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RI-EU PCA: Taking rights seriously

Sumber: THEJAKARTAPOST.COM | Tgl terbit: Selasa, 01 Desember 2009

Indonesia and the European Community (EC) recently signed a Framework Agreement on Comprehensive Partnership and Cooperation (PCA). The PCA covers many issues, ranging from trade and investment, to the environment and natural resources; from combating terrorism and transnational crimes, to proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The PCA also includes issues related to human rights.

This last issue could be considered a major development for Indonesia and reaffirms the current administration's adherence to universal human rights norms and values. However, more than 11 years after the end of the repressive Soeharto regime, Indonesia has only accomplished very limited legislation and institutional reform on human rights.

There are many things that Indonesia can achieve through this PCA if only the government seriously wants to improve its human rights performance.

First, the PCA has several key issues related to human rights accountability which is still lacking in Indonesia's democratic transition. The PCA clearly states that both parties "reaffirm that the most serious crimes of concern to the international community must not go unpunished and that those who are accused of them should be brought to justice and if found guilty should be duly punished and that their effective prosecution must be ensured by taking measures at national level and by enhancing global collaboration".

Impunity is still persistent and extensive in Indonesia, even for ordinary human rights abuses. The situation is worse in conflict-prone areas, particularly in Papua. The perpetrators still enjoy political privileges, while the victims get nothing. It's still quite complicated how this PCA's provision can be implemented by both parties, although lots of possibilities can arise since the current administration has a relatively clean record with regard to past atrocities.

Our suggestion is that this provision be implemented by prioritizing victims' rights, particularly on compensation. Apart from the issue of impunity, the PCA also reiterated the EC's support for Indonesia's ratification of the Rome Statute, which was overdue last year under the National Human Rights Action Plan 2004-2009. The ratification received resistance from some state agencies.

This needs to be added to the ratification of the convention on the rights of migrant workers, convention on the rights of persons with disabilities, and convention on the protection of all persons from enforced disappearance.

Second, the PCA reaffirms that Indonesia should take a strategic regional role in future and larger EC-ASEAN cooperation, to maintain security and democratic transition in the region. It's important to note that Indonesia also play an important role in regional human rights arrangement by actively instituting the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) to complement the security and democratization agenda.

Although this commission remains toothless without a protection mandate, people hope this body can evolve into a more effective one. The AICHR can also be used by the EC or others in the international community as a new avenue to address human rights problems in the region, particularly in Myanmar. In the coming months, the newly established AICHR will focus on its capacity-building arrangement.

So far it has received very limited financial support from ASEAN and individual member states. Apart from that, the commission also needs technical support from the EC. The European human rights mechanism is still considered the best regional body and could enhance the AICHR's evolution, particularly by strengthening the protection mandate.

Third, as mentioned in several provisions in the PCA, both the EC and Indonesia agreed to have shared values on human rights based on the international instruments that have been ratified by both parties.

Fourth, the PCA also emphasizes the role of civil society in its implementation based on promoting people to people understanding. Moreover, the PCA has a special section on how civil society must be involved in the implementation. Indonesian civil society is very vibrant. The numerous NGOs have accommodated even the most progressive human rights ideas and are familiar with all international mechanisms. Nowadays, engagement with state agencies is common for NGOs.

Therefore there should be fewer problems in involving them in the PCA programs. The other important point is that many rights groups, particularly those based in Europe, will also monitor the PCA according to their standards. They will serve as watchdogs to ensure the EC and its individual governments commit to the provision in the PCA.

This latter is very possible, since NGOs both in Indonesia and in Europe already have a transnational advocacy network. They will guarantee that the issue of human rights won't become a mere diplomatic tradeoff.

The writers work for the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras).



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