INDONESIA: Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC) UPR submission report on Indonesia

The Asian Human Rights Commission wishes to inform you about the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) report submitted by the Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC). It concerns the third cycle of the UPR. The ALRC’s submission focuses on the criminal justice system, the normative legal framework, impunity for past human rights abuses, the freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and opinion and the situation of human rights defenders on the ground. For further reading about the ALRC’s UPR report on Indonesia please see here.

In 2012, in the second cycle of the UPR, the Republic of Indonesia received 180 recommendations in total. Out of this, the Delegation was able to accept 144 during the Working Groups session. The remaining 36 recommendations needed further consultation with relevant stakeholders in Indonesia. After consultation, the government accepted six of the recommendations.

Related to the previous UPR session, the ALRC found some grave issues. Torture in the last four years is still a serious issue, the police are the most frequent actors committing torture, the development of the Indonesian criminal justice system, through revision of the Penal Code, has shown little progress. Human rights defenders remain unprotected. From 2014 to 2017 we noted cases of murder and various types of human rights violations against human rights defenders in Indonesia. Two examples are the murders of Salim Kancil, in East Java province and Indra Pelani in Jambi province. The criminal justice system failed to be part of the solution. Doling out light punishments and a lack of fair trial principles remain the dominant issues.

Relative to the rights of freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, these also continue to be violated. And it is common knowledge that Indonesia has ratified key international human rights instruments which guarantee these rights. In addition, there is no effective mechanism to prosecute and punish such violations. There are no guidelines for State officers on how to protect these rights and to ensure that their behaviour is not in violation of such rights.

For previous human rights abuses in the last four years, an investigation into these abuses has not seen any significant progress. Seven cases remain in the Attorney General’s Office (AGO) since the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) submitted its investigation into these cases, between 2003 and 2008. The cases consisted of students shooting in Trisakti University and Semanggi (between 1998 and 1999), enforced disappearances of student activists (1997-1998), Talangsari massacre in Lampung (1989), Tragedy of 13-15 May 1998, Mysterious shootings (1981-1983), Wasior and Wamena case in Papua (2001 and 2003), and the 1965-1966 massacre.

Mr. Edi Arsadad, a past human rights abuse victim stated “the government of Indonesia has to be open and seriously implement the recommendations of the UPR. It is important to strengthen human rights protection in the country and impunity eradication.”

The National Commission on Human Rights and The Attorney General (AG) have been unwilling to bring the case to an ad hoc Human Rights Court, as mandated by Law No. 26 of 2000. They ignored the four recommendations by Parliament on the establishment of an ad hoc committee of the Human Rights Court for enforced disappearances in 1997-1998. We are left with a government that remains silent and avoids the judicial process to settle these cases.

Considering the above-mentioned problems and the serious weaknesses in implementing the second Indonesian UPR recommendations, we would suggest the following: have the national and international media monitor the process. We expect that all government representatives, involved in the Indonesian UPR process, raise critical points about the human rights situation in Indonesia.