Press Release

Indonesia: Second Periodic Review of ICCPR — A Call for Honesty and Accountability on Human Rights

Jakarta, 18 March 2024 – Asia Justice and Rights (AJAR) participated in the 140th Session of the Human Rights Committee in Geneva, Switzerland, on 4-28 March 2024. During the session on 11-12 March 2024, Indonesia reviewed the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) report for the second time. This second review is part of Indonesia’s obligation as Indonesia has ratified the covenant into national legislation through Law No. 12/2005. Indonesia’s first review by the committee was conducted 11 years ago, in 2013. 

AJAR presented four submissions to the committee detailing up-to-date situations of impunity and gross human rights violations, specifically on the post-conflict civil and political rights situation in Aceh and the ongoing conflict in West Papua. AJAR also submitted two submissions to the Committee of Economic Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) that have been reviewed by the committee in February 2024.

Through the submissions presented by the civil society organisations, the committee composed a specific set of questions for the Government of Indonesia. The questions included the prolonged impunity for past human rights violations, the killing of prominent human rights defender Munir, updates on the Aceh Truth and Reconciliation Commission (KKR Aceh), widespread violence in West Papua that includes extrajudicial killings, forced displacement, as well as the situation of the Rohingya refugees who are stranded in Aceh, Indonesia, while noting concerns regarding limitations on freedom of expression, assembly, and minority rights, among others

Executive Director of AJAR, Galuh Wandita, iterated, “We must hold the line on our freedoms and fundamental rights in Indonesia. Our commitments are already enshrined in our constitution and domestic law. As a nation, we need to be brave and honest about our challenges and regression in human rights, and we need to be accountable for our own promises.”

AJAR appreciates the Committee’s recognition of the Aceh TRC report in the proceedings, as well as the acknowledgement from the Government of Indonesia. The government must implement the recommendations of the Commission without delay and ensure continued resources for the Commission’s valuable work. We also appreciate Indonesia’s support throughout 2016-2019 for the reunification process of the stolen children – children who were taken from East Timor and brought to Indonesia during the conflict of 1975-1999. However, much more official recognition and support is still needed.

Indonesia’s commitment to ending impunity remains a major concern. Many of its responses to the Committee’s questions remain evasive and offer generic explanations. The government must address the 12 unresolved cases investigated by the National Human Rights Commission over a decade ago, as highlighted in the first concluding observation by the committee. Furthermore, the rushed establishment of the Non-judicial Remedy mechanism (PPHAM) through Presidential Decree No. 17/2022 appears incomplete, side-stepping any acknowledgement of the complicity of the state and perpetrators. The government must ensure that this non-judicial remedy will not impede judicial processes. AJAR, with civil societies in Aceh, saw that the mechanism put an administrative burden on the victims since they had to undergo a complicated process to access the benefits of non-judicial remedies. 

On the issue of West Papua, the government continues to deny using security approach, attributing the surge in internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the area solely to natural disasters, horizontal conflicts, and attacks by “armed criminal groups”.  AJAR urges the government to seek a long-term solution to the conflict by promoting peaceful dialogue and non-violent approach to resolve the conflict. Based on our years of fieldwork alongside the Papuan Women’s Working Group (PWG), whose research, “All the Birds are Gone” and “I am Here,” powerfully portrayed the situation of women in Papua, the prolonged violence disproportionately impacts civilians, especially women, who struggle to access basic necessities and livelihoods. 

AJAR and civil society partners are still waiting for the Concluding Observations submitted by the committee as the result of this second review on Indonesia.

Read our submissions here: