INDONESIA: Children's Rights in the UN Special Procedures' Reports

Summary: This report extracts mentions of children's rights issues in the reports of the UN Special Procedures. This does not include reports of child specific Special Procedures, such as the Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, which are available as separate reports.

Please note that the language may have been edited in places for the purpose of clarity

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Report of the Special Rapporteur on adequate housing as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living, and on the right to non-discrimination in this context, Raquel Rolnik


Country visit: 31 May - 11 June 2013

Report published: 26 December 2013

Shelters for victims of domestic violence: The Special Rapporteur expresses her concern about the inadequate provision of shelter solutions to victims of domestic violence. Legal assistance and safety houses are still scarce and difficult for victims to access. Units handling women and children victims of violence are not equipped with adequate infrastructure. (para 68).

Religious minorities: The Special Rapporteur is concerned with reports received about forced relocation of religious minorities that have been instigated by mobs, and based on religious incitement. According to testimonies presented to the Special Rapporteur during her visit, homes, schools and places of worship have been burnt or destroyed in these attacks, forcing hundreds of families in different communities out of their homes into temporary shelters and accommodation without access to basic facilities, services and security. The Special Rapporteur was informed about 130 people, including women and children, belonging to the Ahmadiyya community, who have been living in temporary accommodation in harsh conditions in Mataram, Lombok for more than seven years after being forced to flee their homes in Ketapang, West Lombok in February 2006. Their houses were destroyed by mobs, which attacked the community because of their religious beliefs. The forcibly evicted families have been unable to return to their homes and rebuild their lives. The Special Rapporteur is concerned that authorities have failed to adequately protect these communities from forced evictions and acts of violence. She calls on the Government to ensure that displaced communities have immediate access to essential services such as food, clean drinking water and health services, and to guarantee their safe return to their homes, providing them with the necessary assistance to rebuild their homes that were damaged or destroyed (paras 72, 73, 75).

Report by the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women, Radhika Coomaraswamy


Country visit: 20 November – 4 December 1998

Report published: 21 January 1999

Rape: A lives in East Timor. For some time, the army had suspected her and her family of having dealings with the guerrillas. As they were forewarned, they tried to escape, but were followed by army trucks. When the soldiers detained them, they were interrogated with regard to arms and ammunitions. A was beaten, taken to a camp and then to the district military office. She was tied to a pole and beaten for about four hours. After that she was taken back to the cell. Left-over food was thrown at her through the cell window. She was kept for four days in the room. On the fourth day a soldier came into the cell and raped her. The next day she was moved to another post near the jungle. At this post, she was raped four times by different soldiers. She was detained for two weeks. Her duties included having to clean the army post and do other menial chores. Her family and the priest intervened and she was released. She became pregnant as a result of the rapes. Initially she hated the child and wanted to get rid of her, but now, with the aid of counsellors, she is trying to think differently. The child is one year and four months old. A has decided to take her case to court. (para 11)

Another matter that requires attention is that of the children of Indonesian soldiers in the military zones of Aceh, Irian Jaya and East Timor. Some of these children are the result of rape, others are the product of situations that resemble sexual slavery and some are the result of consensual sex. The Special Rapporteur met some of the victims and their children. The women are having a very difficult time, not only because of poverty, but also because the sight of the children often reminds them of the rape. As a result, the children are often either abandoned or treated badly. Women’s groups are working with victim-survivors, counselling them to accept their children. The Indonesian State should accept responsibility for assisting these women in the upbringing of these children. Such assistance could take the form of compensation or special privileges with regard to housing and education. Many of the women who were raped as virgins are single mothers who have suffered stigma in their communities after giving birth to children of Indonesian soldiers. (para 58)

One of the testimonies the Special Rapporteur received was from F, who lives in Aceh. At 2 o'clock one morning about 23 soldiers came looking for her husband. They broke the door down, interrogated the children and searched the house. She told them that her husband had gone to his parents' house because they were ill. When the soldiers found that he was not there, they left. Around 3 a.m. three of the soldiers returned and asked the same question. They put out the oil lamp. When she ran toward her mother's house, they knocked her with a rifle butt. She was six months pregnant. They took turns hitting her and kicking her. Only one spoke Acehnese, the others spoke Bahasi Indonesia. Finally they pushed her into the kitchen area where there was a bench and, with her children in the adjacent room, they gang raped her, despite the fact that she was pregnant. The child she was bearing finds it difficult to breathe. She feels that the rape incident affected the foetus. (para 98)

