Haryanti Puspa Sari, Jakarta – Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) Coordinator Fatia Maulidiyanti says that based on Kontras’ records, there were 256 attacks against human rights defenders between January and July 2020.
“According to Kontras’ records there were 256 attacks against human rights defenders between January and July 2020, including intimidation, terror, criminalisation and others”, said Maulidiyanti during a virtual discussion titled Munir’s Murder was a Gross Human Rights Violation on Monday September 7.
Maulidiyanti said that human rights defenders continue to be the targets of attacks because they are deemed to be individuals who are rebels and disrupt the political agenda.
Yet, according to Maulidiyanti, the government should promote the protection of human rights in Indonesia and protect the work of human rights defenders.
“So actually, what is important is that the state seriously promote human rights in Indonesia and protect and acknowledge the work of human rights defenders”, she said.
Furthermore, said Maulidiyanti, passing laws to protect human rights defenders would be evidence of the state’s seriousness in protecting their work.
She said that since 2010, efforts to revised Law Number 39/1999 on Human Rights, particularly the articles on human rights defenders, have not been prioritised by the House of Representatives (DPR).
“So here’s the big question, human rights are always taken up, taken up in presidential campaigns and by other officials. But then they don’t provide protection to human rights defenders themselves or acknowledge the work of human rights defenders”, she said in conclusion.
Renowned human rights defender Munir died of arsenic poisoning onboard a Garuda Indonesia flight in September 2004. Although off-duty pilot Pollycarpus Priyanto was convicted of the murder in 2005 the alleged mastermind behind the assassination, former National Intelligence Agency (BIN) deputy Muchdi Purwoprandjono, was later acquitted of all charges. Also implicated in the murder but never investigated was former BIN chief AM Hendropriyono. Hendropriyono, a close ally of Megawati Sukarnoputri – the chairperson of President Joko Widodo’s ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) – according to US diplomatic cables leaked in 2011 Hendropriyono was involved in the planning of Munir’s murder.
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “Kontras: Sejak Januari-Juli 2020, Terjadi 256 Kasus Penyerangan Pembela HAM”.]