JAKARTA, 15 August 2018 – Representatives of ASEAN law enforcement authorities and correctional facilities participated in a workshop to promote prevention of and fight against torture on 14-15 August in Semarang, Indonesia.

Article 14 of ASEAN Human Rights Declaration states that “no person shall be subject to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment”.  In light of this article, ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) organised the workshop as part of its commitment to promote against torture and any kind of actions that degrade human dignity or violate human rights.

The workshop was the first AICHR priority programme with such theme. In the training, law enforcement authorities and correction facilities from ASEAN Member States agreed on the following:

  • Prevention of torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and punishment, from the process of identifying suspect, capture, investigation and detention must be avoided at any cause.
  • Definition of torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and punishment in ASEAN is not yet uniform but UNCAT (United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment) can be used as a guidance.
  • Local contexts and culture need to be considered to combat torture.
  • Comprehensive approach including the viewpoints of victims/detainee and law enforcement officials must be considered.
  • Training for law enforcement and public education needed to done by ASEAN to combat torture.

At the workshop, ASEAN member states shared their experiences in adjusting their legislation and law enforcement standard operating procedures.

The speakers were practitioners from government and non-governmental agencies such as the Balay Rehabilitation Philippines, Human Rights Resource Center Indonesia, Sub-Committee on Suppression of Torture and Enforced Disappearance Thailand, Ministry of Law and Human Rights Indonesia, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Indonesia, Indonesian Police’s Special Crime Unit (Bareskrim) POLRI, Norwegian Police, and the Association for Prevention of Torture.

Participants learned on alternative techniques such as investigative interview, regulation in correction facility when detainee violates rules, monitoring system of performance of prison guards, and others.  They also visited women correction facility in Semarang to witness the various technique of anti-torture being done in a century-old facility where the building cannot be renovated to accommodate various needs and overcapacity.

 “The homework for ASEAN to prevent and combat torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and punishment was revealed in this meeting. This is the first ASEAN level meeting where human rights during capture, investigation and detention are discussed in depth. The complexity of problem becomes really apparent because most law enforcement officials are never taught about doing interviews and collecting information for court during investigation; no standard for treating detainees given the diversity of conditions in the correction facilities and their line of commands. The meeting revealed the things needing follow-up by AICHR so that ASEAN can be free of torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and punishment,” said Dr. Dinna Wisnu, Indonesian Representative to AICHR, the organizer of this programme.

The AICHR also highlighted the aspect of protecting vulnerable groups including women, children and minority groups whenever they are in conflict with laws. The output of this programme will inform AICHR’s further capacity building efforts and education.

This workshop was held with the support of the Embassy of Switzerland in Indonesia, the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Jakarta, The OHCHR (the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights), and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia.

AICHR is the human rights body of ASEAN established in 2009. It comprises of ten representatives of ASEAN Member States with the mandate to mainstream human rights principles and practices in the three pillars of ASEAN Community.

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For more information, contact:

Anisa Djafar, Media-affairs Assistant to Indonesian Representative to AICHR (anisa.jafar31@outlook.com or +6281299362063)

Assoc. Prof. Dinna Wisnu, Indonesian Representative to AICHR (dinnawisnu@gmail.com)