UNITED Nations Special Rapporteur on Health Dainius Pûras is visiting Indonesia for the first time between March 22 and April 3 to assess the realisation of the right to health in the country.
Human Rights Working Group, a coalition of Indonesian NGOs, welcomed the visit. It stated “it is definitely a great chance for Indonesia to have further constructive engagement with the UN SR (Special Rapporteur) on health, as well as to fulfil the state obligation to respect and to protect the right to health of its citizens.”
Pûras seeks to examine the accessibility and quality of health services, as well as the underlying determinants of health in the country such as poverty and social exclusion. The Special Rapporteur will particularly examine the situation of vulnerable groups including women, people with disabilities, indigenous peoples and children.
Indonesia’s average life expectancy is 71 years, significantly lower than its neighbours, Malaysia (77), Australia (84) and Singapore (85). Smoking takes a major toll on the nation’s health, with rates of children’s smoking said to be “out of control.”
“I will be particularly interested in addressing specific issues during this visit, especially within the framework of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” the expert said.
“Among these issues are: universal health coverage, maternal and children’s health, sexual and reproductive health, mental health, HIV/AIDS and drug or substance dependency.”
Human Rights Watch released a report into the state of mental health treatment in Indonesia entitled Living in Hell last year, which documented the horrific abuse of people with psychosocial disabilities placed in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions. Strong stigma against mental illness means there is a profound lack of community-based support services.
Pûras will visit the impoverished province of Papua, where the rate of AIDS is 20 times higher than the country average, but an anonymous source told Asian Correspondent “unfortunately our government only gave him permission to go there for 24 hours.”
The Special Rapporteur will also have two days dedicated to meetings with Indonesian civil society organisations.
Preliminary findings from the visit will be released on April 3 before a full report is presented to the UN Human Rights Council in mid-2018.