Since 1969 there has been a military presence in Irian Jaya. The reason given by certain commentators is that it is to protect Indonesian economic interests in the area. In the 1970s Freeport Indonesia Inc. began operation in Irian Jaya, the location of the world’s largest open-pit gold mine. There are reports, of widespread human rights violations by the military, which reached a peak in 1994. According to reports in February 1996 troops from all over Indonesia came to the Mapnduma area. It was alleged that the soldiers raped women there indiscriminately; girls as young as 12 were victims, as were mute, mentally retarded and pregnant women. (para 100)

A is from Jila village. She was raped by a soldier from the Indonesian military while she was working in the fields in 1987. She has a child as a result of the rape. She returned home and told her parents what had happened. They were extremely angry and went to the military post to demand justice. Her parents were beaten up by the soldiers. Her two brothers, one of whom is a priest and the other a village chief, went to the military post; they were also beaten up by the military. The perpetrator was moved out of the area. In 1988, A had a child as a result of the rape. She had been a virgin when she was raped and virginity has a high premium in this society. Her parents said that she should have protected herself better; the wrong was put on her. It is alleged that soldiers raped many women in that area. Women were afraid that, if they resisted, their families would be attacked. There are many children as a result of the rapes. (para 103)

The Special Rapporteur believes that a thorough and impartial investigation into the use of rape as a method of torture and intimidation by the military in Irian Jaya is imperative. According to information received, perpetrators have not been brought to trial, victims and their children have not been compensated and human rights abuses continue to occur even under the new regime. (para 109)

The Government of Indonesia should consider setting up a truth and reconciliation process for the victims of state violence before May 1998. The process should be open to victims of rape, victims of torture, mothers of children born of Indonesian soldiers and widows of individuals killed by Indonesian military action. The process should involve payment of compensation to the victim and prosecution of the perpetrators, if they are identifiable. (para 115)

Threats:Despite all these positive developments, the darker side of recent developments in Indonesia is of great concern to the Special Rapporteur. The anonymous letters and death threats, especially to children of victims and activists, are ominous, especially when a certain element of impunity seems to be attaching to the perpetrators. The Chinese community, members of which provided the Special Rapporteur with ample evidence of death threats and anonymous letters that they have received threatening their very existence in Indonesia, seems to be terrorized. (para 17)

Victims and witnesses of violence, along with human rights defenders, continue to receive macabre death threats and anonymous letters and phone calls threatening their lives and the lives of their families, especially the children. The Special Rapporteur has a collection of these letters. They seem to be of two kinds. The first are letters to victims, witnesses and human rights defenders threatening them not to come forward and report crimes of violence, especially those that took place in May 1998. The authors of these letters threaten the recipients and their children with language that suggests that they know the daily routine of the recipients and their families. The brutal murder of Ita Martadinata Haryono, the daughter of a human rights defender, which police alleged was carried out by a neighbour, has sent shock waves through the human rights community and terrorized many human rights defenders. (para 46)

The Special Rapporteur is deeply concerned about the proliferation of death threats and anonymous letters after the May 1988 riots. These threats and letters have been targeted at victims, the families of the victims, doctors and human rights defenders. In the case of human rights defenders, the threat is directed against their children. The threats are delivered by telephone and by letter. In the case of rape victims, photographs of the rape are sent warning the victim that if she speaks the photographs will be circulated widely. This private thuggery has to be confronted and eliminated. The rule of law must prevail if the criminal justice system in Indonesia is to give relief to victims. There is a need for an effective witness protection scheme so that victims and witnesses come forward. In addition, the State must confront this phenomenon of thuggery at the highest levels. These kinds of threats should be outlawed and the police should take a proactive role in bringing the perpetrators to trial. Such a campaign should be endorsed at the highest level. Otherwise the legitimate process of politics and governance will always be subverted by shadowy forces who rule civil society through the use of terror. (para 73)

