HUMAN RIGHTS COMMITTEE CONSIDERS INITIAL REPORT OF INDONESIA
11 July 2013
The Human Rights Committee this afternoon concluded its consideration of the initial report of Indonesia on its implementation of the provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
Harkristuti Harkrisnowo, Deputy-Minister for Human Rights at the Ministry of Law and Human Rights of Indonesia, introducing the report, said that a National Human Rights Action Plan had been implemented in order to mainstream human rights issues in all national policies. Indonesia had started its democratic transition 15 years ago and had undergone dramatic changes in almost all aspects of the nation’s life. Freedom of religion was guaranteed by the Constitution. The Government attached great importance to gender equality and provisions had been elaborated in various legislative frameworks, covering areas such as education, employment, housing and health. The death penalty continued to be part of Indonesia’s law and a judicial review had found that it complied with the Constitution; however, it was only applied to the most serious crimes. Allegations of acts of torture were thoroughly investigated and duly processed in accordance with the law. Concrete measures had also been taken to improve the conditions of detention in correctional facilities.
Committee Experts requested clarification regarding the declaration made by Indonesia upon its signature of the Convention, concerning limitations to the right of self-determination. The Covenant had to be implemented in all regions, regardless of their autonomy, and the Government was bound to ensure that all provisions of the Covenant were fully implemented, even in regions where by-laws were in contradiction with some provisions of the Covenant. The judiciary had to be trained in order to be made fully aware of the provisions of the Covenant, which had to be interpreted in line with the Committee’s recommendations. Experts noted that serious violations of human rights had to be investigated and that perpetrators had to be duly prosecuted. Improving women’s access to justice was of paramount importance, especially in isolated and rural areas. Concern was also voiced about restrictions on the Ahmadiyya Muslim community.
In her closing remarks, Ms. Harkrisnowo thanked the Committee Experts for the constructive dialogue, which created a momentum in Indonesia to discuss and enhance the concrete implementation of the provisions of the Covenant.
Nigel Rodley, Chairperson of the Committee, in preliminary concluding remarks, said that the presentation of the initial report of Indonesia was an important moment for the Committee. He noted that Indonesia was undergoing a process of democratic transition. It was troubling that the practice of the death penalty had been resumed for drug-related crimes. Mr. Rodley underlined that the regional autonomy of provinces should not be used to justify practices that did not respect human rights standards.
The delegation of Indonesia included representatives of the Ministry of Law and Human Rights, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Communications and Informatics, the Coordinating Ministry of Political, Legal and Security Affairs, the Ministry of Religious Affairs, the Presidential Advisory Board, the Attorney General’s Office, the Indonesia National Police, the Indonesian Armed Forces, the Unit of Acceleration of Development for Provinces of Papua and West Papua, and the Permanent Mission of Indonesia to the United Nations Office at Geneva.
The concluding observations and recommendations of the Committee on the report of Indonesia will be released towards the end of the session, which concludes on Friday, 26 July.
The next public meeting of the Human Rights Committee will be at 10 a.m. on Friday, 12 July when it will consider the sixth periodic report of Finland (CCPR/C/FIN/6).
Report of Indonesia
The second periodic report of Indonesia on its implementation of the provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights can be read here: (CCPR/C/IDN/1).
Presentation of the report
HARKRISTUTI HARKRISNOWO, Deputy-Minister for Human Rights, Ministry of Law and Human Rights of Indonesia, presenting the initial report of Indonesia (CCPR/C/IDN/1) said that the delegation was ready to engage constructively with the Committee and that the present dialogue would contribute to further progress in the promotion and protection of civil and political rights. The Government was strongly committed to the promotion and protection of human rights and a series of in-depth discussions and consultations with a wide array of stakeholders had been conducted across the country in preparation of the report. A National Human Rights Action Plan had been implemented in order to mainstream human rights issues in all national policies. Some important developments in the field of civil and political rights had taken place since the submission of the report in 2012.
Indonesia, the largest archipelagic State in the world, had started its democratic transition 15 years ago and had undergone dramatic changes in almost all aspects of the nation’s life. A legislative and institutional framework had been developed to promote and protect human rights; civil society flourished and played a powerful check-and-balance role. However, challenges in the promotion and protection of human rights remained. The Covenant complemented existing laws and regulations, and served as an important foundation for laws which had been subsequently enacted in the field of civil and political rights.
Freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly was guaranteed by the legal system. Independent mechanisms had been established to ensure that the freedom of the press was exercised in a responsible manner, such as the independent commission on broadcasting and the commission on information. The important role played by civil society, including the media, in promoting and protecting human rights was fully recognized. Efforts were made to ensure that the rule of law was upheld. Freedom of religion was guaranteed by the Constitution and enhancing gender equality was a significant priority.
The Government had made efforts to translate its commitment to human rights into action. The provisions of the Covenant had been included in the National Human Rights Action Plan. The third plan, currently being implemented, incorporated all international human rights instruments that Indonesia had ratified. The plan introduced an additional complaints mechanism, which provided more room for the public to channel grievances on issues concerning human rights. In 2012, 889 communications had been received by the Ministry of Law and Human Rights, out of which 116 had been processed and resolved.
The Criminal Code and the Code of Criminal Procedure were being modernised. Draft laws, including a definition of torture in accordance with the Convention against Torture, had been submitted to the Parliament in 2012 and covered issues that were not regulated by the current Criminal Code.
Ensuring access to justice for all was part of the Government’s agenda. One concrete measure to this end was the provision of free legal services to those who needed them, to be effective in 2013. The Ministry of Law and Human Rights had completed the verification and accreditation of about 500 legal aid organizations throughout Indonesia. Steps had also been taken in the area of protection for witnesses and victims.
A new law on the juvenile criminal justice system enacted in 2012 introduced a restorative justice approach towards children in conflict with the law. That law would enter into force in 2014 and efforts were being taken to prepare for its full implementation. A Coordinating Forum on Acceleration of the Issuance of Birth Certificates had been established in 2011 in order to ensure that all children would be duly registered and have birth certificates by 2015. In 2009, 42 per cent of Indonesian children had birth certificates and the proportion had increased to 64 per cent by 2011. However, a wide gap remained and the Government continued its effort to improve the situation.
The provisions of the Covenant were directly applicable in domestic courts, particularly in relation to the rights of individuals involved in criminal proceedings. All international human rights instruments ratified by Indonesia were part of its domestic legislation, and the Covenant could be directly invoked or referred to by judges. However, the direct use of the provisions of the Covenant was not yet common practice.
The Government attached great importance to gender equality and provisions had been elaborated in various legislative frameworks, covering areas such as education, employment, housing and health. Legislation on general elections and on political parties established a 30 per cent quota for female candidates from each political party. A bill on gender equality was under consideration and awareness raising programmes promoting gender equality were carried out.
The death penalty continued to be part of Indonesia’s legislation and a judicial review found that the practice of death penalty was in compliance with the Constitution; however, it was only applied to the most serious crimes. Executions could only be carried out after the final decision had been taken and all other measures had been exhausted.
Allegations of acts of torture were thoroughly investigated and duly processed in accordance with the law. Preventive measures were in place, such as monitoring mechanisms, and in this context 176 correctional officers had received minor to severe disciplinary punishments. Steps had been taken to prevent instances of ill-treatment of detainees, specifically during the pre-trial detention. Suspects had the right to be accompanied by a lawyer during interrogations, which were filmed most of the time. The reform of correctional facilities continued, including through capacity building measures for wardens and prison officials, and respect for human rights was an integral part of their standard operational procedures.
Concrete measures had also been taken to improve prisons and the living standards of inmates. Particular attention was paid to the segregation of detainees and convicts, male and female convicts, and between adults and juveniles, within correctional facilities. New facilities were currently being built and two supervisory mechanisms received and investigated complaints regarding cases of misconduct by police officers. Recent data from the National Police showed that more than 36,000 cases of alleged misconduct involving police officers had been duly processed.
In 2006, the Government had issued a ban on female genital mutilation but this had led to an increase in the number of female circumcisions conducted by non-medical practitioners. The Government had therefore issued regulations to protect women and girls from unsafe procedures, with the end goal of eliminating such practices throughout the country.
Concerning freedom of religion and belief, the delegation noted that the law on defamation of religion had been reviewed by the Constitutional Court. The Constitutional Court had stated that the State was obliged to protect all religions and suggested that the law should be revised. The Government was currently in the process of formulating a bill to provide a legal framework to guarantee and enhance religious tolerance.
