UN High Commissioner blames Indonesia for non-cooperation with UN mechanisms

In his opening statement to the 35th session of the UN Human Rights Council, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussain, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights criticized many countries' lack of true commitment in perceiving and using UN human rights mechanisms as valuable tools in the achievement of real human rights improvements. In this regard, he emphasized the limitation of access, including non-cooperation and selective cooperation with human rights mechanisms and his office.



He further questioned several states for their human rights record despite their membership in the human rights council. "For example, Indonesia has 21 pending requests for visits by the Special Procedures, and has received only two mandate-holders since 2008", so Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussain. After the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the situation of human rights defenders, Hina Jilani and the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or  punishment, Manfred Nowak visited Indonesia in 2007 and 2008, they brought very concerning reports to the human rights council, particularly with regard to the human rights situation in West Papua.

Since the visit by both special rapporteurs, the government decided to limit access for UN Special Procedures to Indonesia, especially to its easternmost provinces of Papua and Papua Barat. In January 2013, a scheduled Indonesia visit by Mr Frank La Rue, the previous special procedures mandate holder on Freedom of Expression was unilaterally canceled by the Indonesian government because the Special Rapporteur insisted to visit West Papua. The government justified the travel limitations to West Papua with concerns for the special rapporteur's security.

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 Mrs. Raquel Rolnik, visited Indonesia in 2013 without traveling to West Papua. The most recent visit to Indonesia was carried out by the Special Rapporteur on health Mr. Dainius Puras’, who also visited Papua Province on 31st March and 1st April 2017, as part of his official two weeks visit. Puras’ expressed his concerns over the fact that indigenous Papuans are two times more likely to have HIV/AIDS than the rest of the population. He called for the development of “culturally sensitive” HIV/AIDS treatments.

A record of the UN mechanisms which were able to make assessments on the human rights situation West Papua may be found here.

Read the High Commissionser's full speech here