Yudhoyono administration’s efforts to uphold human rights just for show

Kompas – October 23, 2007
Taufik Basari from YLBHI (RMOL)
Taufik Basari from YLBHI (RMOL)

Jakarta – Over the last three years of the administration of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, the upholding of human rights has been limited to building a good image. This can be seen from the administration’s concentration on issues to maintain its power.

This was the assessment given by the Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation (YLBHI) and the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) on Monday with regard to the upholding of human rights during the Yudhoyono administration.

“Thus in order to build an image, action has only been taken on issues that appeal to the public at large and are politically safe. Justice for the people meanwhile, particularly the victims, has been given little attention”, said Taufik Basari from YLBHI.

Basari went on to say that such steps to accentuate this image could be clearly seen on August 23, 2007, several days after five-year-old Raisya Ali was abducted, when President Yudhoyono appealed to the person or persons holding him to return the child his parents.

“The president’s statement in the Raisya Ali case was indeed important. But however, for example, why haven’t similar outspoken statements been made in other cases, such as the abduction of activists in 1997-1998, the Lapindo mud outpour in Porong, Sidoarjo, or the shooting of local people by the TNI [Indonesian military] in Alas Tlogo, Pasuruan, East Java?”, asked Basari.

Haris Azhar from Kontras related how many of the decisions made by the Yudhoyono administration have even hindered the upholding of human rights. This can be see for example when the Constitutional Court declared that the Corruption Court was in conflict with the 1945 Constitution.

Azhar went on to say that the government has tried to cover up its poor human rights record by building a good image in the international community, by among other things, becoming a member of the United National Human Rights Commission, inviting the UN Human Rights Special Rapporteur Hina Jilani to Indonesia and ratifying international human rights conventions. (NWO/MAM/A20)

[Abridged translation by James Balowski. The second section of the article covered an appeal by the National Mandate Party for the Yudhoyono administration not to forget its election promises to the people.]