Action today means transparency through reporting – MoU signing between KOMNAS HAM and FIHRRST

Jakarta, 31 July 2015 – Two leading advocates of action rather than words have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to implement concrete measures that will advance respect for human rights in Indonesia.

The National Commission on Human Rights of the Republic of Indonesia, Komnas HAM, and the Foundation for Human Rights Reporting Standards, FIHRRST share a common desire to not just promote respect for human rights in Indonesia but also to introduce practical means by which this respect can be realized across all levels of society.

In his address to those present at the signing ceremony, the chair of FIHRRST, former Attorney General Marzuki Darusman bemoaned the fact that in the four years since The United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights were unanimously endorsed by the United Nations Human Rights Council little significant progress has been made in developing practical measures by which business entities can ‘know and show’ that they are addressing their responsibilities in regard to respect for human rights.         

During that time, he went on to point out, there have been innumerable conferences and discussions around the world and yet these have not led to any tangible results. To the contrary, lives have been lost in a number of high profile incidents, and human rights abuses continue to be committed in the business world every single day. “Enough is enough,” cried Pak Marzuki in stressing that there is no longer time for further procrastination and that concrete action is now a must.      

Pointing out that FIHRRST has already pioneered an initiative in this field with the Ministry of Industry in respect to implementation of the Guiding Principles through the use of the Business and Human Rights International Standard for Certification (BHRISC 2011) Pak Marzuki welcomed the partnership with Komnas HAM to help mainstream this implementation, emphasizing the benefits to be gained by additional cross-institutional cooperation.

Indeed, the lack of such cooperation is one of the reasons that earlier government efforts in regard to human rights cities have enjoyed little success outside of a few dissemination and socialization efforts. In challenging the audience to recall what they could actually remember about RANHAM or the Criteria of “Kota Peduli Hak Asasi Manusia,” he suggested that while well-meaning these efforts had been misdirected due to the lack of a cadre with a solid human rights grounding to provide effective leadership.

This is not the case with Komnas HAM and FIHRRST, he declared, and both share the vision of cities being key players in the promotion and protection of human rights at the grass-roots or community level. This was espoused in The United Nations Progress Report of the Advisory Committee on the Role of Local Government in the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights including Human Rights Mainstreaming in Local Administration and Public Services, which was adopted last year. Moreover, through this MoU the two institutions are committed to supporting the development of human rights cities in Indonesia using Bandung as a template for accountable human rights city development.

Taking the opportunity to provide a brief synopsis, Pak Marzuki explained how working with the city government of Bandung, FIHRRST introduced a mechanism of voluntary participation and open consultation that enabled all stakeholders, including citizens, academics and business to play their role in developing their own city Charter. Yet while this was an important step forward, the key word is accountability.  Accountability is reporting the facts revealed by checking, or certification to give it a more familiar term with which we can all associate.

Implementation of the Charter is monitored and assessed by an independent auditor. This ensures that the city government and citizens of Bandung have the same understanding about the progress of Bandung as a human rights city, as well as a mechanism of implementation that includes a viable process of remediation for any human rights abuses that are uncovered on assessment.     

Paying tribute to Komnas HAM’s efforts to revitalize the investigation of past human rights abuses in Indonesia, Pak Marzuki equated this spirit of taking action to move forwards as that required to create the necessary change to address the challenges that the pair will face in their joint endeavors under the MoU.     

Again stressing that time is of the essence, he also revealed that “FIHRRST has a core belief that each single effort to fulfill human rights needs to be reported. If it is important enough to carry out an action then this needs to be reported. It is no accident that the fifth letter of our name stands for Reporting.”

For human rights reporting ensures transparency and is the new wave whereby human rights development and accountability march forward hand-in-hand, just as do FIHRRST and Komnas HAM following the signing of the MoU at Komnas HAM headquarters on Friday 31 July, 2015.

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