Wednesday, January 27, 2016

1) No ‘magic bullet’

2) Indonesia misses opportunities  to protect rights: HRW -

3) Hundreds of former separatist members employed in Papua

4) World Report 2016: ‘Politics of Fear’ Threatens Rights


1) No ‘magic bullet’
Edition 123: Jan-Mar 2016
Written by Vannessa Hearman

It has been a strange year for human rights under the Joko Widodo, or Jokowi, administration. Human rights activists were among those who invested a great deal of energy in Jokowi’s election campaign. They volunteered individually, as well as setting up campaign groups to prevent the election of his rival, former Army Special Forces (Kopassus) commander, Prabowo Subianto. Unlike previous presidents, Jokowi is not part of the military or civilian power elite. 
Successive presidents from Habibie to Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY) have proven unable to address human rights abuses dating back to the Suharto regime. These abuses include the 1965–66 mass violence against members and sympathisers of the Indonesian Communist Party, the disappearance of political activists in 1997–98 and human rights abuses in West Papua, Aceh and East Timor. 
It would be reasonable to expect that Jokowi’s administration would be better able to address these abuses, as he has no direct connection to any of these events. But the last year has revealed that Jokowi is not the ‘magic bullet’ for resolving human rights abuses in Indonesia. Instead, he has cultivated strong links with former and current military figures and has maintained the status quo with regards to the 1965 violence and human rights issues in Papua. 

Optimism in the face of ambiguity 

Activists welcomed Jokowi’s campaign pledge of Nawa Cita, nine points which included a commitment to upholding the rule of law and implementing clean government. Jokowi’s action program, unveiled during the campaign, pledged respect for human rights and to deliver justice for past human rights abuses. Those activists who threw their support behind Jokowi relied on these specific promises, as well as the fact that the alternative, Prabowo Subianto, was too unsavoury to contemplate.
The loyalty of activists was nevertheless divided during the presidential campaign. Jokowi supporters saw Prabowo as unpalatable. It was under his leadership that Kopassus was implicated in the 1997–98 disappearance of activists. Some of these activists developed techniques to try to influence the vote. For example, the Coalition Against Forgetting, which involved 25 human rights and civil society groups, urged voters not to support candidates with a problematic human rights record. Activists opposed to Jokowi pointed out on social media such as Twitter that his campaign involved generals with problematic pasts including the former head of the State Intelligence Agency (BIN), AM Hendropriyono, who was implicated in human rights activist Munir’s murder in 2004.

A year of no gains

In office, Jokowi has shown himself to be a politically weak president. He does not enjoy clear support in parliament. Even within his own party, he does not hold a strong position. In particular, he is bound to satisfying the interests of Megawati Sukarnoputri, the party leader, who is close to certain military officers. 
Since becoming president, Jokowi has made appointments aimed to keep the military on side. These appointments have attracted criticism. For example, he appointed former military officers Ryamizard Ryacudu as defence minister and Sutiyoso as head of the National Intelligence Agency. Ryacudu has expressed some hardline anti-separatist sentiments and is the first defence minister to have come from a military background since 2001. Sutiyoso is under a cloud for his role as the Jakarta military commander in 1996 during the violent invasion of the Indonesian Democratic Party (PDI) headquarters in the 27 July incident . His coordinating minister for legal, political and security affairs is Luhut Panjaitan, a former Kopassus officer. 
In many ways the Jokowi era has not represented a definitive break from the previous SBY presidency in terms of human rights. One example is the delivery of an apology to human rights abuse victims. In 2012, SBY promised to deliver such an apology but failed to do so. Similarly, the Jokowi administration in October 2015 rejected rumours that the president intended to deliver an apology to the 1965–66 abuse victims. The Jokowi adminstration’s approach to other human rights issues shows similar ties with the past.

Special challenges: anti-communist violence and Papua

Two of the most sensitive human rights issues in Indonesia are the 1965–66 violence and Papua. The 1965¬–66 violence involves powerful perpetrators such as the military and members of the religious organization, Nahdlatul Ulama. Papuans continue to suffer human rights abuses, despite the introduction of regional autonomy after the fall of Suharto. These cases, while difficult, are important to resolve if Indonesia is to make a break with the past. 
Jokowi’s position on the 1965–66 violence is contradictory. While he has promised to provide an apology to victims, he led the ceremony at the Lubang Buaya monument to the seven slain army officers on ‘Sacred Pancasila Day’ on 1 October last year, just as his predecessors had. The monument is premised on the New Order regime’s misrepresentation of history. It does not mention the half a million people slaughtered as part of the anti-communist pogroms in 1965–66. To conduct an official ceremony on 1 October without commenting on the lies upon which it was founded simply reinforces that New Order’s version of history at a time when Indonesia desperately needs a national consensus on the 1965 events rather than the usual moral panic about the reawakening of communism.
The question of Papua also highlights Jokowi’s quandary. He is aware of the serious problems that exist in Papua and shows a level of sympathy with indigenous Papuans. Jokowi has visited Papua more than once, including during the election campaign, and has pledged to stop transmigration to Papua. In May 2015, he released five Papuan political prisoners under an amnesty program and has declared Papua open for international journalists to cover news there. He has, however, stopped short of discussing the drawdown of troops from the two provinces. Human Rights Watch in a report released in November 2015 has shown that, in reality, foreign journalists continue to have difficulties accessing Papua. In effect, Jokowi is caught in a bind as he cannot be seen to be giving too much green light to those questioning Indonesia’s repressive Papua policies.

