The eighth session of the European Union-Indonesia Human Rights Dialogue took place on 8th November 2019 in Brussels. Both delegations raised and discussed a wide range of topics of mutual interest and concern in an open and constructive manner.
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European Union and Indonesia hold the 8th Human Rights Dialogue
The eighth session of the European Union-Indonesia Human Rights Dialogue took place on 8th November 2019 in Brussels. Both delegations raised and discussed a wide range of topics of mutual interest and concern in an open and constructive manner, ranging from access to justice to international humanitarian law, from rights of people belonging to minorities/vulnerable groups to freedom of expression and freedom of association and peaceful assembly and Cooperation in the UN and other multilateral fora.
The EU and Indonesia have developed relations across a wide spectrum of areas in the space of a few years as defined by the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement. The respect for human rights is a fundamental value and a central pillar of their internal and external action.
The EU and Indonesia shared the main developments in the field of human rights since the previous meeting in Jakarta February 2018.
Indonesia provided updates on the proposed new Penal Code for which the process is not yet finalized. Indonesia reiterated that it is committed to its domestic and international obligations in its development of the new Penal Code. The EU raised certain concerns in relation to some provisions of the draft and invited the Indonesian government to ensure their conformity with the country’s international human rights obligations.
The EU also reiterated its principled position against the death penalty, stressing its strong belief that the death penalty is not an effective deterrent to crime and called upon the Indonesian government to consider establishing a moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty. Indonesia recalled its position and explained that it had not implemented the death penalty over the last three years.
Both parties agreed on the importance of complying with International Humanitarian Law and to ensure humanitarian space, protection of civilians and quality/effective humanitarian response.
Indonesia and the EU also stressed the need to further strengthen the promotion and protection of the rights of persons belonging to minorities, indigenous people and vulnerable groups and to ensure non-discrimination in their exercise of political, economic, cultural and social rights. Similarly, both side agreed on the need to combat trafficking in persons. Both parties face challenges in ensuring non-discrimination for their citizens. It is vital to fight against all forms of discrimination on any grounds whatsoever. In this regard it is essential to provide adequate protection for people belonging to minority groups and hold perpetrators of discrimination and violence accountable. It was also acknowledged that both Indonesia and the EU need to accelerate progress in achieving gender equality and girls' and women's empowerment.
The two sides underscored the great importance of business and human rights and the implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.
Both sides shared their experience in addressing hate speech and fake news while guaranteeing freedom of expression and recalled their opposition to any legislation, regulation or political pressure that limits freedom of expression and called on both sides’ authorities to uphold their international obligations by, among others, protecting journalists against intimidation, threats and violence.
The EU and Indonesia underlined that the right to freedom of association and peaceful assembly is at the core of any democratic system. The EU furthermore underlined its opposition to any unjustified restriction, including the excessive use of force by public authorities, which could hamper the functioning of independent civil society and the capacity of individuals and groups to enjoy their right to participate in public life.
Both delegations reiterated their commitment to the UN human rights system, which is essential to the promotion and protection of universal human rights norms, and underlined the need to reinforce the cooperation in multilateral fora within the UN and ASEAN contexts, notably in consideration of Indonesia’s Human Rights Council membership for the triennium January 2020 to December 2022.
This year, for the first time, the Dialogue was preceded by an EU-Indonesia Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) Forum. Such an event illustrates the mutual acknowledgement that civil society is a key partner. The joint aim is to maintain this positive engagement enabling CSOs from both sides to submit recommendations for consideration by the Indonesia-EU Human Rights Dialogue.
Both delegations agreed to consider some follow-up activities with regard to, among others, the issue of human rights aspects of the global context of multilateral framework; global platform on religion and society; women, children and trafficking in persons; and countering hate speech and disinformation.
The Delegation from the Republic of Indonesia was led by Mr Achsanul Habib, Director for Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs while the Delegation of the European Union was headed by Mr David Daly, Head of Division South East Asia in the European External Action Service. The Dialogue was attended by a large Indonesian delegation including representatives from relevant Ministries and representatives from EU Member States.
The next meeting of the EU – Indonesia Human Rights Dialogue will be held in Indonesia in 2020.