I have an instinctive, deep suspicion of all politicians – and generals – who bring up God.
– Paddy Ashdown
The first debate between the pairs of presidential candidates will be aired by SCTV, Indosiar and BeritaSatu at 8pm this evening. That the main issue is their stand on citizen’s rights should be interesting because neither pair can claim to be whiter than white.
In July 2012, the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas) released reports concluding that government agencies were guilty of gross human rights violations related to execution-style killings between 1982 and 1985, as well as the army-led campaign against alleged communists in the 1960s.
There are several other unresolved ‘incidents’ which need addressing: the attack on PDI-P HQ on 27 July 1996, the disappearances of activists in ’97, wholesale killings and rapes in May ’98, East Timor in ’83 and 99, Papua in several years, inc. the Mapenduma Operation* in 1996 to secure the release of hostages.
(*Personal note. I first became aware of Prabowo’s leading role in 1996/7, and wrote about it here)
11 out of the 12 political parties which contested the parliamentary elections on April 9th have joined the two coalitions, although in the case of several of them, Golkar, PAN, PPP and Hanura, this has lead to divisions in the membership ranks. Some of the ‘defectors’ and many of the supporters have questionable ‘political baggage’.
What we know: Jokowi-Kalla
The Joko Widodo-Jusuf Kalla duo is supported by the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDIP), the National Democrat Party (Nasdem), the National Awakening Party (PKB), and the Peoples Conscience Party (Hanura) with 207 seats or 36.96% of the House of Representatives’ 560 seats.
What we know
– There are no allegations of rights abuses and he has no known ‘political baggage’.
However, he supports ‘premen‘ (gangsters). This scene from the ‘Act of Killing‘ shows him addressing the Pemuda Pancasila militia who ran death squads for the Indonesian army supporting Suharto’s military coup in 1965.
“We need gangsters to get things done; free, private men, who get things done. We need gangsters who are willing to take risks in business. Use your muscles! Muscles aren’t for beating up people. Although beating people up is sometimes needed.”
– In 2004, Kalla was in favour of affirmative action for pribumi (indigenous) businessmen. This was condemned by the Indonesian-Chinese business community.
– In 2006, as vice-president to SBY, Mr Kalla agreed to pass a government regulation which “makes it very difficult for minorities to set up houses of worship”.
What we think we know
–In October 1969, when he was head of the Muslims’ Student Association, the 26-year-old Kalla allegedly led attacks against Protestant and Catholic churches, a nuns’ dormitory, a theological academy and Catholic schools.
Supporters of Jokowi-Kalla Coalition
Gen. Wiranto was a vice-presidential candidate for Golkar in 2009, despite being indicted by a U.N.-backed tribunal in East Timor on charges of crimes against humanity over violence surrounding the country’s 1999 vote for independence from Indonesia.
An arrest warrant for Mr. Wiranto remains in effect, but the Timorese authorities never forwarded it to Interpol.
Gen. (ret) Hendropriyono
– In 1999, as Transmigration and Resettlement Minister, he funded militias before the ballot in East Timor which resulted in secession and also the forced expulsion of much of the population after it. His background in Kopassus gave him the motivation and the networks to do this.
– In 1989, while Commander of 043/Garuda Hitam Resort Military Command in Lampung, Hendropriyono was implicated in an early morning military attack against hundreds of civilians accused of trying to establish an Islamic state in the backwoods of Cihideung, Talangsari, Central Lampung. The attack on three villages left at least 27 people dead, 78 missing, 5 people were kidnapped, and 23 people were arrested and detained arbitrarily (KontraS, 2008 .pdf).
There remain unproven allegations that as the head of the State Intelligence Agency (BIN), he masterminded the assassination of Munir, the human rights lawyer who founded KontraS. He was poisoned on a Garuda flight from Jakarta to Amsterdam in September 2004.
General (ret) Ryamizard Ryacudu
– As army chief during martial law in Aceh that killed thousands, he was against negotiating a peaceful solution.
– In 2002, along with a number of other senior military figures, he was in Bali – “for health reasons” – shortly before the Bali bombings. It has been alleged that a number of senior military officers were behind Laskar Jihad which had killed thousands of Christians in the Indonesian province of Maluku in previous years.
So whither a Jokowi-Kalla government regarding human rights? I look forward, although not with much optimism for a clear strategy, to tonight’s debate.