Human Rights Audit on SBY-Boediono's One-Year Administration: Year of No-Accountability
One year is enough time for the public to evaluate SBY-Boediono's performance in terms of human rights. This is useful not only to see the performance of national leaders, but also to predict the direction of their human rights agenda in the future. Placed in the framework of SBY's 6 years of presidency, the one-year evaluation should have seen a better human rights situation, especially considering that in the 2009 General Election, both President SBY and the Democratic Party received more significant political support from the Indonesian people. Unfortunately, the first year of his presidency did not result in any significant breakthrough in the field of human rights. In fact, not only is accountability for past cases missing, impunity continues to prevail in current situation. During SBY-Boediono's one-year administration, KontraS recorded the increasing problems of human rights accountability, which proved that lack of resolution to past problems
resulted in a recurring effect.
The first agenda, the implementation of the recommendations issued by the 2004-2009 House of Representatives (DPR) Special Committee for the Disappeared, did not materialize. One of the four recommendations, the search for missing 1997/1998 activists, was implemented, albeit half-heartedly: preliminary evidence was investigated by KPP HAM (a body established by Komnas HAM), an ad hoc human rights court was formed; reparation was given to the missing persons' families, and the Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance was signed although the government is yet to finalized its ratification. Other cases of human rights violations were also hampered at the hands of the Attorney General Office. In addition, SBY government is still unable to bring Munir's murderers to court.
Secondly, the past one year has seen Polri, a security sector institution under the President's direct control, ridden with various problems and had its accountability questioned. The conflict dubbed “gecko vs crocodile” went on to criminalize the Head of KPK and led to the public questioning the President's commitment to fight corruption. Polri itself was unable to give rational explanation to the public regarding the issues of “fat bank accounts” owned by its officers and court mafia after the case of Gayus was revealed. So far, Polri's internal mechanism has been unable to provide the public with a sense of justice and served as nothing but a means of justification.
Furthermore, Polri is still unable to resolve the attacks against Tempo Magazine office and ICW activist, Tama Langkun, both of which are related to corruption cases. In addition, Polri has not given satisfactory performance in handling human rights cases. They kept denying the case of assault against Aan although court verdict stated that a human rights violation occurred, and Kadiv Propam Mabes Polri himself affirmed the case. Meanwhile, in Buol, Central Sulawesi, violence perpetrated by Polri personnel claimed civilian lives but they were only punished with one month of imprisonment. Such minimum accountability is a boomerang for President SBY, who ended up canceling his visit to the Netherlands due to a universal jurisdiction litigation submitted against him by RMS activists there. Although the validity of the litigation could be questioned, President SBY seemed unsure about the assault perpetrated by Polri as suspected by RMS activists. In addition,
human rights activists have been accused as being anti-government because of their promotion and protection of human rights. These human rights defenders such as journalists, NGO activists and grassroots activists were increasingly attacked and criminalized.
SBY's proposal for improving Kompolnas institution seemed dubious. Its draft did not promise to make Kompolnas an independent external oversight, but rather as a mere consultative body. Strangely, Kompolnas' consultative role had never been taken seriously either by Polri nor the President, as proven in the controversy surrounding the appointment of the new Chief of Polri, Timur Pradopo, who was appointed regardless of Kompolnas' selection. This was followed by the lack of commitment to strengthen military accountability in its reform by not including the agenda of military court revision as mandated by laws.
Thirdly, in the past year, those suspected of perpetrating past human rights violations obtained important positions in government. Sjafrie Sjamsoeddin, whose name is contained in KPP HAM's official reports regarding May 1998 Tragedy and Kidnapping of 1997/1998 was appointed as the Vise Minister of Defense, despite the fact that he was previously prohibited from entering USA because he was suspected of being involved in serious human rights violations. In addition, lack of vetting mechanism resulted in the appointment of Timur Pradopo as the new Chief of Polri despite Komnas HAM's recommendation to do otherwise. In fact, Soeharto, a tyrant responsible for the most brutal and corrupt regime in the world after WW II, was promoted to become a candidate national hero. This was done despite the efforts clarifying history conducted by the public and state institutions such as Komnas HAM showing that Soeharto was highly responsible for various massacres: 1965
case, East Timor invasion, Bloodied Priok 1984, Talangsari Lampung 1989, as well as various forms of persecutions against his political opponents. Before a truth commission is formed to officially clarify history, Soeharto does not deserve to be made a hero. If he was to be claimed a hero, Indonesia would be a laughing stock among international community where the demand for accountability continues to increase. Pinochet from Chile was never considered a hero although he managed to develop his country; neither was Marcos from the Phillipines, Idi Amin from Uganda, and Pol Pot from Cambodia who is currently on trial for his crime legacy.
