Dibangun oleh Ken Budha Kusumandaru untuk Perwakilan Indonesia pada ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights Januari 2015 Follow @kenndaru Like my FB page https://www.facebook.com/Shangrila.TheHiddenCity

Public Accountability

Press Release: Indonesia’s Role in Encouraging the Synergy of ASEAN Human Rights Mechanisms in Strengthening the Protection of Women and Girls from Violence

5 October 2015
Caraka Loka, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia

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“The ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) always endeavours to synergise with other ASEAN organs/sectoral bodies in the promotion and protection of human rights.” Such was stated by Rafendi Djamin, Representative of Indonesia to the AICHR, while opening the Public Debate and Discussion “Strengthening the Protection Mandate of ASEAN Human Rights Mechanisms in Preventing and Eliminating Violence against Women and Girls in ASEAN”. The convening of such Public Debate and Discussion for the 4th time was a reflection of such endeavour by AICHR Indonesia to synergise, where the Representative of Indonesia to the AICHR collaborated with the Representatives of Indonesia to the ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children (ACWC) in addressing an issue of common interest for both Commissions. The organisation of the event was supported by Directorate-General of ASEAN Cooperation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia, and Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

Aside from the general objective to raise awareness and understanding, as well as provide a room for dialogue amongst national stakeholders on the issue of violence against women and girls in various situations in ASEAN; the Public Debate and Discussion has a specific aim to generate inputs from stakeholders for Representatives of Indonesia to ASEAN bodies/organs such as the AICHR, ACWC and ACMW (ASEAN Committee on the Implementation of the ASEAN Declaration on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers) in their effort to strengthen mandate for protection of women and girls. Additionally, for AICHR Indonesia, inputs from stakeholders may be utilised to formulate Road Map to Strengthen the Protection Mandate of the AICHR – an initiative of the Representative of Indonesia with the Representative of the Philippines to the AICHR.

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Four resource persons in the Public Debate and Discussion were Ms Sri Danti Anwar (Expert Staff of the Ministry for Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection of Indonesia, Representative of Indonesia to ASEAN Committee on Women) representing the government’s point of view, Ms Yuniyanti Chuzaifah (Chair of Commission on Violence against Women 2011-2015) representing an independent human rights institution, and Ms Rita S. Kolibonso (Chair of Mitra Perempuan, Representative of Indonesia to ACWC for Women’s Rights 2010-2014) and Ms Nursyahbani Katjasungkana (National Coordinator for LBH APIK) representing civil society’s point of view.

Over one hundred (100) national stakeholders – coming from ministries and government agencies, as well as academe, women’s empowerment and violence against women organisations, as well as other civil society organisations, electronic and print media, etc. – participated in the Public Debate and Discussion. The Forum was also attended by several Ambassadors, as well as representatives of ASEAN Dialogue Partners such as Japan, Republic of Korea, European Union, Finland, Norway, Switzerland, etc.

Discussions were divided into three clusters: (1) international and regional human rights standard as the legal basis for protection of rights of women and girls in ASEAN; (2) mechanism for ASEAN organs/sectoral bodies related to human rights issues (namely in relation to protection of rights of women and girls) in carrying out its mandates, as well as how to synergise and an efficient and effective division of work amongst them; and, (3) implementation of international as well as regional instruments at the national level, as well as best practices at the national level that could be taken up to the ASEAN level on the protection of the rights of women and girls.

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As a wrap-up to the discussions, the Representative of Indonesia came to the following conclusions:
·    Aside from CEDAW and CRC, there is a need to encourage ASEAN Member States in ratifying other international convention that relates to the prevention as well as elimination of violence against women and girls – such as the UN Convention against Torture, ILO Convention 89 on Domestic Workers, the UN Convention on Enforced Disappearances, and others. In relation to a legally binding human rights standard setting/norms, there is a need to ensure that ASEAN human rights norms do not downgrade the existing international standard. Furthermore, ASEAN should formulate certain guidelines on how to implement existing declarations. There was also a recommendation to develop a minimum standardised assistance to victims of violence against women and girls in ASEAN, which could be seen as form of strengthening protection mandate in the prevention and elimination of violence against women and girls.
·    One mechanism that was mentioned and/or proposed from Discussions was a Joint Task Force on the prevention and elimination of violence against women and girls in ASEAN. The Representative of Indonesia to the AICHR highlighted that such Joint Task Force was one that could very well be realised, and at the same time could be seen as a way to synergise amongst ASEAN organs/bodies in addressing human rights issues in the region. The Representative of Indonesia to the AICHR further underlined that another example of alignment of work among ASEAN organs/bodies is the upcoming AICHR-SOMTC (Senior Officials Meeting on Transnational Crime) Joint Workshop to address the issue of trafficking in persons, especially women and children, in the region.
·    Discussions also revealed that an obstacle on the prevention and elimination of violence against women and girls is the issue of minimum capacity and political commitment from government and politicians at the district/regency level in carrying out its human rights obligations.

