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Indonesia/Aceh : Training on human rights monitoring halted by raid


Training on human rights monitoring halted by raid

Paris-Geneva, October 21st, 2003

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint
program of the FIDH and the OMCT, expresses its concern at the recent
raid against a training programme on Human Rights monitoring,
organized by a governmental body, the National Human Rights
Commission (KOMNAS HAM) on October 19th, in the province of Aceh,

Since martial law began on May 19th, 2003, KOMNAS HAM has set up a
body to conduct human rights monitoring in Aceh, headed by Mr.
Billah, the head of KOMNAS HAM's Aceh team. Mr. Billah is also the
facilitator of the raided training session that is supposed to take
place from October 19th to October 23rd. Before this training course,
KOMNAS HAM had informed the regional martial law authority (PDMD) and
also Polresta, the Police authority in Banda Aceh, that they would be
holding this course.

On October 20th, during the morning session, two military
representatives from the PDMD were included in the training
programme, based on their request to be included as "participants".
At lunchtime, both of them left the training session and at 3 p.m.,
around 20 troops and 20 police officers came to the Seulawah pavilion
where the training session was being held. They turned off the lights
in order to sabotage the training programme. The members of the
military and the police tried to come in, but Mr. Billah prevented
them from doing so. They asked for the lists of participants, but Mr.
Billah refused to give it to them and also refused to stop the
meeting, leading to an exchange of words and negotiations with the
police who wanted to take him to headquarters for questioning.

On October 21st, PDMD troops still occupied the Seulawah pavilion.
The police members denied that they had been informed about the
training course and members of the military said that permission was
needed to hold it. As part of the government, KOMNAS HAM clearly does
not require permission to hold such a session. Since that time, the
training session has been interrupted.

Un programme de la FIDH et de l'OMCT - An FIDH and OMCT venture - Un
programa de la FIDH y de la OMCT
Fédération Internationaledes Ligues des Droits de l'Homme17,
Passage de la Main d'Or75 011 Paris, France Organisation
MondialeContre la TortureCase postale 21 - 8 rue du Vieux-Billard
1211 Genève 8, Suisse

The Observatory is particularly concerned for the personal integrity
of the participants in the training session, as the military are
seeking to gain a list of their identities, and
there are serious concerns that their integrity may be at risk as a
result of this.

The Observatory urges the Indonesian authorities to ensure that the
KOMNAS HAM training sessions be allowed to resume without any
incident or interference from the
military and police and to stop any kind of harassment or repression
against human rights defenders in Indonesia, in particular in Aceh.

The Observatory urges the Indonesian authorities to conform with
international human rights standards as these facts contradict the
principles of freedom of association and
of freedom of expression. They constitute violations of the U.N.
Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, especially Article 1, which
states that "everyone has the right,
individually and in association with others, to promote and to strive
for the protection and realisation of human rights and fundamental
freedoms at the national and
international levels". According to Article 2, "each State has the
prime responsibility and duty to protect, promote and implement all
human rights and fundamental freedoms". Article 5 guarantees the
right to "meet or assemble peacefully; to form, join and participate
in non-governmental organisations or groups; to communicate with non-
governmental or intergovernmental organisations", for the purpose of
promoting human rights and fundamental freedoms.

For more information, please contact :FIDH: 00 33 1 43 55 25 18 -
OMCT: 00 41 22 809 49 24
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