Apart from accountability problem, fundamental freedom is declining, as shown by the murder of a religious leader in Bekasi. As if influenced by intolerance at global level, freedom of religion in Indonesia is starting to take the form of intolerable physical attacks, where the victims were usually a minority in the area. SBY-Boediono's government has not stated firmly that pluralism and tolerance are the main pillars of this country, and that anyone attacking these principles, especially with the use of violence, will be sanctioned.
New cases of human rights violations also occurred during SBY-Boediono's one-year administration such as in Papua, where accountability is also difficult to establish. The deviation can be seen from the increasing number of security operations in Papua, carried out for the purpose of stopping any civil society's subversive activities. Those categorized as subversive groups are groups who criticized central government's policies such as student, journalists, religious leaders, and even the Papuan Tribal Council.
Security operations held in Papua often violated proper procedures that should have been used as operational reference. Persuasive dialogs were not chosen as a middle way to solve problems. Instead, accusations of subversive activities and OPM separatist movement were used as a means to justify impunity for security officers perpetrating violence.
KontraS' 2009-2010 record showed that acts of violence committed in Papua had special pattern. The escalating attacks against human rights defender groups is the most concrete proof, such as the murder of Ardiansyah Matrais, a journalist who was found dead in July 2010 after covering a story on illegal logging in Keerom. Another example is the controversial murder of Wayan Wayeni on 13 August 2009, after he was accused by the police of disrupting public order.
These attacks took various forms such as threats, terrors, stalking the activists' every movement, limitation of access to information and monitoring of human rights field condition, systematic torture, and violence resulted in death of human rights defenders.
Lack of solutions to these cases was highly influenced by the very minimum persuasive efforts by the central government. SBY-Boediono's administration seemed to maintain their preference for security operations compared to dialogs. If SBY does not change his preference in his domestic politics by increasing the sense of security and accelerating the resolution of serious human rights violations in Papua (especially Wasior and Wamena cases), the social-political expenses he made will not be worth the suffering and the political pressure felt by Papuans until today.
In addition to the above problems, KontraS found some positive development although it did not bring fulfillment of the victims' rights.
The first was the establishment of ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights, whose presence had been awaited since 1993. Although the commission had minimum mandate in terms of human rights protection for victims' community, it is expected to be able to respond to human rights cases in ASEAN region. The Indonesian government is quite active in proposing a protection mandate but was always rejected by almost all other ASEAN countries.
Secondly, the Indonesian government recently signed the Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance. The signing was a significant step forward considering that it was not contained in the National Action Plan for Human Rights. The government is expected to put forward the draft to ratify the convention to DPR as recommended by the Special Committee for Missing Persons. This progress should be followed by an effort to ratify various international human rights instruments as stated in the National Action Plan for Human Rights such as Rome Statute, Optional Protocol of Anti Torture Convention, etc.
Formally, the conception of human rights accountability is related to the state's response - both de jure and de facto - to serious human rights violations in the form of an official apology, a statement of responsibility, the commitment to prosecute perpetrators in court, and providing political, social and economic reparation to victims. So far, none of the government's policies benefits the victims. Instead, various promotion and appreciation were continuously given to the perpetrators. Therefore, it is clear that the first year of SBY-Boediono's second presidency is lacking human rights accountability.
Based on the above one-year evaluation of SBY-Boediono's government, KontraS would like to urge the following:
First, SBY-Boediono's government must issue a political statement containing an official apology to the victims for the lack of human rights accountability for past human rights violations.
Second, SBY-Boediono's government must immediately provide a political, social and economic restoration, restitution, and rehabilitation program for victims of human rights violations to restore their worth and dignity as Indonesian citizens.
Third, SBY-Boediono's government must create a blue-print human rights agenda containing strategic issues such as strengthening of human rights accountability in both domestic and ASEAN regional contexts. This blue print must also include measurable efforts to resolve past human rights cases as an inseparable part of law enforcement reform.
Fourth, strengthening of accountability must also be carried out by SBY-Boediono's government through an institutional reform, especially by accelerating the revision to military court system and by making Kompolnas a proper independent external oversight body.
Fifth, they must not give any strategic political position and official appreciation to any individuals responsible for or involved in serious human rights violations in the past .
Jakarta, 25 October 2010
KontraS Working Committee
Haris Azhar, Coordinator
Papang Hidayat, Head of Research Bureau