Amnesty International Report 2014/15
Indonesia country report
Amnesty International Report 2014/15
Republic of Indonesia
Head of state and government: Joko Widodo (replaced Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in October)
Security forces faced persistent allegations of human rights violations, including torture and other ill-treatment. Political activists from the Papua region and Maluku province continued to be arrested and imprisoned for their peaceful political expression and at least 60 prisoners of conscience remained imprisoned. Intimidation and attacks against religious minorities continued. A new Islamic Criminal Code by-law in Aceh province, passed in September, increased offences punishable by caning. There was a lack of progress in ensuring truth, justice and reparations for victims of past human rights violations. No executions were reported.
Joko Widodo was inaugurated in October as the new President; he had made pledges during his election campaign to address serious past human rights abuses, protect freedom of religion, reform the police and open up access to the Papua region.1 On 30 April and 1 May, the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights reviewed Indonesia’s initial report. In June the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child reviewed Indonesia’s third and fourth periodic reports.
Reports continued of serious human rights violations by the police and military, including unlawful killings, unnecessary or excessive use of force, torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, and enforced disappearance.
In February, seven people were tortured or otherwise ill-treated during arrest and interrogation after police and military personnel raided a gathering organized by the armed Papuan pro-independence National Liberation Army in Sasawa village, Yapen Islands district, Papua province. Security officers chained the men’s hands together and beat and kicked them. They were forced to crawl around the village as the beatings continued and at least two men alleged that they were given electric shocks by the police. According to their lawyers, none of the men were involved or had links with the armed pro-independence struggle. They were each charged with rebellion, convicted and sentenced to three and a half years’ imprisonment in November by the Sorong District Court. No independent investigation into the incident had begun by the end of the year.
In March, eight men from the Suku Anak Dalam Indigenous community of Bungku village, Batanghari district, Jambi province, were tortured or otherwise ill-treated after protesting against the operation of a palm oil company near their village. Puji Hartono died from his injuries after his hands were tied behind his back with a rope and he was beaten by military personnel and company security guards. Titus Simanjuntak was stripped and beaten by military personnel and forced to lick his blood stains on the floor while being stepped on. Police officers watched as the abuses took place. In August, the Palembang military court convicted six military personnel of ill-treatment and sentenced them to three months’ imprisonment. At the end of the year, no one was known to have been held accountable for the killing of Puji Hartono.
In October, six military personnel were convicted by a military court in Medan of the abduction and ill-treatment of Dedek Khairudin and sentenced to between 14 and 17 months’ imprisonment. Dedek Khairudin was subjected to enforced disappearance in November 2013 after being detained by a military intelligence officer from the Army Resort Military Command (Korem 011/LW) and at least eight marines from Pangkalan Brandan region in North Sumatra province. His whereabouts remained unclarified at the end of the year.
In December, at least four men were killed and over a dozen injured when security forces, both police and military, allegedly opened fire on a crowd that was protesting at the Karel Gobai field near the Paniai District Military Command in Papua province. The crowd was protesting against soldiers from the Special Team Battalion 753 who had allegedly beaten a child from Ipakije village. No one had been held accountable for the attack by the end of the year.
Cases continued to be documented of the arrest and detention of peaceful political activists, particularly in areas with a history of pro-independence movements such as Papua and Maluku.
On 25 April, 10 political activists from Maluku province were arrested by police for planning to commemorate the anniversary of the Republic of South Maluku (RMS) movement’s declaration of independence and carrying “Benang Raja” flags – a prohibited symbol of the movement. Nine of them were subsequently charged with “rebellion” under Articles 106 and 110 of the Criminal Code (crimes against the security of the state). Their trial began in September and had not been completed by the end of the year.
Two French journalists were arrested on 6 August in Wamena, Papua province, after making a documentary on the separatist movement in the Papuan region. In October, they were convicted by the Jayapura District Court of immigration violations and sentenced to four months’ imprisonment. Areki Wanimbo, Head of the Lani Besar Tribal Council (Dewan Adat) who had met the two journalists, was also arrested by police on the same day and accused of supporting separatist activities. He was later charged with “rebellion” and was awaiting trial at the end of the year.
At least nine people remained detained or imprisoned under blasphemy laws solely for their religious views or the manifestation of their beliefs, or for the lawful exercise of their right to freedom of expression.2
In June, Abraham Sujoko was convicted by the Dompu District Court in West Nusa Tenggara province for “defamation of religion” under Article 27(3) of the Information and Electronic Transaction Law. He was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment and a fine of 3,500,000 rupiah (US$288). Abraham Sujoko had posted a video of himself on YouTube saying that the Ka’bah (an Islamic holy shrine in Mecca) was a “mere stone idol”, and had urged Muslims not to face it while praying.
