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The PRD officially banned

Republika - September 30, 1997

Jakarta – The government has officially banned the Peoples' Democratic Party (PRD) along with its affiliated organisations according to Department of Home Affairs decision No 210-221, dated September 29, 1997.

Yesterdays government statement, was read by retired Director General of Social and Political Affairs of the Department of Home Affairs, Sutojo NK. He was accompanied by the Director General of Social and Political Affairs, Achdari, Supreme Court Youth Intelligence section, Hadibaroto, Police Intelligence Director, Brigadier General Guntur, Military Social and Political Affairs Deputy, Brigadier General Yahya Sacawirya and advisor Anton Dotulung.

Both Achdari and Sutojo admitted that there was an impression that the decision was "late". "We wanted to give it deeper consideration so as not to take a rash decision", said Sutojo. Both denied hat the decision was related to the coming Peoples' Consultative Session (1).

Sutojo said that the government had also banned all activities in the name of the PRD and its affiliated organisations in all their forms and manifestations. PRD's affiliated organisations are Student Democracy for Indonesian Democracy (SMID), the Centre for Labour Struggle (PPBI), the National Peasants Union (STN), the Indonesian Peoples' Union (SRI), the Jakarta Peoples' Union (SRD) and the Solo Peoples' Union (SRS).(2)

Among the considerations for the banning by the government, it was mentioned that the PRD was not listed by the Department of Home Affairs, not acknowledged by the government and legally was incompatible with existing regulations. Although a number of its leaders were in jail, the organisation and its cadres are still active. "They are still secretly active", said Sutojo.

He said other considerations for the bannings was that the PRD book "Towards a Peoples' Multi-party Democracy" (Menuju Demokrasi Multipartai Kerakyatan) – which includes the organisation's doctrine – has already been banned from distribution by Supreme Court decision Number 079/JA/08/1996.

Legally, said Sutojo, the bannings are in accordance with Articles 26 and 27 of Law Number 8, 1985. The articles stipulate that the government has the authority to disband and organisation without prior notice. Both Sutojo and Achdari explained that the category of a banned organisation is not identical with the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI). They are of the opinion that the PRD is not identical with the PKI. Because of this they were banned and the government did not use the same policy it applies to the PKI.

Will this be applied to other organisations or NGOs? Both Achdari and Sutojo said that the government may apply it to the Indonesian United Democratic Party (PUDI), the Marhaen Peoples' Movement and the Indonesian Workers Prosperity Union (SBSI). "It is possible that I will extend [the decision to include] similar organisations which are not in line with the law", said Sutojo.

Translators notes:

MPR: Mejalis Permusyawaratan Rakyat, People's Consultative Assembly. The highest legislative body in the country with 1,000 members, 425 of whom are elected with the remainder being appointed by the president. It meets once every five years (usually around a year after the general elections) to hear an outgoing report from the president, enact the Broad Outlines of State Policy (Garis Besar Haluan Negara, GBHN) and to vote on nominations for the president and vice-president. The next session of the MPR will be held in March 1998. Although not mentioned, two other organisations, Peoples' Art Network (JAKER) and Indoesian Peoples' Solidarity Struggle with the Maubre People (SPRIM) are also affiliated with the PRD.

[Translated by James Balowski, ASIET (Action in Solidarity with Indonesia and East Timor) Publications and Information Officer. The PRD's response to news of the impending banning is included in ASIET NetNews #37.]