Lawmakers attack rights commission over criticism of Omnibus Law

Source – September 15, 2020
Protesters holds banner reading ‘Reject the Omnibus Law’ in Palu – August 14, 2020 (Antara)

Haryanti Puspa Sari, Jakarta – A member of the House of Representatives (DPR) Commission III from the ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) faction, Arteria Dahlan, has accused the National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) of being genit (prudish, prim, flirtatious, vain) by interfering in the DPR's constitutional affairs.

The accusation was made because Komnas HAM is alleged to be garnering support so that a draft law being deliberated by the DPR be dropped. Dahlan made the accusation during a Commission III working meeting at the parliamentary complex in Senayan, Jakarta, on Tuesday September 15.

Bapak [Mr] (Komnas HAM Chairperson Ahmad Taufan Damanik) isn’t allowed to agitate, let alone provoke things, asking the DPR to stop deliberating a draft law”, said Dahlan.

“We aren’t allowed to be genit, Pak [Sir]. If Bapak is genit, stop now. Moreover this disrupts the DPR’s constitutionality”, he continued.

Dahlan even question what achievements had been made by Komnas HAM under Damanik’s leadership.

“If we look at it, what exactly is Komnas HAM working on for the republic? Go on Bapak just write down Bapak’s achievements, Komnas HAM’s achievements this year. What were they?”, he asked.

Dahlan did not explain which draft law he was referring to.

Nevertheless, not long ago Komnas HAM’s assessment and research commissioner Sandrayati Moniaga recommended that the DPR stop deliberating the Draft Omnibus Law on Job Creation.

Responding to Dahlan’s accusations, Damanik explained that in accordance with Law Number 39/1999 on Human Rights, among other things Komnas HAM is given the authority to make an assessment of the drafting, revision and retraction of laws.

Because of this, it is appropriate for Komnas HAM to provide recommendations on draft laws which are being deliberated by the DPR or the government.

“So it is indeed impossible in the sense of interfering (with the DPR’s functions). Because [our] recommendations are not legally binding, meaning they can be accepted or not”, explained Damanik.

The evidence being that Komnas HAM has previously made recommendations on the Draft Criminal Code (RKUHP) and revisions to the Anti-Terrorism Law. There were never any protests from the DPR about these.

“Moreover in cases of the death penalty, although in principle Komnas HAM cannot accept this, but in international forums we say that this is a tactic which represents a step forward because we no longer carry out the death penalty”, said Damanik.

Commission III member Wihadi Wiyanto from the Greater Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra) then responded to Damanik’s answer.

Wiyanto said that the examples of recommendation given by Damanik were directly related to Komnas HAM’s role and authority. Meanwhile, according to Wiyanto, the Omnibus Law is not directly related to Komnas HAM.

Because of this, Wiyanto is of the view that Komnas HAM’s recommendation on the Omnibus Law is inappropriate, especially since it is pushing in the direction of having the law dropped.

“There was a letter from Komnas HAM asking that the Draft Omnibus Law on Job Creation be dropped, this is the question for us. Because there isn’t any relationship between Komnas HAM and the Omnibus Law. Now, this is the problem that needs to be explained”, said Wiyanto.

The polemic was then interrupted by Commission III Deputy Chairperson Pangeran Khairul Saleh who asked that all parties, especially Komnas HAM, to focus on answering questions related to the 2021 budget.

Pak, please focus on answering [questions] related to the budget”, asked Saleh.

Komnas HAM recommendation

As reported earlier, Sandrayati Moniaga recommended that deliberations on the Omnibus Law be discontinued. The recommendation was made in the context of respecting, protecting and fulfilling the human rights of all Indonesian people.

“I affirm that Komnas HAM is recommending to the President and the DPR not continue deliberations on the Draft Omnibus Law in consideration of the potential human rights violations”, said Moniaga during a press conference on Thursday August 13.

“The potential for environmental damage because of this law is also very high”, he said.

Moniaga said that the deliberations on the Omnibus Law also failed to involve public participation and this, he said, is not in accordance with human rights in a democratic country.

“The process of the deliberations and the substance discussed, we see as not being in accordance with, not in line with the principles of human rights and a democratic country”, said Moniaga.

Komnas HAM also said that continuing the deliberations on the draft law would be a step backwards because for years and years Indonesia has been trying hard to build a democratic country which respects human rights, and a country which cares about the law.

“We think that if the process of drafting the Draft Omnibus Law is continued, it will be a huge step back [for the country]”, said Moniaga. Moreover Indonesia is a member of the United Nations Human Rights Commission.

“But if it is continued and is enacted into law, I think it will truly be in contradiction with what has been achieved by the Indonesia nation over the last 75 years”, said Moniaga.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “Saat Komnas HAM Dituding Genit oleh Politikus...”.]