Questions by Experts
Experts asked whether the provisions of the Covenant were directly applicable by domestic courts and to what extent they were invoked and applied. Did Indonesia intend to accede to the Optional Protocol to the Covenant? Several non-governmental organizations (NGOs) had raised issues related to access to remedies for victims of human rights violations. Were ordinary crimes committed by members of the armed forces judged by military courts? The Committee had been told that military courts lacked independence and transparency. What measures had been taken to implement the National Strategy on Access to Justice launched in 2009?
According to Indonesia’s report, most laws at the regional level were incompatible with national laws; what measures had been taken to ensure that national and regional laws were compatible with the Covenant? Had the law-making process at the regional level been improved? Was the Government preventing the implementation of laws that were incompatible with Indonesia’s international obligations? NGOs and the National Commission on Human Rights itself had identified problems in the functioning of the Commission, what was the relationship between the Commission and the State and why had there been a conflict between the Commission and the Attorney General’s Office?
Article 25 of the law on combating acts of terrorism allowed for the detention of suspects of acts of terrorism for a maximum period of six months, whereas the Criminal Code provided for a much shorter period of pre-trial detention. Experts requested information about steps taken to grant access to prisons and detention facilities to independent monitoring bodies. Had an independent monitoring mechanism been designated to monitor the conditions of detention, with powers to conduct unannounced visits? What measures had been taken to respond to allegations about the widespread practice of torture and ill-treatment of detainees and poor conditions in prisons? Experts requested data on compensation offered to victims of acts of torture and wondered if perpetrators of torture were systematically tried?
One of the Experts raised questions about the issue of non-discrimination. It appeared that an increasing number of regional by-laws on discrimination did not respect the provisions of the Covenant, what was the Government doing in this regard? What measures had been taken to amend the 2008 pornography law, which prohibited and criminalized consensual same-sex sexual activity? What measures had been taken to improve women’s status in the political, economic and social life of the country and what percentage of executive positions, both in the public and private sectors, were occupied by women? Much remained to be done to reform patriarchal attitudes and deep-rooted stereotypes in society, which undervalued jobs associated with women.
What measures had been taken to investigate the excessive use of force during protests in Papua in 2011, during which several protesters were killed by the police? What recommendations had the National Commission on Human Rights made in this regard? Seventy extrajudicial killings had recently taken place in Papua but no perpetrators had been prosecuted. Impunity had become a structural problem in Indonesia. Criminal prosecutions and sanctions were appropriate measures to combat police violence and had to be implemented. What had been the impact of the Code of Conduct for officers of correctional facilities so far and what was the mandate of the Ombudsman with regards to correction facilities?
A controversial draft bill on national security had been presented by the Government to the Parliament, would this law include an explicit reference to the relevant provisions of the Covenant? Experts also asked for clarification concerning the availability of medical treatment in prison, what measures were being taken to prevent deaths in prison?
Experts requested clarification regarding the declaration made by Indonesia upon its signature of the Convention concerning limitations to the right of self-determination. What was the exact scope of the reservations? The Covenant had to be implemented in all regions, regardless of their autonomy, and the Government was bound to ensure that all provisions of the Covenant were fully implemented, even in regions where by-laws were in contradiction with some provisions of the Covenant.
The judiciary had to be trained in order to be made fully aware of the provisions of the Covenant, which had to be interpreted in line with the Committee’s recommendations. Did the Covenant enjoy precedence over subsequent incompatible national laws? The National Commission on Human Rights had received a provisional “A status” because of several problems, including those related to the appointment of its members and questions regarding its budget. What measures had been taken to ensure that the National Commission would operate according to the Paris Principles? Experts noted that serious violations of human rights had to be investigated and that perpetrators had to be duly prosecuted. Improving women’s access to justice was of paramount importance, especially in isolated and rural areas.
Response by the Delegation
The delegation indicated that judges did not usually use international instruments in their rulings; however, case-law showed that international instruments were at the same level as national laws. The implementation of the Covenant at the national level was in line with recommendations made by human rights treaty bodies. Due process was guaranteed to all victims of gross violations of human rights perpetrated by military officers in the past. The question concerning the trial of military officers by military courts was under discussion before the Parliament and laws on military courts were presently under discussion. All decisions made by military courts could be examined by the Supreme Court and, in addition, the proceedings of military courts were carried out in public, which enhanced their transparency.
