Subject: Indon govt, DPR drag feet in supporting human rights

Received from Joyo Indonesian News

The Jakarta Post March 4, 2002

Govt, DPR drag their feet in supporting human rights

Tertiani ZB Simanjuntak, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Indonesia is dragging its feet in upholding human rights, and both the government and the House of Representatives (DPR) have shown little interest in human rights issues in the country, caretaker of the Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation (YLBHI) Irianto says.

"The government and DPR are reluctant to reveal rights abuses dealing with its own people," Irianto told The Jakarta Post over the weekend.

According to Irianto, the government's reluctance to back the Inquiry Team of the National Commission of Human Rights (KPP HAM) in questioning military and police generals responsible for the Trisakti, Semanggi I and Semanggi II shootings clearly demonstrated the President's lack of seriousness in exposing rights violations.

Unlike the East Timor rights violation investigation, the military and police officers have given a hard time to KPP HAM, set up by the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) to investigate the three incidents that took place in 1998 and 1999.

Calls have also mounted for Komnas HAM to be revamped, but both the government and the House have turned a blind eye, despite the fact that Komnas HAM has lost its credibility and impartiality.

The replacement of its members has also been delayed for unknown reasons. The House recently asked the commission to submit another 36 names of candidates for Komnas HAM members, who by law should be 36, including one secretary-general, but until now the House has not announced the Komnas HAM members.

In the East Timor case, Irianto said, Indonesia has been very firm in bringing suspected human rights violators to justice. Even the military and police personnel as well as senior officials have been very cooperative with the investigation, enabling the whole process to proceed smoothly, Irianto said.

"The government has shown seriousness in bringing the East Timor case to trial without any commotion over the procedures, in order to avoid an international tribunal," he said, adding that the way the government handled the East Timor case raised concerns that human rights trial was merely a diplomatic tool to gain international sympathy.

"Indonesia holds the rights trial against its officers to satisfy another regime (the East Timor administration) only when the country is on the losing side," he said.

No press coverage for Sjafrie JAKARTA: Maj. Gen. Sjafrie Sjamsoeddin will officially take over from Rear Air Marshal Graito Usodo as the Indonesian Military (TNI) spokesman in a rare closed-door ceremony on Monday.

Unlike in the past, no invitations have been sent to the press to cover the ceremony, which will take place at TNI Headquarters in the East Jakarta suburb of Cilangkap.

A staffer in the TNI information office told reporters on Saturday that the ceremony was classified as "strictly closed to the public."

Criticism has rained down on the TNI for appointing Sjafrie as its new spokesman despite his alleged role in past human rights violations in the country, including the Trisakti University incident and the ensuing mass rioting in Jakarta in 1998, and the East Timor violence in 1999. --JP

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