Nine years on, still no progress on human rights commitments at UN review

Press release

(Geneva, Jakarta, Paris) The Indonesian government has failed to make progress on human rights commitments at the Universal Periodic Review (UPR), FIDH and its Indonesian member organization KontraS said today.

“It is disappointing that Indonesia is no closer to making a serious commitment to address key human rights issues today than it was nine years ago, when the country underwent its first UPR. It’s time for the government to take a bolder and more progressive approach to human rights.”

Dimitris Christopoulos, FIDH President

During the outcome of Indonesia’s third UPR, held in Geneva, Switzerland, on 21 September 2017, the Indonesian government accepted 167 of the 225 recommendations it received from other UN member states on 3 May 2017.

Despite accepting nearly three quarters of the recommendations, the government did not go far enough to show its genuine and unequivocal commitment to address the serious human rights challenges that Indonesia faces, particularly with regard to discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) individuals, the abolition of the death penalty, the rights of religious minorities, and the resolution of past human rights violations.

The government failed to accept 10 recommendations that called on the authorities to end any form of discrimination – including at the legislative level – on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity and for an end to the criminalization of same-sex relations among consenting adults.

With regard to the death penalty, the government failed to accept 11 recommendations that called for the abolition of capital punishment, including for drug-related offenses, the establishment of a moratorium on all executions, and the ratification of the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (OP2-ICCPR).

With regard to the right to freedom of religion and belief, the government did not accept recommendations that called on the authorities to uphold and protect this right and to guarantee the rights of religious minorities. In addition, the government refused to repeal Article 156 of the Criminal Code (‘blasphemy’) and end prosecutions under this provision.

The government also did not accept a crucial recommendation that called for thorough and transparent investigations into past human rights abuses. This contradicts the pledge made by President Widodo before he was elected in 2014 to resolve all past cases of human rights violations. The government only agreed to “finalize” the investigation into all cases of human rights violations in Papua Province.

Concerning the ratification of international human rights instruments, the government refused to commit to ratify the Rome Statue of the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the Optional Protocol to the ICCPR.

Finally, the government decided not to extend an open invitation to all United Nations (UN) special procedures, including the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples.

“Expectations that President Widodo’s administration would be better than previous governments at addressing key human rights issues have not been realized. It’s not too late for President Widodo to change direction and show genuine commitment to human rights in the remaining two years of his term.”

Yati Andriyani, KontraS Coordinator

FIDH and KontraS reject the government’s justifications that the above-mentioned issues “are not a priority in the national human rights agenda” and that the related recommendations are “factually incorrect or unclear” and “difficult to be translated into policies.” The two organizations urge the government to immediately commence the process of implementing the recommendations that the government did not accept and that are consistent with Indonesia’s human rights obligations under international law.

Press contacts
Mr. Andrea Giorgetta (English) - Tel: +66886117722 (Bangkok)
Ms. Audrey Couprie (French, English) - Tel: +33648059157 (Paris)
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