Public Accountability

Public Debate: Towards A Pro-Migrant Workers ASEAN Community Post-2015

Activity Report of the Representative Of Indonesia to the AICHR


Erasmus Huis, Jakarta
Monday, 29 June 2015


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The Representative of Indonesia to the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) has again organised the Public Debate and Discussion, this time with the theme “Towards a Pro-Migrant Workers ASEAN Community Post-2015”. The Public Debate was attended by more than one hundred (100) participants deriving from various stakeholders such as – the workers union and organisation, relevant ministry and governmental agencies, ASEAN bodies, the ASEAN Secretariat, diplomatic missions in Jakarta, United Nations agencies, National Human Rights Institutions, civil society organisations (CSOs), academe, students, as well as the media.

Aside from the general objective to reach common understanding amongst national stakeholders on the various issues of the protection and promotion of the rights of migrant workers in ASEAN, the main goal of this second Public Debate is to formulate joint steps and actions towards pro-migrant workers policies in ASEAN. Moreover, this activity is in line with the Thematic Study in which the AICHR is undertaking, led by the Representative of Indonesia, on Migration and Human Rights – with a focus on the migration management for most vulnerable groups, namely the migrant workers.

In his welcome remarks, Rafendi Djamin, Representative of Indonesia to the AICHR, highlighted the importance of cooperation at the national level regarding efforts to formulate policies at the regional level. On the other hand, regional policies need the support of national policies, even up to the level of county districts and cities. He further reiterated the views of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Indonesia at the beginning of 2015, who stated that the protection of migrant workers in ASEAN could only become effective when ASEAN has a legally binding framework for protection. In the meantime, there has been a bottleneck in the negotiation process of the instrument to protect migrant workers undertaken by the ASEAN Committee on the Implementation of the ASEAN Declaration on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers (ACMW). Therefore, he hopes for the discussions within the Debate to generate ideas to resolve such bottleneck at the regional level.

Speech Rafendi Djamin
Furthermore, Rafendi also underlined that the protection of migrant workers is one of the priorities of Indonesia in ASEAN, as stated by President Joko Widodo during the ASEAN Summit last April. It is therefore his view that if Indonesia could lead this issue in ASEAN, then Indonesia will not only be taking lead on the protection of Indonesian migrant workers, but all migrant workers in the ASEAN region.

The Head of Sub-Directorate for Vulnerable Groups of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) of Indonesia who acted as Moderator of the panel discussion explained that the discussions were important to raise awareness and understanding of national stakeholders regarding the issue of migrant workers; as well as to generate ideas or innovative inputs to overcome the obstacle currently faced by ASEA on the issue.

To kick-start discussions, three panel speakers gave three various perspectives regarding the issues of migrant workers, namely Indonesian migrant workers. The Director for Citizen and Legal Entity Protection of the MFA of Indonesia, laid out several issues encountered by the government of Indonesia in formulating as well as implementing policies for migrant workers – such as the dilemma of remittance versus socio-economic costs; moratorium of recruitment against the increasing risk of non-procedural recruitment; as well as the need for new policies for the protection of Indonesian migrant workers.

Moreover, the Head for Planning and External Relations Bureau of the Coordinating Ministry for Human Development and Culture of Indonesia, who is also the Representative of Indonesia in the High-Level Task Force on the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC) 2025 Attendant Document presented the initiatives as well as priorities of ASEAN to protect and promote the rights of migrant workers post-2015. One of the principles of the draft ASCC Attendant Document is inclusivity, which aims to reduce the obstacles faced by migrant workers, in particular those who are undocumented. He further highlighted that the protection of migrant workers is part of the overall ASEAN priority to ensure social protection post-2015.

The representative of the Indonesian Migrant Workers Union underlined the importance to encourage ASEAN Member States to ratify the various instruments related to the protection of migrant workers, that has been produced by international bodies such as the International Labour Organisation (ILO), as well as the 1990 International Convention on the Protection of Rights of All Migrant Workers and Their Families.

Debate in motion
Discussions generated the importance to apply extraterritorial obligation amongst ASEAN Member States on issues of migrant workers as well as Rohingya refugees. There were also views that underlined the need of standardisation on social protection, while negotiations on a legally binding instrument on the protection of migrant workers also need to be concluded.

In the wrap-up sessions, the Representative of Indonesia to the AICHR also stressed the importance to encourage implementation commitment made by the ASEAN Leaders enshrined in the “Kuala Lumpur Declaration on a People-Oriented, Peopled Centred ASEAN” – which clearly mentions the protection of the rights of migrant workers.

The Representative of Indonesia will be organising three (3) more Public Debates this year, taking on themes in line with the AICHR’s priority programmes – namely the right to life, the elimination of violence against women, and business and human rights. The Public Debate and Discussion is a collaboration of the Representative of Indonesia to the AICHR with the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Indonesia.


