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We do not need to be affected

The Indonesia Times - February 3, 1997

Jakarta – A report published by the U.S. State Department has got strong reactions here.

Political scientist Amien Rais said, "As a sovereign country Indonesia should have self confidence about what we are convinced of and we do not need to be affected by other people's comments."

Aisyah Amini, the chairperson of DPR's Commission I from PPP said yesterday that the United States "is just showing off being a superpower. It tells that any other country other than the U.S. is bad; this shows an arrogance."

Abu Hasan Syazili from Golkar's FKP said that "it is normal. The problem is, the implementation of human rights must conform with the local culture."

The report said that Indonesia is rife with corruption, commits serious human rights abuses and uses excessive force in its crackdown on insurgents.

But the annual human rights survey on 194 countries and territories published on Thurday, according to AFP saw "encouraging signs along with substantial grounds for continuing concerns" in Indonesia.

The report said that fruits of Indonesia's booming economy are widely dispersed but that "pervasive corruption remains a problem."

Rais said that what the US said is not new. Since the era of Jimmy Carter the US had used human rights as yardsticks to judge other countries.

Amini said that indeed there are human rights violation in Indonesia. "But does it mean that there is no human rights infraction in the USA?"

"Take a look at racial discrimination, as in Los Angeles. Let America tell anything, but we have differences in what are classified as human rights. Unlike those in the US, homosexuality and free sex in Indonesia are not classified as human rights."

Syazili, on the other hand, said that the U.S. criticized human rights violation in all countries annually. "There is nothing to be worried for they throw criticisms from their own side."