[Statement] Indonesia: Improve human rights protection as a re-elected member of the Human Rights Council
27 October 2023 1:07 pm

The Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA) calls on the Government of Indonesia to live up to its commitment to improve human rights protection at the national, regional, and international levels, following its re-election as a member of the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) for the 2024-2026 term. 

On 10 October 2023 at the UN General Assembly, Indonesia secured the most votes–as part of the Asia-Pacific grouping–to be part of the HRC. The number of candidates matched the number of vacant seats in the Council. 

During its candidature, Indonesia committed to ‘preserving the fundamental civil and political rights of all persons.’ Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi also highlighted Indonesia’s priorities for its membership under the theme ‘Inclusive Partnership for Humanity,’ namely to improve the capacity of countries in promoting and protecting human rights through technical cooperation and capacity-building. Domestically, Indonesia pledged to strengthen its National Action Plan on Human Rights and to advance gender equality, women’s rights, child protection, and the right to health and development. In addition, Indonesia promised to encourage more regional and global dialogue and cooperation as well as to promote the implementation of values–including solidarity, inclusivity, and equality–under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. 

Marsudi stated that Indonesia is against the politicisation of human rights. 


Call to Action

Ahead of the Council election, FORUM-ASIA alongside other civil society organisations urged the Indonesian Government to pledge its commitments at the national and international levels. 

We asked the government to protect people’s freedoms of expression, association, and peaceful assembly; ensure the protection of human rights defenders; and to address the human rights violations in Papua. Likewise, we called for Indonesia’s immediate ratification of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, its accession to the Optional Protocol on the Convention Against Torture, its implementation of Universal Periodic Review recommendations, and its cooperation with the Special Procedures, to name a few.

As an elected member of the HRC, Indonesia must abide by the highest standards of promoting and protecting human rights as enshrined in UN Resolution A/RES/60/251. The Council’s role is even more crucial amidst the gross human rights violations happening across the world, including the crisis in Myanmar and the situation in the occupied Palestinian territory and Israel. 

FORUM-ASIA calls on the Indonesian Government to honour all its commitments. Indonesia must utilise this strategic position to proactively contribute to preventing human rights violations and ensuring accountability. Indonesia must also take a strong stance against human rights abuses at regional and global levels. 

‘As an upcoming member of the Human Rights Council, Indonesia has the duty to protect and promote human rights globally. Indonesia cannot be passive, ignorant, or complicit to human rights violations happening within and beyond its borders. It also has to address the still unresolved human rights violations of the past, including the 1965 massacre; cases of enforced disappearances at different periods of its history; and the assassination of Munir Said Thalib.  The Council’s credibility, after all, is dependent upon the human rights track record of its members,’ said Mary Aileen Diez-Bacalso, Executive Director of FORUM-ASIA.