Freedom of religion
Harassment, intimidation and attacks against religious minorities persisted, fuelled by discriminatory laws and regulations at both national and local levels.
In May, the Bekasi city authority issued a decree to close the Al-Misbah Ahmadiyya mosque in Bekasi, West Java province, referring to a 2008 Joint Ministerial Decree forbidding the Ahmadiyya community from promoting their activities and spreading their religious teachings. The Bekasi local government police then locked and sealed the mosque. On 26 June, the local government in Ciamis district, West Java province, closed down the Nur Khilafat Ahmadiyya mosque, citing the need to “maintain religious harmony” and to stop the spread of a “deviant interpretation of Islamic teaching”. Days before, hundreds of supporters of hardline Islamist groups had protested outside the office of the local district chief demanding the closure of the mosque. In October, the local government in Depok district, West Java, closed down the Al-Hidayah Ahmadiyya mosque to prevent “social disharmony”.
By the end of the year, a displaced Shi’a community from Sampang, East Java, who were attacked and evicted by an anti-Shi’a mob in 2012, remained in temporary accommodation in Sidoarjo and prevented from returning to their homes. The authorities failed to provide remedies for a displaced Ahmadiyya community in Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara, forcibly evicted by a mob from their homes in 2006.
Concerns about the “forced relocation of religious minorities, particularly Shi’a and Ahmadiyya communities, which were instigated by mobs and based on religious incitement” were raised by the UN Special Rapporteur on adequate housing in March. In May, the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights raised concerns about the situation of several groups, including displaced religious communities, which suffered “multiple discriminations”.
In November, the newly elected Minister of Religious Affairs and the Minister of Home Affairs both stated that the government would make the protection of minority rights one of its priorities.
Victims of past human rights violations and abuses continued to demand justice, truth and reparation for crimes under international law which occurred under the rule of former President Suharto (1965-1998) and during the subsequent reformasi period. These included unlawful killings, rape and other crimes of sexual violence, enforced disappearances, and torture and other ill-treatment. No progress was reported on numerous cases of alleged gross violations of human rights that were submitted by the National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) to the Attorney General’s office after a preliminary pro-justicia inquiry was conducted by the Commission.
Former President Yudhoyono failed to act on certain recommendations by Parliament from 2009: to bring to justice those involved in the enforced disappearance of 13 pro-democracy activists in 1997 and 1998, to conduct an immediate search for activists who had disappeared, and to provide rehabilitation and compensation to their families.
By the end of the year, Komnas HAM had completed only two out of five pro-justicia inquiries into “gross human rights violations” during the Aceh conflict (1989-2005). These included the 1999 Simpang KKA incident in North Aceh when the military shot dead 21 protesters, and the Jamboe Keupok case in South Aceh where four people were shot dead and 12 burned alive by soldiers in May 2003.
An Aceh Truth and Reconciliation by-law (qanun) passed in December 2013 was not implemented. No progress was reported on a new law on a national Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
More than 10 years after the murder of prominent human rights defender Munir Said Thalib, the authorities had failed to bring all the perpetrators to justice.
The government failed to implement recommendations made by the bilateral Indonesia-Timor-Leste Commission of Truth and Friendship, in particular to establish a commission for disappeared persons tasked with identifying the whereabouts of all children from Timor-Leste who were separated from their parents around the 1999 independence referendum.
Cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment
At least 76 people were caned in Aceh for Shari’a offences including gambling, drinking alcohol and adultery during the year. In September, the Aceh parliament passed a new by-law, the Islamic Criminal Code, which expanded the use of caning as punishment to other “crimes”, including same-sex sexual relations and intimacy between unmarried couples. There were concerns that the definition and evidentiary procedures related to the offence of rape and sexual abuse in the by-law did not meet international human rights standards. The Aceh Islamic Criminal Code applied to Muslims in Aceh province. Non-Muslims could also be convicted under the by-law of offences not currently covered by the Indonesian Criminal Code.
By the end of the year, the House of Representatives had yet to pass a Domestic Worker Protection Bill, leaving millions of domestic workers, the majority of them women and girls, vulnerable to economic exploitation and human rights abuses.
Sexual and reproductive rights
In February the Ministry of Health issued a new regulation withdrawing a 2010 regulation authorizing certain medical practitioners, such as doctors, midwives and nurses, to conduct “female circumcision”. By the end of the year, the government had yet to pass specific legislation prohibiting female genital mutilation.
Government Regulation No. 61/2014 on Reproductive Health, an implementing regulation to the 2009 Health Law, was issued in July 2014, restricting to 40 days the time period for rape survivors to access legal abortion. It was feared that this shortened timeframe would prevent many rape survivors from being able to access safe legal abortion.
No executions were reported. At least two death sentences were handed down during the year and at least 140 people remained under sentence of death.