UN Human Rights Chief ends visit to Indonesia – Full statement


JAKARTA / GENEVA (7 February 2018) – UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein today ended his official visit to Indonesia from 5 to 7 February.

“There are some dark clouds on the horizon but I am encouraged by the positive momentum and hope the common sense and strong tradition of tolerance of the Indonesian people will prevail over populism and political opportunism,” Zeid said in a statement at a press conference.

During his mission, Zeid met in Jakarta with President Joko Widodo and held discussions with top officials, Indonesia’s national human rights institutions and civil society representatives working on human rights issues, as well as religious leaders.

The UN Human Rights Chief also took part in the Jakarta Conversation, a regional human rights conference marking the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the 25th anniversary of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action.

See the full statement read by the High Commissioner at the press conference.

For media enquiries, please contact
In Geneva: Rupert Colville (+41 22 917 9711 / rcolville@ohchr.org) or Liz Throssell (+41 22 917 9466 / ethrossell@ohchr.org).

Travelling with the High Commissioner: Ravina Shamdasani (+41 79 201 0115 /rshamdasani@ohchr.org)


Opening remarks by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein at a press conference during his mission to Indonesia

Jakarta, 7 February 2018

excerpt with focus on sexual orientation and gender identity

....As I said at the Jakarta Conversation regional human rights conference on Monday, development can certainly bring with it access to fundamental services and goods that vastly improve many people's well-being. But if they cannot voice their concerns and participate in decisions, the resulting development may not increase their welfare. I urge the Government of Indonesia and the corporations involved in the extraction of natural resources, plantations and large-scale fisheries, to abide by the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights by ensuring that business activities are not carried out in violation of people’s rights.

I also appeal to the Government to ensure the protection of human rights defenders, in particular those advocating on land and environmental issues, and to see to it that they are not penalised or prosecuted for their exercise of the right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.

I am also concerned about increasing reports of the excessive use of force by security forces, harassment, arbitrary arrests and detentions in Papua.

I am greatly concerned about the discussions around revisions to the penal code.

These discussions betray strains of intolerance seemingly alien to Indonesian culture that have made inroads here. The extremist views playing out in the political arena are deeply worrying, accompanied as they are by rising levels of incitement to discrimination, hatred or violence in various parts of the country, including Aceh.

At a time when it is consolidating its democratic gains, we urge Indonesians to move forward – not backwards – on human rights and resist attempts to introduce new forms of discrimination in law. Because these proposed amendments will in effect criminalise large sections of the poor and marginalised, they are inherently discriminatory. LGBTI Indonesians already face increasing stigma, threats and intimidation. The hateful rhetoric against this community that is being cultivated seemingly for cynical political purposes will only deepen their suffering and create unnecessary divisions.

Moreover, should the penal code be revised with some of the more discriminatory provisions, it will seriously impede the Government’s efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, and would run counter to its international human rights obligations.  In a similar vein, I have also expressed to the Government my concerns about the implementation of the ill-defined blasphemy law, which has been used to convict members of minority religious or faith groups.

If we expect not to be discriminated against on the basis of our religious beliefs, colour, race or gender, if Muslim societies expect others to fight against Islamophobia, we should be prepared to end discrimination at home too. Islamophobia is wrong. Discrimination on the basis of religious beliefs and colour is wrong. Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or any other status is wrong.

My Office last year brought together a diverse group of religious scholars and other faith-based and civil society actors in Beirut who articulated a “Faith for Rights” framework to set out the role of “Faith” in standing up for “Rights”. This Faith for Rights Declaration draws upon the common commitment in all religions and beliefs to “upholding the dignity and the equal worth of all human beings”, mirroring Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It affirms that “violence in the name of religion defeats its basic foundations, mercy and compassion” and sets out the responsibilities of religious communities, their leaders and followers to ensure that no one is subjected to discrimination by anyone....

Read the full remarks and more via OHCHR