Press Release
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The 2nd Cycle of UN Universal Periodical Review Session on the Human Rights Condition in Indonesia:
Indonesia's Defensive Government

KontraS appreciates the countries that have actively asked questions and raised recommendations for the improvement of human rights conditions in Indonesia during the 2nd Cylce of the Universal Periodical Review (UPR) Session in Geneva, May 23, 2012. However, as expected, the second UPR Session was still filled with the same answers from the Government of Indonesia which were uttered during the first UPR Session in 2008. This means that there has been little change in the situation of human rights enforcement in Indonesia. Particularly noting the number of dominant cases of intolerance, impunity and violence against human rights defenders (including the ones in Papua) that are still unresolved to date by the government.

With the UPR session, it becomes clear that the international community understands the stagnation of human rights condition in Indonesia. They were able to touch the core of problems of recent human rights issues in Indonesia, evident from the questions and recommendations submitted to the Delegation of Indonesia.

KontraS noted throughout the session which lasted for 3 hours with 3 sessions for question of answers, the UN Human Rights Council in general expressed its appreciation to the development of institutional modalities in Indonesia (such as the existence of rules and institutions to uphold human rights) and the stability of Indonesia's democratic transition. However, there are still a number of issues that are highly concerned by the delegations. The most questioned issues include the condition of women and children, education issues, health issues, diversity and intolerance issues, legal reforms (amendment of the criminal code, the military justice system and the ratification of international conventions such as the Rome Statute of the ICC, OPCAT, and the Convention for Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearances. Meanwhile, there were also other pressing issues that raised the attention of a number of countries such as the issue of human rights mechanism in the region of ASEAN, impunity towards past gross human rights violations, condition of human rights defenders, security sector reform and the current situation in Papua.

KontraS also puts a special attention to a number of issues that we believe must be taken into account, first is related to the issue of religious freedom and intolerance that leads to violence. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, through the words of Marty in the UPR session explicated that Indonesia fully upholds freedom of religion and belief, and that the state will not intervene with the beliefs and religous affairs of its citizens. This principle also applies to isses of minorities in Indonesia (Ahmadiyyah and other beliefs). The Constitution and the rule of law become important tools in ensuring the protection of these groups. However on the contrary, in reality, the practice of intolerance is becoming rampant in Indonesia. Further justified with how the international community has become aware of this fact during the UPR session. This situation shows that the claim of the government of Indonesia made as a plural and tolerant country is not an image that can be relied upon no more before the world.

Second, the lack of acountability for serious human rights violations such as crimes against humanity, torture and enforced disappearances. Representatives of the countries in the UPR session also continued to question the position of the settlement of past gross human rights violations. Including the discourse of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to make an official apology to victims of human rights violations in the near future. Regrettably, upon this point, Marty Natalegawa did not repond.

The delegates of the UPR session also continued to question the slow process of revision of the Penal Code Act, including to provide an explanation about the definition of torture. Furthermore, a clarification forum like this still questions the rampat acts of torture comitted by security forces (particularly the military and the police). In its reccomendations, the international community urged Indonesia to immediately ratify the OPCAT.

Third, the issue of Papua, which was discussed not from the political framework, but rather from the fact of the ongoing escalation of violence. Including the accountability of human rights violations committed by security forces, such as the military. The delegation also asked many questions on the development of the security sector reform. To address the problem of Papua, Marty often argued that based on his knowledge, Papua is currently in a stable condition. The Government of Indonesia has also conducted a scheme of development under a special autonomy implemented in Aceh and Papua. Marty also added that the police and the military presence in Papua and Aceh is not a deviation of procedure, in fact, it is a part of the nation's law and order mechanism.

, there are few positive developments that were highlighted by the government of Indonesia, such as the planned ratification of international human rights instruments (the Rome Statute and the Convention on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearances). Marty also further explained that the schedule for the ratification of international human rights instruments is to be determined. In addition, the Government of Indonesia also underscored their effort to invite some of UN Special Rapporteurs such as the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health, Adequate Housing, and Freedom of Expression and Opinion.

Unfortunately, with a very high rate of violence happening in the name of religion and belief, Marty did not addess Indonesia's plan to invite the UN Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Religion and Belief, despite of the request from the UN that has been posted since 1996. To date, there still has not been any follow up from the government to invite the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Religion and Belief.

Of the overall theme of the human rights situation at the UPR Indonesian delegates session today, KontraS sees much support, appreciation, positive feedback for Indonesia over the process of institutional development and improvement of conditions in the field of human rights. However, KontraS still has not seen any new answers from the Indonesian government that would indicate initiatives in the settlement of cases of violence, including no attention to detail on the settlement of cases of past human rights violations.

As a human rights organization that monitors the progress of Indonesia’s human rights condition, KontraS will continue to urge the Government of Indonesia to fulfill the political promises in the field of human rights with the decline of violence and the rise of state's accountability as the parameters of success. We view that the political promises stated by Marty Natalegawa must be accomplished by the Government of Indonesia and must also involve the role of civil societies and the international community.

Jakarta, 23 May 2012
Working Committee of Kontras


Haris Azhar