Some of the officials the Special Rapporteur met were dismissive about these letters, regarding them as pranks by individuals. However, the death of Ita Martadinata Haryono has struck terror into the hearts of those who have received such letters. Ms. Haryono, a 17-year old ethnic Chinese woman, was brutally murdered in her home in Jakarta. Ms. Haryono and her mother were active members of the Volunteers for Humanitarian Causes; they had constantly received death threats and anonymous letters. Suddenly, Ms. Haryono was brutally murdered in her own home. The police claim that the murder was an attempted burglary by a neighbour who was a good friend of Ms. Haryono. The human rights community is convinced that she was murdered to silence those involved in human rights work. The two sides presented us with their evidence. Whatever the truth of this matter, the fact that Ms. Haryono and her family were recipients of death threats and anonymous letters casts a cloud over the case. Without understanding the context of the case, the police appear to have become combative, further alienating human rights defenders from the criminal justice system. (para 74)

Poverty: The recent financial crisis is another factor that has accentuated the civil unrest in Indonesia. Poverty, reflected in a large increase in the number of street children, and disparities in income have added a class factor to the human rights debate. With the security forces holding their fire, looters and arsonists are often left to their own devices, though they appear to be provoked by groups of provocateurs. The lawlessness, anarchy and chaos that surrounded the May riots and the inability of the Government to act firmly against the perpetrators has created a climate of impunity that is exploited by those who are desperate to make a living. The linkages between conomic reform, a welfare safety net and human rights protection is amply demonstrated in the events leading up to the economic crisis in Indonesia. (para 20)

Discrimination: Since 1967, the Government of Indonesia has pursued a policy of assimilation with regard to the ethnic Chinese minority. It is important to highlight the framework within which the May riots took place (an issue the Special Rapporteur on racial discrimination will address in greater depth in his report (E/CN.4/1999/15)). The assimilation policy has been contained in government guidelines since 1967. Chinese Indonesians have been asked to change their names to Indonesian ones. Their language schools have been closed and replaced by schools, where Chinese is taught as an extracurricular language. The use of Chinese characters in public has been discouraged and Chinese festivals and rituals are to be celebrated only in the privacy of the home. Chinese Indonesians carry identity cards with special markings to show that they are of Chinese origin and Chinese businessmen are encouraged to find “indigenous” Indonesian business partners. However, the Chinese are free to practise the religion of their choice, and many of them are Christians or Buddhists. (para 63)

East Timor: On 10 June 1980, X was arrested during a meeting in the village office. She was held at a military post for an hour and then taken to a former boarding house of the military (now a maternity clinic). She was interrogated and tortured all night: beaten, burned with cigarettes and given electric shocks in her ears. When questioned about her friend Beatrice, she told her interrogators that she knew nothing. She was stripped naked and told to walk around outside, then they put her in a water tank and pushed her (with their boots) under the water numerous times. They taunted her that perhaps she could find her friend at the bottom of the tank. When she could not support the torture any longer, she told them where they could find Beatrice. They told her to put on her clothes and go with them to Beatrice's house. They surrounded the house and told her to knock on the door and ask for her friend. They arrested Beatrice and took both of them to the command post, where she and Beatrice were stripped and tortured in the ways described above. X was then raped by Captain Jambrot; she was only 16 years old. Marilina (another inmate) was also raped. Another inmate was stripped and told to get in the water tank. (para 82)

B (32 years old) from Craras, Viqueque was told, after her husband disappeared, that if she wanted to see him again she would have to serve 100 soldiers at Pos Lalarek Mutin military post. For three months, she had to obey all orders and accede to all the needs of the post during the day and was raped at night. When she went to look for wood in the forest she was accused of meeting with the guerrillas and she was raped in front of her family as punishment. She continued to search for her husband, until finally she received news that he had been killed. As a result of the rape she has a seven-year old daughter. B is afraid to go to the authorities and file a complaint out of fear of retaliation against her and her family. (para 85)

D (38 years old) from Viqueque was arrested and raped on many occasions during the period 1975-1991. She was forced to serve different soldiers who were stationed near her village. She has five children, all of them allegedly the result of rape by soldiers. Reportedly, those who fathered her children were officers in the Military District Command KODIN and the Nanggala Kopassus Unit. Her church has helped her to support her children but she wants Indonesia to take responsibility for her and the children. (para 86)

The Special Rapporteur had a very fruitful meeting with Colonel Tono Suratman, the Territory's Regional Commander. She was impressed with his desire to break with the past and to have intensive human rights training for his troops. During the meeting he agreed to declare publicly that violence against women would not be tolerated within the military, and perpetrators would be severely punished. He released a statement to this effect the day after he met with the Special Rapporteur. It was carried as headlines in all the East Timor newspapers. Furthermore, he agreed to raise the possibility of setting up a compensation fund for rape victims, and children born of rape, with his superiors in Jakarta. The Special Rapporteur mentioned the large number of widows in East Timor and requested that they be provided with the same service as that provided under the Minister for Social Affairs widows' programme in Aceh. The Special Rapporteur also asked the Colonel to investigate the cases, referred to above, which had been brought to her attention. (para 92)


Report by the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention


Country visit: 31 January – 12 February 1999

Report published: 12 August 1999

No mention of children's rights


Report by the UN Representative of the Secretary-General on Internally Displaced persons, Francis M. Deng.


