Supriatin – Coordinating Minister for Security, Politics and Legal Affairs Mahfud MD has refuted news that the United Nations Human Rights Council recently highlighted human rights violations in Indonesia, including the current situation in Papua.
According to Mahfud MD, news that the UN Human Rights Commission has asked for clarification from the Indonesian government on human rights violations in Papua is just a provocation spread on social media.
"We are actually being provoked by social media [reports] which are unclear. If you open the UN Human Rights Council website, there's nothing [about Papua] in the UN Human Rights High Commission speech yesterday. Indonesia is clear of the Papua issue", said Mahfud during a press conference on Thursday June 16.
Mahfud also refuted news that a committee had been formed to investigate human rights violations in Papua. "What's the source [of this news]? I've checked directly with their headquarters, there's nothing", he said.
UN hasn't cited human rights issues since 2020
The former Constitutional Court justice added that the UN Human Rights Council has not touched on the issue of human rights in Indonesia since 2020.
In fact, UN Human Rights High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet has conveyed her appreciation to the Attorney General for addressing gross human rights violations by taking the Paniai incident in Papua before the courts.
"But outside [of the UN] it's as if human rights violations are being highlighted by the UN. That's not happening", he said.
Mahfud said that it is only particular groups that are highlighting human rights violations in Indonesia. He gave the example of non-government organisations (NGOs) which have reported human rights violations in Indonesia to the UN Special Procedures Mandate Holders (SPMH).
The SPMH is a body under the UN which is made up of independent experts. They are tasked with providing reports and input to the UN Human Rights Council on the implementation of human rights or if there is an emergency human rights situation in a particular country.
According to Mahfud, the reports submitted by the NGOs will be accommodated by the SPMH. Following this, the SPMH will then convey these reports to the country concerned.
"This is the SPMH, not the Human Rights Council. The reports are then conveyed to the government. Then we respond, 'Oh yeah, that's been resolved'. So there aren't any problems", he said. (gil)
On December 22, the UN Special Procedures Mandate Holders wrote to the Indonesian government asking for data and clarification related to alleged forced disappearances, the use of excessive force, torture and forced relocation in Papua and West Papua provinces for the period 2021. In response the government said it would hold a meeting on February 14 – which was subsequently postponed – to "put together some facts" so that the UN can "obtain accurate information and facts about what has occurred in the field". The Paniai incident refers to the killing of four high-school students and the serious injury of 21 others after police and military opened fire on a group of protesters and local residents in the town of Enarotali, Paniai regency, on December 8, 2014.
See: UN writes to Jakarta seeking clarification on recent rights violations, access to Papua. CNN Indonesia – February 12, 2022.
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Mahfud MD Klaim Tak Ada Catatan Pelanggaran HAM Indonesia di Dewan HAM PBB".]