Subject: NGOs concerned about Indonesia's nomination to chair UN rights body

I N D O L E F T - News service

NGOs concerned about Indonesia's nomination to chair UN

rights body

Kompas - November 24, 2004

Jakarta - Non-government organisations (NGOs) are concerned

about Indonesia's nomination to chair the United Nations

Human Rights Commission because it will actually silence

the human rights movement in Indonesia itself. In order to

hold this prestigious position Indonesia must first

demonstrate a strong commitment to upholding human rights

at home.

This was raised by the coordinator of Indonesia's NGO

Coalition for International Human Rights Advocacy, Rafendi

Djamin, the chairperson of the Indonesian Legal Aid and

Human Rights Association, Hendardi, and a member of the

Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence

(Kontras), Mukti Makarim in Jakarta on Tuesday November 23.

The three NGOs believe that if Indonesian does not improve

its domestic human rights record then holding the position

of head of the UN Human Rights Commission will damage

Indonesia's image in the eyes of the international

community. This occurred when Libya held the position while

in reality the human rights violations which were occurring

in Libya had already become a point of contention within

the international community.

According to Djamin, the government of Susilo Bambang

Yudhoyono must demonstrate its commitment to upholding

human rights in Indonesia and take international

responsibility in the area of human rights, particularly if

it is to chair the UN Human Rights Commission. There are

key four points which must be dealt with by the Indonesian


Firstly, investigating and solving the murder of human

rights campaigner Munir, both to solve the case as there

are indications that it was a premeditated murder

perpetrated against the movement to uphold human rights in

Indonesia as a whole and to demonstrate Indonesia's

international commitment to ratify the UN declaration on

the protection of human rights defenders before January 17

next year when Indonesia would be appointed as the

commission's chair.

Secondly, to progressively solve a number of human rights

violations by ending the culture of impunity which exists

at the moment, particularly in cases of gross human rights

violations such as East Timor, Tanjung Priok and the cases

in West Papua and Aceh. In particular it must take a

position that is mature and open with regard to criticisms

by the international human rights community with regard to

the outcome of the East Timor ad hoc human rights court and

to seek a mutual solution to break this chain of impunity.

Thirdly, immediately revoke the extension of the civil

emergency in Aceh after a one month evaluation because

emergency operations have invariably result in human rights

violations. Doing this will provide evidence that human

rights are a priority in Indonesia which will carry an

important message if Indonesia is to head the respected

international body.

Fourthly, demonstrate the Indonesian state's commitment and

responsibility to upholding human rights internationally,

especially through the human rights mechanisms of the UN.

"To date Indonesia's accountability in upholding human

rights has been minimal. We note that the government has

been five years late in reporting on efforts to eliminate

discrimination in Indonesia, the government has been two

years late in reporting on the elimination of all forms of

discrimination against women and the government is yet to

respond to the 2004 report by UN's Special Rapporteur on

Torture", said Makarim. (VIN)

[Translated by James Balowski.]


The INDOLEFT news service is produced by the Indonesian

Centre for Reform and Social Emancipation (INCREASE) and

Action in Solidarity with Asia and the Pacific.

INDOLEFT News Service

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