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Solidarity for Human Rights Defenders Fatia Maulidiyanti and Haris Azhar

22 November 2023
Haris Azhar and Fathia

Image: youtube.com/@harisazhar2868

 

Joint Statement

Indonesia: Solidarity for Human Rights Defenders Fatia Maulidiyanti and Haris Azhar

 

The undersigned organisations, human rights groups, and defenders are calling for the Indonesian Government to end its judicial harassment against prominent human rights defenders, Fatia Maulidiyanti and Haris Azhar as well as to further protect all human rights defenders in the country.

Fatia and Haris’ Indictment

Fatia is the former coordinator of the Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of Violence (KontraS) from 2020 to 2023; meanwhile, Haris is the co-founder of Lokataru Foundation. They  are both facing a defamation charge under Article 27 paragraph (3) in conjunction with Article 45 paragraph (3) of the Electronic and Information Transaction (EIT) Law.

Fatia and Haris have experienced 28 hearings since 3 April 2023. During the indictment reading on the 28th hearing on 12 November, the lead prosecutor advised the Court to sentence Fatia to three years and six months in prison alongside a fine of 500,000 rupiah (USD32), and Haris to four years in prison alongside a fine of one million rupiah (USD65). The latter is the maximum punishment set under the (EIT) law.

The case was brought by Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, the Coordinating Minister of Maritime and Investment Affairs, after the duo appeared on Haris’ YouTube channel to discuss a report alleging the involvement of several national and multinational companies in mining operations in Intan Jaya, Papua. The allegations included those affiliated with political figures such as Panjaitan.

‘We are extremely concerned about the indictment of Fatia and Haris as this reveals just how dangerous it is to be a human rights defender in Indonesia. For merely speaking truth to power, seeking justice and accountability, and expressing evidence-based criticisms against the government, the likes of Fatia and Harris are being silenced. Such judicial harassment would have never happened in a healthy democratic context. Fatia and Harris’ ordeal reveals the deterioration of Indonesia’s civic and democratic space,’ the groups said collectively.

Breaching international obligation

The ongoing criminalisation of Fatia and Haris is in contravention with several of Indonesia’s international commitments, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

Instead of upholding people’s right to freedom of expression, the government chose to deploy defamation charges against Fatia and Harris. Indonesia has also breached its  pledge–made upon its reelection as a member of the United Nations Human Rights Council from 2024 to 2026–to preserve the fundamental civil and political rights of all persons.

Call for Action

The criminalisation of Fatia and Haris for simply criticising a government official is a breach of Indonesia’s obligation to uphold people’s fundamental freedoms–especially free expression– under the ICCPR. Such criminalisation not only undermines the work of human rights defenders, but also creates a chilling effect on free speech and dissenting voices. Therefore, leading to the verdict, scheduled to be given on the 18th December, it is imperative for all stakeholders–including the international community and general public–to urge the Court to acquit Fatia and Haris of all charges and for the government to immediately end judicial harassment against the defenders.

‘We are in solidarity with Fatia and Haris. We cannot remain silent. The work of human rights defenders is and will always be essential to upholding democracy and human rights for all. We call on the Indonesian Government to stop its criminalisation of defenders and to refrain from enacting further harm against them,’ the groups voiced together.

 

Signatories:

