Jakarta – The Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) hopes that the candidates who will fight it out in the 2019 presidential election can explain their views on what they will do with regard to the Ahmadiyah, the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community and the families of former Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) members during the presidential debate on January 17.
Kontras coordinator Yati Andriyani says that this is important because these minority groups are often the target of attacks in Indonesia. It is hoped that the presidential and vice presidential candidates will explain what they will do if elected in terms of fulfilling the rights of these minority groups.
“We don’t want the debate to just be normative and rhetorical, speaking in general. a teamster debate. So they must be tested on human rights which are contextual and needed by the public”, said Andriyani at the Kontras office in Jakarta on January 11.
Andriyani explained that the Attorney General’s Office has still not resolved past gross human rights violations, including violations committed against former members of the PKI.
According to Andriyani, these issues must be explained in the debate. What will the respective candidates do? “These issues must be explained specifically in order to test the two presidential ticket’s commitment. They must be able to answer these questions”, she said.
Andriyani said that minority groups such as the Ahmadiyah religious sect and the LGBT community are still being oppressed in several parts of the country and their human rights are being ignored.
Because of this therefore, she believes that the candidates need to explain what they will do if elected. “To this day this has been a problem regardless of who has been president”, said Andriyani.
The other issue highlighted by Andriyani is the issue of the death penalty. Andriyani believes that the candidates must spell out their views on this. Will they continue to apply the death penalty or will they abolish it like many other countries have done.
“But the RKUHP [draft revision of the Criminal Code] still applies the death penalty as a model of criminal law. Then, the practice of torture must also be included”, said Andriyani.
Andriyani also believes that reform of security institutions also needs to be spelled out by the candidates. She believes that there recent incidents which are relevant as a reference.
For example, when the military took the initiative to seize books which they alleged contained communist ideas [from a bookshop in Padang on January 8].
According to Andriyani, this is an example of a military that is yet to fully submit to civil authority. “Yet this is absolutely not their authority. This shows that security reform has not been able to take place under civil authority”, she said.
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “Debat Capres, KontraS Minta Calon Sampaikan Sikap Terkait PKI”.]