The province of Aceh enjoyed a special autonomy status since 2009, regulated by a special law, and in accordance with relevant national laws the promulgation of local by-laws was carried out by Aceh’s House of Representatives. The adoption of the Islamic Criminal Law (Qanun Jinayah) in Aceh had provoked protests and concerns throughout the country, and this by-law could undergo judicial review by the Supreme Court. The law on the special status of Aceh explicitly called on the local authorities to increase women’s participation in public life. Women and children were protected by regional by-laws on women empowerment and child protection. According to national laws, regional authorities had to mainstream a gender perspective in various aspects of public life.
The Attorney General’s Office had addressed three cases of gross violations of human rights; and all perpetrators had been freed by the judges given that these violations were not part of a widespread attack against civilians. Without blaming the decisions of the court, the delegation noted that different institutions had different views on security issues. It had been agreed that the National Commission on Human Rights would meet with the Attorney General’s Office to reconcile their views on these sensitive cases.
Responding to a question concerning the case of an inmate who did not receive appropriate health services, the delegation said that in accordance with the law all detention facilities had to provide prisoners with the appropriate medical treatment.
The Government was aware that the national human rights institutions had to comply with the Paris Principles and, despite the increase of its budget, the National Commission on Human Rights still faced constraints. A number of steps had been taken to strengthen the cooperation between the National Commission and the State. Memorandums of Understanding had been signed with the Indonesian National Police, the Armed Forces and some provincial governments, including South Sumatera, Bali, Jambi and Lampung. Indonesia had engaged the National Commission in the process of formulating the National Human Rights Action Plan and its implementation.
Investigations, prosecutions and court hearings concerning acts of terrorism had to refer to the general procedures governed by the Criminal Procedure Code. The law on combating acts of terrorism contained rules that protected the rights of suspects. Preventive actions were taken to counter terrorism but police officers only used force when it was necessary. Sanctions, including dismissal, were imposed on police officers found guilty of misconduct. The National Police was supervised by an external body and specific regulations ensured the safety of individuals in detention facilities. The Ombudsman could conduct unannounced visits to correctional facilities and published an annual report on the conditions of detention.
Positive developments had been noted in relation to women’s empowerment and the political representation of women had constantly increased. A greater number of women held senior political positions and 46 per cent of civil servants were women. The Government worked with all relevant stakeholders to increase the participation of women in public life.
The interpretative declaration made by Indonesia regarding Article 1 of the Covenant referred to principles of international law related to territorial integrity and the political unity of sovereign States. Sub-national legislation that did not comply with Indonesia’s national law or international human rights obligations was a consequence of the autonomy enjoyed by local authorities. It was stipulated that regional by-laws should not be in conflict with national legislation and had to be in line with international human rights standards. All rulings by national courts recalled that those fundamental principles and mechanisms were in place to ensure that by-laws were in line with human rights standards. The Government was committed to improving the compliance of regional by-laws with human rights standards, and the mainstreaming of the provisions of the Covenant in the national legislation was on-going.
Questions by Experts
The Committee recalled that the death penalty was imposed on persons convicted of crimes related to drugs and terrorism. While the Government had in some instances commuted death penalties into life sentences, the death penalty was systematically imposed on drug-related offenders despite the fact that these offences did not constitute serious crimes. The death penalty was an extreme form of punishment that only had to be used for the most serious crimes, and it was therefore discriminatory to impose the death penalty on persons convicted for drug-related crimes. The lack of transparency in the clemency process had also been noted. Would Indonesia reconsider its clemency process to ensure that it met international human rights standards?
What concrete measures had been designed to ensure that children were not detained along with adults in correctional facilities which were overcrowded? Did police officers receive appropriate training regarding children in conflict with the law?
An Expert inquired about actions taken to prohibit the widespread use of corporal punishment. What measures were being taken to repeal local legislation, such as the Aceh Criminal Code, that introduced corporal punishment for certain offences? Was it true that legal aid was not available in Aceh? Experts inquired about the duration of preventive detention. Some reports indicated that accused persons could be detained for an initial period of 20 days, which could be extended to 60 days. For how long could an individual be held in police custody? Why had the Judicial Mafia Eradication Task Force been removed two years after its establishment? What happened to the seven judges prosecuted for bribery and what had been the concrete results of measures taken by the Government to combat corruption within the judiciary?
Although rape was criminalised, the incidence was high and courts imposed minimum sentences on persons convicted of rape. What specific measures were being taken to ensure that sentences for rape deterred others? What did awareness raising on this issue consist of?
