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Cablegate: Indonesia -- Reaction to the 2007 Human Rights

VZCZCXRO6526
OO RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHJA #0536 0770641
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 170641Z MAR 08
FM AMEMBASSY JAKARTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8357
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS PRIORITY
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 2181
RUEHPB/AMEMBASSY PORT MORESBY 3725
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 4825
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI 1669
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 1674
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG 2500
RUEHPT/AMCONSUL PERTH 0637
RHHJJPI/USPACOM HONOLULU HI
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

UNCLAS JAKARTA 000536

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR EAP, EAP/MLS, EAP/MTS, DRL, DRL/AWH
NSC FOR EPHU

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM ID
SUBJECT: INDONESIA -- REACTION TO THE 2007 HUMAN RIGHTS
REPORT

REF: JAKARTA 504 AND PREVIOUS

1. (U) SUMMARY: The Indonesian media has reacted in
straightforward fashion to the 2007 Country Report on Human
Rights Practices. Government officials and activists
expressed general agreement with the Indonesia chapter of the
report, commenting that while Indonesia has made progress, it
still has a way to go to improve human rights practices. One
area of improvement appeared on the horizon this week when
the Attorney General's office announced it would take action
to investigate the 1998-99 killing of students in Jakarta.
END SUMMARY.

MEDIA REPORTS IN STRAIGHTFORWARD FASHION

2. (U) At least four national news outlets carried articles
on the 2007 Country Report on Human Rights Practices
following its March 11 dissemination. National Bahasa
Indonesia newspaper Seputar Indonesia highlighted positive
elements of the report, noting the U.S. assessment of the
Indonesian government's seriousness in its efforts to
prosecute the murder of human rights activist Munir Said
Thalib, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's signing of an
anti-trafficking law, and the improvement in the performance
of the Indonesian National Police, especially in handling
demonstrations without using violence. Straightforward,
non-critical articles were also carried by Media Indonesia,
Rakyat Merdeka and the Jakarta Post (the major English
language newspaper in the country).

POSITIVE VIBES FROM CONTACTS

3. (U) Government officials and civil society activists
reacted positively to the report. Deputy Commissioner Ridha
Saleh, of the National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM),
told the media that Komnas HAM's year-end report had reached
similar conclusions to our report. Wiwiek Setyawati Firman,
Director of Human Rights at the Department of Foreign
Affairs, said in comments to the press: "in general, we
realize we're not perfect yet" but "we're going in that
direction." She noted Indonesia's ratification of U.N.
conventions and compliance with mandated reporting
requirements.

4. (U) Human rights activists expressed similar sentiments
to poloff. They noted that while human rights conditions are
not as grave as they were in the Suharto-era, there is still
a way to go toward accountability and improving legal
protections for citizens.

A STEP TOWARD ACCOUNTABILITY

5. (U) In the meantime, the government is taking action on
three high-profile cases highlighted in this year's report:
the cases of 1998 and 1999 in which a total of 18 students
were killed during demonstrations. Attorney General
Hendarman Supanji publicly announced that he was working with
Komnas HAM to investigate the shootings, widely known as
"Trisakti and Semanggi I and II" after the Jakarta locations
where the incidents occurred. When pressed for the cases'
status, he told the media that his office was working to make
sure that the evidence that has been gathered would fulfill
the legal requirements of court cases.

HUME

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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