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Jakarta Post

Lawmakers want 'nationalist' figures for Komnas HAM

  • Margareth S. Aritonang

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Fri, December 23, 2016   /  10:52 am
Lawmakers want 'nationalist' figures for Komnas HAM Seeking new leaders: National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) chair Imdadun Rahmat (fourth right) and other Komnas HAM members, with the new commissioner selection team, meet with President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo at the State Palace in Jakarta on Dec. 9. (Antara/Yudhi Mahatma)

As the recruitment of new commissioners for the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) kicks off, a number of lawmakers have said they will endorse candidates who can put local values above so-called universal human rights.

Gerinda Party legislator Desmond J. Mahesa, who serves as a deputy chair for the House of Representatives’ Commission III overseeing legal affairs, said that the commission would carefully review candidates applying for the positions to ensure that future Komnas HAM members supported national interests instead of catering to outside demands.

“The current commissioners tend to benefit foreign interests instead of Indonesia’s,” Desmond told The Jakarta Post on Thursday.

“Therefore we prefer commissioners that possess an Indonesian view of human rights instead of an international one.”

Desmond repeatedly emphasized that future Komnas HAM commissioners must have “nationalistic view”, as the House and the government were now considering granting commissioners legal immunity to be able to carry out the job effectively.

Commission III chair and Golkar Party lawmaker Bambang Soesatyo supported Desmond’s view, saying that “[common] understanding of what human rights actually are will matter for the commission’s members.”

A government-sanctioned selection team, headed by legal expert Jimly Asshiddiqie, has been tasked with recruiting potential candidates to undergo a fit-and-proper test with Commission III next year, as the current 11 commissioners will end their terms in October next year.

Komnas HAM currently has 13 commissioners who were inaugurated in 2013. Infighting over leadership and facilities has drawn nationwide attention to the commission. Komnas HAM was again under the public spotlight earlier this year because of budget irregularities allegedly involving one of its commissioners, Dianto Bachriadi. (hwa)

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