Amnesty International has decried a repressive human rights climate in Indonesia and a worrying lack of progress in addressing past abuses, in a report that is also the third in as many weeks to criticize rising religious intolerance in the country.
The 2013 report on “The State of the World’s Human Rights,” released today, cited problems in six areas, including “persistent allegations” of rights violations by police, repressive legislation invoked against peaceful political activists and the continued criminalization of freedom of religion.
Other problem areas were women’s rights, where Amnesty identified various setbacks and obstacles, as well as scant progress in delivering justice for past rights violations and the continued practice of handing down the death penalty — although no executions were carried out in 2012, the year in review in the report.
On the issue of rights violations by police and security forces, the report cited “excessive use of force and firearms, and torture and other ill-treatement.”
“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,” it said.
It also found that at least 76 “prisoners of conscience” remained behind bars, mostly from the regions of Papua and Maluku, where low-level separatist insurgencies are being waged, and accused the authorities of using “repressive legislation to criminalize peaceful political activists.”
Rights activists and journalists also fell victim to violations of freedom of expression, while news and nongovernmental organizations were “denied free and unimpeded access to the Papua region.”
There was a glimmer of positive news on the sixth and final point in the report, in that no executions were carried out in 2012, the fourth straight year, while one death row inmate even had their sentence commuted.
However, the government resumed the practice this year, executing four people so far, with plans to put to death another six.
Amnesty also noted that at least 12 death sentences were handed down last year and at least 130 people remained on death row.
Source: Jakarta Globe, May 23, 2013