Margareth S. Aritonang | The Jakarta Post | Jakarta | Wed, January 18, 2017 | 08:46 pm

The absence of an appropriate mechanism to resolve past human rights abuses has hampered President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s efforts to realize his commitment to tackle the sensitive issue, an official has said.

Ifdhal Kasim from the Office of the Presidential Staff told victims of rights abuses and their relatives on Wednesday that the Presidential Palace was still receiving input on how best to resolve cases of gross human rights violations in the past.

The former head of the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) asserted that President Jokowi would prioritize law enforcement and human rights promotion and protection in his third year after focusing on infrastructure development in his first two years.

“We are searching for ways that are applicable [to solving rights abuses] that will be endorsed to the President,” Ifdhal said. “We haven’t obtained a final and optimal formula to deal with the matter”.

Jokowi’s administration has faced strong criticism from victims of past rights abuses and their relatives as well as human rights campaigners since the first day of his term, following his controversial move to give individuals implicated in past abuses positions in his administration.

They include former State Intelligence Agency (BIN) head AM Hendropriyono, who is accused of being involved in the 1989 Talangsari massacre and the murder of prominent human rights activist Munir Said Thalib. Such criticism grew significantly after he appointed Wiranto, who is implicated in forced disappearances of pro-democracy activists, as coordinating political, legal and security affairs minister.

Other unresolved cases Jokowi repeatedly promised to resolve during his presidential campaign include the Trisakti University shootings, the Semanggi I and Semanggi II student shootings in 1998 and 1999, the mysterious killings of alleged criminals in the 1980s, the anti-communist massacres of 1965 and various abuses that took place in Wasior and Wamena in Papua in 2001 and 2003. (ebf)

Source: The Jakarta Post