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).“ [ ]