Responding to news that two men have been caned 83 times each for having sex with each other in Indonesia’s Aceh province, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, Josef Benedict, said:
“This sickening spectacle, carried out in front of more than a thousand jeering spectators, is an act of utmost cruelty. These two men had their privacy forcefully invaded when they were ambushed inside their own home, and their ‘punishment’ today was designed to humiliate as well as physically injure them.
“The authorities in Aceh and Indonesia must immediately repeal the law which imposes these punishments, which constitute cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and may amount to torture.
“Flogging sentences and the criminalization of same sex relations are both flagrant violations of international human rights law. The international community must put pressure on Indonesia to create a safer environment for the LGBTI community before the situation deteriorates further. Nobody should be punished for consensual sex.”
The conviction and imprisonment of Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, better known as “Ahok”, will tarnish Indonesia’s reputation for tolerance, Amnesty International said today.
"This verdict demonstrates the inherent injustice of Indonesia's blasphemy law, which should be repealed immediately," said Champa Patel, Amnesty International's Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific.
"Despite protests of his innocence and evidence that his words were manipulated for political purposes, he has been sentenced to two years in jail. The verdict will tarnish Indonesia's reputation as a tolerant nation."
Amnesty International calls the Indonesian authorities to repeal blasphemy laws, including Articles 156 and 156(a) of the Criminal Code that have been used to prosecute and imprison people may be imprisoned for “defamation” of religion for as long as five years simply because they have peacefully exercised their right to freedom of expression or to freedom of thought, conscience or religion, which are protected under international human rights law.
Some of the world’s largest companies are selling food and cosmetics containing palm oil that is tainted by shocking human rights abuses, including forced and child labour. Corporate giants, such as Nestlé , Kellogg’s, Colgate, Unilever and Procter & Gamble are turning a blind eye to the exploitation of workers in their palm oil supply chain. These companies reassure their customers that they are using “sustainable” palm oil, yet Amnesty’s research reveals that the palm oil is anything but.
These companies buy palm oil from plantations run by Wilmar in Indonesia. Amnesty has discovered severe labour abuses at Wilmar’s plantations, including unsafe working conditions, discrimination against women, unrealistic targets and penalties, and children doing hazardous work.
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Contact the makers of Dove soap, KitKat chocolate bars, Knorr soup, Pantene shampoo, Gerber baby cereal, Colgate toothpaste, Palmolive dish soap and Magnum and Parlour ice cream and demand that they take responsibility for human rights abuses in their palm oil supply chain.
The Indonesian authorities must immediately and unconditionally release three people convicted under the country’s blasphemy laws for peacefully practicing their beliefs, Amnesty International said today.
Ahmad Mussadeq, Mahful Muis Tumanurung, and Andri Cahya are three members of a now disbanded religious minority group known as Gafatar who were sentenced for blasphemy by the East Jakarta District Court on Tuesday.
“The sentences show how Indonesia’s vague, coercive and discriminatory blasphemy laws are being used to punish people for peacefully exercising minority beliefs,” said Josef Benedict, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific.
“These individuals must be released immediately and unconditionally, and the blasphemy law, which flies in the face of Indonesia’s human rights obligations, should be repealed.”
● Unilever, Nestlé, Procter & Gamble among nine household names contributing to labour abuse
The world’s most popular food and household companies are selling food, cosmetics and other everyday staples containing palm oil tainted by shocking human rights abuses in Indonesia, with children as young as eight working in hazardous conditions, said Amnesty International in a new report published today.
The report, The great palm oil scandal: Labour abuses behind big brand names, investigates palm oil plantations in Indonesia run by the world’s biggest palm oil grower, Singapore-based agri-business Wilmar, tracings palm oil to nine global firms: AFAMSA, ADM, Colgate-Palmolive, Elevance, Kellogg’s, Nestlé, Procter & Gamble, Reckitt Benckiser and Unilever.
The Indonesian police should immediately drop the criminal investigation into Jakarta’s governor for alleged blasphemy, Amnesty International said today.
The organization’s call came as the Indonesian police named Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, the Governor of Jakarta better known as ‘Ahok’, as a suspect in a blasphemy complaint filed by some religious groups. Ahok, a Christian, is the first member of Indonesia’s ethnic Chinese community to be elected Governor of Jakarta.
“By carrying out a criminal investigation and naming Ahok as a suspect, the authorities have shown they are more worried about hard-line religious groups than respecting and protecting human rights for all,” said Rafendi Djamin, Amnesty International’s Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific.
