Indonesia: European leaders must confront President Joko Widodo over ongoing human rights violations during his visit

European leaders must take every opportunity to challenge Indonesian President Joko Widodo over the country’s woeful human rights record during his visit to Germany, the UK, Belgium and the Netherlands, urged Amnesty International today.

"Human rights must not be sacrificed in the name of trade."

Papang Hidayat, Indonesia Researcher at Amnesty International

“While Indonesia has a growing economy of nearly $900bn, human rights must not be sacrificed in the name of trade,” said Papang Hidayat, Indonesia Researcher at Amnesty International.

“European leaders must not shy away from reminding President Widodo of the commitments he made on his election in 2014 to break with Indonesia’s ugly human rights legacy and ask what he proposes to do about the enduring rate of human rights violations,”

Here are just a few examples of human rights issues in Indonesia:

  • The caning of a sixty-year-old Christian woman for allegedly selling alcohol in Aceh province, the first non-Muslim to be punished under controversial Shari’a laws.
  • In 2015 alone, Amnesty International recorded at least 108 canings in Aceh province under Shari’a law for gambling, drinking alcohol or “adultery”.
  • In 2015, the year when the number of countries who have abolished the death penalty became a majority, Indonesia executed 14 people, including 12 foreigners and 2 Indonesian nationals.
  • The Indonesian Attorney General announced this month that a further ten people will be executed.
  • Steven Itlay, a Papuan political activist, was this month charged with having committed “rebellion” and faces life imprisonment.
  • Amnesty International has designated 29 prisoners of conscience in Maluku, and a further 27 in Papua.