Jakarta – Amnesty International Indonesia criticized the report from the Indonesian government delegation at the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland, on November 9. In the report, the human rights watchdog lamented the government's call to distinguish between acts of human rights violations and law enforcement.
"That is the type of statement that does not empathize with Papuan issues," said Amnesty International Indonesia Media and Campaign Manager Nurina Savitri in a press conference on November 10.
Nurina pointed out the arrest of 51 people in 2022 and those who were victims of violence during the mass protest against the Papuan special autonomy policy imposed by the government. "Were those able to be considered law enforcement?" said Nurina.
She explained that there was still a plethora of issues in Papua that the government seems to detach from, such as the extra-judicial killings that took place in the region and the existence of political prisoners. Amnesty noted that there are 94 political prisoners throughout 2019-2022, which include Maluku and Papuan political prisoners.
The issue of Papua previously received critical recommendations during the UPR Session of the UN Human Rights Council. Despite being sharply highlighted, the Minister of Law and Human Rights Yasonna H. Laoly claimed success in promoting and protecting human rights in Indonesia, which is closely related to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Other human rights issues that became a concern at the trial include the death penalty, the optional ratification of the anti-torture convention protocol, revisions to the Criminal Code, freedom of religion and expression, and protection of the rights of women, children, and people with disabilities.
When asked for further information on issues related to Papua, Yasonna said that the UN members did not aggressively press questions. However, he admitted, there were several issues raised, for example, indigenous peoples and allegations of human rights violations such as the mutilation of soldiers against civilians.
Amnesty International Indonesia lauded the 9 countries at the UPR Session that raised the issue of human rights in Papua. They believe that it proves that what Amnesty conveyed was indeed true, and what the government said in its report was only partial information.
Nurina gave another example in freedom of expression, where the government said that the revision of the Criminal Code (RKUHP) was claimed to improve the rule of law and protect human rights. But the problem is, the draft RKUHP contains problematic articles that have the potential to violate human rights.
"This is our question of how the claim was submitted, on what basis?" she said.
According to Amnesty's records, 172 human rights defenders were victims of attacks and hinted that the government's claims contradict their own claims.