Yudhoyono govt worst performer in terms of human rights: Elsam
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Rights groups have blasted the administration of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono for doing very little to solve past human rights violations, despite being in power for almost eight years.
The Institute for Policy Research and Advocacy (Elsam) said Yudhoyono lagged behind all his predecessors, Abdurrahman “Gus Dur” Wahid, Burhanuddin Jusuf Habibie and Megawati Soekarnoputri, in making efforts to reveal past human rights violations.
Elsam researcher Zainal Abidin said Yudhoyono had not even apologized to families and victims of past human rights cases, a gesture that had been made by his predecessors.
The Habibie administration apologized to victims of Aceh’s Military Operation Zone (DOM) and those of the May 1998 tragedy, while Gus Dur had apologized on behalf of the Indonesian government for the violence in Papua. Megawati, meanwhile, went a step further by setting up during her tenure two human rights tribunals: one to address the violence in East Timor (now Timor Leste) in 1999 and the other to address the 1984 Tanjung Priok massacre.
“The Yudhoyono administration is stuck in this inertia. It does not want to reveal the truth, to enforce the law or to restore victims’ rights,” he said.
Zainal said that Yudhoyono had failed in his pledge to make human rights and justice the hallmarks of his administration.
Elsam has recorded that his government has so far failed to set up a Truth and Reconciliation Commission (KKR), although a bill on the institution was passed five years ago.
“The bill is now stuck at the Office of the Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister and no one knows where it will go from there,” he said.
Zainal added that the Yudhoyono administration had also failed to set up an ad hoc human rights tribunal, as recommended by the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM), to deal with a number of human rights violations cases.
The cases comprise the Semanggi I and II riots, respectively in 1998 and 1999; the riots in May 1998; the forced disappearances of rights activists between 1997 and 1998; the 1989 Talangsari massacre; the 1965 anti-communist purge and the summary executions in the early 1980s.
Komnas HAM chairman Ifdhal Kasim said the Attorney General’s Office (AGO) had taken no steps to investigate the cases following the commission’s recommendations.
“We never received any response to our reports from the AGO as it declined to even look at them,” he said.
Elsam maintains that at least 43 human rights violations cases took place between 1965 and 2000.
Separately, the chairman of the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras), Harris Azhar, said that Yudhoyono had done very little to bring justice to the families of those who perished in the 1999 Semanggi II shooting.
Ho Kim Ngo, the mother of one of the Semanggi II victims, Yap Yun Hap, said she wished the government would listen to the families’ grievances.
Yap, who was a third-year student in the department of electrical engineering at the University of Indonesia (UI), was only 22 years old when he died from a bullet shot from a rifle, allegedly fired by a member of the Indonesian Military (TNI), on Sept. 24, 1999.
Ho, whose husband died from hepatitis two weeks ago, said he had died without knowing who was responsible for his son’s shooting.
“The government gave us promises, but none of them have been fulfilled. All we want is justice and the perpetrators brought to court,” Ho said during an event held to commemorate the 13th anniversary of the incident.
Elsam’s executive director, Indriaswati Saptaningrum, said that Yudhoyono appeared negligent in ordering his minions to follow up on the Komnas HAM recommendations. (cor/nad)