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Government fails to consider human rights in law deliberations: Rights watchdog

Jakarta Post - January 25, 2018

Jakarta Human rights violations committed throughout 2017 would likely continue this year, largely due to the government's failure to consider the rights of the people in deliberating certain laws, according to the Institute for Policy Research and Advocacy (ELSAM).

The group has also accused law enforcers, such as police, prosecutors and judges, of neglecting human rights aspects in charging alleged perpetrators in specific cases.

ELSAM researcher Wahyudi Jafar said human rights violations that frequently occurred were related to conflicts between local residents and large oil palm plantations.

"In the 115 conflicts involving oil palm plantations that we recorded, 44 percent of the victims were civilians. As many as 37 people have been criminalized, 17 of whom are local farmers," he said, adding that most of these cases took place in Java, Sumatra and Kalimantan.

ELSAM senior researcher Roichatul Awidah echoed Wahyudi's statement, emphasizing that laws were intended to protect people's rights. "What is happening today is [the use of] populist laws," she added.

"Instead of producing laws that are aimed at ensuring citizens' well-being, they [the House of Representatives and the government] deliberate laws containing controversial phrases or words only to raise their popularity," Roichatul said.

She referred to articles on adultery and the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transexual (LGBT) community in the Criminal Code draft law currently being deliberated.

Roichatul said there was a "tug of war" of many parties' interests in every law deliberation, some of which were related to politics and infrastructure plans.

Civilians have always been the victims of a "law trade-off" and rarely benefit from the law, she added. (vla/ebf)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/01/25/govt-fails-to-consider-human-rights-in-law-deliberations-rights-watchdog.html.

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