UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia
UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia
UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia
UCA News


Indonesian activists call for ASEAN nations to end torture

Abuses against detainees are still all too common, rights groups say

Mission in Asia | Make a Contribution
Mission in Asia | Make a Contribution
Indonesian activists call for ASEAN nations to end torture

Yuyun Wahyuningrum, the Indonesian representative on the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights, calls on ASEAN member states to respect the rights of torture victims. (Photo supplied)

Share this article :
Indonesia’s representative on the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) and Amnesty International Indonesia have called on Southeast Asian nations to end torture and fulfill the rights of victims.

Acts of torture, especially against detainees, are still common, they said.  

The appeal came as the world marked the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture on June 26, which was proclaimed by the United Nations in 1987 after the UN convention to fight torture was implemented.

"ASEAN member states should fulfill the rights of victims of torture, including reparation, restitution, satisfaction, monetary compensation, psychosocial rehabilitation and guarantees of non-repetition," Yuyun Wahyuningrum, the AICRH’s Indonesia representative, said in a statement.

Victims of torture often have no access to adequate social safety nets and an absence of reparation programs designated for them, which sadly is a reality in Southeast Asia, she said. 

“Many countries refuse to acknowledge sexual and gender-based violence, which becomes an obstacle to upholding accountability and healing for victims of torture, particularly women," Wahyuningrum said. 

Freedom from torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment is one of the non-derogable rights that should be protected under any circumstances. It is guaranteed by some ASEAN member states’ constitutions and protected under the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration, she added.

Torture causes extreme and irreversible psychological and physical damage to the individual. However, cases are rarely investigated and the perpetrators are often not brought to justice, she told UCA News on June 27. 

Wahyuningrum said torture was used by authorities in police stations, detention rooms and prisons to get information from detainees or those arrested. 

“ASEAN member states must work together to end impunity and to increase their monitoring capacity to prevent torture occurs in the detention facilities,” she said. 

Amnesty International Indonesia also called for an end to cruelty against detainees.

From June 2019 to June 2020, there were at least 73 cases of torture carried out by Indonesian police and military personnel, according to the rights group.

“All forms of torture and cruel punishment against detainees are inhumane acts and degrade human dignity," the group’s director Usman Hamid said.

He urged the Indonesian government to ensure that prison officials do not use violence against detainees.

“Our monitoring reveals that Papuan detainees always get inhumane treatment. They are denied access to their families and lawyers, not provided with food and proper healthcare, and suffer physical violence,” he told UCA News.

He urged the government to immediately investigate cases of torture against detainees.

"The government must ensure that that there is no further torture, arbitrary arrest and detention by state authorities against those promoting rights to freedom of expression," he said.

Support UCA News...

As 2020 unfolds, we are asking readers like you to help us keep Union of Catholic Asian News (UCA News) free so it can be accessed from anywhere in the world at no cost.

That has been our policy for years and was made possible by donations from European Catholic funding agencies. However, like the Church in Europe, these agencies are in decline and the immediate and urgent claims on their funds for humanitarian emergencies in Africa and parts of Asia mean there is much less to distribute than there was even a decade ago.

Forty years ago, when UCA News was founded, Asia was a very different place - many poor and underdeveloped countries with large populations to feed, political instability and economies too often poised on the edge of collapse. Today, Asia is the economic engine room of the world and funding agencies quite rightly look to UCA News to do more to fund itself.

UCA News has a unique product developed from a view of the world and the Church through informed Catholic eyes. Our journalistic standards are as high as any in the quality press; our focus is particularly on a fast-growing part of the world - Asia - where, in some countries the Church is growing faster than pastoral resources can respond to - South Korea, Vietnam and India to name just three.

And UCA News has the advantage of having in its ranks local reporters that cover 22 countries and experienced native English-speaking editors to render stories that are informative, informed and perceptive.

We report from the ground where other news services simply can't or won't go. We report the stories of local people and their experiences in a way that Western news outlets simply don't have the resources to reach. And we report on the emerging life of new Churches in old lands where being a Catholic can at times be very dangerous.

With dwindling support from funding partners in Europe and the USA, we need to call on the support of those who benefit from our work.

Click here to find out the ways you can support UCA News. You can make a difference for as little as US$5...
UCAN Donate
UCA Newsletter
Thank you. You are now signed up to our Daily Full Bulletin newsletter

Also Read

UCA News Podcast
Mission in Asia | Make a Contribution
Mission in Asia | Make a Contribution
Mission in Asia | Make a Contribution