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PKI issue being used to block resolution of 1965 human rights violations

Merdeka.com - May 10, 2016

Dieqy Hasbi Widhana – Following the 1965 International People's Tribunal (IPT65) in The Hague and the National Symposium on the 1966 Tragedy in Jakarta, there has been widespread arrests of people for using hammer-and-sickle symbols.

This increased after President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo asked Coordinating Minister for Politics, Security and Legal Affairs Luhut Binsar Panjaitan to find evidence of mass graves of victims of the 1965 killings.

Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) impunity monitoring division head Feri Kusuma believes there is a plot to create an unfavorable political climate in the context of resolving cases of human right violations in 1965. This is because post the 1965 symposium, there has been an escalation in arrests and the forced closure of public discussions on 1965.

"This is an effort to obstruct the real facts or truth behind the 65 affair. There is resistance from groups who we strongly suspect were involved in the crimes. There are also groups who are being paid to create an unfavorable political climate. And of course there are irresponsible groups that don't agree with the state's attempts to resolve the 1965 cases", said Feri when contacted by Merdeka.com on Monday May 9.

Feri says that there are intolerant groups who are intentionally creating fear over the rise of the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) so that society is hostile to issues directly or indirectly related to the PKI.

"So the security forces should not be too repressive in responding to communist symbols. The security forces should remain neutral in resolving these issues. If there are groups that are taking the law into their own hands, just deal with these groups. These symbols only represent an ideology and are the same as the symbols of a [political] party or other organisation, right. It's only been made an issue by creating fear that the PKI is evil, anti-religion, atheist and the like", he said.

It is precisely because the issue is full of negative stereotypes about the PKI that makes the TNI (Indonesian military) and Polri (national police) so quick to prosecute people without any clear grounds. It is also exploited by intolerant groups to take the law into their own hands.

"This is because of weak law enforcement, the weakness of the security forces. So intolerant groups are increasingly free to take the law into their own hands. In the name of the state, in the name of the majority they draw conclusions that punish other people", he said.

According to Feri, President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo is trying to redeem himself for his failure to keep his pledge in the Nawa Cinta (Nine Priority Program), namely the resolution of past gross human rights violations. Meanwhile for Feri the problem is mutual one for Indonesia as a nation so it has to be shouldered together.

"I've checked with victims, no victims have ever printed T-shirts with pictures of the hammer-and-sickle. Most of the victims of 65 aren't political party cadres, they're people who were accused of being in the PKI political party in the past", he said.

Feri also explained that on Monday May 9 he managed to meet with Panjaitan at his office. During the meeting Feri raised the issue where the security forces and [sections of] society have indicated their resistance to resolving past human rights violations. This has been demonstrated in sweeps for and the prosecution of people wearing hammer-and-sickle symbols. "Pak Luhut said he would guarantee the security of all victims", he said.

Feri explained that the issue of the 1965 cases is not an issue of the reemergence of the PKI. There is no party issue there. Rather it represents a problem of the victims who suffered as a result of past political conflicts.

"This is simply a humanitarian problem were there were people who became victims of power during the New Order regime [of former President Suharto]. What the victims are asking for is the state taking responsibility for resolving [past] human rights violations. We want them to be resolved through a legal process, either in the courts or outside the courts, by consistently prioritising human rights values. Particularly the rights of victims". [eko]

[Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service. The original title of the report was Marak isu kebangkitan PKI untuk jegal penuntasan kasus HAM 1965.]

Source: http://www.merdeka.com/peristiwa/marak-isu-kebangkitan-pki-untuk-jegal-penuntasan-kasus-ham-1965.html.

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