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Rights watchdog says seminar closure makes Widodo's commitment to human rights look hypocritical

Kompas.com - September 16, 2017

Fabian Januarius Kuwado, Jakarta – Amnesty International regrets the police's closure of a seminar titled Revealing Historical Truths 1965/1966 that was to be held at the Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation (YLBHI) offices in Central Jakarta on Saturday September 19.

"The banning of this seminar adds to the long list of censoring activities [related to] uncovering the truth behind the 1965/1966 affair", said Amnesty International Indonesia Director Usman Hamid in a press release received by Kompas on Saturday afternoon.

"This ban represents the erroneous implementation of laws that clearly guarantees the freedom of all citizens to associate and peacefully express an opinion. This trend must end", he continued.

Yet this symposium was to present victims, academics, human rights activists, former members of the military and government representatives.

The symposium was to be based on the National Human Rights Commission's (Komnas HAM) final report in July 2012 which stated that the 1965/1966 affair fulfilled the criteria of crimes against humanity.

Usman added that the police's banning goes against the commitment made by President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo who stated a desire to release the younger generation from this historical burden by supporting efforts to uncover the truth about past gross human rights violations, including the 1965/1966 affair.

"The ban by police makes the president's commitment look hypocritical. Now is the time for President Jokowi to listen to the voices of the victims rather than the police who are [trying to] silence them", said Usman.

As has been reported, the Metro Jaya district police forcibly closed down a seminar at the YLBHI offices on Jl. Diponegoro in the Menteng area of Central Jakarta on Saturday afternoon.

Metro Jaya public relations chief Senior Commissioner Argo Yuwono said that police closed down the event because it did not have a permit.

"If you bring together lots people then hold an activity without prior notification or a police permit, yes then we are justified in closing it down. Because there was no (notification) from the organising committee given to police", said Yuwono in Jakarta.

Yuwono denied allegations that the event was closed down because the seminar was to discuss gross human rights violations in 1965/1966. Yuwono is also asserted that the closure was done in accordance with prevailing regulations and laws.

[Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service. The original title of the article was Amnesti Internasional Kecam Pembubaran Seminar Sejarah 1965.]

Source: http://nasional.kompas.com/read/2017/09/16/17105771/amnesti-internasional-kecam-pembubaran-seminar-sejarah-1965.

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