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Govt, police slam Amnesty report
According to a senior government official and a high-ranking police officer on Thursday, reports from Amnesty International and other international organizations about rampant human rights abuses in Indonesia are unfair and based on double standards.
Director General of Human Rights Protection at the Justice and Human Rights Ministry, Harkristuti Harkrisnowo, said the conclusion arrived at in those reports were based on few cases.
“They only conducted their research based only on reported cases and without confirming them with us,” Harkristuti told The Jakarta Post.
Amnesty International released a series of reports Wednesday saying torture and other human rights abuses were still rampant in Indonesia 10 years after the reform movement.
According to the reports, Amnesty received abuse complaints on a regular basis, indicating state agents had been torturing and committing other human rights offenses during arrests, interrogation and detention, sometimes leading to death.
The widespread use of torture and other abuses, said Amnesty, was aggravated and supported by a pattern of impunity throughout the country.
Harkristuti, however, disagreed with the statement.
“The fact is, we’ve taken strict measures against many state agents who have violated laws and misused their power. It’s just not exposed to the public, making them think that we haven’t done anything,” Harkristuti explained.
She said Amnesty and other human rights organizations should also look at what the Indonesian government had achieved in upholding human rights.
“Of course they can blame us if we make mistakes, but please, also consider what we have achieved so far, for the sake of fairness,” Harkristuti said.
Head of the Law Division at the National Police Headquarters, Insp. Gen. Aryanto Sutadi, agreed with Harkristuti, saying Amnesty and human rights organizations often applied double standards when making their reports.
“They only highlight the bad side, while ignoring the good,” Aryanto said. “Furthermore, they generalize on a few cases to draw a single conclusion.”
According to Aryanto, organizations like Amnesty have missed the fact that the police discipline errant officers.
“Just last year, there were around 3,500 police officers sanctioned and punished. Among them, about 350 were fired,” he said, adding that in the last four months, 200 officers were dismissed from the force.
“So, where’s the impunity that they are talking about?”
Organizations like Amnesty often misunderstand the situation in Indonesia, Aryanto said.
“Once a foreign human rights representative came to a police office and saw a thief with bruises. The representative thought the thief had been tortured by police officers, however, he was actually abused by the villagers who caught him,” Aryanto said.
According to Aryanto, starting from January this year, the police have operated a special team to monitor police procedures to make sure torture does not occur during the detention and interrogation.
“The team places CCTV (closed-circuit television) in the interrogation rooms. Even though this facility is still limited to some police offices, we are working on providing more. (dia)