Jakarta – Human rights activist and former coordinator of the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras), Haris Azhar, says that the protection and fulfillment of human rights will not receive any attention from either candidate in the 2019 presidential election.
According to Azhar, presidential candidate number 1 President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo and presidential candidate number 2 Prabowo Subianto both have poor records on human rights.
The situation is different from the 2014 presidential election where Widodo used human rights issues as material for his campaign.
“Human rights will not be merchandise for either of them. They (Prabowo and Widodo) won’t use the big human rights narrative because neither of them are human rights friendly”, said Azhar at a discussion in Central Jakarta on Monday December 10.
Azhar said that as presidential candidates, neither Widodo nor Prabowo have any capacity with regard to human rights protection or fulfillment.
He believes that during his term in office, Widodo has only presented a narrative about human rights but has never produced any policies. One of these relates to his pledge to solve past cases of gross human rights violations.
As is widely known, one of the points in Widodo’s Nawa Cita nine point priority program was a pledge to priorities a just resolution to past cases of human rights violations.
Widodo also made a commitment to resolve eight past human rights cases which he referred to as a social and political burden for the country.
The eight cases were the May 1998 riots in Jakarta, the Trisakti, Semanggi I and Semanggi II student shootings in 1997-98, the 1997-98 forced disappearance of political activists, the 1989 Talangsari massacre, the 1964 Tanjung Priok shooting of Muslim protesters and the 1965 anti-communist purge. Despite this, none of these cases have ever been resolved.
Prabowo meanwhile has a dark record on human rights. As the commander of the army’s Special Forces (Kopassus), Prabowo stands accused of being involved in the forced disappearance of 13 activists in 1997-1998.
“Nether presidential ticket has much capacity with regard to protecting and fulfilling human rights”, said Azhar.
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “Haris Azhar: Jokowi dan Prabowo Tak Miliki Kapasitas dalam Pemenuhan HAM”.]