Key recommendations from UN rights review should be accepted and implemented

Press release

(Jakarta, Paris) Indonesia should accept and swiftly implement recommendations on key human rights issues made by United Nations (UN) member states during the country’s third Universal Periodic Review (UPR), FIDH and its member organization KontraS said today.

Indonesia’s third UPR took place in Geneva on 3 May 2017. During the review, Indonesia received 225 recommendations. The Indonesian government accepted 150 recommendations and said it would examine and provide a response to the remaining 75 by the 36th session of the UN Human Rights Council, to be held in September 2017.

“The Indonesian government has an opportunity to show that it is truly committed to address impunity for past human rights violations, end abuses in Papua Province, make progress towards the abolition of capital punishment, combat religious intolerance, and guarantee LGBTI rights. It’s imperative the government accepts the remaining recommendations and takes steps towards their implementation.”

Dimitris Christopoulos, FIDH President

Among the important recommendations accepted by the government were those that called on Indonesia to: ratify the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance (ICPPED); criminalize torture and ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OP-CAT); protect human rights defenders; and ensure that anti-terrorism laws and policies comply with international human rights standards.

On other key issues, the government’s response was limited to making broad statements and painting a rosy picture of current conditions that are at odds with the reality of Indonesia’s ongoing failure to effectively address serious human rights challenges and comply with its obligations under international law.

“Instead of trying to sugarcoat the reality of the current human rights situation in Indonesia, it’s time for President Widodo’s administration to listen to the concerns of the international community, accept its recommendations, and translate words into action.”

Yati Andriyani, KontraS Coordinator

Below is a brief summary of the recommendations that are under consideration by Indonesia on selected issues of concern.

Death penalty

With regard to the death penalty, Indonesia received 12 recommendations, most of which urged the government to abolish capital punishment for drug-related offenses, establish a moratorium on executions, and ratify the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR-OP2), aiming at the abolition of the death penalty.

During the interactive dialogue, Indonesian Law and Human Rights Minister Yasonna Laoly said that Indonesia had “always applied the necessary safeguards based on international standards” in the application of the death penalty. Yasonna labeled drug offenses as the “most serious crimes” in line with the interpretation of Indonesia’s Constitutional Court. However, this interpretation is clearly inconsistent with that of the UN Human Rights Committee (CCPR). The CCPR has repeatedly stressed that capital punishment for drug-related offenses is a clear violation of Article 6 of the ICCPR, to which Indonesia is a state party.

Accountability for past human rights violations

Indonesia received two recommendations that called on the government to combat impunity and thoroughly and transparently investigate past human rights abuses. Yasonna said the government had created a special agency, consisting of representatives from various relevant authorities, to address these cases. However, Yasonna emphasized the agency’s use of non-judicial mechanisms “to endure a lasting, reconciliatory, and peaceful settlement of the cases.” FIDH and KontraS believe that the recourse to non-judicial procedures is inconsistent with the need to conduct thorough investigations into past human rights violations and hold the perpetrators accountable.

Situation in Papua Province

With regard to Papua, Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi trumpeted the government’s welfare and infrastructure projects and said the government remained strongly committed to addressing “the alleged human rights violations" in the province. However, Retno glossed over the serious and ongoing abuses committed by the authorities in Papua. These include the numerous cases of mass arrests of peaceful demonstrators, the attacks and harassment against local journalists, and the pattern of impunity for the perpetrators of these abuses. Retno said that from 12 reports of allegations of human rights violations in Papua from 1996 to 2014, only three cases that occurred in Wasior, Wamena, and Paniai had led to a finding of serious human rights violations, while the rest were found to be “purely criminal acts.” The government placed the sole recommendation that called on Jakarta to “finalize” the investigation into all cases of human rights violations in Papua among those to be considered.

LGBTI rights

With regard to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) issues, Indonesia received 12 recommendations that called on the government to end any form of discrimination – including at the legislative level – on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, guarantee LGBTI rights, and investigate and punish perpetrators of acts of discrimination and violence against LGBTI individuals. Regrettably, Indonesian government representatives completely failed to address or even mention these issues.

Freedom of religion or belief

Indonesia received 20 recommendations related to the issue of religious freedom. In a rather inconsistent manner, the government accepted 11 recommendations that called on the government to protect religious minorities, guarantee their rights, and review and amend legislation that is discriminatory on the basis of religion. However, this pledge was made against a backdrop of well-documented patterns of discrimination and hostile acts against religious minorities. In addition, authorities are frequently unwilling or unable to prevent attacks and other acts of harassment against such minorities and bring those responsible to justice. Despite this grim situation, Yasonna declared that freedom of religion continued to be “high on the government’s agenda” and that law enforcement had been “strengthened to investigate, punish, and redress all cases of religious-based violence.” Finally, the government said it would consider all four recommendations that called for the amendment of Article 156 of the Criminal Code (blasphemy) and the end of prosecutions under this provision.

International human rights instruments

The Indonesian government remained non-committal regarding the ratification of key international human rights instruments, such as the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), the Optional Protocol to the ICCPR (ICCPR-OP1), the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (OP-CEDAW), and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

Press contacts
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Ms. Audrey Couprie (French, English) - Tel: +33648059157 (Paris)
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