In the event that the Public Debate and Discussion is first held at Caraka Loka, situated in the ASEAN-Indonesia National Secretariat, the AICHR Indonesia secretariat office is also launch – which was officiated formally by Ambassador I Gede Ngurah Swajaya, Chair of ASEAN-Indonesia National Secretariat.

The Representative of Indonesia to the AICHR will convene the 5th and final of the series of Public Debate and Discussions in early December 2015.


Press Release: Follow-up to the AMM's Statement on the Review of the TOR of the AICHR to Strengthen the AICHR’s Protection Mandate and the ASEAN-EU Policy Dialogue on Human Rights Preparation

Special AICHR Meeting Manila 2015

Following-up to the recent Interface with the ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting (AMM), the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) convened a Special Meeting in Manila, Philippines on 16-17 September 2015. The main objective for the Special Meeting was to follow-up the AICHR-AMM Interface, as well as to complete the implementation of activities under the AICHR’s Priority Programmes for 2015.

Rafendi Djamin, Representative of Indonesia to the AICHR, led the Indonesian Delegation throughout the Special Meeting. Following-up discussions of the AICHR-AMM Interface, Indonesia supported the common understanding to advise the AMM, in regards to the measures that must be undertaken by the AICHR on the review of its Terms of Reference (TOR).  

During discussions on the AICHR’s Thematic Studies, Indonesia proposed two new activities to be undertaken within the AICHR Priority Programmes for 2015/2016. Such activities are (1) “Thematic Study on the Right to Life” – with a focus on moratorium of the death penalty; and, (2) “Thematic Study on Juvenile Justice System in ASEAN” – with a focus on looking at alternative measures (i.e. diversion) on juvenile detention, with a view to develop Guidelines for Juvenile Justice in ASEAN. The above-mentioned proposals generated various views and inputs from Member States – namely the Concept Paper on the Thematic Study on the Right to Life. To that regard, the Representatives of Malaysia and Thailand reiterated their interest to be co-lead countries for the Thematic Study. The AICHR were supported the idea for the two Thematic Studies in principle. Based on the AICHR’s views and inputs, the Thematic Study on the Right to Life will focus on the human rights' protection of death row inmates. Moreover, the Thematic Study on Juvenile Justice System will be focused on diversion policy and alternative detention.

The AICHR also discussed the ways to move forward and expedite the completion of two on-going Thematic Studies. The “Thematic Study on Migration and Human Rights”, in which Indonesia is taking lead, is expected to conclude by end of this year. On the other hand, the “Thematic Study on the Right to Peace” which is being led by Lao PDR, is expected to be completed next year, under their Chairmanship of ASEAN and AICHR.

As per Indonesia’s initiative, the AICHR held a bilateral meeting with representatives from the Senior Officials Meeting on Transnational Crime (SOMTC) Philippines, as SOMTC's Lead Shepherd for the issue of trafficking in persons. The meeting was aimed to reach common understanding on the preparation of the “AICHR-SOMTC Joint Workshop on Human Rights-based Approach to Combat Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children” – led by the Representative of Indonesia to the AICHR, and scheduled for early November 2015 in Yogyakarta, prior to the 27th ASEAN Summit.

Finally, the AICHR also underwent through final stages of preparation for the ASEAN-EU Human Rights Policy Dialogue, where the AICHR and other ASEAN organs and/or sectoral bodies related to human rights (i.e. ACWC, ACMW and the ASEAN Secretariat) will be visiting the European Union headquarter in Brussels, Belgium. Human rights issues that are of concerns to both regions – such as migration and human rights, rights of persons with disabilities, rights of women and children, business and human rights and corporate social responsibility are included in the Dialogue’s programme. The Representative of Indonesia to the AICHR, together with the Chair of ACMW, will be leading discussions on issues of migration and human rights in the two regions. Additionally, the AICHR is also scheduled to meet the European Parliament, representatives from European NGOs, representatives of persons with disabilities, as well as the European Business Community.

The AICHR will be holding its last Meeting under the Chairmanship of Malaysia at the end of November 2015 in Kuala Lumpur. It is expected that activities initiated and being led by Indonesia could be adopted by the AICHR at the said Meeting, for immediate implementation.

Special Meeting of the AICHR, Bandar Sri Begawan, 13-15 June 2015

Press Release: Encouraging AICHR to Address the Urgent Issue of Irregular Migration Crisis in ASEAN


Encouraging AICHR to Address the Urgent Issue of Irregular Migration Crisis in ASEAN

Special Meeting of the AICHR, Bandar Sri Begawan, 13-15 June 2015

Jakarta, 17 June 2015. The Representative of Indonesia to the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR), Rafendi Djamin, encouraged the AICHR as the overarching Human Rights institution in ASEAN to discuss and address the humanitarian and human rights crisis – migration flow and seafaring refugees – which has become increasingly prevalent in ASEAN.

