Justice Stalled,Though Violence Carries On
In honor of KontraS 15th Anniversary Celebration today, March 20th, 2013, we deliver a report on human rights conditions in Indonesia, periodic year 2012. This 42-page report is a documentary record by KontraS, detailing various acts of violence, abuse of non-derogable rights, and violations of human rights in Indonesia more generally. Some parts of the report address the government’s responses to such events during the year 2012. It is a KontraS tradition to produce a report of this sort annually. The aim of the report is to serve as a teaching tool and a reminder of important events in the context of human rights in Indonesia.
In this report, KontraS is unable to address larger human rights concepts, which are now developing theoretically and legally. For that reason, this note addresses only KontraS’ main focus issues:
- Truth and justice for past human rights abuses (particularly during the Soeharto regime and martial law in Aceh)
- The protection of civil and political rights (political prisoners, torture, criminalization, and manipulation cases),
- Violations in the business sector (mining, labour and oil palm)
- Death Penalty,
- Security sector reform (police, military, and intelligence),
- Protection of human rights defenders,
- Human rights advocacy in Southeast Asia and International Solidarity, and
- Political empowerment of the “victims of violence” community.
KontraS’ focus issues, as listed above, are only a part of the Indonesian human rights context. Yet nevertheless, we believe those issues are a significant indicator of the measure of human rights’ protection and fulfillment in Indonesia.
Information from this report is gained from monitoring, including the monitoring of the locations of tragedies, media, victim reports, families of victims, and groups of society who are becoming increasingly more aware of the importance of a non-violence platform. In many parts of this report, KontraS does not reveal the source or official statement because we are afraid of threats towards our witnesses. Thus, in this report we mention only the data that was obtained by KontraS.
To assess and measure human rights development, we apply various criterion and analytical frameworks, looking specifically at the following: 1) Non-discrimination, 2) Participation 3) Progression/proper improvement, and 4) Effective recovery.
Those four fundamental principles are looked at both from a constitutional and legal point of view. The numbers of laws that regulate those principles, such as Law no. 39 in 1999, Concerning human rights, as well as international laws (ratified by Indonesian Government), such as the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the International Covenant of Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (CESCR), and the International Convention Against Torture (CAT).
As to KontraS’ specific focus issues, the report concludes that Indonesia’s human rights progress has stalled. First and foremost, the rate of violence remains high. More than 700 human rights violations affected 2000 victims throughout 2012. Indonesian police continue to be the main perpetrators of these violations. Papua is the most fragile area, experiencing the highest rate of violations. The situation in Papua is exacerbated by a Jakarta-based attitude towards Papua that highlights segregation and views Papua through the lens of separatism. The root of Papuan society’s discontent, and desire to separate, appears to be dissatisfaction with services and a lack of legal protections.
Second, minority groups continue to be vulnerable to acts of violence. Such groups include minorities who lack informational access to justice, ethnic minorities, religious minorities, political and economic minorities, all easily experience violations, according to KontraS’ report. Issues regarding natural resources and freedom of religion and belief are also becoming dominant issues, demonstrating how easily minority groups are defeated by corporate and majority interests. The State, through security actors, even protected corporate and intolerant groups.
Third, the government policy, in response to these situations of protection of corporate and intolerant interest, has not been to strive for professionalism recovery of its security bodies, but instead to reinforce the security instrument. The plan for the National Security Bill (RUU Kamnas) demonstrated the Indonesian Military (TNI) and the government’s desire to further increase the scope of their power over police forces. The government clearly desires to make the Indonesian Military more powerful in the realm of security enforcement, rather than improving the police force. This further reinforces the position of the TNI, as guaranteed by the bill of Social Conflict Management, Law no. 17 of 2012. Interestingly enough, after the enactment of the Law on Managing Social Conflict (UU PKS), the conflict has become even more widespread. Yet disturbingly, the implementation of the Mass Organizations Bill negatively affects the ability of civil society to respond and aid the government in addressing these crises.
