The Government is Inconsistent with Saving its Citizens from Death Penalty

Despite our appreciation of the government’s achievements, ICJR considers this inconsistency shows that saving lives of Indonesian citizens is merely a diplomatic achievement and not the realization of the 1945 Constitution preamble which is to protect all the nations and the whole of Indonesia’s blood spill.

Indonesia Ministry of Foreign Affairs has held a 3 Year Achievement Exhibition on 9 January 2017 in Jakarta. In a press statement, the Madam Minister of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Retno Marsudi, expressed several achievements under the administration of Mr. President Joko Widodo. One of the many achievements presented the Madam Minister is the protection of Indonesians abroad.

In her statement, Foreign Minister Retno stated that in a dynamic world, the protection of Indonesian abroad has its own challenges. In the past three years, according to the Madam Minister, the government is continuously trying to be present to all of its people, wherever they may be.

Some affirmations on the protection of Indonesian in all part of the world are outlined in several achievements, namely: completing 9,894 Indonesian citizens’s cases overseas, facilitating the return of nearly 50.000 Indonesians especially Migrant Workers, reinstating of Indonesian citizens’ financial rights that is worth more than 120 billion IDR, and releasing 2 hostages in the southern Philippines. The only achievement that concerns ICJR is the claim of the government’s success in releasing 14 Indonesians abroad from the death penalty.

In the perspective of human rights, of course, the ICJR appreciates the achievements of the government represented by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Releasing someone from the death penalty is certainly not an easy job. In the perspective of the government, it is done in order to protect its citizens. However, this important achievement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs seems to be done discriminatively only for Indonesian citizens abroad in the context of diplomatic work.

In ICJR’s record, during the administration of Mr. President Joko Widodo, there have been 3 execution waves, two execution waves in 2015 and the third wave in 2016. Of the three execution waves, the government has set 29 names to be executed, 18 of them have been executed and the rest are still waiting for the execution. Of the 29 names, there are 6 inmates who are Indonesian citizens. 3 of which who have been executed are Rani Andriani aka Melisa Aprillia, Zainal Abidin, and Freddy Budiman.

Based on the data of Directorate General of Correctional Institutions of the Ministry of Law and Human Rights, as per October 2017, there were 165 death row inmates spread in the prisons in Indonesia. Of that number, 111 death row inmates are Indonesian nationals. Narrow it down to the narcotics case inmates sentenced to death, President Joko Widodo has clearly stated that he will refuse all the pardon requests. So it means, if there is no change from the judicial side, then the narcotics cases inmates, including the Indonesian citizens, will not be given a chance to live by the President. This is in contrast to the government’s efforts for the Indonesian citizens abroad.

If you see the emphasis from the Government that protecting Indonesian citizens everywhere is one of the government’s focus, then there is an inconsistency when the Government still carry out the execution in the country. This inconsistency shows that saving the lives of citizens is still limited as a diplomatic achievement, not the embodiment of the preamble of the 1945 Constitution.

Therefore, in addition to our sincere appreciation for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs works in saving Indonesian citizens abroad who are threatened to face death penalty sentence, ICJR hopes that Mr. President Joko Widodo’s administration is also consistent and without discrimination protecting all of the Indonesian citizens. It is important to abolish the practice of death penalty around the world, especially inside the country. The government should be able to demonstrate that saving the citizens and ensuring the right to life of every citizen is principal obligations of the State.

Erasmus A. T. Napitupulu
Managing Director

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