UPR 2012 Recommendation:
Challenges to Indonesia's Commitment in Enforcing Human Rights for the Next 4 Years
KontraS (The Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of Violence), SETARA Institute, AHRC (Asian Human Rights Commission), ICTJ (International Center for Transitional Justice, PGI (Indonesian Church Fellowship) and PI (Protection International) welcome the recommendation of the UPR (Universal Periodical Review) session released on May 25, 2012. The UPR Session has released a number of recommendations in regards to human rights enforcement that we see as important and must be followed up by the Indonesian Government in the next four years.
It is recorded that a total of 74 member countries participated in the session that was held on 23rd of May 2102 and made reviews on Indonesia's national report on human rights. 27 out of them were members of the UN Human Rights Council, with 47 other members coming from observer countries. It is also noted that ASEAN member states also participated in reviewing the human rights condition in Indonesia.
Regarding the recommendation adopted by the UPR 2nd Cycle's Working Group, we see this document as adequately comprehensive to measure the commitment of the Government of Indonesia in enforcing many issues relating to human rights. Within this statement, we therefore, would like to highlight several issues that are of our utmost concern and have been previously submitted and included in our civil society report before the UPR session began.
First, the recommendation mostly emphasizes a few agendas that have been enshrined in the National Action Plan 2011-2014 relating to the progress of ratification of international human rights instruments that is currently stalled. To name a few, the ratification of Rome Statute ICC and OPCAT has been included within the previous period of the National Action Plan (2004-2011) and as well in the previous UPR Session. However, up until the second cycle of the UPR session, both instruments still face a hindrance in reaching a significant progress which eventually should them to be included in the next National Action Plan (2011-2014). Furthermore, in this recommendation, a statement is also written to demand the ratification of the Convention on Enforced Disappearances (CED).
Second, another emphasis was put on the recommendation to guarantee the cessation of torture, strongly related to the amendment process of the Criminal Code which remains unresolved. Torture as a form of crime was mentioned many times in the 2nd Cycle of the UPR session, particularly to be included within the Criminal Code amendment that is in line with the Convention against Torture, which has been ratified by the Government of Indonesia. The recommendation to amend the Criminal Code has also appeared a few times before in the 1st Cycle of the UPR Session (2004-2011). Moreover, the 2012 UPR session also recommends the existence of trainings for security forces and law enforcement officials and to bring the perpetrators to civil court, not the military court (particularly if the perpetrator comes from a military background).
Third, concern on the condition of freedom of religion and belief was mentioned many times by countries in the UPR Session 2012. In regards to that, the recommendation issued by the session specifically addresses the issue of freedom of religion and belief relating to the implementation and protection of religious minority groups in Indonesia such as Ahmadiyah, Baha'i, Syiah, and Christians. The recommendations also put an emphasis on the duty of the Indonesian government to repeal/amend several laws and regulations that are direct or indirectly discriminating certain religious groups and are seen as not in line with the Indonesian constitution and international human rights standards.
Fourth, on the subject of protection of human rights defenders, UPR 2012 recommends the government of Indonesia to provide a secure environment for the human rights defenders to support their work, including the guarantee to conduct independent investigation, and also to guarantee the protection of human rights defenders from acts of violence and partiality in legal processes.
Fifth, on the issue of Papua, the UPR's recommendation mostly links the issue of freedom of expression, especially expression in terms of political issues. This emphasis to guarantee freedom of expression in Indonesia includes the guarantee of freedom of opinion by ending the implementation of Criminal Code article 106 and article 110. The situation in Papua, which is still far from access of international journalists, was also brought to the table in the UPR session. The recommendation thus demands free access for international and local journalists to enter Papua and West Papua. The recommendation also puts a stress on the climate of impunity and the series of human rights violations that are still happening in Papua and therefore, must be ended soon.
Sixth, fighting impunity was one of the general recommendations in a series of issues that were underlined by the UPR Session 2012. In this case, to fight impunity in Indonesia must be strengthened with the presence of laws and regulations and impartiality in its implementation.
Seventh, security sector reform also became a specific recommendation that was believed as vital as an effort to increase respect to human rights values and the rule of law through educational and institutional reform.
Based on the abovementioned recommendations, we assess that this periodâ€™s recommendation is more concrete than the recommendation released 4 years ago, and we see that this recommendation acts as a challenge for the government of Indonesia in the next 4 years in the enforcement of human rights.
Thus, we urge the Government of Indonesia to objectify these recommendations into concrete derivatives, so that the development and success of each recommendation can be measured within a specific time frame as a form of progress for the next UPR session. Concretely, we request the President to promptly call a number of high rank officials from related institutions with the issues mentioned above: such as the Head of the Supreme Court, Chief of National Police, the Attorney General, Minister of Justice and Human Rights and Head of the National Human Rights Commission to ensure that the efforts to implement protection of human rights are conducted in a serious manner. Most importantly, we as representative from the civil societies without doubt, are willing to become partners in the process of fulfillment of human rights.
Jakarta, 30 May 2012
KontraS, SETARA Institute, AHRC, ICTJ, PGI and PI