Such was highlighted by Rafendi Djamin during the Special Meeting of the AICHR in Bandar Sri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam on 13-15 June 2015. The Meeting was held primarily to focus on the preparations for the AICHR’s Interface with the ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting (AMM) to be held in August 2015. However, according to Rafendi, the on-going humanitarian crisis requires immediate attention from the AICHR. Due to that, Indonesia has sent a letter to the Chair of the AICHR dated 5 June 2015, to include a discussion on the irregular migration crisis in the agenda.

Rafendi emphasised that, “as representatives of an overarching ASEAN Human Rights Body, who are elected with a specific purpose to promote and protect the rights of the people in this region, and given the grievances and hardships the migrants are facing, it is only appropriate for us to have an honest and constructive discussion on this urgent matter.”

According to Rafendi, the crisis is caused by several factors, especially, the existence of difficult circumstances and threat of prosecution faced by the migrants or refugees within their own state. This situation is worsened by the existence of human trafficking and smuggling syndicate, making the situation for the refugees more vulnerable, which subsequently requires attention of AICHR.

The crisis of irregular migration has been the focus of some ASEAN Foreign Ministers with the subsequent issue of a Joint Statement on Irregular Migration in South East Asia by three (3) ASEAN Foreign Ministers – namely from Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand. In the Joint Statement, the Foreign Ministers called for ASEAN to play an active role in addressing the irregular migration crisis in a swift and efficient way, in the spirit of ASEAN solidarity. They also urged for an emergency meeting of the ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Transnational Crime (AMMTC) to address the crisis. The Representative of Indonesia to the AICHR welcomes the recent Decision of the Senior Offiials Meeting on Transnational Crime (SOM-TC) during their recent meeting in Siem Reap, Cambodia, to organise an emergency meeting at the ministerial level on 2 July 2015 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Meanwhile, in preparation for the AICHR’s Interface with the AMM, the Special Meeting discussed: the AICHR’s Annual Report to the AMM, the AICHR Five-Year Work Plan 2016-2020, the AICHR’s Priority Programs and Activities for 2016, and the AICHR’s statement to the AMM. Indonesia’s specific aim and interest are, among others, in relation strengthening of the AICHR’s protection mandate as well as a follow-up on the recommendation of the AICHR’s Thematic Study on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Human Rights.

For the Annual Report 2015, Indonesia reiterated the need for ASEAN Member States to support their Representatives (both facilities and human resource). Indonesia also proposed an initiative to become the implementing state for AICHR’s activity on Freedom of Religion and Trafficking in Persons in 2016.

For the AICHR Five-Year Work Plan 2016-2020, Indonesia has put forward a formulation of measurable objectives that could be achieved in the next 5 years of AICHR’s operation in relation to the strengthening of the secretariat for AICHR, wider inclusion of stakeholders, the need for a communication procedure between AICHR and ASEAN Member States, as well as the reinforcement of AICHR protection mandate. Despite having the support of several Member States, it is regrettable that a consensus could not be achieved to incorporate Indonesia’s inputs.

During the Special Meeting, the AICHR also provided its inputs to the Draft ASEAN Community Vision-2025 and its Attendant Document for ASEAN Political-Security Community. In addition, the AICHR is also keen to provide its inputs to the AICHR Community Vision-2025 Attendant Document for the Economic and Socio-Cultural Community – with consideration that human rights should be mainstreamed in all three ASEAN community pillars.

The AICHR also discussed and adopted several activities to be implemented in 2015, including a workshop to develop synergy on combatting trafficking in persons – in which Indonesia will take lead in organising conjointly with the SOM-TC this upcoming August in Bali.


Press Release:AICHR Dialogue with ASEAN Community Councils on the AHRD and the Phnom Penh Statement

The ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) Dialogue with ASEAN Community Councils on the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration (AHRD) and the Phnom Penh Statement on the Adoption of the AHRD

25 – 26 May 2015

Jakarta, Indonesia


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Led by Representative of Indonesia to the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR), Mr. Rafendi Djamin, the AICHR hosted the first ever Dialogue between the AICHR and the ASEAN Community Councils on the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration (AHRD) and the Phnom Penh Statement on the Adoption of the AHRD. The Dialogue was held on 25 – 26 May 2015 at the Ritz-Carlton Jakarta, Indonesia, which was also supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia.

The Dialogue was opened by Mr. Rafendi Djamin and H.E. AKP Mochtan, Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN for Community and Corporate Affairs of the ASEAN Secretariat who delivered his Welcome Remarks on behalf of the Secretary-General of ASEAN.

