Here's what I think: National Commission on Human Rights chairman Ifdhal Kasim (left) and Jimly Asshiddiqie, head of a committee tasked with selecting new human rights commissioners, preside over a plenary meeting at the commission’s headquarters in Jakarta in June. Thirty people have registered as potential commissioners. (JP/Jerry Adiguna)
State Secretary Sudi Silalahi announced on Thursday that President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono had signed a presidential decree extending the tenures of the 11 leaders of the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) until new commissioners were elected.
The House of Representatives, which failed to appoint the new Komnas HAM commissioners on time due to their recess, sent the extension proposal to the President on Wednesday. Sudi said the President signed the decree the same day.
Sudi added that the incumbent commissioners could continue to serve in their posts until the new selection process was completed.
“The decree was signed to avoid a power vacuum in the rights body,” he said as quoted by kompas.com.
Deputy House Speaker Pramono Anung in turn blamed the delay on the selection team, which is chaired by former Constitutional Court chief Jimmly Asshiddiqie, for submitting the names of the 30 commissioner candidates too late.
“We had already informed [the selection team] that the House would be in recess for one month. The team should have adjusted its schedule with ours,” he said.
It was not until Aug. 27 that House members returned to work again after a one-month recess and Idul Fitri holiday. Originally, the current commissioners’ tenures were due to end on Aug. 30.
Komnas HAM chief Ifdhal Kasim, however, refuted the House’s accusation, saying that the commission had submitted the names of the candidates on June 11.
“We had requested discussions with the House leaders on several occasions, but all our requests were unanswered. The House only talked to us on Aug. 16,” he said.
Ifdhal hoped that the extension would allow the commissioners to have more time to follow up on its findings on the 1965 purge, the unsolved shootings between 1982 and 1985, and the Lapindo mudflow, which have all been categorized as human rights violations.
“We are also dealing with human rights violations perpetrated against the followers of the Islamic Shia community,” he said. (riz/lfr)