Students return to the streets, highlight Widodo’s human rights record

CNN Indonesia – October 21, 2019
BEM SI students rally near the Horse Statue in Central Jakarta – October 21, 2019 (CNN)
BEM SI students rally near the Horse Statue in Central Jakarta – October 21, 2019 (CNN)

Jakarta – Students protesting near the Horse Statue in Central Jakarta today said they hope that President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo will not betray the people during his second term in office.

In a speech, Gajah Mada University (UGM) Student Executive Council (BEM) Chairperson Muhammad Atiatul Muqtadir repeatedly brought up the issue of unsolved human rights (HAM) cases during Widodo’s first term in office.

“[During his election campaign] in 2014, our future president pledged to solve cases of HAM violations, right or wrong? But what news is there of this today, have they been solved or not?”, asked Mugtadir in a speech from the command vehicle on Monday October 21.

The question was answered with a unified shout from the students, “No”.

Mugtadir said that there are a number of unsolved past human rights cases, including among others, the assassination of renowned human rights defender Munir in 2004 and the 2017 acid attack on senior Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) investigator Novel Baswedan.

“There cannot be anymore Novel Baswedans, there cannot be anymore Munirs. There cannot be any more victims of rape by the state, abductions by the state, censoring by the state”, he asseverated.

Mugtadir – who is known by his friends as Fathur – also presented the student’s demands on the declaration of finishing the agenda of reformasi – the political reform process that began in 1998.

He asserted that students want to ensure that over the next five years the policies produced by the government side with the ordinary people and support humanitarian values.

In his speech he warned that the student’s struggle would not end, adding that the student’s protects are aimed at expressing their wishes, not to be repressed by security forces.

“Even if the sky falls in, justice must still be upheld. Two words, one struggle: Long Live Students. Three words, one aim: Long Live the Indonesian People”, he asserted.

Today’s student action was initiated by the All Indonesia Student Executive Council (BEM SI).

Hundreds of students were involved in the action. Some brought banners and flags from their respective campus, and one large banner was hung on a pedestrian overpass with the message “Ibu Pertiwi [the Motherland] is in tears. Reformasi has been corruption by government officials”. Another banner read, “Bad Governments are Born Out of Everlasting Interests”.

Students in the front rank could also be seen carrying photographs of the five students who were killed during the wave of protests actions around the country in late September, namely Maulana Suryadi, Akbar Alamsyah, Bagus Putra Mahendra, Muhammad Randi and Yusuf Kardhawi. (mjo/wis)

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “Mahasiswa Kembali Demo Jokowi, Singgung Pelanggaran HAM”.]