Prevention Torture in ASEAN is Discussed on the 2nd Jakarta Human Rights Dialogue

Press Release

[Jakarta, 1 November 2013] –

Indonesian Representative to ASEAN Inter-governmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) takes initiative to discuss the topic “prevention torture” in the 2nd Jakarta Human Rights Dialogue (JHRD) that will be held in Grand Hyatt Hotel Jakarta, 2-3 November 2013. JHRD is a stakeholder dialogue platform among key actors on human rights in the region, initiated by Indonesian Representative to AICHR aims discuss cooperation on human rights in ASEAN as an important step towards strengthening the protection and promotion of human rights in ASEAN.

The main objectives of the meeting are to map best practices to prohibit and prevent torture that are practiced in ASEAN Member States, with a view towards regional plan of action to implement the Article 14 of the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration (AHRD), "No person shall be subject to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment" by exploring the experiences of other regional human rights mechanisms such as and Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR),” said Rafendi Djamin, Indonesia Representative to AICHR in Jakarta (1/11).

After the adoption of AHRD (on November 2012), declaring the commitment of 10 ASEAN member states to prohibit and prevent torture there are already five countries in ASEAN who have ratified/accessed the United Nations Convention Against Torture (CAT), namely: Cambodia (15 October 1992), Indonesia (28 October 1998), Laos (26 September 2012), the Philippines (18 June 1986) and Thailand (2 October 2007). And ratified or in the process of ratification on Optional Protocol of Convention Against Torture (OPCAT) . States not only have an obligation to absolutely prohibit torture but also have obligation to prevent torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment (CID) from happening. Effective prevention also means to address root causes of torture and CID treatment in order to create an environment where torture is not likely to occur. Prevention measures should involve a holistic approach to society as a whole, addressing the functioning of justice systems, rule of law, public perceptions of torture etc. Torture, according international customary law, is one form of gross violation of human rights , that oblige States to prosecute the perpetrators so that there will be no safe heaven in the world. Further more, nine ASEAN Member States include the prohibition of torture in its Constitution.

“Torture is one of the most serious human rights violations. It destroys personal’s dignity, body and mind and effects on families and community deeply. There are no exceptional circumstances –no war or threat or public emergency (red) – that can ever justify the use of torture. Even though international community under the international law has condemned torture but the practice remains widespread in prisons, police stations, migrant or juvenile detention centers, psychiatric institutions, etc,” Rafendi explained why prevention torture becomes the JHRD’s topic this year.

In this occasion, JHRD will explore some best practices on implementing anti-torture in some ASEAN’s country as well as learning best practices in the prevention of Torture in American Hemisphere that have developed various mechanisms including Pre-cautionary measures and from European System that has its own European Committee on Prevention of Torture European Human Rights Court, European Fundamental Rights Agencies, and a European Commissioner on Human Rights of Council of Europe.

This event is supported by German Embassy Jakarta, Indonesia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Swiss Embassy Jakarta, OHCHR Regional office Bangkok, and Association on Prevention of Torture (APT).“ [ ]

Press Release: Celebrating Human Rights Day 2015 and ASEAN Community: Promoting Freedom of Religion and Beliefs, Nurturing Tolerance in ASEAN

Film Screening & 5th Public Discussion on Human Rights in ASEAN

7 December 2015

Erasmus Huis Jakarta

Through the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration (AHRD) and the Phnom Penh Statement on the Adoption of the AHRD, it is recognised that “every person has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. All forms of intolerance, discrimination and incitement of hatred based on religion and beliefs shall be eliminated” (Article 22). Thus, the AHRD does not only recognise freedom of religion and beliefs in ASEAN as enshrined in United Nations Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) 1948, also calls for elimination of intolerance, discrimination and all forms of violence based on any religious means. Mr. Rafendi Djamin highlighted the idea as he officiates the Public Discussion on “Freedom of Religion & Beliefs, and the Challenges of Intolerance in ASEAN”.

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As Representative of Indonesia to the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR), Mr. Rafendi Djamin hosted the Public Discussion in conjunction with Human Rights Day, which is celebrated on 10 December every year. It was convened with the general objective to raise awareness and engagement of national stakeholders and the general public on human rights issues of concern to ASEAN as a region. The event brought together over ninety (90) participants – coming from government institutions, national human rights institutions (NHRIs), students and academes, national and regional NGOs, as well as members of the diplomatic corps in Jakarta.

Prior to the Discussion, participants were treated with a screening of ‘Timbuktu’ – a film that was based on true events derived by religious extremism, and was nominated for ‘Best Foreign Language Film’ at the 2015 Academy Awards.

