Security forces faced persistent allegations of human rights violations, including torture and other ill-treatment and excessive use of force and firearms. At least 76 prisoners of conscience remained behind bars. Intimidation and attacks against religious minorities were rife. Discriminatory laws, policies and practices prevented women and girls from exercising their rights, in particular, sexual and reproductive rights. No progress was made in bringing perpetrators of past human rights violations to justice. No executions were reported.
In May, Indonesia’s human rights record was assessed under the UN Universal Periodic Review. The government rejected key recommendations to review specific laws and decrees which restrict the rights to freedom of expression and thought, conscience and religion. In July, Indonesia reported to the CEDAW Committee. In November, Indonesia adopted the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration, despite serious concerns that it fell short of international standards.
Indonesia’s legislative framework remained inadequate to deal with allegations of torture and other ill-treatment. Caning continued to be used as a form of judicial punishment in Aceh province for Shari’a offences. At least 45 people were caned during the year for gambling, and being alone with someone of the opposite sex who was not a marriage partner or relative (khalwat).Top of page
Police were repeatedly accused of human rights violations, including excessive use of force and firearms, and torture and other ill-treatment. Internal and external police accountability mechanisms failed to adequately deal with cases of abuses committed by police, and investigations into human rights violations were rare.
Indonesian security forces, including police and military personnel, were accused of human rights violations in Papua. Torture and other ill-treatment, excessive use of force and firearms and possible unlawful killings were reported. In most cases, the perpetrators were not brought to justice and victims did not receive reparations.
The authorities continued to use repressive legislation to criminalize peaceful political activists. At least 70 people from the regions of Papua and Maluku were in prison for peacefully expressing their views.
Human rights defenders and journalists repeatedly faced intimidation and attacks because of their work. International observers, including NGOs and journalists, continued to be denied free and unimpeded access to the Papua region.
The authorities used incitement and blasphemy provisions to criminalize freedom of religion, as well as freedoms of expression, thought and conscience. At least six prisoners of conscience remained behind bars on incitement and blasphemy charges.
Religious minorities – including Ahmadis, Shi’as and Christians – faced ongoing discrimination, intimidation and attacks. In many cases the authorities failed to adequately protect them or bring the perpetrators to justice.
Women and girls faced ongoing barriers to exercising their sexual and reproductive rights. In July, the CEDAW Committee recommended that the government promote understanding of sexual and reproductive health and rights, including among unmarried women and women domestic workers. The Committee also recommended that women be given access to contraception without having to obtain their husband’s consent.
A 2010 government regulation permitting “female circumcision” remained in effect, in violation of Indonesia’s obligations under international human rights law. The CEDAW Committee called on the government to withdraw the regulation and adopt legislation to criminalize the practice.
For a third successive year, Parliament failed to debate and enact a domestic workers law, leaving domestic workers, the vast majority of whom are women and girls, vulnerable to economic exploitation and the denial of their rights to fair conditions of work, health and education. Although Indonesia ratified the 1990 International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families in May, a lack of adequate legal protection in the country exposed migrant domestic workers, mostly women and girls, to trafficking, forced labour practices and other human rights abuses in Indonesia and overseas.Top of page
There was little progress in delivering justice, truth and reparation for past human rights violations, including in Aceh, Papua and Timor-Leste (formerly East Timor). Survivors of sexual violence had yet to receive adequate medical, psychological, sexual and reproductive, and mental health services or treatment. In September, the Indonesian government announced at the UN Human Rights Council that they were finalizing a new law on a Truth and Reconciliation Commission; however, no progress was reported. A multi-agency team set up by the President in 2011 to devise a plan to resolve past human rights violations had yet to announce any concrete plans.
For a fourth successive year no executions were reported. However, at least 12 death sentences were handed down during the year and at least 130 people remained under sentence of death. In a positive move in October, it was reported that the Supreme Court had commuted the death sentence of a drug trafficker in August 2011, citing the death penalty as a violation of human rights and the Constitution. Also in October, it was announced that the President had commuted 19 death sentences between 2004 and 2011.Top of page