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NHRI Director Threatened and Harassed for Report to UN Sp. Representative on Human Rights Defenders

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The Director of the national human rights institution of Indonesia has been receiving threats on his life after giving a report on human rights violations committed by the Indonesian military to the UN Special Representative on Human Rights Defenders. FORUM-ASIA wrote to Indonesian president to express its distress over this threat.
The Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA), in a letter today to Indonesia’s President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, expressed its deep distress over the threats and harassment being made against Mr. Albert Rumbekwan for reporting human rights abuses to the UN Special Representative on Human Rights Defenders, Ms. Hina Jilani.

According to reliable sources, Mr. Rumbekwan has been receiving threats from unidentified persons after he gave a report in early June to Ms. Jilani on the human rights violations committed by the Tentara Nasional Indonesia (TNI) in Papua province. The TNI is allegedly behind these threats and harassment against Mr. Rumbekwan.

FORUM-ASIA asserted that these events undermine Indonesia’s credibility as a member of the UN Human Rights Council (Council) On 13 April 2007, prior to its re-election to the Council, Indonesia pledged to the UN General Assembly to “support the existing human rights institutions” and “pursue the empowerment of the newly-established local human rights commissions at the provincial and district levels.” FORUM-ASIA reminded the government of Indonesia that as a member of the Council, it should be mindful of its obligation under the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders to protect human rights defenders and accord them the right to “unhindered access to and communication with international bodies with general or special competence to receive and consider communications on matters of human rights and fundamental freedoms.”

Anselmo Lee, Executive Director of FORUM-ASIA, stressed, “The government of Indonesia should ensure the safety and protection of Mr. Rumbekwan as he does his work as Director of the KOMNAS HAM in Papua province. It should quickly take the necessary steps to demonstrate to the international community that it is sincere in playing a key role in the promotion and protection of human rights in Asia.”

For more information, please contact:

Anselmo Lee, Executive Director, The Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA), +66 (02) 391 8801, [email protected], or Emerlynne Gil, Programme Officer on Human Rights Defenders, at [email protected], tel: (66-2) 391-8801 ext 605.