Subject: NGOs' press statment: UNCHR verified impunity

Joint Press Statement 17 May 2002



A note on "The 58th Session of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights" Geneva, March ≠ April 2002

Together with the delegations of other Indonesian NGOs such as ELSAM, PBHI, PIRD-YLBHI, LBH Banda Aceh, INFOHD, ELSHAM Papua and NGO Forum of East Timor, Kontras attended the 58th Session of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights in Geneva, Swiss. Through attendance to this session it was expected that advocacy and campaign of actual and urgent human right issues could call attention and support from the international community and strengthen cooperation with international organizations that have been paying serious attention to the issue of human right protection in Indonesia.

As part of our responsibility we would like to converse some issues that we deem important and significantly influential to the efforts of enforcing human rights in Indonesia:

The 58th session of the UN Commission on Human Rights has given a note of its own to NGO circle. Most state members of the Commission, particularly those of Asia, joined in the "Light-Minded Group (LMG)" requested the Commission to apply time restrictions to NGOs that are going to presenting oral intervention. They also requested the Commission to opt for every NGOsí documents/reports received, considering that they are laden with political propaganda.

This time restriction was confirmed by the clarification of the Chairman of the Session to NGOs as of 26 April 2002. Finally, most NGO delegations got no opportunity to speak up. Considering the situation, on the slot of item 11 on the civilian and political rights, Indonesian delegations expressed their unhappiness of the ongoing process.

Yusril Ihza Mahendra, Indonesian Minister for Justice and Human Rights, gave his speech before the Commissionís Session (27 March 2002), in which he declared that the Government of Indonesia will manage to establish ad hoc court for East Timor case in two-year time. Besides, Minister Yusril, on behalf of the government he was representing invited: (i) the Special Rapporteur on Independent Judiciary; (ii) the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression; and (iii) the Special Rapporteur on the Rights to Education.

In the meeting between Indonesian NGO delegations and the Special Rapporteurs, it was confirmed that the Special Rapporteurs would visit Indonesia in June 2002. In relation to the visit of the Special Rapporteur for Independent Judges and Lawyers to Indonesian in June 2002, we consider that the UN Special Rapporteurs must obtain sufficient opportunity to immediately observe and completely portray the judicial problems both in conflict and non-conflict areas.

The 58th Session of the UN Commission on Human rights also produced a Chairpersonís Statement on the Situation of Human Rights in East Timor, which linked with the exercise of Indonesian Human Right ad hoc court. The statement basically approved the implementation of human right court in Indonesia, appreciated the political will of the Government of Indonesia and called for its commitment to exercise international standards in the ad hoc court for East Timor cases.

Based on the above notes, we deem necessary to converse some consideration concerning the above progress.

1. We positively appreciate the Indonesian governmentís invitation to the three UN Special Rapporteurs to visit Indonesia. However, there are a number of questions yet to be answered, i.e.: why the priority was given only to the three special rapporteurs? What about the Special Rapporteur on Torture that had been requesting for invitation since 1993? Or the Special Rapportuer on human rights defender? Isnít it true that torture and protection to human rights defenders in Indonesia are heightened issues? Let alone, the Government of Indonesia has ratified the Convention against Torture. It also has submitted the report on torture in November 2001 although it has not carry out the recommendation of the Committee Against Torture. And lastly, isnít it true that the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression has expired in April 2002?

2. We would like to express our concern and unhappiness on the Commissionís change of attitude during the session. The Commission that was supposed to function and act as human right defender had then become defender of the government. It was quite obvious during the closing of the session that produced a very friendly "resolution" or "chairpersonís statement". On the other hand, it was also obvious that there were efforts to restrict opportunity for NGOs to give inputs and present their insights from the side of victims concerning the condition of human right in each country.

3. We reckon the Chairpersonís Statement on the Human Rights ad hoc court for East Timor a denial against the ongoing proceedings. The reality was, the proceedings were not progressing the way the government narrated them : be compliant to the international standards. On the contrary, the proceedings were progressing to cover gross violation against human rights in East Timor. Therefore, we criticize the UN Commission on Human Rights for having verifying impunity in Indonesia instead of turning against it!

4. We would like to urge Un Special Rapporteurs to visit conflict areas i.e. Aceh, Papua and Maluku. In addition, we would also like to request the Special Rapporteurs to attend the proceeding of the ad hoc court of East Timor. On the other hand, in this opportunity we would like to express our concern of the personal affiliation between the special rapporteurs and the Indonesian high-rank officials that might harm their independence.

5. We would like to urge the government of Indonesia to take concrete measures concerning the exercise of the CAT recommendations, invite UN special rapporteurs on torture to visit Indonesia and support the enactment of the draft of Convention on the Protection of All People from Involuntary Displacement.

Jakarta, 17 May 2002

Usman Hamid


Ifdhal Kasim




Soni Setyana


Back to May menu

World Leaders Contact List
Human Rights Violations in East Timor
Main Postings Menu

Note: For those who would like to fax "the powers that be" - CallCenter is a Native 32-bit Voice Telephony software application integrated with fax and data communications... and it's free of charge! Download from