Komnas HAM RI: reconsidering it’s performance with ICC NHRI

At the International Conference held in Tunis in 1993, NHRIs established the ICC of NHRIs (International Coordinating Committee of National Human Rights Commissions) with the aim to coordinate the activities of the NHRI network.[1] The ICC works to promotes and strengthens NHRIs to be in accordance with the Paris Principles and provides leadership in the promotion and protection of human rights with undertaking accreditation, facilitates and supports NHRI engagement with the UN Human Rights Council and Treaty Bodies, Encourages cooperation and information sharing among NHRIs, including through an annual meeting and biennial conference, offers capacity building in collaboration with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), Assisting NHRIs under threat, and if requested can assist government to establish NHRIs.

But, there are other patterns that also have a negative impact to the works of the NHRI. It is the internal conflict of NHRI; the problem(s) from inside the institution. In the internal conflict of Komisi Nasional Hak Asasi Manusia –Komnas HAM, it has effected to the work of enforcing human rights in Indonesia.

Not long after the Accreditation A has been gave to Indonesia’s National Human Rights Institution or Komnas HAM in the end of 2012, various internal conflicts in Komnas HAM happen and it’s make them ineffective to do their strategic works of enforcing human rights in Indonesia. These internal conflicts make factions in the leadership of Komnas HAM and this are shows the incredibility of the commissioners. Komnas HAM don’t have one voice from its collective collegial concept in deciding their term of leadership.

The internal rift in KOMNAS HAM began when some commissioners proposed a change of chairmanship period from 2.5 year to 1 year. The proposal was rejected as it was not supported with sound conceptual framework. Instead of that, the idea to introduce one-year rotation of chairmanship contains major flaws in regard to organizational management, as the term is too short to allow an effective working mechanism to be developed. In addition,  further observation from civil society groups and KOMNAS HAM staffs have helped to explain different interests behind the idea to change the period of chairmanship into one year, such as personal interests of some commissioners for getting better facilities which commonly would be given for the chairs. Under the pretext of collegiality, some commissioners saw the one-year rotation would give them better opportunity to equally share the possibility to chair the commission.  Although these have repeatedly refuted by commissioners who are in favor of this changes, observation from the internal dynamic and discussion by KOMNAS HAM staffs as well as the investigative report from the journalists affirmed the said situation.

The NGOs coalition found evidentiary facts that one of the main reasons behind the move to replace the existing leadership in KOMNAS HAM was personal interest from few commissioners to ascend Chair position, and by that getting better facilities such as car or other form of benefits. Considering all these facts, some civil society groups saw that the attempt to change the period of chairmanship was only a scenario to remove the current Chair.[2]

The internal conflict of KOMNAS HAM has seriously affected the institution. The impacts are; first, KOMNAS HAM has substantially lost its institutional credibility from the public and its constituency. This has been indicated by a number of rejection and protests from various groups in the society and NGOs against the current leadership of KOMNAS HAM. As the internal rift persists, stakeholders including NGOs and government agencies are reluctant to officially cooperate with the commission due to its uncertain situation. In particular, the fact that the commission had recently been subject to Ombudsman’s inquiry due to its internal rift was considered. A complaint had been submitted to the Ombudsman office for the commission’s poor performance and unfit to deliver public service, which might relate to its internal conflict.[3]

Second, the application of the new rule of procedures and the re-election of KOMNAS HAM leadership had led to persistent internal conflict, in which factions among commissioners substantially affected team working and internal coordination. The failure to respond to the impact of this turmoil in KOMNAS HAM had hindered victims groups as well as general public from accessing necessary service in claiming back their rights. Moreover, the internal conflict had potentially hampered the commission to implement their mandates. Since the conflict occurred, there had no official reports produced that could be publicly accessed over allegation of human rights violations in the country.

Third, internally, persistent internal rift also brought about consequences for KOMNAS HAM staffs. According to the information received by NGOs coalition, some staffs organizing protest over decision to change the rule of procedures had received.

These effects of the conflict are finally having consequence that it will disrupt the further works of human rights and other substantive works in the future. Moreover, most of the commissioners also don’t have a qualified knowledge of human rights and makes them works not under the definition of human rights. This is shows from various statement of the commissioner which not supporting the enforcement of human rights in Indonesia.

Therefore, it’s shows that the  need for ICC to review its decision of accreditation A for Komnas HAM with holding a special review mechanism and monitoring the alteration of Komnas HAM. It is urgently needed to build their capacity on how to work together as commissioners. And Indonesian Civil Society encourages the ICC to take those measures on this matter.

Some of civil society organization in Indonesia has submitted report regarding to this issues to the ICC on the last October 2013. And now, ICC NHRI has establish schedule to have the special review of Komnas HAM RI on 17-21 March 2014, but the report has not yet published by ICC.



[1] http://www.ohchr.org/en/countries/nhri/pages/nhrimain.aspx

[2] The coalition get these facts that the proposed changes is also based on the unsatisfied works of the current leader of the commissioner and demand to have an urgent replacement.

[3]see, http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2013/04/09/kontras-report-komnas-ham-ombudsman.html

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