Joko Widodo reminded about his human rights campaign promise

"It is heartening that President elect Joko Widodo has spoken about commitment to human rights protection during his pre election campaign. Now it is time for realization," Richard Bennett, director of Amnesty International said.
Jakarta (ANTARA News) -Amnesty International reminded President elect Joko Widodo of his pre election campaign promise to improve human rights protection in Indonesia.

Joko Widodo, who was on Tuesday declared victor of the July 9 presidential election has promised to put human rights issues high on the agenda of his administration, Richard Bennett, director of Amnesty International said in a statement to ANTARA news agency here on Wednesday.

Bennett said Jokowi as the Jakarta governor popularly known, also promised to settle cases of gross human rights abuses in the past, protect religious freedom, reform of the police department and open access to Papua for international observers.

"It is heartening that President elect Joko Widodo has spoken about commitment to human rights protection during his pre election campaign. Now it is time for realization," he said.

He said the new government has an opportunity to open a new era where human rights are respected in Indonesia.

The victory of Jokowi would boost the hope of many human rights activists and victims of human rights abuses who have been fighting against impunity for years, he said, adding the hopes could not be put to an end.

As an early step, Amnesty International, which is based in London , urged the new government to thoroughly evaluate Indonesias human rights track record in the past decade and formulate a clear action plan, he said .

What is important is evaluation must be conducted in cooperation with the civil society and other important actors, he said.

Amnesty International also recommended publication of human rights agenda for the new president underlining eight main issues to be top of the agenda for his administration , he said.

The agenda include actions against "climate" of impunity in the past; the president should instruct the attorney general to finish investigations into past crimes under international law; and a Commission of Truth and Reconciliation must be formed that could recommend repairs to end the suffering of victims.

Bennett said obviously, respect for freedom of religion and religious tolerance had suffered a setback in the past several years.

The new government should revoke discriminatory laws and regulations , used to justify attacks on the followers of the minority religions, he added.

Amnesty International has taken and kept record of a series of human rights abuses by police including the murder, torment and other forms of mistreatment and violence and unnecessary use of firearms .

Investigation into cases of human rights abuses by police has rarely been conducted that many victims have no access to justice, Bennett said.

The National Police Commission must be allowed to work independently without interference from the government and police as well as political pressure.

Amnesty International also urged for the release of political detainees mainly from Papua and Maluku.

The agency said the new president is expected to promote and protect human rights in ASEAN .

It hopes that Indonesia, which has the largest GDP in this region and is the host to the ASEAN headquarters in Jakarta , would quickly emerge as the leader in Southeast Asia.

Indonesian president must take the role seriously and make the country a good example in this region and the world in human rights protection, it said.

Indonesia has played a positive role in forming key human rights body in ASEAN since 2007, the agency noted, saying , "this commitment should be brought to reality under the new government particularly in strengthening the Human Rights Commission for ASEAN (AICHR) to become truly independent to protect and promote human rights in this region."(*)

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