INDONESIA: Human Rights merely a NORM under three years of President Widodo

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has learned that the three years Indonesia has been under President Joko Widodo and Vice President Jusuf Kalla’s administration, October 2014 – October 2017, there remains two years in the presidential term (2014-2019). Indonesia has ratified several key international human rights instruments such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) and also the International Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. Despite these ratifications, the fact is, Human Rights are merely a NORM, a model regarded as typical.

In terms of the legal system, Indonesia has more than enough regulations to ensure and strengthen the protection of human rights. For instance, Law No. 39 of 1999 on Human Rights, Law No. 26 of 2000 on the Human Rights Court and the Government Regulation (PP) No. 3 of 2002 on compensation, restitution and rehabilitation for victims of serious human rights violations. Very recently the Government issued Government Regulation No. 43 of 2017, concerning Restitution for Children who became victims in criminal cases. In addition, President Widodo has Nawa Cita, a current vision and mission. One of the points is strengthening human rights protection, ensuring a State presence on the ground.

So far, the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) notes that there is still a serious gap between the protection and the promotion of human rights under the Widodo administration. In terms of promotion, the Government issued two Presidential Regulations, (Perpres) No. 75 of 2015 on the Human Rights Action Plan 2015-2019 and the National Mid-Term Development Plan (RPJMN) 2015-2019. The issuance of these documents was to accelerate Human Rights POLICIES. However, these documents have not yet brought any benefit for strengthening human rights protection in Indonesia.

Take for example Papua. Up until the present time, Papua continues to be one of the most dangerous places in Indonesia. And, President Widodo made a commitment to give priority policy (affirmative policy) to indigenous Papuans. Yet, human rights violations still occur frequently in the Provinces. Four instances follow: 1.) an alleged brutal shooting by the Police mobile brigade in Deiyai regency, Papua on August 1, 2017. 2.) a cruel assault on 15year-old Albert Nawipa, an indigenous Papuan teenager by the Police, documented and reported by the AHRC 3.) the torture of Mr. Niko Hisage, an indigenous Papuan, assaulted by Army personnel from the sub-district military command of Wamena city. 4.) the torture of Yunus Manarui, a senior high school student, grade 10, of Teluk Wondama Public School 01 (SMUN 01), West Papua Province, recently documented and reported by the AHRC.

A pattern of human rights violations in Papua is noted as mostly committed by security forces. Many cases remain unresolved, where victims remain in the dark and face uncertain future law enforcement action.

Capital Punishment–in terms of implementation, three years under President Widodo has presented so far the following sentences. The Government has executed 18 death row inmates between 2016 and 2017. The Court convicted and sentenced 44 defendants to death. Most of the defendants were drug dealers with a few other defendants involved in premeditated murder. Despite massive national and international pressure to abolish the death penalty, the Government, has insisted that executions will reduce the circulation of drugs in the country. According to the Attorney General there are 131 death row inmates, 69 of whom are related to murder and robbery, two convicted persons involved in cases of State security and public order, such as terrorism. As many as 60 people are convicted of illegal drug circulation, including 34 foreigners (WNA). The remaining 26 people are Indonesian citizens (WNI).

NONE of the following past human rights abuses have been prosecuted after three years of Widodo’s rule. They are the cases of: a student shooting in Trisakti and Semanggi 1999, the May Tragedy 13-15 May 1998, the Talangsari massacre 1989, the mysterious shooting 1981-1983, Wasior and Wamena Papua 2001 and 2003, the forced disappearances of student activists in 1997-1998 and the massacre of 1965-1966. Mr. HM. Prasetyo, the Attorney General, has refused to investigate past abuses. He is not complying with Law No. 26 of 2000 of the Human Rights Court. After the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) submitted its final inquiry Report, the AG should undertake an Investigation to delve deeper into the facts.

The Asian Human Rights Commission observed that three years into President Widodo term of office, Indonesian democracy faces a serious threat. This resulted when the Government enacted the Government Regulation in Lieu of Law No. 2 year 2017 on Community Organizations (Perppu Ormas) and Parliament passed the regulation into Law. The new Law will be a real threat to Civil Society Organizations who refuted the five principles (Pancasila), of State ideology. This means Government could disband Civil Society Organizations without a Court decision!

All the above-mentioned problems merely capture some human rights problems raised under President Widodo’s administration. But, they are more than enough to describe the human rights situation under three years of President Widodo’s leadership. The Government is not seriously willing to uphold human rights protection in Indonesia. The State’s presence, as promised by President Widodo under his Nawa Cita document, has up until now not shown the true realty of the country. The Government prefers to develop infrastructure and tends to ignore human rights. It is obvious that the development of infrastructure without human rights resulted in NEW human rights problems. In particular, consider the agrarian sectors. In the last three years agrarian cases are the most frequent cases reported to the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM).

As there is no progress on the drafting process of the new Indonesian Penal Code, the Government has failed in two areas, vs., to strengthen law enforcement and to ensure legal reform. Some controversial regulations such as the Blasphemy and Criminal Defamation Laws are not relevant anymore as human rights instruments and values. BUT, they still apply in the National Legal System.

Thus, the Asian Human Rights Commission respectfully requests the Government of Indonesia to implement its programs. They are already written in the Presidential Regulation (Perpres) No. 75 of 2015 on Human Rights Action Plan 2015-2019 and the National Mid-Term Development Plan (RPJMN) 2015-2019. The Government must ensure, with conviction, that the State’s presence in whatever conditions protects the human rights of all its citizens. The Government should include HUMAN RIGHTS in its policies. They should not avoid settlements of human rights cases under fair trial principles and standards. Human rights treaties which have been ratified by Indonesia as well as national human rights law and regulations which already exist, should be carried out in earnest. Human rights regulations should be applied as Law, not as a norm. Human rights should not be used merely to develop an image of the Government in the international forum, because, in fact human rights in the country has yet to become Government policy.

The Asia Human Rights Commission emphasizes that as a member of the UN Human Rights Council, the Indonesian Government has the obligation to uphold human rights protection within its territory. As stated by the UN General Assembly Resolution 60/251, March 15, 2006, UN Doc. A/RES/60/2. under paragraph 9: members elected to the Council shall uphold the highest standards in the promotion and protection of human rights, shall fully cooperate with the Council and be reviewed under the universal periodic review mechanism during their term of membership.