Jokowi urged to follow Dutch example and apologise for past rights violations

CNN Indonesia – February 18, 2022
Activists hold Thursday action in front of State Palace in Jakarta – August 4, 2016 (CNN)

Jakarta – The Institute for Public Research and Advocacy (Elsam) is urging the state to apologies over past mass gross human rights violations. The Elsam cited the Dutch government which has just recently apologised to Indonesia for committing excessive violence during the Dutch colonial period.

Elsam Executive Director Wahyudi Djafar is of the view that Holland's apology should be a strong reprimand for the Indonesian government because the state is also alleged to have committed gross human rights violations following independence from the Dutch.

"President Joko Widodo has repeatedly pledged to take steps to follow up on resolving cases of past gross human rights violations and provide a mechanism for the comprehensive rehabilitation of the victims. To this day however the government has not taken any significant steps", said Djafar in a written release on Friday February 18.

Djafar said that a state apology for past violations has been made by a number of heads of state. An acknowledgement and apology are also important steps under international law.

The international convention against torture also cites a state apology as a compensation for wrong doing against the victim of past violations. An apology begins with the process of uncovering the truth.

Because of this, Elsam is urging President Widodo to immediately reveal the truth and apologise to the victims of past gross human rights violations. The group is also calling on Widodo to prepare measures for the rehabilitation of victims and their families.

"The president should push the Attorney General to immediately follow up on the Komnas HAM's [National Human Rights Commission] investigation dossiers and take them to the criminal investigation stage by containing to prioritise the participation of victims and their families along with independent institutions to resolve case of past gross human rights violations", said Djafar.

Elsam said that post-independence, the Indonesian government allegedly committed several gross human rights violations ranging from genocide, torture, abduction, rape, extrajudicial killings and detention without trial.

There are at least 15 cases of gross rights violations between 1965 and 2021 which have already been investigated by Komnas HAM, ten of which occurred before 2000.

Unfortunately, said Djafar, the majority of the Komnas HAM's investigations have never been followed up by the Attorney General's Office.

"In addition to this, the government has never revealed the truth or officially apologies for the alleged gross human rights violations which occurred", he said. (dhf/pmg)

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "RI Diminta Tiru Belanda Minta Maaf atas Pelanggaran HAM Berat".]