The AICHR Dialogue with ASEAN Community Councils was convened as part of the AICHR’s priority programmes/activities for 2015. The objectives of the Dialogue among others, to identify and consult on how human rights norms and values as stipulated in the AHRD could be mainstreamed in the three pillars of ASEAN Community. The Dialogue also aimed at discussing and formulating human rights-based approach to be infused into the ASEAN Community Vision-2025. The activity is in line with the AICHR’s mandate as stipulated in its Terms of Reference (TOR) – particularly to develop strategies for the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms to complement the building of the ASEAN Community (4.1), as well to engage in dialogue and consultation with other ASEAN bodies (4.8).

The Dialogue was attended by some Representatives of the AICHR, representatives from the ASEAN Community Councils, various ASEAN Sectoral Bodies under the three ASEAN community pillars, and the ASEAN Secretariat. Among Sectoral Bodies who participated in the Meeting were the Senior Officials Meeting on Transnational Crimes (SOM-TC), Senior Officials Meeting on Agriculture and Forestry (SOM-AMAF), ASEAN Senior Officials Meeting on Minerals (ASOMM), ASEAN Committee on the Implementation of the ASEAN Declaration on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers (ACMW) and ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children (ACWC). Some Representatives from the Committee of Permanent Representatives to ASEAN (CPR) also joined the Dialogue.

During the Dialogue, participants discussed about the AHRD and the Phnom Penh Statement as the main reference and the most comprehensive ASEAN document pertaining to human rights that cut across all pillars of ASEAN Community. Specifically, the Dialogue discussed about the progress, achievements, and challenges in the implementation of the three ASEAN Community Blueprints (2009 – 2015), and elaborated on how to strengthen human rights-based approach in the development of each Community-2025 Attendant Document.

In his presentation preceding the sessions on the ASEAN Community pillars, Mr Rafendi Djamin took to the Dialogue to explain about the application of rights-based approach as a tool to achieve a set of norms enshrined in the AHRD for the ASEAN Community Vision-2025 and its Attendant Documents. He also talked about the notion of rights-based approach to development that sets the achievement of human rights as an objective of development – with the elements of participation, accountability, non-discrimination, and empowerment.

The Dialogue was informed that some follow-up action to build collaboration/cooperation in addressing cross-pillar human rights issues are already in the process of preparation – such as a joint Regional Workshop between the AICHR and SOM-TC to address issues of trafficking in persons and human rights that will be conducted in the second-half of 2015.

The participants also discussed and came up with some of recommendations of the Dialogue. The recommendations emphasised, among others, that ASEAN Sectoral Bodies and Organs should mainstream human rights and use human rights-based approach in their work. The Dialogue also acknowledges that there should be better communication and coordination between the AICHR and the various Sectoral Bodies found in each ASEAN Community Council, as well as a better appreciation and consideration by the ASEAN Sectoral Bodies and entities on the application of the various provisions of the AHRD. In addition, the Dialogue sees that the AICHR and Sectoral Bodies should cooperate to address emerging regional human rights challenges such as irregular migration in a timely and effective manner.

The two-day Dialogue was closed with closing remarks by H.E. Amb. Dato’ Hasnudin Hamzah, Chair of the PR and Permanent Representative of Malaysia to ASEAN.


The Second Jakarta Human Rights Dialogue on Prevention of Torture in the ASEAN Region

The Second Jakarta Human Rights Dialogue (JHRD) on Prevention of Torture in the ASEAN Region

2-3 November 2013
Jakarta, Indonesia


I.    Introduction

1.    The Second Jakarta Human Rights Dialogue (JHRD) on Prevention of Torture in the ASEAN Region was held on 2-3 November 2013 in Grand Hyatt, Jakarta, Indonesia. The Dialogue was initiated by the Indonesian Representative to the AICHR, Mr. Rafendi Djamin, as a back to back meeting with the annual Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) Consultation with the ASEAN Secretary General and the ASEAN Committee of the Permanent Representatives (CPR) on 1 November 2013. The JHRD was jointly organized by the AICHR Indonesia, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia, Human Rights Working Group (HRWG), and the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS); with the support of the German Embassy in Jakarta, the Swiss Embassy in Jakarta, the United Nations High Commissioner Office Regional Office in Bangkok, and the Association on the Prevention of Torture (APT).

2.    The Dialogue was attended by the AICHR Representatives from Indonesia, Lao PDR, and Thailand; and the Alternate of the AICHR Representative from Brunei Darussalam and Assistant to the AICHR Representative from Malaysia. Representatives from National Human Rights Institutions in the ASEAN Region, Human Rights experts from the Inter-American and the European systems, relevant Government Agencies/Institutions, Representatives from Embassies in Jakarta, some Representatives from Permanent Mission of the ASEAN Member States to the ASEAN, Representatives from the ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children (ACWC); International, Regional and National CSOs; and Think Thank organizations also participated in the Dialogue. The Opening Session of the Dialogue was also attended by Representatives from Embassies in Jakarta among others by the Deputy Head of Mission of German Embassy in Jakarta, The Finland Ambassador for Indonesia, the Ambassador of Norway to Indonesia, and the Deputy Head of Mission of Embassy of Denmark in Jakarta. The ASEAN Deputy Secretary-General for Community & Corporate Affairs of the ASEAN Secretariat also participated in the Opening Session.

