The ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) commits to promote prevention and fight against torture and any kind of actions that degrade human dignity or violate human rights that is expressed in Article 14 of ASEAN Human Rights Declaration (AHRD). The Article states that “no person shall be subject to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment”. This article undoubtedly provides a strong basis for AICHR to organize a capacity building workshop as part of its contribution on education and promotion of human rights principles to officials from ASEAN Member States. AICHR is the human rights body of ASEAN established in 2009. It comprises of 10 Representatives of ASEAN Member States with the mandate to mainstream human rights principles and practices in the three pillars of ASEAN Community.
This two-day workshop in Semarang, Indonesia, 14-15 August 2018, is the first AICHR priority program with such theme. In this training, law enforcement authorities and correction facilities from ASEAN Member States agree on the following:
- Prevention of torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and punishment, from the process of identifying suspect, capture, investigation and detention must be avoided at any cause.
- Definition of torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and punishment in ASEAN is not yet uniform but UNCAT (United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment) can be used as a guidance.
- Local contexts and culture need to be considered to combat torture.
- Comprehensive approach including the viewpoints of victims/detainee and law enforcement officials must be considered.
- Training for law enforcement and public education needed to done by ASEAN to combat torture.
In the meeting there were positive responses from the participants after listening to the experiences of ASEAN member states when adjusting their legislation and law enforcement standard operating procedures. The participants were inspired with alternative techniques such as investigative interview, regulation in correction facility when detainee violates rules, monitoring system of performance of prison guards, and others. The participants visited women correction facility in Semarang to witness the various technique of anti-torture being done in facility where the building is an old one built in 1894 thus cannot be renovated to accommodate various needs, overcapacity with various kinds of criminals. The response of participants were positive. They said they learned about how to measure the decency of correction facility, the management of correction facility officer, and the trainings inside the correction facility.
“The homework for ASEAN to prevent and combat torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and punishment is just revealed because of this meeting. This is the first ASEAN level meeting where human rights during capture, investigation and detention is discussed in depth. The complexity of problem becomes really apparent namely because most law enforcement officials are never taught about doing interviews and collecting information for court during investigation; no standard for treating detainees given diversity of conditions in the correction facilities and their line of commands. The meeting reveals the things needing follow-up by AICHR so that ASEAN can be free of torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and punishment,” said Dr. Dinna Wisnu, Indonesian Representative to AICHR, the organizer of this program.
The AICHR is also highlighting the aspect of protecting vulnerable groups whenever they are in conflict with laws, such as women, children, minority groups. The output of this program will include the pointers of ASEAN common understanding of Article 14 of the AHRD and practical recommendations for follow-up by AICHR including further capacity building efforts and education.
This workshop is possible due to the cooperation of AICHR with the Embassy of Switzerland in Indonesia, the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Jakarta, The OHCHR (the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights), and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia. The speakers are practitioners from government and non-governmental agencies such as the Balay Rehabilitation Philippines, Human Rights Resource Center Indonesia, Sub-Committee on Suppression of Torture and Enforced Disappearance Thailand, Ministry of Law and Human Rights Indonesia, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Indonesia, Indonesian Police’s Special Crime Unit (Bareskrim) POLRI, Norwegian Police, dan the Association for Prevention of Torture. (*)
For more information, contact:
Anisa Djafar, media-affairs assistant to Indonesian Representative to AICHR (firstname.lastname@example.org or +6281299362063)
Assoc. Prof. Dinna Wisnu, Indonesian Representative to AICHR (email@example.com)