INDONESIA: Human Rights Issues as Inseparable Parts of SDGs

Written by Mr. Gugus Elmo Ra’is1

In a virtual light discussion between me and the Asian Human Rights Commission, Mr. Basil Fernando and human rights activist, Mr. Bejo Untung, as well as human rights activist and academician, Mr. Chrisbiantoro, we obtained a common thread that human rights enforcement and law enforcement are inseparable parts of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Especially as a state party of the United Nations (UN), as a necessity of the treaty making law, Indonesia must follow and play an active role in determining the sustainable development goals (SDGs) as stated in the document Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

In terms of political will, Jokowi Government is actually quite adequate, as evident that the government has ratified the document in the form of Presidential Regulation Number 59 of 2017 concerning the Implementation of Achieving Sustainable Development Goals. Based on the Presidential Regulation, especially Article 2 paragraph (2) which states that, the SDGS as referred to in paragraph (1) aims to sustainably improve the economic welfare of the community, maintain the sustainability of community social life, maintain the quality of the environment as well as inclusive development and implement good governance that is able to maintain the improvement of the quality of life from one generation to the next generation. Thus, increasing the economic welfare of the community is the main stressing, but it cannot leave efforts to improve the social life of the community in other aspects and this has a very broad scope.

Based on this understanding, efforts to improve social life cannot be separated from efforts to create justice through various measures of law enforcement and upholding human rights in accordance with international human rights conventions. Unfortunately, until now the government seems still confused about where to start, as evident that many human rights cases inherited from the past have not been handled completely, for example the case 65, Tanjung Priok, Talangsari etc. which were inherited by the New Order regime. The complete disclosure of these cases coupled with reconciliation efforts as has been done by the South African Government will erase past trauma, especially for victims’ families who have to accept bad stigma without going through the judicial process.

Meanwhile, Mr Basil Fernando, put forward his thesis that to uphold human rights as part of the SDGs, it can be done through a process of strengthening law enforcement institutions, not just relying on the morality of the apparatus alone. And that can be started from the judicial process by providing adequate rights for the suspects, so that the repressive process in the law enforcement process can be measured without reducing the rights of the suspects. This human rights commissioner from Sri Lanka, added that South Korea can be an ideal example of how the process of law enforcement and human rights can synergize with economic development.

In this way, the Presidential Regulation is not only interpreted as an effort to increase coordinative steps between government and non-government agencies, but more than that it must be accompanied by various concrete steps in an effort to uphold the rule of law and human rights. To ease its steps, the government should have made rigid considerations in appointing a person to a certain position. The government must give priority to people who do not have resistance and past sins so that the government can take decisive steps without being burdened by the awkward (ewuh pakewuh) feeling.

Such an attitude is now expected so that the government can bring justice to society without having to be entangled with political concessions with certain groups that do not want their black traces to be revealed. If the government has taken these steps, the domestic political condition will be stable, it remains only to determine steps in facing external challenges in an effort to improve the economic welfare of the community. And Indonesia already has a comparative advantage, namely, a large population with adequate purchasing power and abundant natural resources as a destination country for investment, which all lead to efforts to improve the economic welfare of the community. *

[1] Mr. Gugus Elmo Ra’is is Indonesian Journalist and human rights activist

Document Type : Article
Document ID : AHRC-ART-014-2020
Countries : Indonesia,
Issues : Arbitrary arrest & detention, Democracy, Extrajudicial killings, Judicial system, Military, Right to life, Rule of law, Torture,