Ahmad Bil Wahid, Jakarta – The Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) has issued a report on the handling of human rights (HAM) issues in 2019 in Indonesia. Kontras concluded that there has been a retreat on human rights issues this year.
“We gave it the title ‘In 2019 HAM has not been given space, democracy has been lost’. This is what we concluded and we used this title because we found that in 2019 there was a situation where democracy and the upholding of HAM has gone backwards according to the indicating parameters, particularly in relation the issue of HAM cases and government policies in 2019”, said Kontras Coordinator Yati Andriyani during a press conference at the Kontras offices in Central Jakarta on Tuesday December 10.
Andriyani said that there were three major incidents in 2019 which can be used as a reference for human rights problems in Indonesia. The three incidents were the post-election riots in Jakarta in May, the racist incident in Surabaya, East Java, in August which ended in the demonstrations in Papua and the wave of student demonstrations at the House of Representatives (DPR) in late September.
These three incidents, said Andriyani, resulted in many people being injured and killed. They were also accompanied a decline in freedom of speech and expression.
“The three incidents above didn’t just result in a series of arrests, arbitrary detentions, torture and the loss of life, but what’s more important is this series of incidents in effect saw a silencing [of criticism] and a decline in the level of freedom to express an opinion”, she said.
“Violence and HAM violations in Papua, this was also one of our special findings. There were a great deal of findings, from the problem of increased repression and violence in Papua, the figure was also quite significant. Then we also found that many people had been arrested, detained and killed in incidents or the handling of issues in Papua”, she said.
Kontras also made a special note on the issue of past human rights violations which have still not been solved. According to Kontras, there were no concrete steps by the government to resolve the issue.
“There are at least nine case dossiers on past HAM violations which are still stuck at the Attorney General’s Office, and in 2019 we did not see any concrete efforts or steps by the government, all there was was a discourse by the National Harmony Council under the Menko Polhukam [Coordinating Minister for Security, Politics and Legal Affairs] and in late 2019 we also heard that the [new] Menko Polhukam will again be pushing for a Truth and Reconciliation Commission”, she said in conclusion. (abw/asp)
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “KontraS: Penegakan HAM di 2019 Berjalan Mundur”.]