Jakarta – The Jakarta Legal Aid Foundation (LBH) has launched a report on an investigation into the human rights track record of the presidential and vice presidential candidates contesting the 2019 presidential elections (pilpres).
LBH Jakarta public defender Pratiwi Febry said that both incumbent President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo and running mate Ma’ruf Amin as well as rival presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto and Sandiaga Uno have a similar track record on human rights (HAM) violations and violations related to social, political, economic and cultural issues.
“Related to taking up or promoting HAM issues both the 01 paslon [candidate pair] as well as the 02 paslon have a bad record on HAM”, said Febry at the LBH building in Jakarta on Tuesday April 16.
Another LBH Jakarta public defender, Rasyid Ridha Saragih, then detailed the track records of the two candidate pairs. Candidate number 01 Widodo has violated human rights by not playing an active role in or taking responsibility for protecting the rights of religious minority groups.
Saragih also said that Widodo had preserved the criminal articles on religious blasphemy and has failed to protect the rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) groups from persecution and discrimination. In addition to this, LBH Jakarta also noted that Widodo has maintained the death penalty.
“All of this proves that over the last four-and-a-half years of the Jokowi government numerous HAM violations have taken place”, explained Saragih.
Furthermore, Widodo has ambitiously pursued a program of infrastructure development which has given rise to agrarian conflicts, forced land evictions and damage to the environment.
“We hope that developments in the law and HAM in 2019-2024 will not just focus on the economy, or physical infrastructure, but also on human development”, said Febry.
In addition to this, Saragih also cited Widodo’s vice presidential candidate Ma’ruf Amin, who is also the chairperson of the peek religious body the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI), who played a role in rights violations by issuing fatwas (religious edicts) which discriminated against minority groups.
He cited in particular the fatwas related to prohibitions on the Ahmadiyah religious sect, the LGBTQ community and the accusations of religious blasphemy against former Jakarta governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama.
Meanwhile presidential candidate number 02, Prabowo Subianto, is also not free from human rights violations. “He has a record of HAM violations during the 1998 [fall of former president Suharto] said Saragih.
LBH Jakarta noted that as a former military officer who went on to become a business tycoon, Prabowo has a track record of causing agrarian conflicts and environmental damage through his business interests in coal, mining and palm oil plantations.
Saragih also said that Prabowo has done things that were quite insensitive during the 2019 presidential election campaign.
“On the issue of diversity and minorities, he (Prabowo) has a close relationship with groups who hold to populist sentiments and identity politics. This then is of note”, he explained.
Aside from Prabowo, his vice presidential candidate Sandiaga Uno also owns a number of companies which have damaged the environment.
“He has also taken part in efforts to exploit and privatise water resources in DKI Jakarta when he controlled shares in PT Aetra Air Jakarta through the Recapital Group”, said Saragih.
LBH Jakarta hopes that with the launch of the report, which can later be accessed on the LBH Jakarta website, it can be used as a consideration by the public in voting on April 17. (ani/DAL)
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “LBH Jakarta: Kedua Capres Punya Catatan Buruk soal HAM”.]