The Jakarta Post
Members of the United Nations Human Rights Committee questioned Indonesia on its commitment to resolve human rights abuses, protect religious minorities and the use of excessive force among state apparatus, at a UN review session on Wednesday.
The committee, comprising 18 human rights experts from across the globe, highlighted that the failure to enforce law and order resulted in rights abuses, during the first assessment of the implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).
Their detailed and sharp questions touched on various cases including the murder of rights activist Munir in 2004; extra judicial killings in Papua; the 2008 Law on pornography that was deemed discriminatory against women and the LBGTIQ community; the implementation of Sharia law in Aceh; and the attacks on Shiite followers in Madura, East Java, on Ahmadiyah in Cikeusik, West Java; on churches as well as on a gay film festival.
The committee's vice chair Yadh Ben Achour noted the endemic culture of impunity despite the country ratifying the ICCPR. He questioned why the Attorney General Office (AGO) had failed to proceed with recommendations from the National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM).
'There are tensions and the recommendations were not always well accepted. There is an allegation that the government asked to ignore Komnas HAM's recommendations.'
Achour also examined on the conformity of regional regulations (bylaws) and national law and international norms.
'There are contradictions between autonomy and the government,' he stressed.
He asked for explanation on the implementation of Sharia law in Aceh, particularly regarding corporal punishment. 'Does it conform with the ICCPR, especially on the excessive use of force?'
Indonesia's delegation, which comprised 22 government officials, police and military officers led by the Law and Human Rights Ministry's director general of human rights Harkristuti Harkrisnowo, presented an initial report on the state of civil and political rights at the UN headquarters in Geneva on Wednesday and Thursday.
Responding to the committee members' questions, Harkristuti stressed that the constitution did not say anything about international conventions. 'The status of international instruments is equal to national legislation, not above. In the case of conflict, it will be brought to the Supreme Court.'
On the issue of policy and program for the implementation of ICCPR, she said, it had been reflected in the national human rights action plans and through various national and regional regulations.
Representatives of Indonesian NGOs criticized the government's lack of credible explanations.
Poengky Indarti of Imparsial argued that the government had not touched on the real facts. 'With such [a big] delegation, the government should have prepared more supporting data, and not only a defending stance.'
Choirul Anam of the Human Rights Working Group lamented the government's explanations, saying there was a lack of concrete and detailed data.
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