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After procrastinating for more than four months, Commission III on law and human rights began selecting commissioners for the 2012-2017 term of the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) on Thursday.
Thirty candidates took a written test in Commission III’s meeting room, where they were assigned to write a five-page essay on selected human rights topics.
One candidate, Mochamad Soedioto, representing the Indonesian Association of Visually Impaired People (Pertuni) was given the task of writing on the urgency for the Indonesian government to ratify and implement the 2002 Rome Statute.
Soedioto, a law school graduate from Diponegoro University, took the test without any preferential treatment, refusing to be treated differently from other candidates.
“We have technology that can help me with my work. Therefore, I believe that my physical disability will not reduce the quality of my work,” he said.
Other than Soedioto, there are two other candidates with disabilities involved in the selection process: Suharto, an activist for rights of disabled persons and Setia Adi Purwanta from Yogyakarta’s center for inclusive education.
Among the candidates were incumbent commissioners Yosef Adi Prasetyo and Nur Kholis. Other familiar figures include gay rights activist Dede Oetomo and humanitarian activist Sandyawan Sumardi.
Starting on Oct. 15, each candidates is expected to sit for a thirty-minute interview with Commission III members.
“The interviews will last for five days and we will announce the result on Oct. 23. We expect the new commissioners to start work in November,” Commission chairman I Gede Pasek Suardika said.
Pasek insists that selection will be fair and will give equal treatment to all candidates regardless of physical disability, sexual orientation, or religious views. “Everyone is equal before the law; so are all of the candidates before us, lawmakers,” Pasek said.
Pasek said that the House will select 10 new commissioners to improve the performance of the commission. “Less is better. They can work effectively,” he said, adding that a smaller number of commissioners would suit Komnas HAM’s reduced budget.
Rp 64.7 billion (US$6.7 million) has been earmarked for Komnas HAM in 2013.