Oral statement to the Human Rights Council on Indonesia
On 27 March, Lawyers for Lawyers delivered an oral statement during the 52nd session of the UN Human Rights Council. During this session, the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Outcome Report of Indonesia was adopted. Lawyers for Lawyers had already submitted a UPR report for the UPR-session of Indonesia.
The statement reads as follows:
We welcome the decision of Indonesia to accept almost all of the recommendations made at its fourth UPR related to the protection of human rights defenders and lawyers. We call upon Indonesia to effectively implement these recommendations without delay.
A fundamental aspect of the rule of law is access to legal representation by an independent legal profession. Lawyers must be able to carry out their professional duties without harassment, intimidation, or improper interference.
In Indonesia, lawyers are often faced with difficulties in accessing clients, especially since the pandemic, when detained persons’ access to independent counsel was blocked. We have been informed that law enforcement officials still block lawyers from legal access to their clients both at detention centers and police stations.
Furthermore, there have been multiple reports of harassment and intimidation of lawyers, particularly for lawyers working on politically sensitive cases. This harassment includes anonymous phone calls, threats, attacks at the workplace, and in some cases comes from members of law enforcement agencies or investigative bodies. Impunity for such threats and harassment creates an extremely high risk of a “chilling effect” on the legal profession, potentially preventing other Indonesian lawyers from taking on similar legal cases.
Concerns about the freedom of expression of lawyers have also been raised, particularly in the cases of lawyers representing minority groups such as Papuans.
We urge Indonesia to:
- Take immediate measures to ensure lawyers can access their clients without difficulty;
- Take immediate measures to safeguard the independence of lawyers and provide protection against any form of undue interference with their work.
- Guarantee the freedom of expression and safety of all lawyers, particularly those representing minorities.
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