Respect for freedom of religion was a fundamental test for democratic regimes. The law on defamation of religion prohibited the expression of hostility or hatred towards religions in public; had the law been applied and what penalties had been imposed on individuals charged under this law? The Constitutional Court did not repeal this law but recommended that it was revised, had the Government started the review process? How was the law compatible with the provisions of the Covenant, in particular in light of the Committee’s general comment no. 34 on article 19 of the Covenant, relating to freedom of opinion and expression? Several cases of persecution against religious minorities or non-believers had been reported to the Committee, as well as allegations of forced conversion to Islam. What was the Government’s attitude regarding acts of intimidation against religious minorities and was the Government planning to take measures to protect religious minorities?
NGOs had reported the existence of political prisoners and acts of intimidation against human rights activists and journalists in West-Papua. What measures had been taken to guarantee freedom of expression in this area? Had defamation laws regarding State officials been applied in conformity with the Covenant?
Indonesia had recognized that the Ahmadiyya Muslim community was subject to specific laws and decrees that prohibited them from holding national conferences and restricted their right to assembly. Why were there specific prohibitions imposed on specific religious minorities, in contravention to the provisions of the Covenant? Legal provisions that targeted specific religious minorities violated the principle of non-discrimination included in article 2 of the Covenant. Some persecutions had led to the displacement of Ahmadiyya people. What was the Government doing to prevent, reduce and punish attacks against religious minorities? Did the rule requiring that political candidates in Aceh province read the Quran in Arabic apply to public positions at all levels?
Response by the Delegation
The Government was currently reviewing the law on defamation of religions. Citizens had to register their religion in order to benefit from appropriate religious services and the Government had never allowed the forced conversion of individuals. Regarding Ahmadiyya people, the issue was that the dissemination of their beliefs could cause social troubles. The displacement of the Ahmadiyya people was temporary and as soon as the situation allowed for they would return to their region of origin. In the meantime, their right to property was fully guaranteed and respected. According to the National Human Rights Action Plan, regional governments, together with the Religious Harmony Forum and the regional committees for human rights, had to enhance religious harmony. The Religious Harmony Forum gathered many religious leaders from all religions represented in Indonesia.
Questions by Experts
Experts stressed that the problem regarding the situation of the Ahmadiyya concerned the adoption of legal texts and decrees that targeted a specific community. The Government should review its policy towards religious minorities. Another Expert asked if students were bound to register their religion and if they could register as non-believers.
Response by the Delegation
The Government did not perceive Ahmadiyya followers as a religious community, who defined themselves as Muslims. As such, they were not allowed to publicly defend positions that were not in line with the commonly accepted principles of Islam. Discussions were under way on the question of how to provide religious services to those who did not belong to the six religions recognized by the Government.
The Constitution guaranteed freedom of expression to all citizens. In the case of Papua, numerous protests had highlighted concerns about the situation in the region. Freedom of expression could not be used to infringe on the rights of others. The denial of historical facts and the defamation of State officials were not allowed. It was crucial to maintain the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Indonesia. The delegation mentioned several specific cases in which the prevailing laws had been applied to individuals who had participated in seditious activities.
The death penalty was still part of the Indonesian criminal system and the Constitutional Court had found it was in line with the Constitution. The death penalty was only imposed on the most serious crimes and its implementation was limited by various safeguards: it was imposed as the last resort to the most serious crimes, such as crimes damaging the young, and it was carried out only after the verdict had a permanent legal force and after clemency had been denied by the President. Recalling the specific case mentioned by the Committee, the delegation underlined that due process was guaranteed in all legal proceedings. The anti-terrorism law provided for longer proceedings than in ordinary cases and this was meant to ensure that all investigations regarding security issues were carried out in an appropriate manner.
A draft law on gender equality to strengthen the respect for gender equality principles by all State institutions, both at national and regional levels, was under consideration. It had been included in the 2013 Legislation Programme and further consultations were needed to find a national consensus on various aspects.
The Judicial Mafia Eradication Task Force had completed its task and efforts continued through the formulation of a National Strategy to Eradicate Corruption, not only in the judiciary but in all law enforcement agencies, and the National Development Agency would coordinate efforts designed to implement the strategy. In addition, the Attorney General’s Office had undertaken several activities to combat corruption. Between 2006 and 2013, bribery and corruption cases had resulted in the conviction of 8 judges, 5 prosecutors and 3 lawyers, and the sentences imposed in these cases ranged between 2 and 8 years of imprisonment.
