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IKOHI

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Rights Activists Demand More Action

The Jakarta Post, January 18, 2007

Families of missing human rights activists demanded President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono fulfill his election promise to resolve human rights violation cases.

The Association of Relatives of Missing People (IKOHI)'s chairman Mugiyanto said Thursday the government's poor handling of such cases had left thousands of families in the dark on the whereabouts of their loved ones.

He said the government lacked the will to deal with the cases. "The government isn't serious (about this) yet.

"The state is implementing the so-called politics of forgetting. We are made to forget the New Order regime transgressions."

He said he regretted recent initiatives that would see former president Suharto pardoned. "How can we gloss over bleak pages of our past," he asked, referring specifically to state-sponsored violence in 1965 and the 1989 Talang Sari massacre in Lampung.

Human rights activist Rido Triawan said, "The president can't speak on people's behalf and forgive Soeharto just like that.

"Legally speaking, Yudhoyono would need to grant amnesty or grace, but how can he grant that to someone who has never been tried ..."

As the right of New Order regime victims, Rido and Mugiyanto demanded investigations be resumed in unresolved cases including cases that had been dismissed by the Attorney General's Office (AGO).

Based on reports of missing persons received by IKOHI from families and relatives of the missing, the organization says at least 14 people disappeared between 1997 and 1998, just prior to the resignation of strongman Soeharto.

They said such disappearances should be the subject of ad-hoc human rights tribunals in order to provide legal and psychological closure to victims.

Most of those who went missing were pro-democracy activists, among them Democratic People's Party members Herman Hendrawan, Ucok Munandar Siahaan, Yadin Muhidin and Hendra Hambali; street singer and poet Widji Thukul; and three members of the United Development Party, Deddy Hamdun, Noval Alkatiri and Ismail.

IKOHI also advocates the causes of victims of human rights cases such as the killings in 1965-66 of alleged communists, the 1984 Tanjung Priok massacre and cases arising during the Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam conflict.

"The president should recall the promises he made when he first assumed the presidency, namely resolving past cases of human rights abuse," Rido said, adding that human rights laws enacted in 1999 and 2000 needed to be revised to give greater authority to the National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM).

"Komnas HAM must have the same autonomy and authority as the Corruption Eradication Commission. Otherwise, we remain stuck with the AGO, which has so far stifled efforts to resolve human rights abuse."

Mugiyanto added, "The current regime needs to refer back to its founding principles and shift its paradigm from empty human rights rhetoric to substantial justice." (amr)

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Kebenaran Akan Terus Hidup
Jakarta : Yappika dan IKOHI xx, 220 hlm : 15 x 22 cm
ISBN: Cetakan Pertama,
Agustus 2007
Editor : Wilson
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IKOHI was set up on September 17, 1998 by the parents and surfaced victims of disappearances. Since then, IKOHI was assisted by KONTRAS, until October 2002 when finally IKOHI carried out it first congress to complete its organizational structure. In the Congress, IKOHI decided its two priority of programs. They are (1) the empowerment of the social, economic, social and cultural potential of the members as well as mental and physical, and (2) the campaign for solving of the cases and preventing the cases from happening again. The solving of the cases means the reveal of the truth, the justice for the perpetrators, the reparation and rehabilitation of the victims and the guarantee that such gross violation of human right will never be repeated again in the future.

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