Subject: Activists call on President Yudhoyono to solve outstanding rights cases

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Activists call on President Yudhoyono to solve outstanding rights cases

Kompas - November 2, 2007

Jakarta -- On the afternoon of Thursday November 1, around 50 people from the Solidarity Network for the Families of Victims or JSKK again held a peaceful action in front of the State Palace in Central Jakarta. They were calling on President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to conduct a thorough investigations into past human rights abuses in Indonesia.

The protesters were made of the victims and the families of victims of human rights violations such as the Trisakti, Semanggi I and II tragedies, the 1998 May riots, student activists abducted between 1997-1998, the Tanjung Priok and Talangsari cases, the 1965-1966 affair, the July 27, 1996 affair and the murder of human rights activist Munir.

"This is a routine action that we hold every Thursday. We refer to it as 'the Thursday action' (Kamisan)", said JSKK presidium Sumarsih. The mother of Wawan, one of the victims of the Semanggi I tragedy said that the JSKK had already held 39 actions and sent 13 letters asking to meet with President Yudhoyono. Up until now however, they have received no response whatsoever.

For around an hour, the protesters held a peaceful action while holding black umbrellas and unfurling banners and posters with demand calling on Yudhoyono to resolve past human rights abuses.

"Actually, the key to the problem is the big political parties in the House of Representatives that have the authority to establish an ad hoc Human Rights Court. Up until now however the parties still do not consider cases such as Trisakti, Semanggi I and Semanggi II as gross human rights violations", said the coordinator of the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras), Usman Hamid.

Through these routine actions, Hamid hopes that President Yudhoyono will be able to pressure political party leaders to jointly seek a solution to solve the impasse in these cases.

"Have pity on them (the victims and families of victims) they have suffered for so long. It's unfair, the process of reform has been going on for nine years, [but] the government has yet to pay any heed to the victims of human rights abuses", said Hamid.

Suciwati, the widow of the late Munir, said that they would continue to hold "Kamisan" actions because they have undertaken a joint commitment to give voice to the truth. "We aren't going to stop", she said. (a13)

[Translated by James Balowski.]

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E-mail: jamesbalowski@yahoo.com 


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