Fourth, ironically, despite violent tragedies that resulted in gross suffering and disadvantage, there has been no government recovery effort in regards to victim and society rights. The legal action is almost zero, and in the rare case where it does exist, it is very selective; any corrective measures taken occur as a result of pressure from the media and the public. Moreover, the Indonesia Police Institution (Polri) and National Army (TNI) still enjoy peculiar protection of its members who have been alleged to perpetrate violent acts. This is becoming a tradition and inheritance. In government-perpetrated human rights violation cases, the government’s failure, or indeed disobedience, in failing to investigate and hold perpetrators accountable in cases of past serious human right violation, is becoming the “jurisprudence” for the next case. The violence that happened in 2012 is evidence of this perpetuating trend.
Fifth, there is no genuine participation from the society in the conversation to improve rights fulfillment opportunities in this country. Instead, members of society are violated and criminalized by the application of a unilateral rule of law that lacks historical context.
We regret that the aforementioned events continue to take place unchanged, even though we have made repeated advocacy efforts towards President SBY to remind him of the risks of repeated violence and the State’s neglect in pursuing justice. Our advocacy efforts include writing letters, filing legal challenges, attending and/or hosting hearings and direct meetings, public statements and demonstrations. In our opinion, there are three main reasons for the neglectful attitude of the president, the government and law enforcement. First, coordination between the parties mentioned above does not work the way it should work. Secondly, violence and a lack of law enforcement were used to purposefully cover up their actions and policies that are biased against citizens. Â Third, the parties appear to have no commitment to or understanding for the role of a public servant, which is to prevent violence and bring forth justice.
In 2013, in preparation for elections in 2014, we predict that the violence and justice agenda will remain neglected or potentially politicized by a number of actors who are considered responsible for some violence, including violence classified as gross past human rights violations. Or conversely, infliction only becomes the basis for the argument for a number of politicians seeking support from the victim of violence community in order to obtain candidacy for the legislature and/or the President election in 2014. On the other hand, 2013 will be a year with a vibrant expression of demanding rights and justice. Finally, we are very concerned that the issue of religious minorities and the exploitation of natural resources will continue to deteriorate as they are used as a tool by the consolidation of certain political groups.
Therefore, there must be an accurate strategy and priority of the government and state institutions in building the professionalism of human rights, which directly provide concrete indicators in resolving cases and fulfillment of the rights of citizens, including:
- Provide protection for human rights workers by re-opening the file on Munir's murder case, prosecute the perpetrators of violence against a number of journalists, and stop the criminalization of human rights defenders, environmentalists, labor activists and corruption whistleblowers.
- Promptly arrange a Papua dialogue with various civil society groups in Papua.
- Ensure that the perpetrators of violence against minorities are condemned, rather than merely punishing the minority leader, as has been the response in the past.
4. The President should call upon and insist that the Attorney General and the National Commission on Human Rights formulate a follow-up to the various case files on human rights violations that have as yet failed to be investigated.
5. The President should immediately follow up on the four recommendations of Parliament pertaining to the kidnapping and enforced disappearance cases of 1997-1998.
6. Parliament and the government should stop the discussion on the draft National Security Bill.
7. Immediately complete the agrarian reform agenda, provide guaranteed access to and recognition of the rights of indigenous people on land and water to ensure the survival of indigenous peoples, farmers, including coastal communities.
8. The President has to select a National Police Chief (Kapolri) and Armed Forces Commander (Panglima TNI) in 2013 that will ensure accountability for the work units and members who commit violence.
The eight points above are just some of a number of other measures that should be followed up on over the course of 2013, including problems such as those in Aceh, justice for victims in East Timor, and advocacy for migrant workers who are facing the death penalty overseas, just to name a few.
Thus, explanation of our record on human rights conditions in Indonesia, periodical year 2012. We look forward to collaboration with diverse parties to encourage significant changes in the years ahead. Let us work together with the highest respect for human rights and humanity.
Jakarta, March 20, 2013
Agency Worker of KontraS