Precise Definition of Terrorism Needed in Antiterrorism Bill to Avoid Rights Abuses: Activists


JANUARY 11, 2017

Jakarta. Activists have called for a precise definition of terrorism, in accordance with the United Nations recommendations, as "vague terminology" might lead to human rights abuses.

The definition will be included in the government's new antiterrorism bill, which was proposed last year to take tougher measures against terrorism suspects.

While the bill is still discussed by lawmakers, human rights activists warn that terrorism "should be defined only for the purpose of countering terrorism," as recommended by the UN Special Rapporteur on the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms While Countering Terrorism.

"A broad definition of terrorism might lead to abuse of power," director of Jakarta-based Institute for Criminal Justice Reform, Supriyadi Eddyono, said in a statement on Wednesday (11/01).

It can also cause neglect of the principles of necessity and proportionality, he added.

The antiterrorism bill seeks longer period of arrest and detention for alleged terrorists, revocation of their citizenship and wiretapping without court permit. Activists fear the bill might lead to widespread human rights abuses.

The government moved to revise the Antiterrorism Law in January 2016, when an Islamic State-linked terror attack in Jakarta gave rise to concerns over increasing militancy in the country.