Tag: Yasonna Laoly

Plans for holy land tour in limbo as Israel imposes blanket ban on Indonesian visitors

Sally Piri’s plan to take her mother on a tour of the holy sites in the occupied West Bank this year may be put on hold after Israel’s recent move to ban Indonesian passport holders from entering the territory.

She had planned to go with her mother in November and has already paid for the tour, which includes visits to Bethlehem, Jericho, Nazareth and Caesarea, when she read the news that Israel had issued policy starting on June 10 that bans Indonesians to enter Israel.

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“I really hope the policy will change so tourists like us who want to go on pilgrimage tours can still go. My travel agent told me they are still waiting for results of negotiations between their local partners and the authorities in Israel to have the policy revoked,” Sally said.

“My mother said she has been everywhere and now she just wants to go to the holy land,” she added.

Syuhelmaidi Syukur, a senior vice president of Jakarta-based humanitarian group Aksi Cepat Tanggap, said the ban will not disrupt the group’s humanitarian assistance for people in Palestine.

“We have rarely sent our own humanitarian workers there for the past two years, so we distribute our aid with the help of our local partners and fellow humanitarian groups in Gaza and Jerusalem,” he said.

Last week’s blanket ban for Indonesian tourists was, according to media reports, a tit-for-tat response to Indonesia’s decision to suspend visas already issued to Israeli citizens, suggesting that the visa cancellation was Indonesia’s response to the violence in Gaza in which Israeli soldiers killed dozens of Palestinians and injured thousands during recent protests to mark the Nakba.

Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon said last week that Israel had been trying to reverse Indonesia’s decision but to no avail, which resulted in Israel reciprocating the move.

Indonesian Law and Human Rights Minister Yasonna Laoly confirmed on Friday that there were 53 Israeli nationals who had been denied visas to enter Indonesia.

“It was a clearing (house) decision that we have to carry out. We can’t disclose the reason because it’s a sensitive matter. It is our sovereign right to accept or reject visa (applications) from other countries,” Laoly told journalists at the Foreign Ministry.

Indonesia does not have diplomatic relations with Israel but an Israeli passport holder can still get an Indonesian visa through the “calling visa” mechanism which is available for citizens of nations with which Indonesia has no diplomatic relations.

The calling visa application is reviewed and granted by a clearing house which involves a number of government agencies with the Foreign Ministry at the lead, and the conditions applied to a calling visa holder are very restrictive.

Both Laoly and Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi denied there had been initial talks about diplomatic relations between Indonesia and Israel or the possibility of Indonesia granting free visas to Israeli nationals.

“Indonesia continues to be with Palestine in their struggle for independence and their rights. Our foreign policy to take sides with Palestine is very clear,” Marsudi said.

The story first appeared in Arab News

Doctors refuse to administer castration under Jokowi’s law

Indonesia’s medical  association said Thursday its members would refuse to administer chemical castration for child sex offenders, giving another blow to President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s emergency decree issued last month allowing such punishment.

The Indonesian Doctors Association (IDI) distanced themselves from the policy, although they said they shared Jokowi’s views that sexual offence against children is an extraordinary crime and supported policies that impose tougher punishment for child rape.

“With the additional punishment such as chemical castration that suggests assigning doctors as executors, IDI asked, based on the Honorary Council of Medical Ethics’ fatwa, which also refers to the Doctor ‘s Oath and Indonesian Doctors’ Code of Ethics, that its implementation does not involve doctors as executor,” IDI chairman Ilham Oetama Marsis said in the statement.

Ilham suggested the government seek other forms of additional punishment, saying scientific evidence showed chemical castration did not reduce predators’ sexual drives.

According to the new regulation in lieu of law, chemical castration will be carried out against an offender for a period of up to two years after the convict has undergone a prison term. Offenders below the age of 18 are not subject to this punishment.

Rights activists lauded the doctors’ stance, saying that the policy was made prematurely and without thorough consultations with various stakeholders including psychiatric and medical experts.

“IDI’s statement is a real blow for the government. The government’s choice to make this decision without further study and analysis and without involving those with medical and psychiatric competencies was a fatal move,” head of rights advocacy group Institute for Criminal Justice Reform (ICJR), Supriyadi Widodo Eddyono said.

Human Rights Working Group (HRWG) said IDI’s statement showed mounting refusal to this policy was not without grounds and it should serve as a lesson to the government to open public participation in its policy making, so that the policy could touch on the real problems on the ground and executable.

“We reaffirmed that our refusal to chemical castration does not mean we tolerate sexual offences. Such crimes, especially against children, should be banished and severely punished but it doesn’t mean that we have to disregard human rights and human values,” said Muhammad Hafiz, executive director of HRWG.

The government regulation in lieu of law, or Perppu would be an amendment to the 2002 Child Protection Law, which punished child sex offenders by up to 15 years in prison and a maximum fine of  300 million rupiah. It stipulates child sex offenders who cause their victims to suffer serious injuries, mental disorders, infectious diseases, the loss or malfunction of the reproductive organs and/or death to have additional, tougher punishment, which includes forced chemical castration.

The National Commission on Child Protection (Komnas Anak) had campaigned for such a decree, saying that Indonesia is in a state of emergency with regard to child sex abuse. The Indonesian Child Protection Commission (KPAI) data showed that the number of child abuse cases significantly jumped from 2,178 cases in 2011 to 5,066 cases in 2014.

The House of Representatives is yet to deliberate the Perppu before it is passed into law, but Justice and Human Rights Minister Yasonna Laoly has said that the Perppu is effective immediately after it was signed by the president.