Jakarta – The families of victims of human rights violations say they are disappointed that Presidential Regulation Number 53/2021 on a Human Rights National Action Plan (Ranham) for 2021-2025 does not include past gross human rights violations as a priority.
The mother of a victim of the Semanggi I student shootings in Jakarta in 1998, Maria Catarina Sumarsih, says that the regulation shows that statements by President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's that he wants to resolve past gross human rights violations, which he has made on several occasions, are not in accordance with his actions.
"But in fact, resolving past gross human rights violations are not included in the Ranham 2021-2025", said Sumarsih during a press conference broadcast on the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) YouTube channel on Wednesday June 23.
Sumarsih noted that during the World Human Rights Day commemorations on December 10 last year, Widodo stated that he had asked Coordinating Minister for Security, Politics and Legal Affairs (Menko Polhukam) Mahfud MD to resolve past gross human rights violations.
Then on December 14 Widodo reaffirmed this by urging the Attorney General as the key player to resolve past rights cases.
In addition to this, said Sumarsih, Widodo pledged to resolve gross human rights violations when he was campaigning for president in 2014. According to Sumarsih, it was because of this that many victims supported Widodo and some even campaigned for him, including herself.
"It was just a political commodity, we could already read this half-way into President Jokowi's first administration when he appointed an alleged gross human rights violator, namely former armed forces commander and defense minister Pak [Mr] Wiranto as the Menko Polhukam", said Sumarsih.
The chairperson of the Institute for the Study of the 1965-1966 Massacres (YPKP 65), Bedjo Untung, also admitted to being disappointed with the Ranham. As one of the victims of the 1965 affair, Untung admitted to have long awaited action by Widodo to resolve past rights violations.
As a representative of the victims of the 1965 affair, Untung said that the Widodo administration's direction in resolving human rights cases is becoming increasingly unclear. Yet many of these victims are now old and suffering ill health.
Untung admitted to having little hope in the state. He then invited the survivors of gross human rights violations to submit a class action taking issue with the state which has not fulfilled its promises.
"The 65 victims like us know we are all elderly, are unwell and living in an extraordinary difficult economic situation", said Untung.
Meanwhile a representative of the Association of Families of Talangsari Lampung (PK2TL), Edi Arsadad, also admitted to feeling the same as other families of victims.
According to Arsadad, President Widodo lied outright to the families of the 1989 Talangsari massacre.
According to Arsadad, during the last presidential election campaign, Widodo promised to resolve past gross human rights violations. But as the end of his second term in office approaches, Widodo's actions have been far from his initial political commitment.
"It's this which has made us so very disappointed, deeply resentful", said Arsadad.
The Presidential Regulation on a Human Rights National Action Plan was issued earlier this week. Under Article 1, it refers to the document as containing strategic targets as a reference in the respect, protection, fulfillment, upholding and advance of human rights in Indonesia.
The Ranham will be implemented by ministries, government agencies and regional governments.
Research by CNN Indonesia however found that it does not contain a plan to deal with past gross human rights violations, either in the main part of the regulation nor in the two attachments. Yet President Widodo has repeatedly pledged to resolve past human rights violations during his election campaigns and when in office.
The word "human rights violation" was only found twice in Attachment I in relation to one of the target groups in the regulation, namely on traditional community groups.
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Perpres Ranham, Sumarsih Sindir HAM Jadi Komoditas Politik".]