New detention facilities were being built and high priority was given to building new juvenile detention centres. Children detained in regular correctional facilities were systematically held in other buildings than those housing adult detainees and convicts. Measures had been taken to reduce the number of detainees. Around 50,000 convicts should be granted parole this year. Any suspect could appeal his detention if he believed it was illegal. A special institution addressed the acts of corruption of officials.
The delegation mentioned the case of a former civil servant who had spread religious hatred and had defamed Islam on a social media. He was found guilty of defamation of religion according to the prevailing laws. In the Aceh province, high ranking officials who were Muslim had to be able to read the Quran in Arabic. Legal aid was available in the Aceh province as it was the case in all regions of the country.
Questions by Experts
Did the Constitutional Court assess the conformity of the death penalty with article 6 of the Covenant, which stated that it should only be imposed for the most serious crimes? Article 6 of the Covenant reminded States parties that no provision of the Covenant could be invoked to delay the abolition of capital punishment. One of the Experts said that drug crimes did not meet the threshold of serious crimes.
Noting that few women held high level positions, an Expert asked for information on the measures taken to improve the percentage of women in positions of responsibility in the executive and in the private sector.
Response by the Delegation
The delegation informed the Committee that Indonesia would reply in writing to the sensitive question regarding the draft law on mass organizations.
The Constitutional Court confirmed that the death penalty was not inconsistent with Indonesia’s Constitution. The draft law on Criminal Code adopted a new approach concerning that question. It provided that the death penalty should be a special punishment that could only be inflicted for very serious crimes. The draft law also provided that if not executed within 10 years, a sentence of death would be commuted to a life sentence. Drugs had provoked many social problems and that was the reason why drug-related offences were perceived as serious crimes. In 2013, 112 persons had been sentenced to death, of which 32 were drug-offenders.
Regarding the law on pornography, some groups believed that possible different interpretations of the law could undermine the existing space for creativity in the fields of arts. However, this law had been recognized as a useful instrument to combat pornography and child pornography. The law had been subjected to a judicial review in 2010 and the Constitutional Court decided that it was neither unconstitutional nor discriminatory. Nevertheless, the Constitutional Court referred the law to Parliament for further review in light of the views expressed by various groups.
Questions by Experts
An Expert asked if there was a legal provision that prevented the imposition of the death penalty on mentally-ill persons. What was the minimum age of criminal responsibility and what was the legal definition of the child? Could a child under 18 be executed?
Response by the Delegation
A specific provision of the Criminal Code regulated the prosecution and execution of mentally-ill persons who were usually not brought before criminal courts. The age of criminal responsibility was recently raised from 8 to 12. Children under 18 could not be executed and detention was applied as a last resort to children in conflict with the law.
Questions by Experts
What had been the impact of the measures taken to combat domestic violence and to ensure women’s access to justice? What was the definition of domestic violence in legislation? The World Health Organization passed in 2008 a resolution calling all Member States to strictly prohibit female genital mutilation. What steps were taken in this regard and what progress had been made so far? What legal mechanisms were available to women victims of rape?
In light of the increase of the age of criminal responsibility, what was being done for those who had been convicted under the previous regime? What constituted last resort to decide the detention of a child? How long could a suspect be detained in police custody?
What steps had been taken in order to solve the problem of human trafficking? What specific measures had been taken to put an end to sex tourism? What was the role of the local authorities in this context?
An Expert underlined that the Government had to protect the followers of Ahmadiyya as members of a religious minority. What was the present status of the draft law on the recognition and protection of traditional communities?
What had been put in place to monitor the return and resettlement of internally displaced persons and to implement the 2007 law on disaster management? It was noted that the problem continued in spite of the efforts deployed by the Government in this regard. What was the Government doing to resettle displaced people and to ensure that they enjoyed their right to live in dignity? According to Indonesia’s report, people affected by forced evictions conducted for public interest were offered alternate housing and compensation. What was the actual procedure regarding forced evictions?
An Expert inquired about the existence of polygamy. Why was there a difference between the age of sexual consent, set at 12, and the minimum age of marriage, set at 16 for women and 19 for men? Why was the minimum age of marriage different between men and women? Were women and men on an equal foot in matters related to inheritance? What was the legal status of children born out of wedlock?
