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[Oral Statement] Indonesia: Challenges to Civil Liberties: Assessing Indonesia’s Compliance – FORUM-ASIA’s Pre-session Statement

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140th session of the UN Human Rights Committee

Examination of the situation in Indonesia (2nd)

Pre-session statement delivered by Cornelius Damar Hanung

On behalf of the Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA)

Members of the Human Rights Committee, FORUM-ASIA welcomes the opportunity to submit our views in relation to the 2nd Review of Indonesia’s compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. We wish to highlight three urgent issues:

First, on freedom of expression, the increasing trend of silencing opinions and expression in the digital sphere is evidenced by the continuous use of the online defamation clauses under the Electronic and Information Transaction Law and Criminal Code against activists, including women and environmental human rights defenders, academics, and journalists. Despite the EIT Law’s second revision adopted in January 2024, the Indonesian Government has failed to adopt standards of proportionality and necessity under the Covenant. In the context of elections, the law has instigated fear and heightened the risk of criminalization for those critical of the government, while potentially being used to serve certain political powers.

Second, on freedom of peaceful assembly, authorities have been using excessive and disproportionate power against protestors criticizing the government and harmful business activities. Instead of protecting fundamental freedoms as guaranteed by the Covenant, the legal architecture surrounding peaceful assembly has been facilitating abuse of power by the state apparatus. This is done through requirements for mandatory approval prior to protests and through the criminalization of spontaneous protests, among other issues.

Lastly, on freedom of association, the unfettered powers of the Government of Indonesia are deeply concerning, particularly with regards to the dismissal of societal organizations without due process of law under the pretext of undermining State Ideology. Ahead and during the election, systemic attacks against human rights organizations escalated. This reaffirms the fact that Indonesian civil society has been operating in an obstructed environment.

FORUM-ASIA calls on the Committee to scrutinize the Indonesian Government’s record on civic space and fundamental freedoms and recommending the following:

• Review and repeal laws that are severely restricting fundamental freedoms, particularly the EIT Law, sedition and incitement provisions under the new Criminal Code and provisions under Law 9/1998 on Freedom to Express an Opinion in Public that criminalize peaceful and spontaneous protests, as well as laws on mass organizations, particularly the Government Regulation in Lieu of Law 2/2017 and the Government Regulation 63/2008 on Foundations.

• Adopt progressive legislations that will fully guarantee people’s freedoms of expression, assembly, and of association in accordance with the Covenant and conduct genuine and inclusive consultations with civil society and stakeholders during the process of drafting and adopting the laws.

Thank you.


For the summary of the submission, click here