The Jakarta Post
Human rights activists have questioned the decision of president-elect Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo to appoint former National Intelligence Agency (BIN) chief A.M. Hendropriyono, who was allegedly involved in past human rights abuse cases, as an advisor to his newly established transition team.
Hendropriyono is suspected of being linked to the murder of human rights campaigner Munir Said Thalib in 2004. The former BIN chief, however, has denied the allegations and maintained that he had nothing to do with the case.
Wahyudi Djafar of the Institute for Policy Research and Advocacy (ELSAM) said that Jokowi should have conducted a thorough background check before deciding on such an important appointment.
'Hendropriyono may have the capacity to take on the role, but he still has unresolved human rights problems from the past,' Wahyudi told The Jakarta Post on Saturday.
Wahyudi said that Jokowi had created hope among victims of human rights abuses that he would resolve past violations, but added that Jokowi could risk disappointing his supporters now that he had brought in people with checkered records.
'Jokowi's team should be bringing in new hope instead of new accusations,' Wahyudi said.
On Aug. 4, Jokowi officially introduced a transition team, the first in Indonesian history, to prepare the incoming government. The team is chaired by former president director of PT Astra International and former industry and trade minister Rini Mariani Soemarno Soewandi.
On Saturday, Jokowi appointed Hendropriyono and former Muhammadiyah leader Ahmad Syafii Maarif as advisors to the team that will help to manage the transfer of power from outgoing President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to Jokowi.
Hasto Kristiyanto, a deputy of the transition team, said that Jokowi appointed Hendropriyono and Ahmad Syafii because he would need their advice in making the best decisions for the country.
'A leader needs good advice before he can run this big nation,' Hasto said on Saturday, as quoted by tempo.co.
Contacted separately, Harris Azhar, executive director of the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras), said that the appointment of Hendropriyono has raised concerns that human rights issues could take a backseat on the next government's agenda.
Harris said that Jokowi should not squander the chance of running a clean government and should not be encumbered by political interests from certain individuals or political parties.
'In order to establish an effective government, Jokowi should be able to prevent himself from having any political debts,' Harris said.
However, Harris said he remained hopeful that Jokowi's future administration could be more assertive in enforcing the law and solving human rights cases than Yudhoyono's government. (idb)