Subject: UN: Timor & Indonesia at Human Rights Commission
CHAIRPERSON OF COMMITTEE ON ELIMINATION OF DISCRIMINATION AGAINST WOMEN ADDRESSES COMMISSION
Commission on Human Rights AFTERNOON 2 April 2004
Commission Concludes General Debate on Civil and Political Rights, Starts Consideration of Women's Human Rights
TIAGO AMARAL SARMENTO, of Catholic Institute for International Relations, said regarding the independence of the judiciary and the need to deal with overall weaknesses in this regard in East Timor, there was an urgent need to ensure that there was a mandate for the continuation of the work of the Serious Crimes Unit and Special Panels after the expiration of the mandate of the United Nations Mission of Support in East Timor (UNMISET). Structural vulnerabilities were compounded by current practices which provided scope for political interference with the judiciary, and such practices included the lack of financial independence of the judiciary and courts in general. Allegations of judicial interference in East Timor were also present in relation to the Special Panel for Serious Crimes which had jurisdiction for international crimes, whose work was being undermined in bringing to justice those accused of crimes against humanity. The Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers should undertake a mission to East Timor to further analyse these issues.
MR MUGYANTO, of Netherlands Organization for International Development Cooperation- NOVIB-Oxfam Netherlands, said that the organization was deeply concerned about the cases of enforced disappearances in Indonesia and mentioned that up to May 2003, the Commission for Disappearances and Victims of Violence KONTRAS - had documented 1,292 cases of involuntary disappearances that occurred since 1965 when General Suharto took power by wiping out suspected communists and their supporters. The organization noted that the Indonesian Government had not done anything despite this situation. Another matter of concern was that of the continuing violence in Aceh, which was in a state of martial law and where cases of disappearances continued to happen. The second ad hoc Human Rights Tribunal after East Timor was ongoing which was following the case of the Tanjung Priok massacre that took place in 1984. However, at least 14 cases of enforced disappearances had not been included in the indictment.
AFRIDAL DARNI, of Australian Council for Overseas Aid, said while the Indonesian Government had submitted its report on the situation, it had not implemented recommendations made by the Committee against Torture, and had not amended its legislation. There was a deteriorating situation in Indonesia with regard to this issue and others such as arbitrary detention. The situation in Aceh was deteriorating, and the targeting of the human rights movement there was infringing on human rights legislation. There had been summary executions and sexual assault by the police force. The Commission should urge the Government of Indonesia to address these numerous human rights violations and fully implement the recommendations of the Committee against Torture, re-open the peace negotiations and fully cooperate with the international humanitarian organizations for the benefit of the people of Aceh.
AFRIDAL DARMI, of the Third World Movement against the Exploitation of Women, said that 2003 had been a gloomy year for the freedom of expression and religious tolerance in Indonesia. Under martial law in Aceh, at least 23 cases, including murder, arson, intimidation and arrest had been committed against journalists and the press. Furthermore, the dismissal of the programme for Training on Human Rights Violation Monitoring demonstrated the arbitrariness of the Indonesian Police and Military. Threats also came from the Government's plan to revise the criminal code, and enact laws on state concealment, intelligence and broadcast law. The Indonesia Government recognized only five religions namely Islam, Protestant and Catholic Christianity, Buddhism and Hinduism, with the consequence that each citizen must belong to one of them as atheism was not allowed. Any other religious beliefs were not allowed. The Commission was appealed to urge the Government of Indonesia to revoke articles under the criminal code criminalizing the press; to protect seriously the freedom of expression; to send the Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression to visit Indonesia; to protect all religions; and to exercise consistently the recommendations of the World Conference against Racism to eliminate racism, discrimination and religious intolerance.
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