The Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence has reported House of Representatives Deputy Speaker Priyo Budi Santoso to the House Ethics Council over a statement he made about the mass killings of 1965.
Haris Azhar, coordinator for the rights group known as Kontras, along with victims and families of victims of the 1965 massacre, as well as other tragedies, reported Priyo on Thursday.
“He said it’s not important to bring up the past,” Haris said. “This kind of statement is very inappropriate.”
Priyo violated the House code of ethics in several ways, including for failing to carry out the people’s mandate and not respecting democracy and human rights, Haris said.
“Under the law, the government has the responsibility to solve cases of human rights violations,” Haris said. “And it’s Priyo’s duty to supervise the solving of the human rights cases.
Priyo said on Tuesday that Indonesia should put the events of 1965 behind it. He was speaking in response to findings by the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) that the 1965 killings were crimes against humanity committed by the state under former strongman President Suharto.
On Thursday, Priyo claimed that Kontras’s report to the House Ethics Council was an exaggeration.
“I was just giving my opinion that we should look to the future,” said Priyo, a Golkar Party politician. “I never suggested we bury [the findings].”
He insisted that he sympathized with the victims and was merely offering an alternative solution.
Kontras asked the Ethics Council to investigate the political motives behind Priyo’s statement.
“Golkar, with its background as the party that benefited from the New Order regime, might be afraid that the case will be unveiled,” Haris said. “In the future, we must think of punishing Golkar to prevent its members from issuing counterproductive statements.”
Pudjo Untung, 70, one of the victims of the killings of 1965, said Priyo did not understand that the historical scars had yet to heal.
“Komnas HAM has issued a recommendation that the incident was a serious human rights violation and Priyo should have represented the people. What Priyo did showed that he really doesn’t understand history,” Pudjo said.
Millions were killed during the horrors of 1965, Pudjo said. For all this time, the atrocities had been covered up and obscured by the authorities, but now Indonesians must come to terms with the past.
“History was kept in the dark and as long as it’s kept in the dark, the problem is still not solved, and we’ll still be discriminated against,” he said.