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Indonesia: Critical Assessments Review, Indonesia

April 10, 2008

A Statement from the Indonesian NGO Coalition on Universal Periodic Review forwarded by the Asian Human Rights Commission

INDONESIA: Critical Assessments upon UPR review of Indonesia

(Geneva, April 9, 2008) We, the Indonesian NGO Coalition on Universal Periodic Review (UPR), express our utter disappointment and deep regret over the UPR review of Indonesia. Widely shared hopes and expectations of a transparent, meaningful and constructive UPR process were shattered amidst a farcical showing of self- and mutual exoneration statements and loaded questions from Indonesia and its closest friends. The UPR has taken on new meaning as Universal Periodic Rhetoric and has entirely excluded the victims of human rights violations from the discussion and review processes.

The Indonesian NGO Coalition would like to express the following concerns and criticisms:

1. Dialogue and considerations were disproportionately based on the state report of the Government of Indonesia. The compilations of UN information and the summary of stakeholders' information as submitted by the OHCHR were neglected. This was illustrated by the abundance of loaded questions and hollow recommendations from participating member States, and the omission of vital issues from the discussion.

2. We welcome the critical questions and constructive recommendations brought forth by a number of member States during the review. However, the Indonesian delegation did not respond to any of these critical questions, opting instead to respond only to unchallenging and non-confrontational questions that enabled them to maintain an air of confidence and optimism. The á-la-carte nature of the question-and-answer segment enabled the Indonesian delegation to avoid questions probing sensitive issues such as impunity, past abuses, and indigenous and minority rights.

3. The Indonesian delegation used the issue of women and children's rights as a major focal point of their report and presentation, yet their analysis of the situation was superficial and unrealistic, and is not reflective of the real human rights situation facing women and children in Indonesia.

4. Despite the universal and non-discriminatory nature of the UPR, the political dimensions of the review are obvious in this 'unpoliticised' process. Political factors play a definitive role in shaping questions and recommendations. The supposedly independent and critical questions are instead used to prompt a shameful exercise in self-and mutual exoneration.

5. Last but not least, we deeply regret the general reluctance of States under review, including Indonesia, to engage in constructive dialogue with NGOs through parallel briefings and discussions. Although there are indications that as of tomorrow NGOs will be permitted to hold information sessions and forums, we feel that most member States are not ready or willing to engage in open and transparent dialogue with civil society.

In conclusion, we urge the members of the Troika to address in their reports and recommendations the fundamental human rights issues that were raised by States during the UPR interactive dialogue but were neglected in the responses of the Indonesian delegation. Accordingly, we urge the Government of Indonesia to adopt and implement these recommendations and address these more challenging yet critical issues.

We also urge the member States of the UPR Working Group to use this mechanism effectively by consulting and drawing from all three documents provided (State report, Compilation of UN information, Summary of stakeholders' information), and in doing so employing the principles of objectivity and non-selectivity in accordance with the spirit of UN reform.


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