Indonesia: Submission to the UN Universal Periodic Review. First session of UPR Working Group 7-18 April 2008

November 1, 2007

Indonesia: Submission to the UN Universal Periodic Review. First session of UPR Working Group 7-18 April 2008

Amnesty International is gravely concerned about the persistent climate of impunity for human rights violations in Indonesia. Indonesia has consistently failed to bring to justice those responsible for gross human rights violations committed in Aceh, Papua, Timor-Leste and elsewhere. The violations include extra-judicial executions, torture and other ill-treatment, enforced disappearances and arbitrary detention. Despite the creation in 2000 of a human rights court to deal with gross human rights violations, including crimes against humanity, and the setting up of ad-hoc courts to consider past crimes, these have failed to deliver justice and reparations for the victims and their families.

Amnesty international is deeply concerned that perpetrators of serious human rights violations continue to enjoy impunity, which also fuels a lack of trust by the local population in state institutions. This is particularly problematic in areas of past or current open conflict like Aceh and Papua. In 2005, two senior Indonesian police officers accused of allowing the killing of three Papuan students and the torture of over a hundred others, were acquitted. This means that so far not a single member of Indonesia's security forces has been held to account for these crimes after nearly five years of investigations and legal proceedings.(5) Up to now, no progress has occurred to deliver justice or compensation to the victims.

The justice process set up in Timor-Leste and Indonesia to investigate and prosecute the crimes which occurred in 1999 in Timor-Leste (then East Timor) has so far failed to deliver justice to the victims leaving the perpetrators of crimes against humanity at large.(6) The latest initiative was the setting up by Indonesia and Timor-Leste of a joint Truth and Friendship Commission to document the 1999 crimes and to promote reconciliation. Amnesty International condemns the terms of reference of this Commission as it allows amnesties for perpetrators of serious human rights violations. This year, the UN Secretary-General also condemned the terms of reference of this commission and refused to allow UN staff to testify before it.

Domestic workers
Domestic workers in Indonesia are frequently subjected to human rights abuses in their place of work. There are approximately 2.6 million domestic workers in Indonesia, the majority of whom are women and girls. They regularly experience economic exploitation, and physical, psychological and sexual violence. Some have been killed at the hands of their employer.

Amnesty International has documented many cases in which domestic workers are victims of acts of violence including sexual harassment or rape by their employer. Many domestic workers also report being subjected to physical violence, such as being beaten with a stick, a broom, or an iron bar. The conditions in which many domestic workers live are of concern; many do not have their own bedroom, or their room does not have a lock, or sometimes even a door.

In 2004, a Law Regarding the Elimination of Violence in the Household (Law 23/2004) was passed by the Indonesian Parliament. Domestic workers were specifically included in the law as potential victims of violence. Amnesty International welcomes this development. However, the law has yet to be fully implemented, especially with regard to violence against domestic workers. Reporting of incidents of abuse or violence is also very low. Despite developments in national legislation such as the law cited above, deficiencies remain in criminal law, in particular addressing the challenges of investigating gender-based crimes, including sexual violence.