Indonesia’s human rights record reviewed by UN Human Rights Council UPR working groupPublished on 23 May 2012 in News, Slides by author
The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) working group of Human Rights Council (HRC) recently reviewed the human rights performance of the Indonesian government. The review took place in Geneva last 23 May 2012.
The government of Indonesia, led by the Foreign Minister Dr. R.M. Marty Natalegawa, presented the report to the HRC. The report highlighted the developments undertaken to improve the human rights situation as well as challenges faced. In its report the government mentioned that issues such as religious freedom, street children and poverty eradication require extra attention and that they are committed to address these. The government also mentioned that decentralization and implementation of regional autonomy have provided regional government the authority to issue policies but also led to inconsistencies between local regulations and national law.
The government’s UPR report includes progress undertaken to improve the situation of children. They have launched the National Program for Indonesian Children and the Child Social Welfare Program that are expected to be completed by 2015. Other reported progress pertinent to child rights included the following:
Human rights education – The government reported that human rights have been integrated into national education curricula at all levels. As an example, the curricula for cultural education and nation character building subjects include teach of universal human rights values.
Ratification of the international instruments – The government reported that the ratification of the OPCRC on the involvement of children in armed conflict and on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography has reached the final stage. A bill has been submitted to the Parliament and its consideration is expected in 2012.
Monitoring, reporting and complaints mechanisms – Komnas Perlindungan Anak Indonesia (KPAI), a governmental commission established to strengthen child protection, developed a Monitoring Mechanism and Citizen’s Complaint Mechanism in collaboration with NGOs.
Right to Education – The government reported an increase in budget allocation for education and that it comprises 20% of the national budget. As part of its commitment to achieve the MDG for primary education and literacy, the government reported that they continued implementing free nine years compulsory education for all citizens aged 7 to 15 years old as regulated in Law 47/2008 on Compulsory Education.
Right to Health – The government reported an increase in public health budget and that the per capita expenditure for health has reached 70 per cent of WHO recommended standard. Health budget were used to improve community health centres (Pusat Kesehatan Masyarakat) and health service posts (Pos Pelayanan Terpadu). As a way to enhance its practices to fulfil right to health, they have invited the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health to conduct a country visit in 2012.
Children in conflict with the law – Based on its National Strategy on Access to Justice, a joint decree of various agencies was approved in 2009 that adopts the principle of restorative justice in addressing children in conflict with the law. In 2010, the Constitutional Court has also decided to change the age of criminal responsibility from 8 years old to 12 years old.
Street children – Government reported that in 2011 there are around 230,000 street children and such pose a big challenge. In November 2010, the Indonesian National Police and other ministries signed a joint decree to improve welfare of street children by undertaking joint supervision to decrease number of children returning to streets.
Child trafficking – The government reported that trafficking in persons continues to be one of their priorities. Several regulations have been adopted including those related to procedures and mechanisms on services for witnesses and victims. A National Action Plan on Combating the Criminal Act of Trafficking in Persons and Child Sexual Exploitation for the period of 2009 to 2014 has been approved which elaborates on programs on the prevention, protection, assistance of victims. The government reported that in 2010 there were 234 children victims of trafficking that were provided with assistance at protection houses in 9 provinces. They also gave information that in 2011 the Indonesian National Police reported trafficking cases involving 68 children victims.
Several civil society groups, the Indonesian Human Rights Commission and the Indonesian National Commission on Violence Against Women have submitted various reports to the UN to provide alternative views and reflect gaps on the government’s report, and provide recommendations to strengthen human rights compliance. Child rights concerns that were reflected in these reports include the following:
– The Indonesian government has made no progress in prohibiting corporal punishment of children and such remained lawful in the home, schools, penal institutions and care settings.
– Traditional practices including female genital circumcision still occurred and these are rooted in discrimination and control of sexuality of women and girls.
– The existing legal framework failed to criminalize individuals or companies that advertise, promote or arranged child sex tours.
