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Demonstrations at the Kontras, Imparsial and PBHI offices

Tempo Interactive - February 6, 2004

Muhamad Fasabeni, Jakarta – Arriving in three Metro Mini Number 79 busses at 11am, around 60 people demonstrated at the offices of the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras), the Indonesian Legal Aid Association (PBHI) and Indonesian Human Rights Watch (Imparsial) on Friday February 6 at 11am. They were lead by Taufik from the Pesisir Tangerang Social Resources Foundation.

They first went to the Kontras’ offices then to the offices of PBHI and Imparsial. At the Kontras’ offices they held speeches and a “happening-art” action rejecting non-government organisations (NGO) which have been infiltrated by capitalists.

"Local agents have become an important part of, and cannot be separated from a program of expansion by foreign parties and NGOs which have been infiltrated by capitalist”, said one of the demonstrators.

They also demanded that NGOs must be fair and objective in enforcing human rights and rejected all forms of foreign intervention. “Human rights must not become a political tool and an extension of the hands of foreigners”, said one of the speakers. They also shouted “don’t sell the Indonesian nation”.

Taufik said that the aim of the demonstration was because in their view NGO always think that they are right. “We are concerned about the nation, so we feel pity for military leaders who are continually being harassed and hurt”, said Taufik.

When asked why they held demonstrations against these three NGOs, Taufik responded by saying that it was because these three NGO were very well know by the public.

At the Imparsial offices they were unable to enter the grounds and only held a demonstration outside which blocked the street and caused a traffic jam because only one lane was left free. During the demonstration they were escorted by members of the police.

At the PBHI offices, according to Taufik, they were met by the head of PBHI, Hendardi, and Basir Bahuga, although there was no dialogue. “We didn’t hold a dialogue [with them] because we only intended to express our views”, he said. They brought a number of banners with them some of which read “Where is human rights justice located” and “Don’t sell the country for personal interests”.

Basir Bahuga from PBHI’s legal division, said that he truly regretted the action because the aim of the demonstration was not clear. He also added that although Hendardi was there, they did not ask for a dialogue.

[Translated by James Balowski.]

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