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This sections contains a database of documents on child trafficking. Users can research by title, author, editor/organization, type, topic, keywords, geographic descriptors and year of publication.
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Type of document: News
Topic: Actions/initiatives/projects
Law enforcement
Policy and Planning
Geographic descriptors: South East Asia
Language: English
Publisher: amnestyusa.org
Source: www.amnestyusa.org/news/document.do?id=80256F2138AF04CA80256F8700584A7C
Date of publication: 25 January 2005
Long Abstract: The election of Ambassador Wibisono as Chair of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights (the Commission) provides a unique and important opportunity to promote human rights reforms in Indonesia. Amnesty International is encouraged by Indonesia's willingness to assume the responsibilities that come with Ambassador Wibisono's role, which the organization regards as an indication of the Government of Indonesia's commitment to the international promotion and protection of human rights and as a sign of support for the role of the UN in pursuing those goals.

This memorandum contains specific recommendations that Amnesty International believes, if implemented, would strengthen Indonesia's engagement with the UN human rights system and thereby advance the promotion and protection of human rights in Indonesia.

Ratification of international human rights treaties Amnesty International has noted that Indonesia reported to the Third Committee of the 59th UN General Assembly, on 26 October 2004, that it had ratified the primary international human rights instruments. Indeed, Indonesia has ratified, with reservations, four of the seven core UN human rights treaties and in September 2004, signed the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families. Significantly, however, Indonesia has yet to sign either the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) or the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESR).

The Covenants, which together with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) make up the International Bill of Human Rights, are central to the international promotion and protection of human rights. Since they were unanimously adopted by the UN General Assembly in December 1966, the ICESR and ICCPR have been ratified by 151 and 154 member states respectively. Indonesia's ratification of the Covenants would bring UN membership a significant step closer to universal subscription to the Covenants.

In Indonesia's most recent National Action Plan on Human Rights (NAPHR) of May 2004, the government has once again committed itself to signing and ratifying both Covenants. Amnesty International welcomes this renewed commitment and encourages the Government of Indonesia to fulfil it without delay. The ratification of the ICCPR and ICESCR, early during Ambassador Wibisono's tenure as the Chairman of the Commission, would represent a timely and significant demonstration of Indonesia's commitment to human rights.

Amnesty International has noted that in addition to the commitment to ratify the ICCPR and ICESCR, the most recent NAPHR includes a comprehensive programme for the ratification of other human rights instruments. These include: the convention for the suppression of trafficking in persons (scheduled for ratification in 2004); the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child pornography and child prostitution (scheduled for ratification in 2005); the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families (scheduled for ratification in 2005); the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (scheduled for ratification in 2005); the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict (scheduled for ratification in 2006); the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (scheduled for ratification in 2007); the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (scheduled for ratification in 2008); the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (scheduled for ratification in 2008); the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees (scheduled for ratification in 2009); and the Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees (scheduled for ratification in 2009).

Recommendations Amnesty International urges the Government of Indonesia to: Ratify without reservations: - The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; - All other international instruments listed above, in accordance with Indonesia's National Action Plan on Human Rights; - The Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, aiming to abolish the death penalty. Withdraw its reservations to the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination; the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women; the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment; and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Treaty reporting obligations and implementation In ratifying the core UN human rights treaties, state parties assume obligations to provide periodic reports on their implementation of those treaties. Amnesty International is aware that Indonesia has fallen behind in its reporting obligations with respect to many human rights treaties.

In its recent statement to the Third Committee referred to above, Indonesia reported that it is "doing its utmost to make sure that the reports of the implementation of…ratified conventions are submitted". Amnesty International welcomes this commitment, which is supported by provision in the NAPHR for a national mechanism to facilitate more timely and comprehensive reporting in the future, and urges the government to submit all overdue reports as a matter of priority.

Reports that are currently outstanding include Indonesia's fourth and fifth periodic reports to the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, which were due in 1997 and 2001 respectively; its second periodic report to the Committee against Torture which was due in 2003; and its initial, second and third periodic reports to the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, which were due in 2000, 2002 and July 2004 respectively.

