Thirty one NGOs and the PRD believe the DPR can no longer be trusted

Kompas – March 18, 2003
Student protest in front of the DPR in Jakarta (Tribune)
Student protest in front of the DPR in Jakarta (Tribune)

Jakarta -- As many as 31 non-government organisations (NGO) and one political party have agreed to conduct open resistance against the plans for the entry of the military (TNI) into the political and civil chessboard in Indonesia. This resistance is necessary because the representatives of the people in the People’s Representative Assembly (DPR) can no longer be trusted because they have passed the Amendment to the Government Regulation on Anti-terrorism into a  law and have given the “green light” for draft legislation on Intelligence and the TNI.

“We call on all pro-democracy and social forces to come out into the streets to hold a carnival action on March 20. This action will take the form of a rejection of the policy on the laws on Anti-terrorism, Intelligence and the TNI which clearly threaten civil society along with demanding a resolution of all existing cases of human rights violations”, said Ori Rahman from the Commission for Missing Person and Victims of Violence (Kontras). Kontras is one of the NGOs which has joined the Anti-Militarism People’s Forum (Forum Rakyat Anti-Militerisme).

As well as Kontras, members of the forum -- among others -- include Imparsial (Indonesian Human Rights Watch), the University of Indonesia Student Action Front, the Indonesian Catholic Students Movement, the PB Islamic Student Association, the Alliance of Independent Journalists, Pijar, the Aceh Referendum Information Centre and the National Student League for Democracy. The political party which has joined this coalition is the People’s Democratic Party (PRD).

“Studying the case of the Anti-Terrorism Regulation which the DPR immediately agreed to becoming a law, we must conduct a struggle from outside parliament. The DPR is siding with the military in the upcoming 2004 general elections rather than the people.”, said Jusuf Lakaseng from the PRD.

Ori said that they are extremely disappointed in the DPR. A number of larger fractions in the DPR who they had met with previously stated they agreed and would not accept the Anti-terrorism regulation in its entirety before it became a law. Afterwards however, what was agreed to was gone back on.

Ori also considered that TNI commander General Endriartono Sutarto was not constant in his own statements. For example, when meeting with the DPR, Endriartono clearly said “Don’t drag the TNI into politics”. However later with the emergence of Article 19 of the TNI draft law -- which gives the authority for the TNI commander to declare a state of emergency without prior agreement from the president -- clearly the TNI wishes to get back into politics.

The desire by the National Intelligence Agency to detain a person for purposes of interrogation in the draft law on Intelligence, said Ori, is a fatal error which cannot be accepted. The intelligence agencies cannot be given the authority to detain suspects. They are not a legal institution.

Al Araf added, under no circumstances should the DPR proved an opportunity to the TNI to enter into political-civil institutions. If that is allowed by the DPR, it means a democratic retreat has occurred in this nation. (SAH)

[Translated by James Balowski.]