President Duterte’s Visits to Indonesia: Momentum for Improving ASEAN Human Rights Situation?

Press Release
President Duterte’s Visits to Indonesia: Momentum for Improving ASEAN Human Rights Situation?

[Jakarta, 9 September 2016] – In responding to the appearance of President Rodrigo Duterte of Filipina, the Indonesian representative to the Coalition for the Abolition of Death Penalty in ASEAN (CADPA) urges the meeting between President Duterte and President Joko Widodo to be a momentum for the improvement for human rights condition in both countries.

The Coalition condemns the extra-judicial killings committed by President Duterte that resulted to more than 3,000 casualties within two months. Also, in Indonesia, President Joko Widodo that recently committed the execution of death penalty in last July. The methods to counter drugs offences by conducting the killings within and without due process of law has caused a serious impact to the humanity, since substantially the essence of these two policies are to dissapearing human lives that should be protected by the States.

It has to be noted that Philippines and Indonesia are the two countries in ASEAN that are being considered as a motor with the agenda for advancing human rights in the region. Cruel practices that are being adopted recently is indeed become a bad precedent for other ASEAN members, especially this year is the first year for the ASEAN Community where the integration of politic, economy and socio-cultural need to be increased.

Another similarity between Philippines and Indonesia is that both countries are the countries with the largest number of migrant workers in ASEAN. The Coalition realised that female migrant workers, particularly in domestic sectore, is the most vulnerable group to be exploited both by the syndicate of trafficking in persons and syndicate of illicit drugs trafficking in Philippines, Indonesia or in other ASEAN countries. Mary Jane Veloso, Merri Utami and Rita Krisdiyanti are several concrete examples on how the face of death penalty is actually targeted to the most vulnerable groups that should protected from ASEAN cooperation.

With this bilateral meeting, the Coalition urged both head of States to reevaluate their policies in order to restrain the crimes, especially drugs-related crimes. The negative effects from the war against drugs in Indonesia has targeted to the couriers that are from a weak economical background, and oftenly being manipulated by the syndicate. Meanwhile, the attitude of Philippines government that encourage the extra-judicial killings, which has victimised children and those who are not related to the drugs cases at all.

The Coalition supports the attempt made by Indonesia and Philippines to restrain the spreading of drugs in the region of ASEAN. However, in responding to such problems, death penalty and extrajudicial killings have not been scientifically proved can reduce the number of users and drugs offence itself. Ideally, both countries jointly should gaze their attention from any reppresive and punitive attempts to the methods that can reduced the negative effect of drugs.

The Coalition hereby requests Indonesia and Philippines to be mor esrious in ending crimes and not ending life itself. []

Daniel Awigra, Program Manager ASEAN Human Rights Working Group (HRWG), Phone 0817 6921 757; Ricky Gunawan, Direktur LBH Masyarakat, Phone 0812 10677 657