Response of the Delegation
A series of programmes were carried out to raise general public awareness on the issue of domestic violence. Law enforcers were provided with specific training on how to handle domestic violence cases. The law on domestic violence explicitly criminalized acts of violence against women and children and defined domestic violence as every act which inflicted harm. Integrated service units for the protection of children and women were established in many public hospitals. The implementation of the law was undertaken in cooperation with various stakeholders. Health services, social rehabilitation and reintegration, as well as legal aid, were provided to victims of domestic violence.
The Government had been undertaking several efforts aimed at combating the existing practice of female circumcision in Indonesia. The Ministry of Health had issued a regulation to ensure safe procedures for female circumcision. That regulation should not be construed as promoting female circumcision; its only aim was to ensure that female circumcision was done in a safe environment and without danger for the girls’ health. A dialogue had been undertaken with various sectors of the society on that issue with a view to its eradication. Female circumcision was usually carried out on baby girls and had no impact on the life of the baby child. It was far away from female genital mutilation. However, the Government was committed to combat and eradicate that practice.
All law enforcement officers received training on the issue of children in conflict with the law. A law on that issue would enter into force next year. Indonesia had ratified the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and implemented its provisions. A law on the eradication of trafficking in persons provided a complete set of instruments in combating trafficking in persons, including preventive and repressive measures, as well as treatment and services for victims. However, a number of challenges in the implementation of the law were identified, including insufficient comprehensive understanding on the laws and regulations relating to trafficking in persons by the authorities in charge of these tasks. A National Action Plan was implemented to combat human trafficking.
A task-force was created to monitor the implementation of the National Action Plan to combat human trafficking. At the regional level, Indonesia cooperated with ASEAN Member States. The establishment of a regional instrument on that issue was under consideration. According to the National Police, the number of victims of human trafficking amounted to 205 in 2011 and 192 in 2012. The number of trafficking cases had continued to decrease since 2011, which showed the effectiveness of the efforts in preventing and combating trafficking. The Government of Indonesia, in cooperation with international organizations, provided training and capacity building for law enforcement officers on how to investigate and prosecute human trafficking. A victim-based approach was adopted in law enforcement efforts. Victims of trafficking were entitled to medical and social rehabilitation, repatriation and social reintegration.
Indonesia had been undertaking efforts to combat and put an end to the phenomenon of sexual exploitation and child labour. Various measures and concrete efforts had been taken by the Ministry for Women Empowerment and Child Protection. A policy of zero tolerance for child sex tourism was launched in 2003 by the Ministry. The Ministry had undertaken awareness raising programmes on sexually exploited children for the local government agencies. The Ministry of Health had conducted capacity building programmes on violence against women and children for medical officers, aimed at providing appropriate services to victims of violence, including sexually exploited children.
A suspect could be detained in police custody for a maximum of 60 days and could be accompanied by a legal adviser in all proceedings. The State had the responsibility to provide legal aid. The lawyer only acted as a legal adviser and had no role in the questioning. A law on legal aid had been adopted and provided that the State had the obligation to provide legal aid for suspects facing legal sanctions above five years. But it was up to the suspect to accept it or not.
The law on juvenile justice provided special protection and measures of social reintegration for children in conflict with the law. The deprivation of liberty of children in conflict with the law was the last resort, which was to say if the judge could not find any one or any organizations that could take care of the child and if he had committed serious crimes.
The law on marriage was reviewed by Governmental agencies in cooperation with civil society organizations. The provision on the age of marriage was under revision to ensure the principles of equality and non-discrimination between men and women in this regard.
HARKRISTUTI HARKRISNOWO, Deputy-Minister for Human Rights, Ministry of Law and Human Rights of Indonesia, thanked the Committee Experts for the constructive dialogue, which created a momentum in Indonesia to discuss the concrete implementation of the provisions of the Covenant. The views of the Committee Experts would be shared with all relevant Governmental agencies. Indonesia looked forward to the conclusions and recommendations of the Committee, which would help Indonesia in the implementation of its obligations under the Covenant.
NIGEL RODLEY, Chairperson of the Committee, said that the presentation of the initial report of Indonesia was an important moment for the Committee. He noted that Indonesia was undergoing a process of democratic transition. It was troubling that the practice of the death penalty had been resumed for drug-related crimes. Mr. Rodley underlined that the time spent in police custody should not be more than two days. The issue of the special dispensation for corporal punishment in Aceh was troubling. Regional autonomy should not be used to justify practices that did not respect human rights standards. The Committee looked forward to the review of the law on the defamation of religion to ensure freedom of religion. He thanked the delegation for its constructive participation in the dialogue with the Committee.
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