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Jakarta Post

Number of rights abuse cases rises in 2013: Kontras

The Jakarta Post
Jakarta   ●   Fri, December 27, 2013

The Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) said on Thursday that the number of alleged human rights abuse cases in the country rose from 448 cases in 2012 to 709 cases this year.

It said that about 4,500 people had become victims of rights abuses, leading to hundreds of fatalities.

After 15 years of democratic reform, justice in Indonesia had stagnated and human rights violations had escalated, Kontras coordinator Haris Azhar told The Jakarta Post.

He said that President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono had turned a blind eye to the many cases of abuse that occurred under his leadership. '€œThere is no commitment from the government to resolve human rights violations, only promises,'€ he said.

The underlying issue of injustice in Indonesia is that there is no accountability for enforcers of the law and human rights, he went on. '€œBy doing nothing, the government can be considered an accomplice in support of human rights violations.'€

Kontras said that many of the human rights violations cases in 2013 were related to natural resources exploitation and conflicts arising from it, totaling 115 cases.

'€œThe cases revolve around the unlawful detention of citizens that led to serious injury and even death,'€ he said.

Cases of religious intolerance came second, followed by abuse of power by public officials, police officers and soldiers.

Kontras also highlighted alleged rights abuses committed by the National Police'€™s counterterrorism squad, Densus 88. It recorded at least 29 cases involving Densus 88 members this year.

'€œCase in point, in Poso, Central Sulawesi, a civilian who was suspected of being a terrorist was shot dead even though he was unarmed,'€ Haris said.

The activist said there was no clear evaluation mechanism on standard operating procedures in the fight against terrorism.

Kontras, which was cofounded by slain activist Munir Said Thalib, recorded around 100 cases of torture, 55 of which involved the police and 10 the military.

'€œSurprisingly, 35 cases implicated prison guards,'€ Haris said.

Abuse in this category consisted of physical beatings, drowning in fish ponds and electric shocks. (asw)