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Human Rights

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

GOVT FAILS TO MAKE PROGRESS ON PROTECTING HUMAN RIGHTS

This article i take out from the Jakarta Post. i take this article since it is very important for us, especially to describe the human rights condition in our country (Indonesia) today. I hope through deeply discussion and clear thinking, we could give any kind of efforts toward Indonesian future.

Mon, 12/15/2008 10:36 AM National Activists celebrated World Human Rights Day on Dec. 10 this year while the government skipped an official celebration on the day. The Jakarta Post's Adianto P. Simamora spoke with the Chairman of the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM), Ifdal Kasim, about progress in human rights protection in Indonesia.

Question:
What is the status of human rights in Indonesia this year?

Answer:
To assess the country's human rights record, we need to look at the issue in terms of regulations and their implementation in the field. In terms of regulation, we noted some positive progress with the issuance of laws and policies related to the promotion and protection of human rights. The ombudsman law and anti-discrimination law, for example, have the potential to greatly advance human rights protection in the future. However, while the anti-discrimination law strives for human rights, the government enacted pornography law could harm the strength of these rights and threaten there protection. It is open to wide interpretations, and could have serious implications when enacted socially. The pornography law will directly impact on the rights of minority groups, such as lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender individuals within Indonesia. The porn law constitutes a government violation of human rights, and for this reason, the Komnas HAM is extremely worried about the measure. In terms of the implementation of rights protections, Indonesia's record is still very poor and far from international standards. There was no significant progress made by the government to resolve human rights cases this year. Not one case of human rights violations was brought before a court. The state's response to resolve legal cases involving human rights violations was far too slow. The problem is that good regulations are not followed by appropriate law enforcement, so justice is not provided to victims and protection not available for vulnerable groups. The government also failed to meet its deadline, promised in the Helsinki peace agreement, to establish a truth and reconciliation commission in Aceh with the task of investigating human rights violations in the province before the peace accord in 2005.

Question:
Could you elaborate on cases of human rights violations, particularly those which the Komnas HAM recorded this year?

Answer:
There were many cases of religious-based violence that tarnished Indonesia's human rights record this year. Discrimination against minority groups is still very prevalent. There were examples of physical attacks at the schools and homes of those associated with Jamaah Ahmadiyah, Jamaah Al-Qiyadah and the Tani Mulya Church. Some local administrations issued bylaws which have negatively affected the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedom for minority groups. We also observed that abduction cases continued to occur this year, including those in penitentiaries. There were some cases where police officers arrested the wrong people, including in the case of Imam Hambali alias Kemad and the case of David Eko Priyanto. The number of cases that resulted in the issue of the death penalty rose this year. From January to July, there were six people executed including the trio of Bali bombers, who faced the firing squad in November.

Question:
How has progress been made into resolving major cases of human rights violations?

Answer:
There were no cases involving human rights violations brought before the court this year. The killing of noted human rights activist Munir Said Thalib remains unresolved even now. The Komnas HAM have submitted at least seven reports of alleged human rights violations to the Attorney General's Office (AGO), but the latter investigated too slowly to keep up with our findings, particularly involving the Semanggi shooting case. The situation differs from when the House of Representatives revived investigations into the abduction of democracy activists. The attorney general was quick to respond and the case was closed after a meeting with the President.

Question:
Has the economic downturn hampered any efforts to promote and protect human rights?

Answer:
Many groups, including government and business bodies, still regard the rights associated with the economy, society and culture as not linked with human rights. Human rights issues have not yet been included in the government's regulations related to development affairs. The regulation left the rights of citizens unprotected. There are many regulations around development but the eviction of poor residents remained widespread this year. We also see many poor families suffering from a lack of quality foods and nutrients. There were massive layoffs in companies and the prices of basic necessities continued to increase due to the global economic crisis. This economic aspect is part of human rights violations because the state failed to protect the welfare of its citizens. Local administrations issued bylaws to evict people from *illegal' residencies, spending state money to demolish properties without offering any solutions for those told to move on. We are also concerned about malnutrition cases and high mortality rates in many areas across the country. Possibly the increase in fuel prices and basic foods could have influenced this trend. The government has actually launched several programs to help the poor, such as providing them with direct cash assistance and national empowerment programs. But in fact, giving cash directly to the poor encourages dependency on the government, and in turn, efforts to combat poverty continue to ignore people's rights within the economy, society and culture.

Question:
So, what should the government do next?

Answer:
I think the government should move forward. President Yudhoyono needs to order the AGO to speed up their efforts in resolving major human rights cases. The government must pursue its action plan on the promotion and protection of human rights. The government also needs to make official celebrations for Human Rights Day an important date in its annual calendar in a similar way to efforts for Anti-Corruption Day, which was on Dec. 9.
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