gemBerichte

Indonesia: The Indonesian Government must ensure the Rule of Law

October 2011

Aide-Mémoire 2011

After the fall of the Suharto-Regime in 1998, Indonesia reoriented its human rights policies. Laws on human rights and human rights courts were passed, the national human rights commission was given additional powers and the Ministry of Justice was transformed into the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights. At the UN-level, Indonesia became a party to both human rights covenants and signed a range of important conventions, such as the Convention against Torture. Through its membership in ASEAN, Indonesia has participated in setting up a transnational human rights commission. The government has also commenced human rights dialogues with foreign partners, including the EU, Norway and Switzerland. Positive changes have also been noticeable in practice, for example in terms of press freedom, freedom of assembly and freedom of expression.

Upon closer inspection, however, many of the changes in the legal frameworks are more of a cosmetic nature rather than leading to the consistent implementation of human rights principles. The Government of Indonesia (GoI) seems to be most willing to discuss those issues which are least likely to collide with the vested interests of the political elites. In the human rights dialogue with the EU, for example, the GoI wanted to discuss conditions in prisons and juvenile justice. Raising sensitive issues such as the human rights abuses committed during the regime change in 1965/66 or current cases of abuse in Papua risks being labelled as a „communist” or „separatist.”

Impunity and the human rights situation in Papua remain the two greatest challenges. Recent developments around issues of freedom of religion or belief are also alarming.

 

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