Kamis, Juli 11

UN to take NGO reports on RI human rights seriously

UN headquarters
Members of the United Nations Human Rights Committe (UNHCR) said they would terat reports of Indonesia's human rights record, presented by NGO's, as essential input in considering points of recommendation to be made at the end  of an upcoming session by the Committee.

UNHCR head Sir Nigel Rodley underlined the significance of the NGO's reports. " All the reports that we get from civil society are very important to us, since government reports inevitabily tend to portray things in the best possible light," Rodley told the Jakarta Post.

Indonesia's delegation, wich comprises 22 governemnt officials, police and military officers and is led by the Law and Human rights' Director General of human rights, Harkristuti Harkrisnowo, is scheduled to present in initial report on the state of civil and political rights in the country at UN headquarters in Geneva on Wednesday and Thursday.

It will be the first Indonesian report examined by the committee, eight years after the country ratified the International Covenant on civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). The Committee will also hold formal and informal session with the NGO's.

Rodley underscored the fact that the 18 members of the Committee needed to hear from different parties to gain more insight. "There is no way we can be expert on all the countries the are parties to the covenant. So we are highly dependent on civil society to draw our attention to what seem to be the key issues in relation to compliance to the covenant", he said.

After all the hearing, the committee will identify three to four recommendations based on specific urgency and the possibility of being implemented within a one year period. These recomendations, wich will clearly be identified in a paragraph at the end of the concluding observations, are expected to be issued at the end of july.

Representatives of the NGOs will emphasize rights violations during an informal session or the second meeting with the experts on wednesday.

Haris Hazhar, coordinator of the Commission for missing Person and victims of Violence (Kontras), said the government's writen report focused more on legal reform, but did not elaborate on the real situation concerning a number of human rights violations in the country.

Indiria Fernida of UK-Based Tapol, an NGO that works on behalf of political prisoners, stressed the restrictions on freedom of opinion and expression in Papua and West Papua.

She said, the evidence on the ground suggested that measure taken to guarantee freedom of expresion in Papua and West Papua had been ineffeective. "Moreover, vilations of the right to freedom of expression have intensified since, " 2013, she said.

Representatives from the NGOs also plan to highlight the newly endrosed and controversial Mass Organization Law, wich it is feared will give the government greater control over public activities, such as the power to disband an organization deemed a threat to the state.

The new law clearly violates freedom of association. it also stipulates [the creation of] a new institution with  an unclear mandate to function as a clearing house, which could limit how NGOs operate,: Human Rights Working Group executive Director Rafendy Djamin said.

The ICCPR, a multilateral treaty adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1996 and entered into force on March 23, 1976, obliges all parties to respect the civil and political rights of individuals, including the right to life, freedom of religion, speech and assembly as well as electoral rights and the rights to due process and a fair trial.

Resource : Yohana Ririhena, The Jakarta Post