The Jakarta Post
Tuesday, May 22, 2012
Margareth S. Aritonang, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta
The government says it will deliver a frank assessment of the
country’s human rights record when it reports to the United Nations
Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on Wednesday.
Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa, who will deliver the report at the
UNHRC’s headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, said that the report
would discuss the positives and negatives of the nation’s human rights
“We will present things as they are. No more, no less,” Marty said on Monday.
Marty said the report would cover the “significant developments that
Indonesia has made and progress in promoting and protecting human
rights. At the same time, we will also talk about the challenges that
we continue to deal with.”
The government was ready to discuss continued threats to religious
minorities across the nation with representatives of the UNHRC in
Geneva, he added.
“Recent incidents have obviously attracted international attention.
Issues of the country’s interfaith tolerance have become of great
importance in Indonesia’s diplomacy in bilateral and multilateral
forums,” Marty said.
He added that Indonesia would be judged by the international community
by its success in dealing with the threats to religious freedom.
“We must really resolve these incidents, otherwise the international
community will get the wrong picture about Indonesia. We will not let
certain groups define what Indonesia really is,” Marty said.
On criticism that the report would not be comprehensive, Marty said it
was impossible for the government to meet everyone’s expectations in
the 24-page report.
“There are still many challenges that we will encounter. But we must
acknowledge that [over] 230 million Indonesians currently live in a
democratic setting, which shows that the consolidation and promotion
of democracy has become very important,“ Marty said.
The Human Rights Working Group (HRWG) previously claimed that the
government had attempted to mislead the international community on the
nation’s human rights situation, particularly on its protection of
religious freedom, by compiling what it termed was a “normative”
In the report to the UNHRC, the government cited the 1965 Law on
Prevention of Blasphemy and Abuse of Religion and a 2008 joint
ministerial decree on Ahmadiyah as evidence that it has protected
members of the minority Muslim sect.
The government also cited a 2006 joint ministerial regulation on
houses of worships as evidence that it has been promoting religious
Contacted separately, National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM)
chairman Ifdhal Kasim said that the commission would back the UNHRC’s
recommendation that the 2006 regulation be revoked as it had been used
to legitimize the closure of churches nationwide.
“We will instead promote a bill to guarantee religious freedom in the
country, and we hope that this will be in the UN’s recommendations
later,” Ifdhal said.
The HRWG also expressed optimism that the UNHRC would recommend that
the government review of similar regulations, including the joint
decree on Ahmadiyah.
Dede Utomo of the Gaya Nusantara, the founder of the nation’s first
gay rights movement, said that he expected that the UNHRC would
recommend that the government expressly guarantee the rights of
lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgendered people.
“We hope that we can assemble freely to discuss issues relevant to us.
We also hope that the police will no longer use violence when dealing
with us,” he said.
Claims made by RI government in report to UNHRC
1. The government regularly conducts human rights education and
training for trainers, facilitators, civil servants and teachers.
2. The government has accomplished and will continue to arrange human
rights education and training for members of the police and the
3. The government has signed the Convention on Enforced Disappearances
(CPED) in September 2010 in New York.
4. The government has taken various steps to combat impunity, citing
the establishment of Law on Judicial Power as an example. The law
transfers the administration and jurisdiction of military courts from
the TNI to the Supreme Court. There are 23 military courts across
5. Efforts are being made to promote religious freedom nationwide,
including the establishment of the Religious Harmony Forum (FKUB) as
well as the issuance of various rules and regulations such as Law No.
1/PNPS/1965, the 2008 Joint Ministerial Decree on Ahmadiyah, and the
2006 Joint Ministerial Regulations on the Religious Harmony Forum and
on Building Places of Worship. The government further asserts that
the initiative to formulate a bill on religious harmony, which has
been publicly debated, will further enhance religious harmony.