3.    The Welcome Remarks were delivered by Mr. Rafendi Djamin, the Indonesian Representative to the AICHR that stressed that torture amounts to gross violation of human rights, where all states are prohibited against using it but in silence torture is still proliferating in prisons, police headquarters, and other places. He added that torture is specifically condemned because it consciously inflicts pain on another human. Thus torture is absolutely prohibited, even when the pain inflicted is not severe. The act is considered war crime at all times (both in peace or at war).

4.    The First Opening Remarks were delivered by Dr. Thorsten Hutter, Deputy Head of Mission of the German Embassy in Jakarta that stressed that Human rights must be universal, it must not matter where a human is born; each one of them shall enjoy the same protection under the human rights. No country is perfect, violation of human rights occurs every day; thus the protection of human rights is a daily work. He added that the task of civil society is to limit and control the use of power by the state; and the state must be happy about it. This is particularly true regarding torture. Furthermore, torture is not always very clear cut; an argument can always be made to condone torture done to save other human lives. But under human rights, the answer is unanimously no. He affirmed that the fact makes this dialogue important, to share best practices regarding prevention of torture.

5.    The Second Opening Remarks were delivered by Mr. Rahmat Pramono, Secretary of the Directorate General of ASEAN Cooperation, Ministry of Foreign Affaris of Indonesia who confirmed that human rights have become a priority issue in ASEAN, reflected in the ASEAN Charter; also in the establishment of ASEAN HR bodies. He affirmed that on the issue of torture, the ASEAN declaration is very clear. Nationally, Indonesia is also committed to maintain compliance to the international standards against torture; that freedom from torture is non-dirigible rights. He expressed his conviction that the AICHR shall play an important role in preventing torture, along with other Human Rights Bodies. The ASEAN Community is just around the corner, thus we are committed to implement a people oriented ASEAN. He assured the forum that the government of Indonesia is pleased to continue support to ASEAN Human Rights mechanism, and wished good luck for the meeting to produce a substantial contribution in enhancing Human Rights mechanism in ASEAN, especially regarding prevention of torture

6.    The keynote speeches were delivered by Dr. June Pagaduan Lopez, the Philippines United Nations Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture. She explained that torture has existed since the beginning of mankind; and that the absolute prohibition of torture is questioned in the face of the need to extract information from suspects or adversary despite proven as an unreliable information gathering technique and breeds hatred. Torture often does not prevent terrorism, instead creates terrorists. She expounded the international definition of torture contains three cumulative elements: inflicting pain; condoned or conducted by state officials; done for a specific purpose (obtaining info, punishment, intimidating for any reason). Furthermore, she explained that OPCAT maybe the instrument needed to prevent torture, despite its low rate of adoption in the Asia Pacific Region. Dr. Lopez envisions a future for ASEAN, should there be increased number of state parties and National Preventive Mechanisms (NPM) for the Committee Against Torture (CAT) and the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture (OPCAT): joint action on prevention of torture, and leading Asia-Pacific for an Asia-Pacific HR Declaration and legal mechanism.


II.     Sessions

7.    The Seminar was divided into four sessions covering two following topics: (a) Sharing Best Practices and Update Current Status on Prevention of Torture in ASEAN Countries; (b) Regional Cooperation in Preventing Torture: Lesson Learnt, Impacts, Gaps, Ways Forward & the Role of Stakeholders.

8.    In Session One, the first session of “Sharing Best Practices and Update Current Status on Prevention of Torture in ASEAN Countries”, Representative from Cambodian National Prevention Mechanisms (NPM), Mr. Nouth Savna;  Prof Harkristuti Harkrisnowo, Director General for Human Rights, Ministry of Law and Human Rights of Indonesia; and Representative from Lao PDR, H.E. Mr. Phoukhong Sisoulath delivered their presentations. Mr. Nouth Savna admitted that Cambodia is not at this time fully compliant to OPCAT but at around only 70-75%, especially regarding the independent monitoring. Some of the detention centers are still not open for public inspection. The NPM members are working hard to improve this by, for example, issuing Arrest Rights Cards to increase awareness against torture. Prof Harkristuti Harkrisnowo explained that Indonesia has ratified the majority of Human Rights instruments, but the government is having challenges to implement those instruments. The sheer number of detention centers (with each police post having their own detention center) and the often inaccessible location of many of those centers pose a great challenge to the implementation. She explained that Indonesia is not considering the establishment of a special body to address prevention of torture as the country already has many HR mechanisms and the existing commissions can be utilized for that end. H.E. Mr. Phoukhong Sisoulath described the many actions the Lao government has undertaken to ensure the prevention of torture; such as awareness raising seminars and workshops for the public, the police and prison officers. The national effort for HR, including CAT, is coordinated by the National Steering Committee on Human Rights, established in 2012. The country is preparing a national initial report for the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), and the 2nd UPR cycle will include the information on prevention of torture.

