UN Rights Commission questions Jokowi's neutrality in presidential election

Kompas.com – March 19, 2024
UN Human Rights Committee member Bacre Waly Ndiaye – March 12, 2024 (UN TV)

Dani Prabowo, Jakarta – The neutrality of President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo in the 2024 presidential election has been highlighted by the UN Human Rights Committee. The reason being because Widodo's son, Gibran Rakabuming Raka, was able to run as a vice presidential candidate.

The moment took place during an International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) hearing in Geneva, Switzerland, which was organised last week.

Initially, UN Human Rights Committee member Bacre Waly Ndiaye raised the issue of the ruling by the Constitutional Court that allowed Rakabuming Raka to contest the presidential election.

In essence, Ndiaye questioned how government officials in Indonesia, particularly the President, did not have an influence on the election process.

"The campaign took place after the court's ruling at the last minute that changed the feasibility criteria that made it possible for the president's son to participate in the election", Ndiaye said.

The Director General of Multilateral Cooperation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Kemenlu) Tri Tharyat who attended the hearing was silent on the statement by Ndiaye. Tharyat chose to answer another question instead.

Separately, Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Lalu M Iqbal said that the Indonesian delegation did not have time to answer Ndiaye's question.

"Regarding the comments by one of the members of the Human Rights Committee from Senegal and several other questions, it was indeed not responded to because there were quite a lot of questions and the time did not permit it", Iqbal said in a statement on Monday March 18.

According to Iqbal, this kind of situation often occurs in an interactive dialogue situation such as UN Human Rights Committee forums on the (ICCPR).

Prabowo-Gibran camp defends delegation

The head of the Echo Team for law and advocacy from the Prabowo Subianto-Gibran Rakabuming Raka National Campaign Team (TKN), Hinca Pandjaitan, said that the statement by the UN Human Rights Committee member who highlighted President Widodo's neutrality in the 2024 presidential election did not need to be taken seriously.

Pandjaitan said he suspects that the person did not have other talking points so he discussed the issue of Widodo's neutrality.

"I just considered it as input. It's not something that needs to be taken seriously. Maybe, there, he didn't have any more material, [so he] kept talking about it, it was like that", said Pandjaitan at the parliament building in Senayan, Jakarta, on Monday.

Pandjaitan said that the UN Human Rights Committee member did not understand that all issues surrounding to the advancement of the Prabowo-Gibran electoral ticket in the 2024 Presidential Election had already been resolved.

If there were still legal issues, according to Pandjaitan, it would have been impossible for the Prabowo-Gibran "boat" to leave port.

"The legal system continued and ran its course. No one questioned it. The matter of ethics has already been resolved, sanctions were handed down to those who were accused of violating ethics. Therefore, in my opinion, [the questions were] excessive", said Pandjaitan.

Then, the Democrat Party politician said there was no relevance between Widodo's neutrality and the comments from the UN Human Rights Committee member.

He noted as a reminder that many presidents in the world have congratulated Prabowo regarding the results of the presidential election quick count.

"If you look, many well-known presidents or world leaders congratulated the president elect Prabowo-Gibran, and valued and respected our election process", Pandjaitan said.

Anies and Ganjar camp criticisms

The spokesperson for the Ganjar Pranowo-Mahfud MD presidential ticket National Election Team (TPN), Chico Hakim, said the image of Widodo, who up until now was known because his family was not involved in politics, has been turned on its head.

"This is a reflection of Jokowi's image now in the eyes of the world. Jokowi, who has been praised for years as a democratic, simple leader, and for his family who were not involved in politics, just a food retailer [Rakabuming Raka], is now considered in the end to be the opposite of the image he built", Hakim said when asked for confirmation on Monday.

Hakim said that for now there are indeed no serious implications from the matters touched upon at the UN Human Rights Committee session. It's just that, if the Indonesian democratic index continues to decline, he said, Indonesia's bargaining power will be weaker in the eyes of the world.

"But of course in the future if our democratic index declines further, it will weaken our bargaining power related to human rights in other UN/international forums", he said.

Meanwhile, the coordinating spokesperson for the Anies Baswedan and Muhaimin Iskandar presidential ticket National Team, Maman Imanulhaq, said everyone has seen that the quality of democracy in the 2024 presidential election was very poor.

According to Imanulhaq, international observers such as the UN Human Rights Committee have also caught wind of the poor state of democracy in Indonesia.

"I think that all parties see that the quality of democracy in the presidential election or Pileg 2024 was very poor. And that, as it turns out could be felt. Moreover, I myself as a person who became a legislative candidate and also became the coordinating spokesperson for Anies-Muhaimin felt all of it", said Imanulhaq at the House of Representatives (DPR) building in Senayan on Monday.

"And certainly that has been read, caught wind of by international observers including the [UN] Human Rights Council, it's like that", he continued.

According to Imanulhaq, the problems highlighted by the UN Human Rights Committee should serve as a note for Indonesia that the democracy produced by the 2024 elections was indeed a product that was not too good.

He warned that a record such as this will endanger Indonesia's position in the future.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Netralitas Jokowi Disorot di Forum HAM PBB, Dibela Kubu Prabowo, Dikritik Kubu Anies dan Ganjar".]

Source: https://nasional.kompas.com/read/2024/03/19/10173791/netralitas-jokowi-disorot-di-forum-ham-pbb-dibela-kubu-prabowo-dikritik-kubu