“Among the police, opinion is divided on whether the case should proceed, showing that the decision to open an investigation against Ahok is a controversial step.”
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s decision to make Gen. Wiranto Indonesia’s most powerful security official a mere day after Indonesia ordered the execution of 14 death row prisoners shows contempt for human rights, Amnesty International said today.
“This is adding insult to injury. A day after ordering a fresh round of executions, Jokowi has now decided to hand control of the country’s security apparatus to someone was indicted for crimes against humanity by a UN sponsored tribunal,” said Josef Benedict, Deputy Director for South East Asia and the Pacific.
On 27 July 2016, Gen. Wiranto was appointed to the position of Coordinating Minister for Politics, Law, and Security Affairs.
Gen. Wiranto was also publicly named as a suspect in the inquiry initiated in 1999 by Indonesia’s National Commission on Human Rights (Komisi Nasional Hak Asasi Manusia, Komnas HAM), but was never charged in Indonesia.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo, popularly known as ‘Jokowi’ will be putting his government on the wrong side of history if he proceeds with a fresh round of executions, Amnesty International said today.
Amnesty International received credible reports that at least 14 people could be executed this week, who consist of four Indonesian and ten foreign nationals, including a Pakistani, an Indian, a Zimbabwean, a Senegalese, a South African, and five Nigerians.
“President Widodo’s era was supposed to represent a new start for human rights in Indonesia. Sadly, he could preside over the highest number of executions in the country’s democratic era at a time when most of the world has turned its back on this cruel practice,” said Josef Benedict, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for South East Asia and the Pacific.
The Indonesian authorities in Aceh are endangering lives of a group of more than 40 Sri Lankan Tamil asylum seekers by firing warning shots and threatening to push them back out to sea in flagrant violation of international law, Amnesty International said today.
“Instead of deploying these crude intimidation tactics that could put the lives of men, women and children at risk, the Indonesian authorities should come together to allow them to disembark safely so the UN Refugee Agency can interview them,” said Josef Benedict, Amnesty International’s Director of Campaigns for South East Asia and the Pacific.
The Indonesian central government should allow dozens of Sri Lankan Tamil asylum seekers, including a pregnant woman and nine children, who have reached the coast of Lhoknga, Aceh, to disembark and meet UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) officials, Amnesty International said today.
“These people have endured a long and difficult journey already. Now that they have reached land in Aceh, they should be allowed to disembark and meet UNHCR officials,” said Josef Benedict, Amnesty International’s Director of Campaigns for South East Asia and the Pacific.
The organization fears that the Indonesian authorities may push the boat - reportedly carrying 44 people - back into international waters.
The Aceh fishermen discovered the boat off the coast of Aceh province on 11 June. They subsequently reported the boat to the Indonesian navy who have not allowed the boat to disembark and the people on it to apply for asylum, arguing the asylum-seekers lack the proper documentation.
President Joko Widodo should seize the opportunity to show that his government has the resolve to stand up for human rights by halting the imminent executions of up to 15 people, Amnesty International said today.
The death row prisoners believed to at risk have been convicted of alleged drug offences and some did not receive a fair trial. Their cases are, like many others that Amnesty International monitored, emblematic of systemic flaws within the Indonesia justice system.
“President Widodo has the chance to show true resolve by halting these executions and ordering a full independent review of all death penalty cases,” said Rafendi Djamin, Director of Amnesty International’s South East Asia and Pacific Regional Office.
“It is unacceptable for a government to execute people, especially when they did not receive a fair trial and have been convicted of offences that are not among the ‘most serious crimes’ in clear violation of international law and standards.”
Amnesty International is alarmed at reports that Indonesia is planning to carry out executions in the immediate future. It urges the authorities to immediately halt any such plans and establish a moratorium on executions as a first step towards abolition of the death penalty. It also calls on them to review the cases of all prisoners currently under sentence of death with a view to the commutation of their death sentences and to address violations of international law and standards relating to the use of the death penalty in Indonesia.
Amnesty International deplores the mass arrests of Papuan political activists by the Indonesian police forces both in Papua region and other provinces in the country. They were arrested solely for exercising their rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and expression. Those who remain detained must be immediately and unconditionally released.
Around 1,700 Papuan activists were arrested on 2 May after they organised and participated in a series of peaceful demonstrations in Jayapura, Merauke, Fakfak, Sorong and Wamena in Papua and West Papua provinces, in Semarang, Central Java province and in Makassar, South Sulawesi province.