Country visit:24 – 29 September 2001

Report published: 15 February 2002

Mr. M. Deng identified the following concerns:

Living Conditions of Internally Dsplaced Persons: Although the response of the Government and the international community varies from province to province and with the nature of the conflict causing the displacement, the conditions of the internally displaced persons in the country are generally reported to be poor. Internally displaced persons living in makeshift camps are in need of shelter, food, medicine and proper sanitation. Long-term solutions are also needed for those living with families and friends. Further, issues of land and property belonging to internally displaced persons need to be resolved. Protection problems need also to be addressed, as they are severe in areas of intercommunal conflict and where the two separatist movements operate. There is a particularly serious problem of many children lacking documents, which impedes their access to schooling. Other issues involving children are whether food assistance programmes target their particular nutritional needs and whether they are adequately protected from recruitment by armed groups. (para 4)

Although assistance to the internally displaced persons varies from province to province, in general, it is believed that many displaced have at least at some point benefited from some emergency food and shelter, some essential medical services, potable water, sanitation services, clothing and other non-food items, provided in part by the Government and in part by national and international humanitarian organizations. In some areas of the country, internally displaced persons have also received assistance for their relocation in new residential areas in the form of construction materials and assistance. Indeed, until December 2001, the Government had a policy of providing internally displaced persons with a daily subsistence allowance in cash of Rp 1,500 (equivalent to about US$ 0.14) and 400 grams of rice per person per day. However, in Pontianak, internally displaced persons told the Representative that the payment of their daily subsistence allowance in cash had been delayed for several months. Local officials later confirmed this. In other cases too, aid did not always seem to reach the displaced. The Representative was alerted to the fact that there were often considerable gaps between official reports about conditions and the reality faced by the internally displaced. In North Sumatra, where OCHA carried out a fact-finding mission in November 2001, more than 49,000 Javanese displaced from Aceh were scattered throughout the province in camps, rented houses and host communities. Water, sanitation and health services were reported to be in critical condition. Most displaced children could not attend school because of high tuition fees. Government assistance was reportedly limited, and no international humanitarian agency is present there. (para 24)

Data: Both official and United Nations figures record a rapid and disturbing increase in the number of internally displaced persons in recent years. According to official data, the estimated number of displaced persons in the country is 1,337,503 persons (286,944 households). Most of the 27 provinces are affected. On 8 September 2001, the World Food Programme had on its register of beneficiaries of assistance, 1,317,234 internally displaced persons, some 38,580 more than a month earlier. Of the 1.3 million internally displaced persons, 750,000 are estimated by the United Nations to be under 18 years of age. Although data disaggregated by sex or age are not available, it is thought that the vast majority of the internally displaced are women and children. (para 20)

(...) Local actors consider the capacity of Bakornas PBP to assume its new responsibilities limited and in need of strengthening. They also consider it limited in its capacity to collect information and produce disaggregated data - in particular data on internally displaced women, children, and other groups with special needs, which would be a useful tool for policy-making and programming. (...) (para 39)

Another issue highlighted by the seminar, and which remains a priority, is the need for a more systematic way of gathering and managing information on internal displacement throughout the country. The seminar recommended that guidelines be developed to strengthen and improve the collection, compilation and verification of data on internally displaced communities and others in need. It also recommended that the Government consider designating information focal points at the provincial, district and sub-district levels (Satkorlak, Satlak and Kecamantan) and at the national level (Bakornas PBP). The national-level focal point would compile the data from various levels of government and create an overall picture of the situation of internal displacement in the country. Given the central role of Bakornas PBP, it could assume the national responsibility for improving efforts to gather data and, in particular, the establishment of a central information bank on the internally displaced, with particular attention to women and children. (para 58)