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The Discussion welcomed honourable guest speaker H.E. Abdurrahman M. Fachir, Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia, and also Prof. Dr. H.M. Machasin, MA, Director-General for Islamic Community Guidance, Ministry of Religious Affairs of Indonesia. Both speakers underlined that tolerance amongst the pluralistic society has shaped and united Indonesia as a nation, which dates back before the colonial times. Moreover, Indonesia has been active internationally in promoting interfaith as well as intra-faith dialogues – to safeguard, among others, tolerance and the freedom to embrace one’s religion or belief. Such characteristics of this country should be able to meet the emerging challenges on intolerance and violence in Indonesia, as well as ASEAN. In the digital era of social media, the speakers call upon the young generations to highlight positive posts in order to uphold tolerance in society.

In the ASEAN context, Mr. Rafendi Djamin highlighted that Indonesia has been promoting the issue of freedom of religion and beliefs to be undertaken as a priority of the AICHR. Indeed, the ‘implementation of article 22 of the AHRD on freedom of religion and beliefs’ has been adopted as part of the AICHR’s Priority Programmes/Activities for 2016, where Indonesia will be the lead country in realising the programme. This activity is in line with the new ASEAN Political-Security Community Vision-2025: Embed the culture of peace, including the values of tolerance and moderation as a force for harmony, peace and stability in our region and beyond”. It is also hoped that points from the Discussion could act as reference for the Representative of Indonesia in formulating the concept of such programme.

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The Discussion was the 5th and last of the series of Public Discussion and Debate on human rights in ASEAN – a collaboration between the Representative of Indonesia to the AICHR with the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. For Mr. Rafendi Djamin, it was the final event of the year in his capacity as Representative of Indonesia to the AICHR, before completing his mandate. He expressed his high appreciation to H.E. Rob Swartbol, Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Indonesia, and the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, for a fruitful and constructive partnership in organising the Public Discussion and Debate series, and their generous support for AICHR Indonesia.


Press Release: Advocating for a More Constructive Engagement with Stakeholders, and a Fond Farewell

The Nineteenth (19th) Meeting of the

ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR)

27 – 29 November 2015

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

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Indonesia reaffirmed its position in encouraging the AICHR to continue engaging constructively with stakeholders in the promotion and protection of human rights in ASEAN. Despite being the final meeting of the year, and the farewell meeting for most Representatives (including himself), Rafendi Djamin continued his active role to advocate various issues as the Representative of Indonesia to the Commission. As head of the Indonesian Delegation during the 19th Meeting of the AICHR, Rafendi re-tabled several proposed activities, and put forward a new initiative for the AICHR to be carried out in 2016.

Indonesia, in collaboration with Thailand, re-proposed two (2) Thematic Studies to be carried out – namely on the Right to Life, with focus on safeguarding the protection of the rights of people facing death penalty; and on the Juvenile Justice System, with a view to develop guidelines/framework on the regional juvenile justice system that could be referred to by ASEAN Member States in their own judicial system. Rafendi Djamin hoped that the incoming new Representative of Indonesia would carry on the negotiations to implement the aforementioned Thematic Studies, in collaboration with the Representative of Thailand.

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Following up on the recommendations of the recent successful AICHR-SOMTC Joint Workshop on Trafficking in Persons and Human Rights in Yogyakarta, Indonesia has proposed for an “AICHR Annual Consultation on Human Rights-based Approach on the Implementation of the ACTIP and its ASEAN Plan of Action (APA)”. The consultation aims for collating best practices on human rights-based approach in preventing, protecting and rehabilitating victims of trafficking in persons as well as providing a forum for AICHR and relevant ASEAN sectoral bodies to constructively engage with the Senior Officials Meeting on Transnational Crime (SOMTC) and contribute in the development of the roadmap on implementation of the ACTIP and APA. The proposal was supported in principle by the meeting and Indonesia was applauded for the for its initiative as well as for the successful convening of the Workshop in Jogjakarta.

Indonesia, as a member of screening panel, called on the endorsement of all application by the CSOs for Consultative Relationship with AICHR. Indonesia is of the view that critics by the CSO could be used as a motivation for AICHR to further progress and therefore should not be the basis for not accepting the application. The sixteen (16) applications by CSOs for Consultative Relationship with the AICHR are currently pending for the AICHR’s subsequent ad-referendum approval in mid-December.

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The final day of the Meeting witnessed the handover of Chairpersonship of the AICHR from Malaysia to Lao PDR. As a parting gimmick, Rafendi Djamin presented an appreciation video, especially for the outgoing Representatives whose term ends along with the end of Malaysia’s Chairpersonship. Indonesia along with other Representatives conveyed their compliments and appreciation to all Representatives, and especially to H.E. Tan Sri Dato’ Sri Dr. Muhammad Shafee Abdullah for his able leadership as Chair of the AICHR, and for being the most gracious host of the final meeting of the AICHR in 2015.