  1. Advocacy Forum
  2. Agora International Human Rights Group
  3. Ain o Slaish Kendra (ASK)
  4. Aliansi Jurnalis Independen (AJI)
  5. ALTSEAN-Burma
  6. Amnesty International Indonesia
  7. ANTI
  8. Anti Death Penalty Asia Network (ADPAN)
  9. ASEAN Regional Coalition to #StopDigitalDictatorship
  10. ASEAN SOGIE Caucus
  11. ASEAN Youth Forum
  12. Asia Alliance Against Torture (A3T)
  13. Asia Democracy Network
  14. Asia Justice and Rights (AJAR)
  15. Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD)
  16. Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA)
  17. Asosiasaun HAK (Timor-Leste)
  18. AWAM Pakistan
  19. AwazCDS-Pakistan
  20. Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM) India
  21. Bir Duino
  22. Bytes for All, Pakistan (B4A)
  23. Canadian Civil Liberties Association
  24. Capital Punishment Justice Project (CPJP)
  25. Centre for Human Rights and Development (CHRD)
  26. Centro de Estudios Legales y Sociales (CELS)
  27. CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation
  28. Civil Society and Human Rights network (CSHRN)
  29. Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of Violence (KontraS)
  30. Community Resource Centre (CRC)
  31. Cross Cultural Foundation (CrCf) Thailand
  32. DAKILA
  33. Defence of Human Rights Pakistan
  34. DeJusticia Colombia
  35. Dignity-Kadyr-kassiyet (KK)
  36. Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights
  37. ELSAM
  38. Ensemble contre la peine de mort (ECPM)
  39. FIDH (International Federation for Human Rights), within the framework of the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders
  40. Franscisans International
  41. Frontline Defenders
  42. Harm Reduction International
  43. Human Rights and Development Foudation (HRDF) Thailand
  44. Human Rights Defenders’ Alert – India (HRDA)
  45. Human Rights Hub (HRH)
  46. Human Rights Law Centre (HRLC) Australia
  47. Human Rights Law Network (HRLN) India
  48. Human Rights Lawyers Association Thailand
  49. Human Rights Watch
  50. Human Rights Working Group (HRWG)
  51. Humanis
  52. Imparsial
  53. Indonesia Legal Aid Foundation (YLBHI)
  54. INFORM Human Rights Documentation Centre
  55. Initiatives for International Dialogue (IID)
  56. International Network of Civil Liberties Organizations (INCLO)
  57. Judicial System Monitoring Program (JSMP)
  58. Karapatan Alliance Philippines (KARAPATAN)
  59. La’o Hamutuk
  60. Law and Society Trust (LST)
  61. League for the Defence of Human Rights in Iran (LDDHI)
  62. Legal Aid and Human Rights Association (PBHI)
  63. Legal Resource Centre (LRC)
  64. Liberty — United Kingdom
  65. Madaripur Legal Aid Association (MLAA)
  66. Maldivian Democracy Network (MDN)
  67. Manushya Foundation
  68. Medical Action Group (MAG) Philippines
  69. Milk Tea Alliance Indonesia (ID Milk Tea)
  70. Milktea Alliance – Friends of Myanmar
  71. MUSAWI Pakistan
  72. National Commission for Justice and Peace (NCJP)
  73. New Naratif
  74. Odhikar Bangladesh
  75. People’s Watch – India
  76. People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy(PSPD)
  77. Philippine Alliance for Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA)
  78. Programme Against Custodial Torture and Impunity (PACTI)
  79. Progressive Voice
  80. PurpleCode Collective
  81. Pusat KOMAS
  82. Pusat Studi Hukum dan Kebijakan (PSHK)
  83. Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit (RMMRU)
  84. RRR Collective
  85. Safety and Risk Mitigation Organization (SRMO)
  86. SHAPE-SEA
  87. South Asia Youth Network (SAYN)
  88. Southeast Asia Freedom of Expression Network (SafeNet)
  89. Sri Lanka Democracy Network (SLDN)
  90. Stiftung Asienhaus, Germany
  91. Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM)
  92. Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP)
  93. TAPOL
  94. The Asia Alliance Against Torture (A3T)
  95. The Awakening – A Society for Social & Cultural Development
  96. The Human Rights Measurement Initiative (HRMI)
  97. The Hungarian Civil Liberties Union
  98. The Indonesian Legal Aid and Human Rights Association (PBHI)
  99. The Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL)
  100. Think Centre
  101. Westpapua-Netzwerk, Germany
  102. World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), within the framework of the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders
  103. YAPPIKA

 

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