Protection: In his discussions with national and provincial authorities, the Representative further emphasized the need to combine humanitarian assistance with protection, in particular of women and children. The violent clashes in Central Sulawesi between Muslim and Christian groups, for example, brought home once again the urgent need to ensure security guarantees and protection for the civilian population and to address the causes of the conflicts. (para 33)

The Representative was pleased to see important protection initiatives included in the Consolidated Appeal, such as a programme to strengthen the local capacity for the protection of children’s rights in five provinces which would be implemented by UNICEF in cooperation with an umbrella organization and with the active participation of children throughout the planning and implementation process. Another important initiative is an advocacy campaign to raise awareness in risk areas to the dangers of trafficking in women and children, which is aimed at sensitizing government officials, religious leaders, community workers and social workers. In addition to emergency relief assistance and basic services such as shelter, health care, non-food items, safe water, sanitation and education, other initiatives to be carried out include peace-building and conflict resolution activities, life skills education for internally displaced children, training of child’s rights advocates, increasing self-reliance of vulnerable groups, HIV/AIDS awareness, and access to reproductive health services and information. However, the protection activities envisaged as part of the comprehensive strategy of the Consolidated Appeal amount to only 1.71 per cent of the overall request, and focus primarily on children. (para 46)

OHCHR had been engaged in providing technical assistance to the Government of Indonesia, within the framework of the Government’s National Plan of Action on Human Rights. Of the international organizations on the ground, protection issues fall to ICRC, which is active in Aceh, UNICEF, which has programmes planned for the protection of children and women, and the Humanitarian/Resident Coordinator, who should serve as the focal point to promote both protection and assistance for internally displaced persons. (para 49)

Special attention should also be paid in return and reintegration to the special needs of women and children, in particular on access to the education system, free of charge. The Ministry of Women Empowerment should take an active part in assistance and protection programmes for women and children, with the technical assistance of United Nations bodies, specialized agencies or bilateral donors. (para 72)

It should also be noted that the Durban Programme of Action urges States to take effective steps to protect internally displaced persons from violence, in particular violence against women and girls, to investigate any such violation and to bring those responsible to justice, in collaboration, when appropriate, with the relevant and competent authorities. The Programme of Action further encourages the bodies, agencies and relevant programmes of the United Nations system and States to promote and make use of the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement, particularly those provisions relating to non-discrimination. (para 76)


Report by the UN Independent Expert on the Right to Development


No offical report available


Report by the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education, Katarina Tomaševski


Country visit:1 – 7 July 2002

Report published: 4 November 2002



UN Special Rapporteur on the Independence of the Judges and Lawyers, Param Cumaraswamy


Country visit: 15 – 24 July 2002

Report published: 13 January 2003

Birth Certificate: Seventy per cent of Indonesian children under 5 years of age are unregistered and do not have a birth certificate, according to a UNICEF-sponsored survey conducted in 2000. Instead, some children benefit from a parallel system of birth notification at the village level where a village birth notification is given, which can be accepted to meet some administrative requirements. (para 70)

In this connection, article 7 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child expressly provides for children to be registered at birth. In addition to being a critical measure to secure the recognition of every person before the law, registration is an effective tool for national planning and budgeting. (para 71)

With regard to children, the Special Rapporteur is surprised to learn that in Indonesia some 70 per cent of children under 5 years do not have a birth certificate. The Special Rapporteur finds that the Government has not adequately discharged one of its most basic obligations. Failure to address this problem could lead to considerable ramifications in their later life with regard to their welfare and could result in serious long-term social problems. (para 104)

With regard to children:

(a) Development and adoption of a comprehensive and non-discriminatory Law on Civil Registration based on universal principles of human rights, providing for universal, mandatory and free registration, should be speeded up (…) (para 118)

Juveniles: The National Commission on Child Protection informed the Special Rapporteur that of the 4,000 juveniles who come before the courts, approximately 85 per cent are sentenced to imprisonment. In fact, the Government noted in its 2000 report that “it can be concluded that judges prefer to hand down prison sentences when sentencing children who have committed a crime”. (para 72)

Though there are 14 juvenile correctional institutions and the Juvenile Justice Act 1997 provides for segregation between adults and juveniles, there are no implementing regulations. Further, the Government acknowledged in its 2000 report that given the limited space available, many juveniles are placed along with adult detainees both during pre-trial detention and sentencing stages. The recently adopted Child Protection Law, however, follows the Convention on the Rights of the Child and, inter alia, refers to sentencing as a last resort and encourages recourse to non-institutional alternatives. (para 73)

