UN Laments Human Rights Issues in Indonesia's Revised Criminal Code

9 December 2022 10:33 WIB

The United Nations (UN) logo on a door at its headquarters in New York, USA. [REUTERS]

TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - The United Nations (UN) on Thursday issued a statement lamenting the revised Indonesian legal framework known as the Criminal Code (KUHP), which appears to be incompatible with fundamental freedoms and human rights. 

In the same statement, they also questioned the right to equality before the law and equal protection of the law without discrimination, the right to privacy as well as the right to freedom of religion or belief and freedom of opinion and expression.   

Previously, many civil rights groups also lamented the law’s provisions that oversee the ban on cohabitation and sex outside of marriage as they viewed that it poses threats to the basic human rights of the LGBTQ community.  

Another aspect the UN is concerned about is the articles that have the potential to criminalize journalistic work and impinge upon press freedom. 

“Other [provisions] would discriminate against, or have a discriminatory impact on, women, girls, boys, and sexual minorities and would risk adversely affecting a range of sexual and reproductive health rights, the right to privacy, and exacerbate gender-based violence, and violence based on sexual orientation and gender identity,” the statement reads. 

Other provisions, according to them, risk violating the rights to freedom of religion or belief and could legitimize negative social attitudes towards members of minority religions or beliefs and lead to acts of violence against them.

However, the Governor of Lemhannas Andi Widjajanto claims that the recently passed Criminal Code is a progressive step Indonesia has introduced to the country’s legal framework. He specifically highlighted private affairs, in which the state now cannot intervene.

"CNN reporters commented that Indonesia has turned into a conservative country. However, if you compare the new and old (criminal laws), Indonesia has made significant progress," Andi said at the Council for Security Cooperation in the Asia Pacific conference at the Secretariat ASEAN in Jakarta, Thursday, December 8.

Andi pointed out the adultery article, for example, in the past the state could interfere in criminal offenses but now anyone can bring an unmarried partner to live together, as long as there are no complaints filed by relatives of the persons.

United Nations’ criticism echoes what is feared by United States Ambassador to Indonesia Sung Y. Kim who previously said that the Criminal Code could potentially affect Indonesia’s investment climate. He also took note of the potential fundamental human rights violations contained in the KUHP.

The House of Representatives (DPR) on Tuesday, December 6, officially passed the Criminal Code Bill (RKUHP) into law in the 11th plenary, which was led by Deputy Speaker Sufmi Dasco Ahmad. 

The House's Commission III member Bambang Wuryanto said that the formulation of the Bill was a carryover from the previous House term meant to decolonize, consolidate, and harmonize the Criminal Code. 

DANIEL AHMAD

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