The government must be serious about bringing a raft of alleged human rights abuses to trial, in light of international scrutiny of Indonesia’s track record, a senior opposition legislator said on Friday.
Tjahjo Kumolo, the secretary general of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), said no indications of rights abuse should be ignored.
“No matter how small the cases, human rights problems should be dealt with,” he said “As with a wound, it should be cleaned. All cases should be resolved legally.”
Indonesia, he said, had a ministry specifically for human rights issues, as well as an independent rights commission and a host of nongovernmental organizations concerned with the issue, giving the government little excuse to ignore any cases.
Tjahjo’s remarks came a week after Indonesia was criticized at a United Nations rights review for a rise in intolerance and attacks against religious minorities, as well as impunity for security forces accused of rights violations.
Tjahjo said the impact of failing to address these problems was severe, citing a previous US prohibition on arms sales to Indonesia in light of abuses by the military in East Timor.
“We could face international isolation. It’s only reasonable to expect other countries to spotlight human rights conditions in Indonesia,” he said.
He added that a blanket apology from the government for past rights abuses was not enough.
“It’s not just a matter of apologizing. Human rights matters should be settled justly, so that the victims can obtain legal certainty,” Tjahjo said.