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It is expected that in December 2015, or by January 2016, at least seven (7) ASEAN Member States (including Indonesia) will announce the appointment of its new Representative to the Commission. As he comes to full circle to complete his two terms as the Representative of Indonesia, Rafendi Djamin looked forward to Indonesia’s continuing role in leading the promotion and protection of human rights in ASEAN through the AICHR, by his incoming successor.



Human Rights-based Approach to Combat Trafficking in Persons,
Especially Women and Children

5 – 6 November 2015
Yogyakarta, Indonesia


Participants of the AICHR-SOMTC Joint Workshop

As ASEAN draws closer to the adoption of the ASEAN Convention on Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children (ACTIP) and the ASEAN Plan of Action (APA), the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) and Senior Officials Meeting on Transnational Crime (SOMTC) organised its first ever joint workshop on “Human Rights-based Approach to Combat Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children”. Among its objectives is an exchange of ideas between the AICHR, SOMTC, and other relevant ASEAN bodies/sectoral bodies on how human rights and gender perspective should be applied under the ACTIP and its APA.

The Representative of Indonesia to the AICHR, Mr. Rafendi Djamin, underlined that no ASEAN Member State (AMS) is free from the issue of trafficking of women and children, and that it takes place in any form – whether during or after disasters, in the movement of migrant labour, irregular migration caused by war, internal armed conflict, as well as extreme poverty. He emphasised that all forms of trafficking – including force labour, sex labour, or child force labour – are against human dignity and should not exist in modern era. He further stated that trafficking does not come in vacuum, but could be the excess of poverty, irregular migration, war and natural disaster. Finally, he identified that the crosscutting nature of trafficking of women and children could be a start for better cooperation and/or coordination amongst relevant organs/bodies/sectoral bodies of ASEAN.

ASEAN Sectoral Bodies leaders

The Joint Workshop brought together more than seventy (70) participants – coming from the AICHR, SOMTC, various relevant ASEAN bodies/sectoral bodies, ASEAN Secretariat, relevant government agencies of AMS, National Human Rights Institutions of AMS, regional civil society organisations (CSOs), and United Nations (UN) specialised agencies.

The Chair of SOMTC, H.E. Sieng Lapresse, preceded discussions with his Keynote Remarks – where he called upon participants to look into the affirmations contained in the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration (AHRD) and the Phnom Penh Statement on the Adoption of the AHRD such as “to live in dignity”, freedom from “arbitrary interference with his or her privacy including personal data”, and “the right to free choice of employment”. He addressed that ASEAN should concentrate on the identification of the root cause on trafficking in persons. He viewed the Joint Workshop as the relevant forum and best opportunity for all stakeholders to initiate the development of the right legal structure and policies – building upon existing international law; the UN Convention against Transnational Organised Crime and the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons; Protocol against Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air; as well as the ASEAN Convention and ASEAN Plan of Action against Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children.

The session is fully packed

Discussions during plenary sessions touched upon human rights perspective on regional initiatives, priorities, as well as policies in combating trafficking in persons (TIPs); application of rights-based approaches towards the implementation on prevention of and protection from TIPs; and highlighted the issue of vulnerability of the people affected by disaster that could become victims of TIPs. Following joint presentation by the ASEAN Committee on Disaster Management (ACDM), ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on disaster management (AHA Centre), and Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance (DMHA) Division of the ASEAN Secretariat, discussions on TIPs for the first time looked into how it could be prevented and punished in situations of natural, as well as man-made disasters.

Following the Joint Workshop, a special closed discussion session between the AICHR, SOMTC, and relevant ASEAN organs/bodies/sectoral bodies was held – aimed to synthesize their efforts in the prevention, protection, and cooperation in addressing the issue of TIPs. The session finally generated recommendations on possible ways forward to further cooperation. Amongst the possible ways forward, whether already put forward in a work plan of each ASEAN bodies, or in form of a developing idea, include – discussions to raise awareness and understanding on ACTIP and APA after its adoption; an annual meeting between the AICHR, SOMTC, ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children (ACWC), Senior Officials Meeting on Social Welfare and Development (SOMTC) and other ASEAN sectoral bodies related to the issue of TIPs; inviting each other in any activities related to TIPs and human rights; information sharing on programmes of activities on TIPs; identifying areas of cooperation on mutual interest as part of the implementation of ACTIP and APA (e.g. victims of TIPs identification); and the socialisation on the ACWC’s ‘Guidelines on Protection of Women in Trafficked Situations’ through consultation with other ASEAN bodies/sectoral bodies – following its expected adoption in the upcoming 27th ASEAN Summit.

A session chaired by Thailand Representative to AICHR


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