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Activists warn Jokowi to act on rights violations, not use Palace meet as political stunt

KBR - May 31, 2018

Jakarta – Maria Catarina Sumarsih, the mother of Wawan, a victim of the Semanggi I student shootings, has demanded that President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo fulfill his promise to resolve past human rights cases and have the courage to end impunity.

"Pak Jokowi, resolve past gross human rights cases and end impunity by ordering the Attorney General to follow up of the [investigation] dossiers submitted by Komnas HAM [the National Human Rights Commission]", said Sumarsih on Thursday May 31.

The families of victims of human rights violations have, on hundreds of occasions, have stood in front of the State Palace each Thursday demanding that the government fully investigate the death of their family members which to this day have not been followed up.

After holding more than 500 Kamisan – Thursday Actions as the silent protests are known – they have, for the first time, been received by the president.

Sumarsih also complained about the cases dossiers that have been repeatedly returned by the AGO. She hopes that the meeting with Widodo today will result in a serious decision being taken on resolving past cases of human rights violations.

She also hopes that the meeting will not just be used as a political stunt by Widodo. "[You] shouldn't have to be invited, you could have just come and joined us and the families of victims in front of the Palace during a black umbrella Kamisan", she said.

Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) coordinator Yati Andriyani meanwhile warned Widodo not to use his meeting with Kamisan protesters as an image building tool in the lead up to the 2019 presidential elections.

Yati said that the Kamisan protesters will continue to urge Widodo to resolve the numerous cases of human rights violations that have taken place in Indonesia.

Yati adding that the Widodo administration – which has been in office for almost four years – has been very slow in responding to cases of past human rights violations. This is despite the fact that this was one of Widodo's campaign pledges in the 2014 presidential elections.

"If this meeting is not based on a strong commitment by the head of state, in this case the president, to resolve cases of past human rights violations. If this is only a symbolic meeting, a political gimmick for image building and to get political support, then I think, this is an insult to our sense of justice, and could dash the hopes of victim's [families]", Yati told KBR on Thursday.

Yati said that the meeting between Widodo and the Kamisan protesters is long overdue because the Thursday actions have been taking place for 11 years and they have sent hundreds of letters to the Palace calling for cases of past human rights violations be fully investigated.

Despite having finally met with Widodo, said Yati, they would continue to hold Kamisan actions until these cases are resolved.

Yati believes that Widodo's policies have in fact gone backwards by, for example, promoting former General Wiranto as Coordinating Minister for Security, Politics and Legal Affairs (Menkopolhukam) and then giving him the task of resolving past human rights cases.

Yet it is Wiranto who stands accused of being responsible for the Trisakti, Semanggi I and Semanggi II student shootings in 1998 because at the time he was the commander-in-chief of the Indonesian military (TNI).

Yati also said that it appears as if Widodo has allowed Attorney General Prasetyo to repeatedly refuse to carry out an investigation into the nine cases of gross human rights violations which have been investigated and submitted to the AGO by Komnas HAM.

Widodo has also refused to publicly release the findings of an investigative report by the Fact Finding Team into the 2004 assassination of renowned human rights defender Munir, even claiming that the document has disappeared.

In addition to this, Widodo has not followed up on the House of Representatives (DPR) recommendation to issue a Presidential Decree on the formation of an ad hoc human rights court, to form a team to investigate the abduction of activists in 1997-98, rehabilitate the families and victims of rights violations, and ratify the International Convention on Forced Disappearances.

[Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service. The original title of the article was Jokowi Temui Peserta Aksi Kamisan, Ini Harapan Korban Pelanggaran HAM.]

Source: http://kbr.id/05-2018/jokowi_temui_peserta_aksi_kamisan__ini_harapan__korban_pelanggaran_ham/96243.html.

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