A disappointing start

Jokowi in office has proven to be a disappointment when it comes to human rights. For a start, he has not involved activist and survivor groups or NGOs in his efforts to deal with past human rights abuses, even though he embraced them prior to his election While some well-known former activists are part of his administration, such as his chief of staff, Teten Masduki, at the same time more former military officers have joined the cabinet. 
To break with the past, Jokowi has to confront two of the most sensitive issues in Indonesian history – the anti-communist killings of 1965–66 and decades of violence in Papua. He has shown on both fronts to be reluctant to break new ground. Without sufficient pressure from below and internationally, Jokowi’s reign does not promise any great achievements for human rights for which he will be remembered. 
Vannessa Hearman ( is lecturer in Indonesian Studies at The University of Sydney. She is a historian and her research interests include the 1965–66 mass violence and the history of human rights campaigning in Indonesia.

3) Hundreds of former separatist members employed in Papua

Rabu, 27 Januari 2016 20:19 WIB | 455 Views
4) Jayapura, Papua (ANTARA News) - As many as 500 former members of the separatist movement in Papua are employed based on their capabilities, according to District Head of Puncak Jaya Hanock Ibo.

Ibo noted here on Wednesday that former separatists had joined the community and did not intend to disrupt peace and security.

Ibo revealed that some of the former separatists were being employed in civil service police units and as project leaders in several building constructions being carried out in Puncak Jaya District.

Ibo affirmed that the administration remained committed to implementing an approach to prevent criminal acts against the local community and security officers.

"We will continue to invite them to again join the community. The approach has yielded positive results, including from a leader of the Papua Independence Movement Goliath Tabuni, who had conducted an armed assault," Ibo added.

Ibo remarked that Tabuni had responded positively to the approach after his wife and son were permitted to visit Mulia area.

"It means that he is already open-minded and believes that the security officers and regional administration will provide security to his family," Ibo affirmed.

Additionally, Ibo stated that ten followers of Tabuni had again become part of the community and were now residing in Jayapura City.

He hoped that ex-separatists would also play an active role in the regions development.(*)


2) Indonesia misses opportunities  to protect rights: HRW -, Jakarta | National | Wed, January 27 2016, 8:02 PM - 
President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo’s first year in office produced a mixed record on human rights that lacked major initiatives to tackle the worst abuses, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in its latest report released today.
HRW reviews human rights practices in more than 90 countries in the 659-page World Report 2016, its 26th edition.
"Jokowi’s first year as president was a missed opportunity to adopt urgently needed human rights measures," HRW deputy Asia director Phelim Kine said on Wednesday.
"But there is still time for him to adjust his policy priorities to actively protect human rights rather than turn a blind eye to serious abuses," he went on.
HRW noted that Jokowi released some Papuan political prisoners in 2015 and announced a plan to address decades of gross human rights violations, including the massacre of up to 1 million people in 1965-1966.
However, the group said, Jokowi largely ignored security force impunity for rights abuses and violations of women’s rights and religious freedom.
"He also embraced the use of the death penalty for convicted drug traffickers, resulting in 14 executions in 2015, including a Brazilian citizen diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia," HRW said.
Citing rights group Setara Institute, HRW said 194 incidents of violent attacks on religious minorities had occurred in the first 11 months of 2015. They included the forced demolition by the Singkil regency, in the Aceh province, of nine Protestant churches in November, following the burning down of a church by militant Islamists on Oct.13, 2015.
The group praised Jokowi’s policy to grant clemency to five of Papua’s political prisoners in May 2015, followed by the release of Filep Karma, Indonesia’s highest profile political prisoner, and in November. Approximately 45 Papuans and 29 Ambonese are still imprisoned for peaceful advocacy of independence, however.
"Despite Jokowi’s pledge to thoroughly investigate and punish security forces implicated in the December 2014 deaths of five peaceful protesters in Papua’s town of Enarotali, the government has failed to publicly release the results of three separate official investigations into the incident," said HRW, adding that Jokowi also failed to implement its promise to lift decades-old restrictions on foreign media access to Papua.
Citing the National Commission on Violence Against Women, HRW later criticized national and local governments, which passed 31 discriminatory regulations in 2015, leaving Indonesia with 322 discriminatory local regulations targeting women, ranging from compulsory hijab to tolerating polygamy.
The government also failed to end the documented use of abusive and discriminatory "virginity tests" for female applicants to the Indonesian Military (TNI) and National Police.
"The Jokowi government’s approach to human rights has been more rhetoric than reality, while serious rights abuses go unpunished," Kine said.
"Jokowi can and should take strong actions to advance justice and curtail abuses in 2016." (ebf)

4) World Report 2016: ‘Politics of Fear’ Threatens Rights
In the 659-page World Report 2016, its 26th edition, Human Rights Watch reviews human rights practices in more than 90 countries. In his introductory essay, Executive Director Kenneth Roth writes that the spread of terrorist attacks beyond the Middle East and the huge flows of refugees spawned by repression and conflict led many governments to curtail rights in misguided efforts to protect their security. At the same time, authoritarian governments throughout the world, fearful of peaceful dissent that is often magnified by social media, embarked on the most intense crackdown on independent groups in recent times……….

No comments:

Post a Comment