|Subject: 6 Reports: Pollycarpus Meets UN
Envoy; Papuan Activists Tortured; JP: Komnas HAM
- Indonesian pilot cleared in activist death meets UN envoy
Indonesian pilot cleared in activist death meets UN envoy
JAKARTA, June 12 (AFP) -- An off-duty pilot whose conviction for the murder of a prominent Indonesian rights activist was controversially overturned last year met briefly Tuesday with a UN special rights envoy, he said.
Indonesia's Supreme Court quashed the conviction of Garuda pilot Pollycarpus Priyanto for the murder of Munir Said Thalib late last year, sparking an international outcry.
The off-duty pilot had been accused of poisoning Munir on a flight to Amsterdam in 2004.
Police have continued to question Priyanto in connection with their ongoing investigation, which led to the angered pilot intercepting Hina Jilani as she was about to deliver a press briefing.
Priyanto said that he met with Jilani for about 10 minutes and handed her a letter from his lawyers.
"I told Ms. Jilani that I am a professional pilot and this bad situation happened to me.... Human rights is for everyone," he told AFP.
"I want to go to the UN, but it is very expensive so I took the opportunity to meet her here and she gave me her email where I can send my case to. The response was good -- I am very satisfied," he added.
Priyanto's lawyer, Adnan Wirawan, said he believed the rights of his client were being trampled on by police.
"This is a violation of human rights. We are also victims of an uncertain justice system. Our client is a free man," Wirawan told AFP.
Jilani, who arrived at the press briefing late, apparently due to Priyanto's appearance, did not comment directly on their talks.
"There is no plan to meet him but I cannot avoid meeting anybody who wishes to meet me," she told the briefing.
"Nevertheless, let me also clarify that the focus of my mandate is human rights defenders and I don't think that Mr. Pollycarpus would qualify as a human rights defender. Nevertheless, as an impartial mandate holder I cannot refuse to meet people who wish to meet me."
Jilani also said in relation to Munir's case that she was "deeply concerned at apprehensions expressed by defenders that the course of justice may be influenced to protect the perpetrators of this crime."
Police and the government have come under pressure from Munir's widow and rights groups amid claims of a cover-up in the original investigation due to suspects' links to the national intelligence agency, BIN.
"It is a little disappointing that the perpetrators have not been brought to justice and that in the one case that went up to trial, there has been an acquittal," said Jilani.
"Nevertheless, this is a case that will be a test for the will of the government to protect human rights defenders," she said.
Indonesia faces human rights test in poisoned activist case, UN envoy says
By ZAKKI HAKIM, Associated Press Writer
JAKARTA, June 12 (AP) -- Indonesian authorities must pursue justice in the unsolved murder of a prominent human rights activist, a special U.N. envoy said Tuesday, calling the case a test of the government's will to protect human rights workers.
Hina Jilani, a special representative to the United Nations on human rights defenders, said a failure to solve the poisoning death of Munir Said Thalib on board a flight to Amsterdam in 2004 "would make all human rights defenders throughout the country insecure."
In October, Indonesia's Supreme Court acquitted the only suspect in the case, saying there was insufficient evidence to convict off-duty Garuda pilot Pollycarpus Budihari Priyanto of lacing Munir's food with arsenic.
"This case represents the situation of the human rights community in general and is a test of the government's will to protect defenders in the country," Jilani said.
Munir's wife and other activists maintain the murder was the result of a conspiracy by military intelligence members who wanted to kill Munir for exposing abuses by the armed forces.
Jilani, from Pakistan, made the comments at the end of a weeklong fact-finding trip to the predominantly Muslim nation of 235 million people.
She praised military reforms undertaken since the fall of former dictator Suharto in 1998, but said concerns remained about conditions for human rights workers in Papua province, which is in the midst of a low-level separatist insurgency.
"The special representative has heard credible reports of incidents that involve arbitrary detention, torture and harassment through surveillance," a U.N. statement said.
Indonesia rights concerns over activist, Papua -UN
By Ed Davies
JAKARTA, June 12 (Reuters) - Indonesia is making progress promoting human rights, but deep concerns remain over the murder of a prominent activist and the actions of security services in areas such as Papua, a top U.N. rights official said on Tuesday.
