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Nationalist group accuses ICW, Kontras and LBH of racism, demands apology

CNN Indonesia - February 26, 2024

Jakarta – Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW) knowledge management division coordinator Wana Alamsyah said that his agency had never committed acts of racism in any form.

Alamsyah conveyed this to counter accusations made by dozens of people protesting in the name of the Student and Youth Social Forum for the Love of the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia.

"We have never stated or given statements about racism against any group, let alone people who are demonstrating", said Alamsyah at the ICW offices in Jakarta on Monday February 26.

Alamsyah said ICW had tried to hold a dialogue with the group during the action that was held today but they closed the door to any dialogue. Alamsyah said they wanted to know who carried out acts of racism as alleged by the group.

"We wanted to ask. if indeed ICW is being accused of making an attempt or giving a statement about racism, who did it this or who stated this and then when and what was the context at that time", he said.

He also stated that ICW would not take any position regarding accusations of racism from the demonstrators. "At this time we will not make or express any kind of position regarding what was conveyed earlier, especially regarding the demands they made", he said.

Earlier today, dozens of people protested at the ICW offices. Based on CNN Indonesia's observations, they arrived at ICW using at least public minivans (angkot) at around 2.03 pm.

The protesters then lined up in front of the ICW office. They also brought a megaphone and banners reading "We of the East Love Peace and Unity and Bhineka Tunggal Ika (unity in diversity, the country's motto)".

Another banner read "Anti-racism, what, black skinned, curly haired [people] and thugs are not human" and "Ask LBH, Kontras, to apologise immediately and unscrupulous students who plan treason to be immediately arrested and legally prosecuted", referring to the Legal Aid Foundation and the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence.

A representative of the protesters, Abdul Aziz, stated that they will also report ICW to the national police headquarters (Mabes Polri) over the alleged acts of racism.

"Earlier we were at the LBH in Cikini. Then we went to Komnas HAM [the National Human Rights Commission], thirdly here (ICW). We also want to go to the Lokataru [Human Rights Foundation]. Then we also want to go to the Mabes to report it", said Aziz.

Aziz accused ICW of labeling easterners as thugs. Aziz said that the statement made by ICW was related to a video of his group that went viral on social media. The video shows a number of students from eastern Indonesia who disagreed with a student action at the Trilogy University campus some time ago.

ICW was cited by Aziz as one of the institutions that took part in making the video go viral. Yet, said Aziz, his group's disagreement was because the issue brought up by students at that time was the impeachment of President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo.

"Our video went viral as if we were not students, [as if] we were thugs intimidating certain fellow students", he said.

"Many people used the video, in this case saying that one of the groups of one of the candidates used thugs to intimidate [the students], took advantage of us. For example, we are against it, ICW too, LBH", he added.

When asked which viral video he was referring to, Aziz admitted he could not point it out. However, he insisted the video went viral and offended him. "You ask about keywords, I don't know, I'm gaptek [technologically clueless]. If you ask me about technological issues, I'm gaptek", he said.

During the demonstration earlier this afternoon, the protesters also gave ICW an ultimatum to immediately apologise in the media. According to Aziz, this is an easy thing that ICW can do to atone for its mistakes.

"So essentially we are giving them 1x24 hours for an apology. An apology is good, and we will forgive them. And if they don't make an apology, who wants to be insulted? We can also play the high role. How come this country is like this", he said. (wis)

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "ICW Bantah Tuduhan Rasisme, Massa Aksi Beri Ultimatum".]

Source: https://www.cnnindonesia.com/nasional/20240226172115-20-1067510/icw-bantah-tuduhan-rasisme-massa-aksi-beri-ultimatu