The Child Protection Law also provides for the establishment of an independent commission for the protection of children within one year from the adoption of the law. (para 74)

(…) (c) Guidelines for the newly adopted Child Protection Law, in accordance with international standards regarding juvenile justice should be formulated. An independent, effective and fully resourced commission for the protection of children; should be established by the law. (para 118)

Treatment of Children: The Special Rapporteur was also informed of concerns regarding the apparent lack of sensitivity displayed towards children by those working with children in conflict with the law, including judges, prosecutors, and the police. The 2000 government report to the CRC refers to the inhumane or humiliating police treatment of children, including children being ordered to strip, their hair being cut and being forced to walk in a squatting position in public. (para 75)

(…) b) All those in contact with children in conflict with the law should be urgently provided with training on sensitivity and knowledge of child rights and welfare; (…) (para 118)


Report by the UN Special Rapporteur on Migrants, Jorge Bustamante


Country visit: 12 – 21 December 2006

Report published: 2 March 2007

Mr. Bustamante identified the following concerns:

Migration: Domestic workers from Indonesia constitute the fastest-growing group of migrant workers. But it is not only the steep rise in numbers that is dramatic; it is also the reversal of gender. During the 1970s male migrant workers outnumbered females by 3 to 1. Increased rural poverty occasioned by economic crises and the devastation of the agricultural sector in Indonesia pushed women and girls into the domestic labour market. By the early 1990s, amongst legal migrants, almost twice as many women were placed overseas as men. Currently, 70 per cent of documented Indonesian migrant workers are women. Due to limited employment opportunities in Indonesia, many Indonesian women and girls with families to support have no other choice than to migrate for domestic work, typically very far from their homes and at great personal and economic cost. In some cases they are young girls using false travel documents. (para 6)

However, reluctance to ratify CMW stems from the belief that ratification will oblige Indonesia to protect migrant workers coming into the country by providing services such as education for their children and welfare services. The authorities argue that this would be too costly for a country struggling to raise standards for its own citizens and would create the impression that foreign migrants residing in Indonesia were being given special treatment. Incoming migrants and their rights and conditions do not seem to attract much attention from policymakers. Fears were expressed that ratification would entail administrative burdens, especially at a time when Indonesia is experiencing a large budget deficit. Indonesia sees the ratification and implementation processes as expensive undertakings in a context where governmental budgets, and staff assigned to such matters, are very limited. (para 55)


Report by the UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders, Hina Jilani


Country visit: 5 – 12 June 2007

Report published: 28 January 2008

Ms. Jilani identified the following concerns:

The National Plan of Action on Human Rights Promotion: In 2004, the National Plan of Action on Human Rights Promotion (hereinafter the Plan) was adopted by Presidential Decree 40/2004. It is implemented by the Ministry for Law and Human Rights, and is designed to improve people’s awareness and protection of human rights across the country over the next five years. It includes the ratification of international human rights instruments, the dissemination of and education on human rights, the harmonization of human rights regulations, the implementation of human rights norms and standards, and the monitoring, evaluation and reporting concerning the respect of human rights. Special attention is reportedly given to women, children, elderly, disabled persons, culture-based communities, minorities, poor communities, peasants and fisheries. Under the Plan, local governments coordinate local institutions in delivering services related to human rights promotion and protection, and may facilitate the revision of local regulations that may hinder efforts related to the promotion of human rights. Furthermore, 426 local human rights committees comprised of local leaders have reportedly been set up to disseminate information and educate bureaucrats and professional groups on human rights as well as to compile information on the human rights situation in the provinces and to report to the Ministry for Law and Human Rights. Thirty more committees are reportedly to be established. (para 8)


Report by the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Manfred Nowak


Country visit: 10 – 23 November 2007

Report published: 10 March 2008

Mr. Nowak identified the following concerns:

Corporal Punishment: The Special Rapporteur found allegations and evidence of several cases of beatings by guards, often in relation to attempts to escape and violations of prison rules. In several prisons, such as Makassar, Pondok Bambu (Jakarta), the beatings appeared to take place publicly, in front of other detainees. Furthermore, allegations of beatings were voiced in the prisons of Wamena and Abepura (both Papua) as well as Cipinang (Jakarta) and Yogyakarta. The Special Rapporteur is particularly concerned that he found evidence of regular corporal punishment of minors in Kutoarjo juvenile prison, which was even admitted by the prison authorities. Whereas in Abepura, according to the prison director, one prison guard had been subjected to disciplinary sanctions in the recent past, in none of the cases a perpetrator was shown to have been brought to criminal justice. (para 19)