9.    The Questions and Answers part of the first session discussed the problems of how Sharia Law treats torture, challenges to the notion that prevention of torture should not be limited to detention centers, how to engage the people (especially the military and the police) who still cling to the notion that torture makes interrogation process easier, and the best practices regarding overcoming opposition to CAT and OPCAT ratification. To those questions, the speakers highlighted some aspects in their line of works, such as: existence of loopholes within national law that allow perpetrators to avoid persecutions, lack of funding, the need to engage law enforcement agency and to raise awareness among government officials using layman terms that are easily practicable in day to day work.

10.    In the Second Session of, “Sharing Best Practices and Update Current Status on Prevention of Torture in ASEAN Countries,“ Dr Renante A Basas, from the Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines; Ms Nareeluc Paichaiyapoom from the Rights and Liberties Protection Department of Thailandl; Ms Shazeera Ahmad Zawawi, of the Association for the Prevention of Torture (APT), spoke, with H.E. Dr. Seree Nonthasoot, AICHR Representative of Thailand moderating the session. Dr. Basas expounded on the process the Philippines underwent in the institutional building part of human rights instrument in the country, stressing that monitoring of detention center is still the most effective way to prevent torture and it calls for appropriate skill to make the effort effective. He further elaborated that it is planned that non-traditional place of deprivation of liberty to be included in torture prevention effort. The Philippines NPM itself would be further discussed early in 2014, and a La Breza Declaration of Security Sector Reform is also impending. Ms Paichaiyapoom added the Thailand experience in institutional building. To implement CAT, Thailand developed CAT curriculum to encourage related agencies to implement CAT, and included the curriculum in their respective internal education. The highlight is on the interplay of legal and institutional mechanism; and although the instrument is not all in place, it does not stop the effort to work on agency level. Ms Zawawi, on the other hand, stressed that to implement prevention interplay between legal frameworks is needed, as is implementation and control mechanism. The government would have to criminalize the act of torture but also to provide compensation to victims. Countries also need to develop the capacity of public official to prevent torture from happening. H.E. Nonthasoot added that a part of the AICHR mandate is to promote ratification of international HR instruments, and we can aspire that ASEAN can be a torture free community. National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) are often used as NPMs, and where NHRI is non-existent NPM can be used as a platform to build NHRIs. H.E. Nonthasoot also gave Prof. Amara Pongsapich of the Thailand’s NHRC an opportunity to highlight how the individual cases of torture were solved by engaging the superiors of the perpetrators and how the application of Martial Law in Thailand has made torture prevention difficult.

11.    The Questions and Answers part of the second session discussed the problems of how the torturers are usually harsher on the political prisoners, not necessarily in physical manners but especially in mental intimidation; the work with victims and their families to provide remedy; torture by non-state actors; and the lack of ways in which the public, especially the victims, can participate in preventing torture; also a question of treatment on people fleeing from torture. To the questions, the speakers answered that it’s always difficult to address torture by non-state actors, CAT alone is not enough to prevent all forms of torture; and that the NHRIs must have a program to provide redress to the victims. The Philippines, in particular, has a financial program to assist the victims during the process of investigation. Regarding the status of torture in different circumstances: in conflict area torture is banned by Geneva Convention. It is a war crime. But outside of the conflict area, torture is a particular subset of violence, perpetrated by state actors. Other acts of violence are just crime, not torture. The case of Ahmadis is a case where the state fails to protect people against violence but not a case of torture.

12.    In the summary of the first day proceeding, H.E. Rafendi Djamin underlined that this dialogue is not of AICHR, but of the Indonesia AICHR. Within the AICHR, the AICHR has mandates to conduct thematic studies; and this is the background of conducting this dialogue on prevention of torture. He hoped that this can contribute to the realization of the torture-free ASEAN community.

13.    In the First Session of “Regional Cooperation in Preventing Torture: Lesson Learnt, Impacts, Gaps, Ways Forward & the Role of Stakeholders” on the second day, Ms Karin Mansel (Human Rights Specialist of the Executive Secretariat from Inter American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR ) and Ms Mari Amos from the Representative from UN Sub Committee on Torture (SPT)  Regional Team on Europe spoke; with Dr June Pagaduan Lopez moderating the session. Ms Mansel highlighted the evolution of the Inter-American Human Right Commission, the steps taken with any cases regarding accusations of human rights violations, especially torture, from the request to the states, the prison visitations, press releases, observations or country reports. Most importantly, IAHRC encourages states to adopt CAT and OPCAT, and fostering the tripartite collaboration between the Civil Society, NGOs and the States. The individual petitions are the standard setting and reparations as means of preventing torture. One of the most important means of reparation is the guarantee of non-repetition: taking measures to avoid the occurrence of torture by state agents in the future. Ms Mansel also elaborated that one of the most important standard prevention of torture setting is not to send cases of torture to military court, sending them instead to civilian court. Ms Amos, on the other hand, stressed that joint-activities, sharing experience and expertise are necessary to build alliances between NPMs and to reach out to places where NPMs are yet to exist. She elaborates further that NPMs must build the agenda based from ground up, on experience and expertise sharing between them, and that evaluation between NPMs is necessary to keep moving forward.