Hina Jilani, the special representative of the U.N. Secretary General on human rights defenders, made the comments on the final day of a week-long visit to Indonesia.
Jilani singled out the case of Munir Thalib, a leading Indonesian rights campaigner, known for his critical views of the military, who was poisoned on his way to the Netherlands in 2004.
"I am deeply concerned at apprehensions expressed by defenders that the course of justice may be influenced to protect the perpetrators of this crime," said Jilani, an advocate at Pakistan's Supreme Court
Last year, the Supreme Court overturned a guilty verdict on off-duty pilot Pollycarpus Budihari Priyanto, saying there was not enough evidence and no witness.
Human rights groups have said the government has not pressed the probe or Priyanto's possible ties to others hard enough.
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono vowed to get to the bottom of the case when he took office in late 2004. In April, two new suspects were named in the probe.
"I remind the government that this case represents the situation of the human rights community in general and is a test of the government's will to protect defenders in the country." Dijani said she was due to meet Indonesia's attorney general, Hendarman Supandji, and would press over the case.
Referring to the situation in Papua, Jilani said concerns persisted over the actions of security services despite assurances from the military commander and the chief of police in the remote area in the far east of the country.
"I have heard credible reports of incidents that involve arbitrary detention, torture, harassment through surveillance, interference with the freedom of movement and in defenders' efforts to monitor and investigate human right violations."
Papua, two provinces on the west half of New Guinea island, has long been under the scrutiny of Western groups critical of how Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim country, treats the mainly Christian, ethnically distinct area.
Indonesian security forces have been fighting a low-level separatist insurgency in Papua for decades.
Dijani is due to present her report to the United Nations Human Rights Council and will make detailed recommendations for the Indonesian government.
She said she had not met President Yudhoyono on her trip.
(Additional reporting by Jenna Juwono)
Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) News June 12, 2007
UN suspects Papuan activists tortured
Geoff Thompson, Indonesia correspondent
A special representative to the United Nations (UN) secretary-general says there are redible reports that human rights defenders in the Indonesian province of Papua are being held, tortured and harassed.
The secretary-general's special representative on the situation of human rights defenders, Hina Jilani, has just completed a tour of West Papua.
Ms Jilani says she heard credible reports of arbitrary detention, torture, harassment through surveillance and restrictions placed on the freedom of movement of Papuans.
She says police and the military have threatened human rights defenders attempting to investigate allegations with prosecution.
The representative says they have labelled the activists as separatists in order to undermine their credibility.
Albert Rumbekwan of the National Human Rights Committee in Jayapura has told the ABC he has received at least one death threat since talking to Ms Jilani.
JAKARTA, June 12 (AFP) -- A special UN envoy called Tuesday for Indonesia to give better protection to its human rights defenders, particularly in West Papua, despite improvements elsewhere in the archipelago nation.
Hina Jilani, the special representative of the UN secretary general on human rights defenders, said she was concerned by testimony from activists about ongoing harassment and intimidation by police, the military and other agencies.
"I found this trend more pronounced in the province of West Papua," she told a press briefing at the conclusion of a week-long visit to Indonesia.
Jilani said she was concerned about credible reports of incidents in the province involving "arbitrary detention, torture, harassment through surveillance, interference with the freedom of movement and in defenders' efforts to monitor and investigate human rights violations."
Jilani was also disturbed by allegations that those exposing rights abuses "are labelled as separatists in order to undermine their credibility."
"This trend places human rights defenders at great risk and must be discouraged by the concerned authorities," she said.
Jilani, a Pakistani-born lawyer, will present a report on her mission to the UN Human Rights Council and will make detailed recommendations to the Indonesian government.
The UN envoy was not permitted to meet with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono during her stay.
Jilani said that generally, reforms in Indonesia had been taking place since 1998, when authoritarian dictator Suharto stood down after 32 years of rule.
She made particular note of improvements made in Aceh, where a peace pact has ended years of separatist unrest, though she noted some women activists complained of restrictions on their freedom of movement and expression.
