Rights group 'not surprised' Prabowo doesn't want to resolve past rights abuses

Kompas.com – November 2, 2023
Indonesian Human Rights Watch (Imparsial) Director Gufron Mabruri – Undated (JPNN)

Diamanty Meiliana, Jakarta – Indonesian Human Rights Watch (Imparsial) Director Gufron Mabruri has admitted that he is not surprised by the vision and mission of the Indonesia Onward Coalition (KIM) presidential and vice presidential candidates Prabowo Subianto and Gibran Rakabuming Raka.

Defense Minister Prabowo and Solo Mayor Gibran have not included anything on resolving past human rights violations in their vision and mission document.

"Looking at it from their track record, particularly Prabowo Subianto, that there is no [political] will to resolve past human rights cases is clearly not surprising and this had already been predicted by many groups", said Mabruri in a written message sent to Kompas.com on Thursday November 2.

As has been reported, the National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) has declared that the abduction and disappearance of pro-democracy activists in 1997-98 was a gross human rights violation.

Mabruri said that Prabowo was one of the generals during the era of the New Order regime of former president Suharto that should be held accountable over the affair.

"It's difficult to hope that a person alleged to have a record of involvement in a case of human rights violations to have a commitment to or will resolve the case because it would be the same as promoting a legal process (judicial) against oneself", he said.

Mabruri said that resolving past rights abuses is part of and cannot be separated from upholding human rights in Indonesia and represents one of the mandates of reformasi – the political reform process that began in 1998.

"Therefore, that Prabowo and Gibran, who don't want to resolve important cases of human rights violations, is of course a serious problem, especially in the dynamics of the electoral politics to come", said Mabruri.

"The Indonesian political leadership cannot be handed over to or held by political elite who do not support upholding human rights, especially if their track record is linked with past human rights problems", said Mabruri.

In their vision and mission document related to human rights, Prabowo and Gibran pledge to protect citizen's human rights and abolish discriminatory practices.

They also have an inclusive policy program, guaranteeing fulfilling basic social rights and protecting vulnerable groups and workers.

Meanwhile the presidential ticket of former Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo and Coordinating Minister for Security, Politics and Legal Affairs Mahfud MD include a commitment to resolve past human rights violations justly. Particularly in the case of violations that have become a national burden.

The candidates from the Coalition for Change and Unity (KPP), former Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan and National Awakening Party (PKB) Chairperson Muhaimin Iskandar (Cak Imin), are also committed to resolving human rights violations in their vision and mission.

Not only that, Baswedan and Iskandar are also pushing for the social and economic rehabilitation of victims of human rights violations and to strengthen national human rights institutions.


Between 1997 and 1998 as many as 23 pro-democracy activists were abducted by members of the Army's Special Forces (Kopassus). After extended periods of detention – in many cases the victims were severely tortured – most were released although 13 remain missing and are presumed dead. Former Kopassus commander Lieutenant General Prabowo Subianto who was at the time President Suharto's son-in-law, has admitted to ordering the abductions but denies ordering their torture and claims they were all released alive and well.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Visi Misi Prabowo-Gibran Tak Memuat soal Pelanggaran HAM Masa Lalu, Imparsial: Ini Persoalan Serius".]

Source: https://nasional.kompas.com/read/2023/11/02/10512061/visi-misi-prabowo-gibran-tak-memuat-soal-pelanggaran-ham-masa-lalu-imparsial