Indonesian president fails to promote human rights

Indonesian President Joko Widodo's administration has failed to promote human rights since taking office more than a year ago, according to a survey

Dec 10, 2015

JAKARTA: Indonesian President Joko Widodo's administration has failed to promote human rights since taking office more than a year ago, according to a survey by the Setara Institute for Democracy and Peace.

The survey — released Dec. 9 — a day ahead of Human Rights Day, said the achievement index for human rights promotion fell slightly this year from an already-low 2.49 to 2.45. The survey scores range from zero to a high of seven.

"This shows that there have been no changes during the administration of President Widodo" even though he promised to protect human rights, Bonar Tigor Naipospos, Setara's deputy chairman, said during the survey's launch in Jakarta.

The survey graded Indonesia on a number of controversial issues such as human rights abuses and protection, abolition of the death penalty, safeguarding freedom of expression, association and religion and economic issues.

While most variables showed performance decreases across the board, the survey showed improvements in the economy, Naipospos said.

"Based on this data, Widodo's administration still prioritizes the economic and infrastructural developments and ignores the issues of human rights," he said.

"It must be balanced though. It cannot focus on one sector only and forget others," he said.

According to Father Antonius Benny Susetyo, secretary of Setara's national council, "many political parties supporting the president are perpetrators of past human rights violations."

This has contributed to Widodo's failure in human rights protection and enforcement, he said.

Father Susetyo also cited human rights violations in Papua as an example of where the current administration has failed. Widodo expressed a willingness to address persistent abuses in the province, "but officials surrounding him don't follow his lead," he said.

Silent protest

In Jayapura, the Papuan capital, about 300 priests, nuns, seminarians and university students held a silent protest in front of the local legislators' office to mark Human Rights Day on Dec. 10.

"Stop the violence and killings in this land [of Papua]. Stop the killings of the Papuan people," Father Neles Tebay, coordinator of the Papua Peace Network, told ucanews.com.

Last year, on Dec. 8, four students died and many others were injured when security forces allegedly opened fire on a crowd of protesters. The crowd gathered to protest against the beating of a child — allegedly by soldiers — in Ipakije village the night before.--Ucannews.com

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