United for Iran Urges Indonesia to Promote Human Rights in its Relations with Iran

Nov 12, 20120 comments

As President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono conclude talks in Bali, Indonesia today, United for Iran reiterates its call on the Indonesian government to incorporate human rights in its bilateral and multilateral dealings with the Iranian state. In its recent report assessing the international response to Iran’s human rights crisis, United for Iran stated that “Iran, unfortunately, continues to be on the losing side of Indonesia’s welcomed, but limited progress on international human rights promotion.” Since the crackdown began in Iran in 2009, Indonesian authorities have failed to address the deepening repression of Iranian citizens by their government despite a pledge by Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa in 2011 that Indonesia would recalibrate its foreign policy to reflect Indonesia’s own democratization. The absence of human rights in Indonesia’s bilateral relationship with Iran was visible when on June 14, 2009 Indonesia congratulated Iran for carrying out “democratic elections”, which failed to recognize the serious structural deficits in Iranian elections and the violence being unleashed by Iranian security forces against peaceful protesters demanding their political rights. While Indonesia has supported critical human rights initiatives in the Arab World and in its own region, it has yet to demonstrate similar support for human rights in Iran. In 2011 and 2012, Indonesia abstained on the UN General Assembly (UNGA) and UN Human Rights Council resolutions on the situation of human rights in Iran – the latter which extended the mandate of the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran. Before that, Indonesia voted “no” on all human rights resolutions on Iran dating back over a decade. United for Iran also expressed concern about a December 2011 conference co-sponsored between the Iranian Government and the Islamic University of Sonan Kolija on women’s rights, which it said “lacked an emphasis on international human rights standards and failed to address the systematic and state-sanctioned repression of Iran’s women’s rights movement over the past decade.” Given the severely deteriorating situation in Iran, United for Iran urges Indonesia to consider voting “yes” on this year’s annual UNGA resolution on the situation of human rights in Iran, which will be voted on in New York later this month. United for Iran further urges Indonesia to support the work of the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran until Iran meets measurable progress; to ensure joint human rights initiatives uphold universal standards of human rights; and to use multilateral and cross-regional mechanisms such as the Non-Aligned Movement, the Bali Democracy Forum, and the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation to engage in direct discussions with Iran on improving human rights for its citizens. “As the world’s largest Muslim-majority democracy, Indonesia has a critical role to play in helping Iran’s government to recognize that Islam, human rights, and democracy are compatible,” said Dokhi Fassihian, United for Iran’s director of programs and advocacy. “Indonesia should not wait for the situation in Iran to become worse before addressing the plight of the Iranian people and demanding that the government provide basic freedoms to its citizens.” Read United for Iran’s report on Indonesia’s reaction to Iran’s human rights crisis here.