14.    The Questions and Answers part of the first session discussed the problems of detainees of Malaysian nationality currently held at Guantanamo, the cases where perpetrators of torture avoided persecution based on technicalities, the rate of compliance by the states to the recommendations made by IACHR, protection system for the victims, the lesson learnt in the interplay between the commission and the states, and the possibility of overlap between the The European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment CPT and The UN Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture (SPT). To the questions, the speakers answered that there is indeed an overlap between CPT and SPT, but SPT is focused on prevention, doing a lot of capacity building especially when the state is lagging behind the NPMs; that indeed fighting for a case demands a great deal of technicalities that can make or break the case. Based on the experience of the IAHRC, usually states comply with the recommendation regarding financial remedy; a more difficult ones are usually recommendations regarding justice, retrial or reopening a case. Mostly, the states are part-compliant. Compliments and praises for states on compliant are important to open up more doors. Whenever there were pressures from the states to eliminate precautionary measures, the IAHRC responded by changing the measure to increase transparency of the measure and to make rules more specific. This helps reducing states’ fear against the measures.

15.    In the second session of “Regional Cooperation in Preventing Torture: Lesson Learnt, Impacts, Gaps, Ways Forward & the Role of Stakeholders” on the second day, Ms Rochatul Aswidah, Commissioner of the The National Commission on Human Rights (KOMNAS HAM) of Indonesia, Ms. Paramita Mulia (Association for the Prevention of Torture, APT), Ms. Maria Natividad Hernandez (the Executive Director of the Medical Action Group of the Phillipines),  and Ms. Indri D Saptaningrum, Director of the Institute for Policy Research and Advocacy or ELSAM) spoke; with Prof. Amara Pongsapich, Chairperson of National Human Rights Commission of Thailand as moderator. Ms Aswidah elaborates that KOMNAS HAM has insofar unable to conduct unannounced visit to detention centers. To cope with this, KOMNAS HAM is targeting detention center and police officer for MOUs and trainings. One of the important issues discussed in Bali is how to make KOMNAS HAM as an important player to prevent torture, and how to push for the signing of OPCAT (it has been five years under deliberation). To date, KOMNAS HAM is unable to evaluate the compliance of the state on CAT because it is denied access to data on the ground, also the lack of access to monitor the government’s actions. Ms Mulia stressed that the cooperation with local actors is achieved by training, advocacy, and advice. APT encourages the adoption of CAT and OPCAT, providing analysis and advocacy of creation of complaint and redress system. The INGO has a bird view of what happens at the national level, and thus in position to see above and beyond the definitions, theory and local realities. International Non-Governmental Organizations can also help write reports and publication to shore up local work. On the other hand, Ms Hernandez expounded on how the Medical Action Group conducts trainings to enhance the capacity to prosecute acts of torture using medical evidence, including psychological evidence. The law enforcement officers are trained in fundamentals of human rights, definition of torture, recognizing torture acts, skills to investigate and pursue acts of torture as a punishable crime. Ms Saptaningrum shared about how ELSAM is working against the culture of impunity among the law enforcement officers; supporting this effort by publishing case digest enumerating violations across the country, and other publications related to campaigns and training kits to educate the public regarding CAT and OPCAT. The trainings’ effectiveness has come under question because the practice of torture on the ground is still rampant. And thus they have jointly organized and supported Indonesian NHRI to initiate coordination to build a makeshift NPM despite not being signatory to OPCAT. It is currently debated which HR body would house this makeshift NPM with KOMNAS HAM and Ombudsman ready to take the mantle.

16.    The Questions and Answes part of the second session discussed that what is now experienced by KOMNAS HAM is also the experience of Philippines’ National Human Rights Institution (NHRIs) initially. The Philippines NHRI fought not to be denied entry, and issued circulars to relevant institutions about the mandate regarding unannounced visits. There are also sharing of opinions that one of the incentive for torture is that it is not recognized as a crime and that confession under torture is still acceptable by that criminal court; also that the NPMs should be independent of the NHRIs; and that a torture-free ASEAN should be the ultimate ideal. To which, the speakers answered that one of the most difficult parties to reach is the police officers at the grass-root level; the airing of acts of torture on television doesn’t elicit strong reaction from the public, and that could mean that the public are tolerating torture; that the police officers are the current main perpetrators of torture and that the victims of tortures are mostly the poor. One contributing factor to act of torture is the structure of recruitment for the police officers; where the frontier police officers are usually the most junior, with the least educational level, and thus not adequately equipped to understand what amounts to torture, and that torture is prohibited. The lack of report from victims of torture is also the result from the lack of remedy and additional risk of repeated victimization on torture. The anti-torture laws are in fact can only be approved by having a high percentage of the society aware of the cases of torture and being against torture. This fact will put the pressure to the parliament to pass the law. There is also an experience from the Philippines that having a government officials/high ranking police officers as trainers lowers the potential rejection from the police officers coming from the ground.