– The protection of children of women inmates has been inadequate. NGO’s reported that these children can be taken care of by their mothers until the age of two and after which they will be handed over for adoption or temporary custody.
– The right to education of unmarried girls who became pregnant were violated. The reports indicate that these girls have been threatened with expulsion and that married girls continued to leave school.
– Children have limited access to sexual health information because the anti-pornography law categorized sexuality materials for education purposes as pornographic.
Several UN member states provided their feedback on the human rights situation in Indonesia and have given recommendations relevant to children’s rights.
Many states including Slovakia, Slovenia and Maldives recommended the ratification of the Optional Protocol to the CRC on a communications procedure.
Both Uruguay and Lichtenstein expressed concern that corporal punishment remains lawful and frequently used in prisons. They recommended that Indonesia takes measures to abolish corporal punishment in all settings.
Brunei Darussalam noted Indonesia’s role in conducting human rights education and training programmes. They recognised the various measures taken to address trafficking in persons including the prosecution of perpetrators and recommended Indonesia to continue such on-going efforts. They also recommended that the government further improves access to quality health facilities and services in addressing maternal and infant mortality.
Cambodia praised Indonesia’s efforts on the implementation of the 3rd National Action Plan on Human Rights for the period of 2011 to 2014. They recommended that Indonesia continues to enhance its efforts to promote and protect human rights through its relevant policies and plans of action.
Lao PDR took note of the Indonesia’s commitment towards ratification of international instruments and sharing of best practices of human rights promotion and protection at the national and regional levels.
Japan expressed appreciation to the government’s efforts to promote and protect the rights of the child including enhances cooperation between the police and the courts. They recommended that further efforts be made to protect children’s rights including developments in the juvenile justice system.
The Republic of Korea gave several recommendations including the continuation of efforts to sign and/or ratify international human rights instruments; the granting of a standing invitation to all special procedures; and enhancement of efforts to protect the rights of human rights defenders.
Malaysia gave the following recommendations: to intensify efforts on public awareness and capacity-building of law enforcement officials in strengthening implementation of laws and measures relating to human rights; and to enhance partnership with relevant national human rights institutions and civil society groups.
Myanmar gave the following recommendations: to continue to combat poverty, giving due consideration to socio-economic and regional disparities; to enhance equal access to social services for all people especially vulnerable communities living in remote areas; and to promote human rights education and training at all levels in partnership will all relevant stakeholders.
Norway recommended that Indonesia repeals the Regulation of the Minister of Health 1636 on Female Genital Mutilation and to officially prohibit the practice of female genital circumcision and other traditional practices that inflict suffering on women and girls.
Philippines expressed appreciation on Indonesia’s efforts to incorporate human rights education and training at all levels. They also took note Indonesia’s commitment to protect and promote migrant rights. Philippines recommended that Indonesia ratifies the International Convention for the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and their Families and the ILO Convention 189 on decent work for domestic workers.
Singapore took note of the measures taken to safeguard the rights of women and children and to protect them from violence. It recommended that Indonesia continues to strengthen its capacity in addressing the issue of violence against women and children.
Thailand expressed its appreciation towards Indonesia’s efforts to promote the rights of vulnerable groups through gender mainstreaming, implementation of laws to eliminate violence against women, adoption of a national plan of action to combat trafficking, and addressing the issue of street children. Thailand gave two recommendations: to further promote human rights education and training at all educational levels, and to strengthen access of persons with disabilities in all areas particularly their political participation.
Timor Leste, in response to concerns that were raised regarding religious intolerance, recommended Indonesia to take actions to enhance religious tolerance and harmony through existing Religious Harmony Forum both at the national and sub-national levels.
Viet Nam recommended the provision of more resources for implementation of national policies and programmes in favour of “vulnerable groups” such as children, ethnic minorities and migrants.
Indonesian Government UPR report, (A/HRC/WG.6/13/IDN/1)
Summary of stakeholder report compiled by the Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights, (A/HRC/WG.6/13/IDN/3)