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Regulations on witnesses and victims protection need revision

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Indonesia has announced a government regulation to give witnesses and victims of gross human rights violations compensation, restitution and aid. However, the Coalition of Witnesses and Victims Protection say that the regulation is flawed in many ways and would hamper the victims rights. They will seek judicial review if the regulations continue to be implemented without substance and consultation with relevant parties.

Regulations on witnesses and victims protection need revision

The Coalition of Witnesses and Victims Protection has issued a statement to identify four substantial weaknesses in the Government Regulation on Compensation, Restitution and Aid, which had been officially announced by the Indonesian government on 2 June.

Firstly, the Coalition, said the process of implementing the regulation was not transparent nor socialized properly by consulting relevant sectors.

Secondly, the regulations did not take into account the perspective of the victims and there were conditions which eventually resulted in the victims’ rights not being fulfilled.

These conditions should have been resolved and synchronized with the earlier regulation proposed by the government in 2002. If the regulation is approved and publicized, it meant that the government is not on the side of the witnesses and victims. It seems that the victims are victimized for the second time if these regulations are passed.

Thirdly, the issuance of compensation depended on whether the perpetrator had been convicted of the crime. But compensation is a state responsibility to the people who were victims of serious human rights violation.

Lastly, the conditions to apply for compensations and aid by victims has implications on the victims opportunity to obtain his or her rights. Several of the requirements the victims have to provide when applying for compensation has to be removed.

The Coalition, and FORUM-ASIA member in Indonesia KONTRAS (Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of Human Rights Violations) have urged the government to withhold the regulations until further discussion and consultation with relevant parties, like Komnas Ham (Human Rights Commission) and LPSK (The Witness and Victims Protection Agency) representatives.

The group said they will call for a judicial review to cancel the regulation if its substance continue to be problematic and unbeneficial to the victims.