Satya Adhi – An event held to discuss human rights violations that occurred in 1965-1966 has again been closed down by government officials. This time it was an evaluation and planning workshop on human rights violations in 1965-1966 held by the International People’s Tribunal (IPT ‘65) in Klender, East Jakarta, on Tuesday August 1.
Several hours before the workshop as to begin, the organising committing was visited by officials from the East Jakarta district police, the Duren Sawit sub-district military command (Koramil) and the East Jakarta administrative district. The officials told the committee and the venue management to cancel the workshop because it did not have a permit.
Workshop coordinator Dianto Bachriadi said that the official’s intervention had no legal basis. “Because this [workshop] was an activity held in a closed venue, not in a public venue, it was not a demonstration that would disturb public order”, asserted Dianto. Therefore, he continued, a permit and prior notification with police was not required.
Because of the intervention, the workshop was moved to the Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation (YLBHI) offices in the Menteng area of Central Jakarta. “In the end we moved the event because we didn’t want to cause problems for the venue management”, said Dianto.
Dianto said that interventions such as this represent a step back for democracy. “We feel as if we are experiencing deja vu [like back] in the New Order [regime of former President Suharto]. This shows that there has been a retreat in democratic life and the upholding of human rights”, he added.
Dianto also said he deplores the communist stigma that is still attached to events discussing human rights violations. “Discussing the rights of victims of 1965 is always cited as an effort to revive communism. Yet we are only discussing the rights of victims. So why [the stigmatisation]? Why are there such widespread objections [by society]”, he added.
A similar view was expressed by YLBHI lawyer Pratiwi Febry (Tiwi). “A [request] for a permit [from the police] is only required for large gatherings and fireworks displays. A gathering of at least 500 people. Meanwhile at yesterday’s workshop there were only 20-30 people. Plus a notification [to police] is only required if it is held at a public venue”, she explained.
Tiwi also questioned the involvement of Indonesian military (TNI) officers. “For what reason was Koramil involved? What authority does the military have to be involved in civil affairs?”, she asked. Because of this therefore, asserted Tiwi, the intervention by government officials was a legal violation.
Duren Sawit Koramil Commander (Danramil) Sianturi meanwhile said that he did not want it said that they had closed down the workshop. “It wasn’t closed down. We just asked about a permit for the activity”, he said. “Because by chance the event was held in my area. We were just backing up the police”.
Call to sack Wiranto
Amnesty International Indonesia member Usman Hamid said that interference and forced closures such as this go against the government’s commitment to resolve human rights violations. “This shows degeneration in the government’s position. It clearly goes against the commitment made by Jokowi to resolve cases of human rights violations”, he said.
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has said through his Twitter account that cases of human rights violations must be quickly resolved. “Dealing with cases of corruption, abuse, human rights violations and the like have to be completed, this must be accelerated for the sake of the public’s sense of justice”, said Jokowi.
Responding to this Usman said that he still sees a desire on the part of the government to resolved cases of human rights violations. “There is still a commitment that the government wishes to demonstrate. If officials are carrying out forced closures such as this it means that lower level officials are opposing the wishes of the president”, he asserted.
Usman also questioned President Widodo’s appointment of Widodo as Coordinating Minister for Politics, Security and Legal Affairs (Menko Polhukam) in mid-2016. “As long as the Menko Polhukam is not replaced, closures such as this could continue to happen”, asserted Usman.
In the same vein as Usman, 1965 International People’s Tribunal (IPT ‘65) member Reza Muharam said that ever since Wiranto replaced Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan as Coordinating Minister for Politics, Security and Legal Affairs (Polhukam), there has been no improvement in the resolution of the 1965 mass killings and other human rights crimes.
“Since Wiranto took office, there has not been one single initiative to follow up on the results of the Symposium on 1965. To this day the recommendations are being kept under wraps by Pak Wiranto”, said Reza.
Reza also conceded that he does not believe that Wiranto will resolve cases of human rights violations in Indonesia. “I still have hope [in Jokowi], but I don’t trust Wiranto”, asserted Reza.
As has been reported, the government has made a commitment to resolved cases of human rights violations. In his Nawacita [nine point priority program], Widodo made a commitment to resolve through judicial means cases of pass human rights violations.
These include, among others, the May 1998 riots in Jakarta, the Trisakti and Semanggi I and II student shootings, the abduction of activists in 1997-98, the Talang Sari-Lampung case, the Tanjung Priok shootings and, of course, the mass killings in 1965.
This commitment was again demonstrated with the holding of the government-sponsored Symposium on 1965 in April last year. The symposium followed a verdict by the IPT ‘65 in the Den Haag, Netherlands, on November 10-13, 2015, which found that the state was guilty of 10 gross human rights crimes.
These crimes included mass murder, extermination, incarceration, slavery, torture, forced disappearances, sexual violence, deportation, false propaganda, the involvement of other countries and genocide. So far however, the results of the recommendations of the 1965 Symposium have not yet been released.
[Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service. The original title of the article was Lokakarya Dibubarkan, IPT ‘65 Desak Jokowi Copot Wiranto.]