Source: Coconut, september 15 2016
When President Joko Widodo tapped former General Wiranto to be his new coordinating minister for political, legal and security affairs during his last cabinet reshuffle, many human rights activists took it as the final nail in the coffin for their hopes that Jokowi would keep his promise of resolving the Indonesian government’s past human rights abuses.
That’s because Wiranto, who is also the chief of the Hanura Party, had been indicted by the UN for crimes against humanity that were allegedly perpetrated by military backed militias in East Timor in 1999. He was also the commander of the nation’s military in 1998, when systematic human rights abuses are known to have taken place in cities throughout the country.
Thus, the idea that Wiranto would seriously attempt to investigate and resolve any of the government’s past human rights abuses, such as the mass killings that took place from 1965-1966, seemed extremely unlikely.
However, Wiranto said yesterday that he was in fact very serious about investigating those issues and would build upon the work of his predecessor, Luhut B. Pandjaitan, in resolving them.
“People say, ‘Pak Wiranto later will not resolve them’. Well I will solve them, I assure you,” Wiranto said yesterday at the Parliament Complex as quoted byCNN Indonesia.
Wiranto said that he would follow the recommendations from the “National Symposium to Dissect the 1965 Tragedy from a Historical Perspective”, a conference organized by Luhut which brought together both the survivors of the mass killing as well as former members of the military at the time.
Although Luhut organized the symposium, he also made clear with his remarks at the event that the government would never “apologize” for the mass killings, a sentiment also expressed several times by President Jokowi.
Wiranto shared similar sentiments, saying that while he would try to resolve the 1965 mass killings as well as other human rights issues, it was important to do so in way that would not cause more problems for the country in the future and would not favor one side over the other.
Activist groups are already saying Wiranto is not living up to his promise. The Chairman of the Foundation to Research the Victims of 1965 (YPKP 1965), Bejo Untung, told Kompas that he had recently received a letter from Wiranto’s ministry denying them a hearing with the minister in order to discuss the recommendations of the April symposium, stating that the issue had already been discussed by the coordinating minister for politics and thus no audience was needed.