Indonesia and HRDs: some progress but still problems concludes Human Rights First

December 6, 2011

Human Rights First recently returned from an assessment trip to Jakarta where they met with activists to learn from them whether the Indonesian government has prioritized human rights through its treatment of human rights defenders. They had the following to say, which will be included in an alternative report to the Universal Periodic Review of Indonesia slated for next summer before the UN Human Rights Council:

  • Impunity for past human rights abusers, particularly those involved at the highest levels in the 2004 assassination of leading human rights defender Munir, continues to be a central concern for human rights defenders and adds to an environment where defenders feel unprotected in their work.
  • Human rights defenders acknowledge that outright violence against them has declined in recent years, but attacks and other forms of intimidation and harassment continue especially  in conflict areas such as Papua and West Papua. Tactics used include surveillance and threats of violence and arrest that increase around the release of reports, trainings and before and after visits by international human rights groups.
  • Human rights defenders in conflict areas are also subject to excessive use of force by police when exercising their freedoms of assembly and expression. Most recently, in October 2011 police, backed by a military detachment, fired assault rifles over a demonstration in Jayapura, Papua, killing at least three. Over 300 protesters were arrested and witnesses report the use of torture.
  • The work of human rights defenders, particularly those working on exposing corruption and past human rights abuses, has been impeded by criminal and civil defamation cases brought against them.

President Yudhoyono should make clear that past and future attacks against human rights defenders will not go unpunished and publicly support a renewed independent investigation into Munir’s death that would lead to recommendations for prosecution and a case review of past criminal proceedings. The Government should repeal or amend legislation that criminalizes the work of human rights defenders, including journalists.

for more info see: Indonesia on the Right Path, But Still Has a Long Way To Go | Human Rights First.

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