II.    Recommendations

The dialogue discussed and agreed on the following recommendations:

17.    To establish an informal network for prevention of torture in ASEAN. The informal network will be a strategic network comprise of multi stakeholders (ASEAN Member Stats, AICHR, NHRIs, CSOs). The informal network could organize these following activities: designing plan of action on prevention of torture in the ASEAN with its timeline, organizing a regular meeting on sharing best practices and lesson learned, exploring thematic issues as well as identifying the needs of capacity building in ASEAN member states. This informal network could be discussed in a follow-up meeting next year which will be supported by International Commission of Jurist, Indonesian Representative to AICHR and other Representatives of AICHR who want to involve, with the participation of victims organization, parliamentarian, etc. As part of the establishment programs, the AICHR also needs to approach the High level ASEAN officials to build commitment on the prevention of torture.

18.    ASEAN Human Rights Mechanisms (AICHR, ASEAN Committee on the Implementation of the ASEAN Declaration on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers or ACMW, ACWC), NHRIs, CSOs could maximize the use of loose instruments, such as joint press release and thematic studies, to prevent torture in the ASEAN region. To ensure the effectiveness of such mechanism, relationship between ASEAN Human Rights Mechanisms, NHRIs, and CSOs. For AICHR as ASEAN human rights body, it needs to work and finalize the guideline of engagement with other ASEAN Sectoral Bodies, NHRIs, and CSOs.

19.    To establish cooperation between National Prevention Mechanisms (NPMs) or other institutions dealt with the issue, in the ASEAN region. To promote best practices in the ASEAN regions on prevention of torture, joint activities, workshops, and particularly establishment of contact person of NPMs are important. Furthermore, such cooperation could also promote the ratification of CAT and OPCAT to all ASEAN Member States.

20.    To promote the establishment of MOU between NHRIs or NGOs and government institutions such as Police Department, Department of Justice, Attorney General Office, and other relevant institutions. The MOU will serve as basic instrument of cooperation in part to educate and improve the skill of the government officials in preventing torture on their field of works.  Such cooperation could also aim to widen the operation and mandates of NHRIs, such as onsite visit of police detention center and assisting improvement of detention center.

21.    Maximizing the visit of Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture to Cambodia in December 2013 and the visit of Special Rapporteur on Torture, Juan Mendez, to Thailand in August 2014 through arrangement of informal meeting with ASEAN Human Right Mechanisms and key stakeholders in ASEAN.

22.    Request AICHR to take a thematic study on prevention of torture. Furthermore, in connection to the Mandate 4.5 of the AICHR, to encourage ASEAN Member States to ratify CAT and OPCAT. As part of collaboration process to prevent torture, encourage AICHR to develop intra regional cooperation with ACMC and ACMW; develop inter-regional cooperation with American, African, and European System; and cooperation with international human rights mechanisms on torture namely United Nations Convention against Torture (UNCAT), SPT, and UN Special Rapporteur on Torture (UNSRT).

23.    Realizing the cultural diversity of ASEAN Member States, develop multi-disciplinary studies as an effort to prevent torture, involving religious leaders, academics, medical professionals, etc. To develop a reliable and comprehensive regional database that will include research findings and prevalence data on cases of torture.

24.    Sharing various existing publication on awareness raising and capacity building in prevention of torture such as various publication, guideline, methodology from the Association for the Prevention of Torture (APT). To do this, translating the document into different language in ASEAN is necessary. Right to rehabilitation as a theme for further study where as safeguards are also part of the study.  Encourage member states to put prevention of torture as part of recruitment and career development of their law enforcement officer and staff of any form of detentions including welfare centers and drug rehabilitation center.

25.    Reemphasize the obligation of states to respect the rights to non-refoulement of asylum seekers and refugees to another state where he/she would be in danger of being subjected to torture. Encourage the states to find alternatives to detention for asylum seekers, refuges, stateless persons, and migrants.

26.    Encourage initiatives that create space for victims of torture and their relatives to participate in discussion related to the prevention of torture.

IV.     Acknowledgment

27.    The Indonesian Representative to AICHR expressed his appreciation to the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the German Embassy in Jakarta, the Swiss Embassy in Jakarta, the UN High Commissioner Office Regional Office in Bangkok, and Association on the Prevention of Torture (APT) for supporting this dialogue. He also express his gratitude to the members of the organizing committee the Human Rights Working Group (HRWG) and CSIS for their hard work.

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