Corporal punishment of children is unlawful under article 66 of the Law on Human Rights 26/2000 which states: “Every child has the right not to be subjected to acts of oppression, torture, or inhuman legal punishment ...” In addition, articles 13 and 16 of Law 23/2002 on Protection of Children contain some relevant provisions outlawing violence, abuse, inhuman punishment under law, torture and other forms of ill-treatment against children. However, in the Special Rapporteur’s assessment, minors and children are at high risk of corporal punishment and ill-treatment not only in their families and schools, but also when they are in detention. At the juvenile detention centres in Pondok Bambu prison (Jakarta), and in Yogyakarta prison, many of the minors alleged that they had been beaten either by policemen or by co-detainees during police custody, often with the knowledge of the officers. At Kutoarjo juvenile prison, detainees consistently reported regular beatings, often in public, to intimidate the other juveniles. The prison authorities openly admitted the regular use of corporal punishment for disciplinary purposes. (para 42)

The Special Rapporteur is very concerned that minors and children are at greater risk of corporal punishment and ill-treatment than adults in situations where they are deprived of their liberty. He is also concerned about the absence of a specialized juvenile justice system. (para 70)

Detention Conditions: In violation of international standards, pretrial detainees and convicted prisoners are not separated in several of the prisons visited by the Special Rapporteur, such as the Pondok Bambu Prison (Jakarta) and the Juvenile Detention Centre Kutoarjo (Central Java). (para 31)

Whereas the Special Rapporteur welcomes that there are certain laws aimed at preventing and outlawing torture and violence against women, he is concerned at some shortcomings in their implementation. Some detention facilities do not have enough female staff, as required by international standards. However, he commends that pregnant women are often temporarily released from custody to be able to deliver their baby, and that women in police custody as well as in prisons can live together with their babies and are allowed to maintain very close contact with their elder children. (para 43)

The Government of Indonesia should continue efforts to improve detention conditions, in particular with a view to providing health care, treat rather than punish persons with mental disabilities, and improve the quantity and quality of food. The Government, in all detention contexts, should ensure the separation of minors from adults and of pretrial prisoners from convicts and train and deploy female personnel to women’s sections of prisons and custody facilities. (para 87)

Criminal Responsibility: The Special Rapporteur is extremely concerned that criminal responsibility in Indonesia starts at the age of 8 and that therefore small children are put in detention facilities and prisons, very often mixed with much older children and adults. In more general terms, the fact that children and adults often mix in places of detention is a violation of international standards. (para 40)

Whereas he welcomes Law 3/1997 on Juvenile Courts and also notes that some progress has been made in sentencing fewer minors to prison terms, he would like to recall the findings of the Committee on the Rights of the Child, which expressed concern “at the very large number of children sentenced to jail even for petty crimes”. (para 41)

The age of criminal responsibility should be raised as a matter of priority. Through further reform of the juvenile justice system, Indonesia should take immediate measures to ensure that deprivation of liberty of minors is used only as a last resort and for the shortest possible period of time and in appropriate conditions. Children in detention should be strictly separated from adults. (para 90)


Requested visits

Visits requested

  • SR on torture (requested in 1993)
  • (R in 2004 and 2008) SR on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions
  • (R in 1996 and 2008)SR on freedom of religion or belief
  • (R in 2012) SR on the situation of human rights defenders
  • (R in 2008, 2011 and 2012) IE on foreign debt
  • (R in 2008, 2010 and 2011) WG on enforced or involuntary disappearances
  • (R in 2009) IE on minority issues
  • (R in 2008 and 2010) IE on access to safe drinking water and sanitation
  • (R in 2011) SR on freedom of association and assembly
  • (R in 2011) SR on cultural rights

Visits accepted

  • (A) SR on freedom of expression (14 – 26 January 2013 – postponed)
  • (A) SR on adequate housing (30 May – 11 June 2013)
  • (A) SR on health





Please note that these reports are hosted by CRIN as a resource for Child Rights campaigners, researchers and other interested parties. Unless otherwise stated, they are not the work of CRIN and their inclusion in our database does not necessarily signify endorsement or agreement with their content by CRIN.