Indonesia: Paving the way for OPCAT ratification among MPs
Together with Indonesia’s five national institutions – the National Human Rights Commission, the Ombuds institution, both the Women and the Children Commissions, and the Witness and Victims Protection Agency – the APT organised a parliamentary session to raise awareness of the need to ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture (OPCAT) among Members of Parliament. While Indonesian policy-makers agree on the necessity to eradicate the practice of torture and ill-treatment in detention, more needs to be done to convince them of the importance of ratifying this essential torture prevention treaty.
The session came as part of APT’s efforts to increase understanding of the OPCAT and the necessity to ratify it among decision-makers in the country. Since 2013, APT has observed growing interest and commitment to enhance Indonesia’s oversight system from governmental ministries, national institutions and civil society. This year, the aim is to broaden support at the national level around the idea that ratifying the OPCAT is the way to enhance the oversight system.
The session gathered around 30 participants, who showed great enthusiasm on the topic of torture prevention, actively interacting with speakers from the five national institutions as well as the Ministry of Law and Human Rights.
Concerns were raised regarding the burden of ratification and implementation on governmental agencies, or the role of the United Nations Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture (SPT) when conducting preventing visits. However there was general consensus that torture and ill-treatment in detention was no longer tolerated by the State, in line with the prohibition of torture in the Indonesian Constitution and efforts to eradicate torture under the National Human Rights Action Plan (NHRAP).
As such, local partners and participants in the session agreed that efforts to raise the Parliamentarians’ awareness and understanding of the OPCAT should continue in the future. In that aim, the five national institutions are coming to Geneva from 19-21 of September for an OPCAT workshop which will include sharing of experience from the United Kingdom National Preventive Mechanism (NPM) and refining their strategies for future ratification. This will also be timely in light of Indonesia’s adoption of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) report that will take place in Geneva on 21 September 2017, as one of the recommendations received by Indonesia during its Review in May, was to ratify the OPCAT.