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Civil society groups record 116 attacks on human rights defenders in 2020 alone

CNN Indonesia - December 9, 2020

Jakarta – The Civil Society Coalition for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders says that the human rights situation has worsened during the second term of President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's leadership.

The coalition – which is made up of several non-government organisations (NGOs) – says that the poor state of human rights during the Widodo era has been marked by the many cases of attacks on human rights defenders.

The coalition recorded that just between January and October this year there were around 116 attacks on human rights defenders.

"One of the indicators of the poor state of human rights during the administration of President Jokowi is the huge number of violations against human rights defenders", said Indonesian Human Rights Watch (Imparsial) research coordinator Ardi Manto in a virtual discussion on Tuesday December 8.

Manto said that attacks on human rights defenders are being carried out in two ways.

First, direct attacks such as seizures, arbitrary arrests, the repressive closing down of activities, criminalisation, violence and intimidation.

The other method is through digital media such as the hacking and highjacking of accounts.

According to Manto, these attacks on human rights defenders have occurred because of the government's attitude of intentionally ignoring human rights values.

Moreover, based on their records, as many as 59 cases of attacks on human rights defenders in 2029 involved the police.

"And even worse than that, there has yet to be any fair or adequate resolution to any of these cases of attacks against human rights defenders", he said.

The coalition is urging President Widodo and the government to improve the human rights situation in Indonesia. If not, the ordinary Indonesian people will face serious humanitarian problems.

"President Jokowi must have the courage to take concrete steps to improve this situation and rein in government officials so they side with law enforcement which is fair and values human rights", said Manto.

The coalition is also urging the government and the House of Representatives (DPR) to form a system of protection for human rights defenders by drafting a regulation and revising existing laws and regulations which are open to multiple interpretations.

According to the coalition, these regulations and laws, such as the Law on Information and Electronic Transactions (UU ITE), are often used as "ammunition" for the government to silence human rights defenders.

According to Manto, these regulations not only threaten human rights defenders, but in general germs threaten the enforcement and upholding of human rights in Indonesia.

The Civil Society Coalition for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders is made up of the Indonesian Legal Aid and Human Rights Association (PBHI), Imparsial, the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras), the Human Rights Working Group (HRWG), the Institute for Human Rights Studies and Advocacy (ELSAM), the Legal Aid Institute for the Press (LBH Pers), the Indonesian Human Protection Foundation (YPII), Amnesty International, Partnership for Governance Reform in Indonesia (Kemitraan), Human Rights Watch (HRW), the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (WALHI) and the Indonesian Women's Coalition (KPI). (dmi/NMA)

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Koalisi Catat 116 Penyerangan Pembela HAM Sepanjang 2020".]

Source: https://www.cnnindonesia.com/nasional/20201208235028-20-579642/koalisi-catat-116-penyerangan-pembela-ham-sepanjang-202