Komnas HAM commissioner Choirul Anam. (Photo courtesy of Komnas HAM)

Reference Standard Needed to Protect Human Rights in Indonesia: Commissioner


JANUARY 18, 2018

Jakarta. Indonesia's National Commission on Human Rights, or Komnas HAM, will soon issue a reference standard for law enforcers and members of the public to exercise authority and rights within acceptable limits, one of its commissioners said on Wednesday (17/01).

"We want to create a standard that can be used by everyone… as a guideline on how authority should be exercised by government officials and law enforcers, and how the public can also exercise their rights without going overboard," Komnas HAM commissioner Choirul Anam said in a discussion at the 2018 Indonesia-Netherlands Rule of Law and Security Update in Jakarta.

According to Anam, such standard — that defines limits on interpretation and use of authority over state institutions — currently does not exist in Indonesia.

Having a reference standard will also improve collective understanding on human rights issues in the country, Anam said.

The commissioner pointed out that thorny issues such as hate speech, in which the complex relations between freedom of expression and social cohesion are intertwined, must be addressed without neglecting basic human rights.

A reference standard, Anam said, can be used to prevent excessive use of force.

Anam also said Komnas HAM has been trying to create an instrument to monitor and enforce the 2008 Law on Eradication of Racial and Ethnic Discrimination.

"This law has yet to become a strong instrument. Many times it's improperly applied by the police or other institutions," Anam said.

The law may play a very crucial role in the regional elections in 2018 and the general and presidential elections in 2019, Anam said, especially when recent elections have shown that politicians like to play the race and ethnicity cards.

"[When that happens] democracy loses and public division is entrenched… the commission is now working on a comprehensive instrument to implement that 2008 law," Anam said.