Aristo Setiawan, Jakarta – Former People's Democratic Party (PRD) activists that have now joined the People's Democratic Forum (Forum Rakyat Demokratik, FRD) are demanding justice for the victims of the 1997-98 forced disappearance of pro-democracy activists and the settlement of past human rights violations.
"This is our effort to resist forgetting. In a political year, we do not want people to forget the cases of the missing people and all of the past human rights violations just because of short-term pragmatic political interests", said former PRD secretary general for the period 1996-2002, Petrus H. Hariyanto, at the Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation (YLBHI) offices in Central Jakarta on Thursday July 27.
He said that settling cases of past rights abuses is a precondition for building national unity. "Without resolving past human rights cases, there is no substantial unity", said Hariyanto.
He then strongly criticised PRD founder Budiman Sudjatmiko who recently held a meeting with former Army Special Forces (Kopassus) commander and chairperson of the Greater Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra) Prabowo Subianto.
Hariyanto said he was disappointed with Sudjatmiko for meeting with Prabowo who PRD activists see as being responsible for past human rights crimes.
What's more, Sudjatmiko made a statement on looking forward and forgetting past crimes for the sake of the nation's future. The former PRD activists said they would not forget past human rights crimes and made insinuations about Sudjatmiko.
"It is very saddening. For us it is very disappointing and we today want to restore the reputation of activists. Restore the dignity of activists, to show that activists still have morals, concern and a conscience", said Hariyanto.
On the same occasion, former PRD activist Wilson said the ahead of the 2024 elections and 25 years after reformasi – the political reform process that began in 1998 – repression is still taking place.
He said the retreat of democracy has been accelerated by the stand taken by former 98 activists to support figures who are alleged to have violated human rights in the 2024 elections.
"This regression has been accelerated ahead of the 2024 election by former reformasi activists who support perpetrators of human rights violations", said Wilson.
According to Wilson, after 25 years of reformasi these perpetrators of human rights violations are still enjoying impunity.
"The political process involving perpetrators of human rights crimes is doing irreparable damage to justice for the victims of human rights violations", he said. (ast/jpnn)
Following Megawati Sukarnoputri's popular election as chairperson of the Indonesian Democratic Party (PDI) in 1996, the Suharto regime, who feared a PDI led by Megawati (who could draw upon the tremendous popularity of her father Sukarno, the founding president of Indonesia) might threaten the state party Golkar's dominance in the upcoming 1997 elections, sponsored a rebel PDI congress in Medan, North Sumatra, and succeeded in replacing her with their own pro-regime candidate, Suryadi. Following weeks of protests and the occupation of party's headquarters in Central Jakarta by pro-Megawati PDI supporters, on July 27 paid thugs backed by the military attacked and destroyed the PDI offices resulting in the death of as many as 50 people. Popular outrage at the attack sparked several days of mass rioting and violent clashes with police which was blamed on the People's Democratic Party, who's members were hunted down and arrested as the masterminds behind the riots.
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Aktivis PRD Kecewa Lihat Budiman Sudjatmiko Ketemu Prabowo".]