Indonesia's crack down on human rights

Anyone who has been passingly engaged in Indonesia might have noticed that President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo doesn’t have much respect for human rights. Recently four executions took place with a further 10 people at imminent risk of death.

He also decided to make Gen. Wiranto – a man who has been charged with crimes against humanity by a UN sponsored tribunal – Coordinating Minister for Politics, Law, and Security Affairs.

This should be enough to make you extremely worried, but Rising Voices, Rising Arrest, a report put together through collaboration between several Indonesian NGOs, shows that Jokowi’s contempt for human rights has tragic consequences in the Indonesian province of West Papua.

The report examines continuing concerns around arbitrary arrests which rose to a record high of 1083 in 2015. It also covers cases of ill-treatment, torture and other human rights violations. In fact, there were 690 reported cases of ill-treatment in 2015, compared to 148 in 2014. This emerges alongside reports from Papuan Human Rights groups that up to 20,000 people have been displaced by state violence in the rural areas of Indonesia.

Peaceful demonstrations are also being cracked down on – 22 have been dispersed by security forces within the past year. According to the report, 80% of arbitrary arrests were made because of suspected involvement in demonstrations. Overall, 873 people were arrested simply because of plans to take part in a peaceful protest, a 374% increase from the figures in 2014.

The research outlines a clear danger that “continuing impunity will undermine any effort to promote peace, human rights and dialogue in West Papua.” This erosion in human rights and the stability of West Papua is something that we should all be concerned about as President Joko continues to turn his back on human rights. Whilst the report makes for tough reading, it highlights a corner of the world which is getting far too little attention.

Written by Chrisopher Peel, AIUK Country Coordinator for Indonesia

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