tones, ranging from appreciation of the progressiveness of what Indonesia has done and its achievements and progress to expression of concerns related to crucial issues, such as the death penalty, Papua, human rights defenders and journalist protection, violence against women and children, freedom of religion and belief, freedom of expression, LGBT rights, migrant workers And past human rights abuses.
  3. The Government of Indonesia was able to provide a comprehensive explanation for a number of issues of concern to the States present in the session. The responses were presented not only by the two attending Ministers, but also by other members of the Government of Indonesia delegation, such as representatives from the Ministry of Religious Affairs, Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Social Affairs, and so forth.

Some Crucial Issues

  1. Violence against women and children has become the most attention-getting issue for the UN member States, especially in the context of the fight against trafficking, the elimination of female genital mutilation, and women’s reproductive rights. Moreover, the civil society is of the opinion that the appreciation and encouragement of the international community should be followed up by the Government of Indonesia, including by continuing the deliberation process and enactment of the Gender Mainstreaming Bill which has been halted.
  2. The death penalty is an issue which many States expressed concern about, criticising the resumption of executions by the Government of Indonesia. The Government of Indonesia is requested to resume the moratorium on the death penalty, ratify the ICCPR Optional Protocol on the abolition of the death penalty, and encouraged to put in place strict safeguards to prevent and/or stop the practice of capital punishment.
  3. The issue of freedom of religion, the protection of religious/faith minority groups, as well as other minorities remained to be the subject of deep concern. This is an important note for the Indonesian government to address situations wherein a number of religious communities can not enjoy their right to worship and there is a lack of recognition for some religious groups.
  4. In relation to the issue of Papua, the Government conveyed that special autonomy is among the measures that have been undertaken, along with improving access to journalists to Papua, prioritising development in the region, and the process of resolving the cases of Wamena, Wasior and Paniai. There is a concern about the need to settle cases of human rights violations in Papua. From the Government’s response, it appears that while Papua is managed in the context of human rights protection, the Government does not engage in actions to substantially resolve the Papua issue itself.

We are of the opinion that there are inconsistencies in some respects, especially those relating to human rights:

  1. In the case of the resolution of past human rights violations, the government has in no way responded to this issue, although some States have provided comments and recommendations on this matter.
  2. It is unfortunate that the Indonesian government has not expressed its commitment and firm position to a number of important issues, such as death penalty, past human rights violations, religious defamation and the protection of religious/faith minorities, and other fundamental freedoms. The government also does not respond to LGBT/SOGIE group protection, an issue that was also widely raised by other States and became subject to numerous recommendations. This makes the Government of Indonesia’s commitment to ensuring the protection of all citizens from discriminatory treatment seem to be indefinite and ambiguous.
  3. The Indonesian government is also vague on the issue of death penalty, simply stating that it is part of its positive law and a necessary measure to address drug problem which is considered to be the most serious crime. This is despite the fact that in a different UN forum, namely the General Assembly, through the resolution on the moratorium on the death penalty, Indonesia took a firm stance to build safeguards to prevent executions with the view to put in place a moratorium on the practice and ultimately ensure its permanent abolition.

Civil Society Coalition for UPR Advocacy