INDONESIA: AHRC annual report points at ongoing violence from the security forces 

On the occasion of the International Human Rights Day 2009, the AHRC has published its annual report on the situation of human rights in Indonesia. The report highlights the problem of ongoing torture and killings by the police as well as military violence. Several necessary institutional reforms have been delayed while, in Aceh, the local parliament tries to enact legislation re-introducing torture into the justice process.

The full report can be downloaded here.

Report Summary

The 2009 parliamentary and presidential elections raised many hopes and worries from human rights groups. The elections were dominated by persons with a strong military background and several of the presidential and vice-presidential candidates face serious allegations of human rights violations committed by the military. Indonesia also saw increasing demands for the islamisation of the state and public life with the introduction of the Sharia law bill in Aceh, which aims to legalize punishments identified internationally as torture. Now re-elected President Yudhoyono, the comparatively more moderate candidate, faces demands to fulfil promises he did not fulfil in his last presidential term, such as bringing the murderer of human rights defender Munir to justice. The main suspect in this case, retired Maj. Gen. Muchdi PR, was acquitted of all charges with the verdict of the judges facing criticisms for lacking fair trial standards.

The ongoing power play of military elites in government parallels the expanding activities of the military in the crisis province of Papua. 2009 saw an increase of political arrests and prison sentences for peaceful political activists. While mining in, and transmigration to, the Papuan provinces continued, no substantive improvement of the living conditions for indigenous Papuans was visible. Since arrests, torture and killings are reported to have continued, and access to the well-funded health care and education systems for indigenous people remained poor, the Special Autonomy Law in Papua was declared by many local groups as a failure.

The police underwent a reform of its internal guidelines and regulations with a substantive human rights element brought into police practice. However, the cases received by the AHRC show that torture, and even death as a result of torture, continues to be used as a viable means to obtain information or cover up cases of abuse in the police force. Attempts by the country’s applauded Anti-Corruption Commission (KPK), to investigate allegations of corruption in the police and the office of the attorney general (AGO) were countered with a power play from the police. The stand-off between the KPK and the National Police became known as the “Gecko vs. Crocodile” case in which Commissioners of the KPK had to face charges of abuse of power. The public widely supported the struggle of the KPK.

Allegations of criminal defamation against human rights activists, police violence against protesters and criminal charges of “disobedience” are examples for increasing threats, in 2009, to freedom of expression, opinion, and assembly. The recent ban of a movie by the state censure which depicts past military activities in Timor and the ongoing impunity related to gross violations of human rights, committed by the military, is evidence of the power that military interests still hold in the otherwise reformed and opened up Indonesia.

Please read the rest of the report by following this link:

Document Type : Statement
Document ID : AHRC-STM-246-2009
Countries : Indonesia,