Local and international rights advocates will detail the government’s lack of progress in protecting human rights at the UN Human Rights Council’s plenary meeting in Geneva next week.
Rafendi Djamin, the head of the Human Rights Working Group, told the Jakarta Globe on Sunday that his group, along with representatives from the Indonesian Legal Resource, were scheduled to present a report on March 8 on the progress made by Indonesia in implementing the human rights recommendations made by the Committee Against Torture and Manfred Nowak, the UN special rapporteur on torture.
The Committee Against Torture in 2008 issued a series of “principals, subjects, concerns and recommendations” to Indonesia on human rights abuse issues in the country. These issues included torture, the ill-treatment of and insufficient safeguards for suspects during police detention, corporal punishments applied by Aceh’s Shariah police, violence against Ahmadiyah and other religious minorities, and the lack of effective investigation and prosecution procedures in the Attorney General’s Office.
The committee asked Indonesia to respond by May 2009, a deadline the government failed to meet.
In November 2009, Felice D Gear, the UN rapporteur tasked to follow up the recommendations, sent a letter to Dian Triansyah Djani, the Indonesian permanent mission head in Geneva, asking about the status of the government’s response to the matter.
Rafendi said the HRWG had asked the Foreign Affairs Ministry and the Justice and Human Rights Ministry about any follow-up on the committee’s recommendations, which focused on National Police internal regulations on human rights, prison improvement programs and the establishment of a national committee on the prevention of torture.
“HRWG regrets that the government has been uncooperative in responding and implementing the CAT follow-up mechanisms,” Rafendi said.
Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman Teuku Faizasyah told the Globe on Sunday that the government had failed to meet the deadline to provide the information as requested by the committee.
“No, the report hasn’t been finished, but that task also belongs to other departments, including the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights,” he said.
“The report is being prepared by the relevant departments,” Teuku said.
He acknowledged the Foreign Affairs Ministry was responsible for coordinating and compiling the report, but said he was optimistic it would be ready for submission during the upcoming UN meeting in May.
“We still have three months, I think we can still make it,” Teuku said. “The submission of a progress report is important for us to see the development of human rights issues in the country.”
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reportedly said last Wednesday that while the United States wanted to increase counterterrorism and military cooperation with Indonesia, it had to be sure that the country was committed to ending human rights abuses.
Copyright 2010 The Jakarta Globe