"The system of reforms has been set in motion. I hope that more substantial outcomes will be more apparent soon," she told reporters.
In a surprise addition to her planned schedule, Jilani also met briefly with a former pilot whose conviction for the murder of a prominent rights activist was overturned last year, triggering an international outcry.
The pilot, Pollycarpus Priyanto, who had his conviction for the 2004 poisoning murder of Munir Said Thalib quashed by the Supreme Court, apparently intercepted Jilani as she was on her way to the press briefing.
Priyanto said that he met with Jilani for about 10 minutes and handed her a letter from his lawyers.
"I told Ms. Jilani that I am a professional pilot and this bad situation happened to me.... Human rights are for everyone," he told AFP.
Priyanto's lawyer, Adnan Wirawan, said he believed the rights of his client were being trampled on by police, who have continued to question him as a witness.
Jilani did not directly comment on their talks but said: "I cannot avoid meeting anybody who wishes to meet me.... Nevertheless, let me also clarify that the focus of my mandate is human rights defenders and I don't think that Mr. Pollycarpus would qualify as a human rights defender."
The envoy said in relation to Munir's case that she was "deeply concerned at apprehensions expressed by defenders that the course of justice may be influenced to protect the perpetrators of this crime."
Police and the government have come under pressure from Munir's widow and rights groups amid claims of a cover-up in the original investigation due to suspects' links to the nation's national intelligence agency, BIN.
Jilani said the case remained "a test for the will of the government to protect human rights defenders."
The Jakarta Post Tuesday, June 12, 2007
House takes steps to fill rights commission ranks
Ridwan Max Sijabat, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta
The law commission at the House of Representatives has begun the task of filling the ranks of the National Human Rights Commission by selecting 43 candidates for nomination as rights commissioners.
House commission members were divided over the criteria to be met by candidates, but were united in the opinion that they must be strongly committed to protecting human rights and reducing complicated bureaucratic processes to make the rights body more effective in handling cases.
Commission chairman Trimedya Pandjaitan said that if the list of 43 candidates does not yield 35 qualified commissioners, those selected must provide a list of additional candidates within six months after their inauguration to the House.
Trimedya said candidates will be judged on their intellect, integrity and their responses to questions before the House.
"Time management is part of the judgment. Candidates have 45 minutes to explain their vision and mission. We want to know what their understanding of human rights is. The candidates are scored on a range from one to 100, with the passing score being 75," he said.
National Awakening Party (PKB) legislator Nursyahbani Katjasungkana said her party would prefer candidates who share the same interests as PKB, which she labeled pluralism and honoring the freedom of religion.
She added that her party also considered highly candidates' knowledge on national and international human rights legal instruments in addition to their experience and technical skills.
"From the five candidates screened this afternoon, all have met the criteria intellectually. However, the rights body needs human rights advocates who are sharp and quick in decision making. If all members are academics, it would be difficult, because they should be able to perform pro-justice investigations, which need technical skills," she said.
The five candidates were K.H. Abdul Muhaimin, Abdul Munir Mulkhan, A.A. Sudirman, Abdul Rasal Rauf and Adrianus E. Meliala.
The deputy chairman of the House law commission, Suripto, said he appreciated the candidates' qualities and valued their varied backgrounds, saying it would enrich the national rights body and help it accomplish its mission.
"Although the (majority) of the candidates are outgoing commissioners and human rights activists, many others are religious figures, researchers and lawyers. They are all assets that can enrich the rights body," he said.
Meliala, a criminologist from the University of Indonesia, said before presenting his vision before the commission that the rights body was in need of strong leadership with the political will to minimize the bureaucracy to make it more effective in handling rights abuse cases.
"The rights body also needs dedicated commissioners who have the capacity to work as a team so that all cases can be settled in accordance with the law," he said.
Asked to comment on unresolved human rights abuses such as the 1998-1999 Trisakti and Semanggi tragedies, the abduction of pro-democracy activists in 1998 and the shooting of Papuans in Abepura and Baliem Valley, he acknowledged that insufficient progress has been made in each of the cases.
"The public has high expectations of the rights body, but thus far the commission has fallen short," he said.
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