In addition, Amnesty International is concerned that the reports that have been submitted by Indonesia in the past have failed to provide the full information required to satisfy the treaty bodies' reporting guidelines. For example, Indonesia's first periodic report under the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, which was examined by the Committee against Torture in November 2001, made almost no reference to the many cases of torture, including cases of rape, that had been reported by NGOs and others in Indonesia. Nor did it address pertinent matters such as the obstacles impeding the implementation of the Convention, plans for legal and institutional reform, the need for more effective training or oversight of law enforcement and judicial officers, and the need for redress, including compensation, for victims.

The treaty reports that states are obliged to submit represent an opportunity for states to monitor and review their legislation and practices. They offer a tool for the treaty bodies to discuss with the state party its compliance with its treaty obligations and measures that could be taken to improve its compliance. They offer an opportunity for public dialogue about the government's fulfilment of its human rights undertakings. In essence, the reporting process, which culminates in the treaty bodies issuing their recommendations, provides the opportunity for both constructive evaluation and planning for the future in relation to the fulfilment of the states human rights obligations.

Amnesty International believes that it is not only the obligation of state parties to submit reports to the treaty bodies, but it is also in their interest to do so. By submitting its overdue reports, the Government of Indonesia would demonstrate its intention to fully implement the treaties to which it is a party. Moreover, Indonesia would demonstrate to other member states its support for the important role of the UN treaty monitoring bodies in encouraging states' fulfilment of their treaty obligations.

Amnesty International welcomes the implementation programme outlined in the NAPHR, which provides for steps such as the harmonization of national laws with ratified treaties and the production of guidelines for implementation, including through human rights education and training for government agencies such as the police.

As part of this implementation programme, Amnesty International particularly urges the Indonesian government to give effect to recommendations previously made by treaty bodies. For example, in November 2001, the Committee against Torture expressed its concern about the large number of allegations of torture and recommended the prohibition of torture in law; the establishment of an effective, reliable and independent complaints mechanism; and the prosecution of all persons suspected of involvement in torture. To date, these recommendations have not been implemented.

Recommendations Amnesty International urges the Government of Indonesia to: Ensure that it submits timely and full reports to the treaty bodies in accordance with its treaty obligations. Overdue reports should be submitted as a matter of priority. Ensure full implementation of the treaties to which Indonesia is a party by complying with the implementation programme set out in the NAPHR and by giving effect to the recommendations of the treaty monitoring bodies. Cooperation with Special Procedures of the UN Commission on Human Rights Amnesty International believes that the Special Procedures play a central part in fulfilling the mandate of the Commission to promote and protect human rights. Their expertise and experience can be particularly useful in assisting UN member states to address human rights concerns under their jurisdiction.

Indonesia's record of cooperation with the Special Procedures offers substantial room for improvement. Although some Special Procedures have visited Indonesia in past years, the government has declined to issue invitations to others that have specifically requested them. For example, despite repeated requests, Indonesia has declined to extend an invitation to the Special Rapporteur on torture, who has sought an invitation since 1993 and whose request has been supported by the Committee against Torture. Likewise, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on human rights defenders has not received an invitation from Indonesia despite expressing interest in visiting the country. To date, no thematic mechanism has been permitted to visit either Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam or Papua despite requests by the Special Rapporteurs on torture (1991) and on violence against women, its causes and consequences (1998). In view of the specific human rights problems experienced in these provinces, Amnesty International believes that visits to these areas are crucial to any comprehensive assessment of the human rights situation in Indonesia.

Amnesty International believes that it is incumbent upon the member state that provides the Chair of the Commission to demonstrate its support for the role and valuable work of the Special Procedures, which are created by Commission resolutions and which report to the Commission. This support should be offered both in the context of deliberations of the Commission and in the member state's relations with the Special Procedures. Amnesty International therefore urges Indonesia to cooperate fully with the UN Special Procedures by issuing a standing invitation, responding positively to requests to conduct visits covering any part of Indonesia, and enabling such visits to take place.

Further, Amnesty International urges the Government of Indonesia to fully implement the recommendations made by Special Procedures that have previously visited, including those made by Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers (2002), the Special Rapporteur on the right to education (2002), the Representative of the Secretary-General on internally displaced persons (2001), the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (1999), the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences (1998), the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions (1994), and the Special Rapporteur on torture (1991). As the Special Procedures have been requested by the Commission to follow-up with states on their progress in the implementation of recommendations, Amnesty International urges the Government of Indonesia to provide this information to the relevant mandate-holders. Amnesty International welcomes the Government of Indonesia's cooperation with the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention in this regard.

