Open letter to Joko Widodo, the President of Indonesia

The undersigned members of the International Network of Civil Liberties Organizations (INCLO) condemn the excessive use of police force during the demonstrations that took place across Indonesia in recent weeks, leading to the inhuman treatment and torture of people exercising their right to protest.

Media reports and human rights observers tell of police’s intimidation, hundreds of arrests, and outright brutality against students and ordinary Indonesians who publicly voiced their disagreement with a controversial law adopted on 5 October.

Moreover, there are reports that police brutality against protestors, arbitrary arrests and cyber surveillance used to further restrict protest rights have significantly intensified since 2019.

It was further brought to our attention that alleged cases of excessive use of police \force, torture and inhumane treatment of protestors are not being investigated and processed according to the national criminal law, creating a condition of impunity that could lead to more human rights abuses and violations of the right to protest.

It is well established that the police response must always be non-discriminatory, lawful, proportionate, and necessary. The police must, at all times, seek to de-escalate the situation rather than inflame it by resorting to life-threatening weapons and disproportionate responses, as has been the case in Indonesia.

Together with KontraS, our member organization in Indonesia, INCLO members call for accountability of the police force and reforms that address the issues related to police misconduct.

In addition, we call for Indonesian authorities to respect their obligations under international law and protect the right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.

Agora International Human Rights Group (Agora, Russia)
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU, United States)
Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA, Canada)
Centro de Estudios Legales y Sociales (CELS, Argentina)
Dejusticia (Colombia)
Human Rights Law Network (HRLN, India)
Hungarian Civil Liberties Union (HCLU, Hungary)
Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL, Ireland)
Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC, Kenya)
The Commission for the Disappearances and Victims of Violence (KontraS, Indonesia)
Legal Resources Centre (LRC, South Africa)
Liberty (United Kingdom)