The Jakarta Post
Indonesian and international groups highlighted the continuation of rights violations and the failure of Indonesian law enforcement to uphold the protection of human rights, despite eight years passing since the government ratified the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).
The Human Rights Committee launched a formal session with non-governmental institutions on Monday in Geneva and asked for input on the implementation of civil and political rights in Indonesia.
More than 15 Indonesia and international rights groups attended the session to present their concerns on several issues to the 18 members of the committee consisting of experts on human rights.
Amnesty International highlighted ongoing violations by security forces, restrictions on freedom of religion and the continuing impunity of perpetrators of past violations.
It also raised concerns over the rights of women and migrant workers' and the death penalty.
'Amnesty International is extremely concerned about the number of laws and regulations used to criminalize peaceful political activism,' Papang Hidayat of Amnesty International said on Monday.
The Human Rights Working Group (HRWG) focused on freedom of religion, belief and association in Indonesia, pointing to the most recent incident on July 5, when a house of Muslim worship ' Al Muhajadah ' in South Aceh Province was burnt down by a mob.
It was instigated and justified by a public statement from the Local Ulama Council (MPU) in Aceh, saying that the house belonged to Shia followers, who were considered deviant.
'It reflects the continuation of violence based on hatred toward religious minority groups in Indonesia,' HRWG's executive director Rafendi Djamin said.
Yuli Rustinawati of Arus Pelangi demanded formal affirmation from the government to recognize the LGBTIQ and people with diverse sexual orientation and gender identities.
Meagan Lee of Reprieve in London raised concerns about Indonesia's death penalty, which she said was inconsistent with the ICCPR.
She urged the government to immediately impose a moratorium on the death penalty in light of serious and frequent violations of due process and fair trial safeguards, under Article 14, and urged the government to accede to the second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR.
'Indonesia should ensure that the death penalty, if used at all, is applicable only to the most serious crimes ['¦] and should be repealed for all other crimes, including drug offences,' Lee said.
Patrick Mutzenberg of the Centre for Civil and Political Rights in Geneva, said the session was crucial for the committee since it was the only way for the committee to be informed of the issues faced by the government.
'Civil society has a critical role to play, not only now but also once concluding observations are issued by the committee,' Mutzenberg told The Jakarta Post on Monday.
He noted that the NGO session was even more important since the government would present the initial report on Wednesday and Thursday and have dialogue with the committee regarding the implementation of civil and political rights.
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