Indonesia's co-operation with the Special Procedures could also be strengthened further by providing full and timely responses to urgent appeals and letters of allegation. In the reports presented to the 60th session of the Commission, a number of the Special Procedures regretted that the Indonesian government had not responded to all of their communications. These included the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on human rights defenders, the Special Rapporteur on torture, and the Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression and opinion. The Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances also recorded that there remain 145 cases of "disappearance" that have yet to be clarified by the government.

Recommendations Amnesty International urges the Government of Indonesia to: Defend the integrity of the Special Procedures in the deliberations of the Commission on Human Rights. Extend a standing invitation to the Special Procedures of the Commission and co-operate with their requests to undertake visits to all parts of the country. Provide comprehensive and timely responses to communications from the Special Procedures. Fully implement the recommendations made by Special Procedures who have previously visited Indonesia. Cooperation with the UN Commission on Human Rights In recognition of Ambassador Wibisono's position as the Chair of the Commission on Human Rights, Amnesty International also urges the Government of Indonesia to demonstrate its support for the Commission and respect for its authority, by complying with resolutions passed in previous years, in particular those relating to justice for the victims of the human rights violations committed in Timor-Leste in 1999.

In September 1999, the Commission convened a Special Session in response to the violence in the run-up to and immediate aftermath of the 1999 popular consultation on special autonomy in the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste (formerly East Timor). At that session, the Commission adopted a resolution affirming that the international community would exert every effort to ensure those responsible for gross human rights violations in Timor-Leste were brought to justice. This demand for justice has been reiterated in statements by the Commission Chairperson in subsequent years.

In Indonesia, an ad hoc Human Rights Court on East Timor was established in 2001 to hear some of the most egregious cases of human rights violations committed in Timor-Leste. These trials have concluded, but have not succeeded in delivering justice to the victims and their families. Throughout the process Amnesty International repeatedly drew attention to the shortcomings in these trials, including: the limited territorial and temporal jurisdiction of the court; the decision of the Attorney General's Office to investigate only five out of the many hundreds of cases of reported human rights violations; the decision to prosecute only 18 out of potentially hundreds of suspects; and the weakness of the cases presented by the prosecution, including their failure to present before the court well-attested evidence.

Recommendations Amnesty International urges the Government of Indonesia to: Cooperate fully with judicial proceedings being conducted in Timor-Leste, including by entering into extradition and mutual legal assistance agreements. Such cooperation should include extraditing indicted suspects to Timor-Leste or to other states able or willing to prosecute and punish crimes against humanity, war crimes and other serious crimes in fair trials without the death penalty. Cooperate fully with any review which may be undertaken by the UN of the trials that have taken place in the ad hoc Human Rights Court on East Timor and with any mechanisms established as a result of such a review. Cooperation with the UN Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights From August 1998 to August 2000, the Government of Indonesia and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) worked together in the implementation of a program of technical cooperation established under a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for technical cooperation in human rights. Pursuant to the MoU, the OHCHR established a permanent presence in Indonesia with a mandate to provide assistance in the implementation of elements aspects of the previous NAPHR. In particular the Government of Indonesia and the OHCHR agreed to cooperate in national capacity-strengthening in human rights reporting to treaty advisory bodies, elaboration of national educational programmes on human rights, raising human rights awareness through the dissemination of UN human rights information and documentation, and capacity-strengthening of the Indonesian National Commission on Human Rights. Although the political climate in 2000 was not conducive to the renewal of the MoU and the program of cooperation, the situation has evolved considerably since 2000.

Amnesty International hopes that cooperation with the OHCHR can be renewed in order to draw upon the knowledge and expertise of the Office in the implementation of the current NAPHR and in giving effect to many of the recommendations referred to above.

Recommendations Amnesty International encourages the Government of Indonesia to: Explore with the OHCHR the possibilities for developing a renewed program of technical cooperation and re-establishing a UN human rights presence in Jakarta.
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