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Human rights cases unresolved, 98 activist's support for Jokowi questioned
Tirto.id - July 9, 2018
Such was Maria Catarina Sumarsih's response to a statement of support for President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo by 98 activists in the lead up to the 2019 elections which was celebrated at an event titled 98 Activists National Meeting in Kemayoran, Jakarta, on Saturday July 7.
Sumarsih is the mother of Bernardinus Realino Norma Irmawan, an Atma Jaya University student who was killed during the Semanggi I student shootings in Jakarta in 1998. She is also one of the active participants in the Kamisan or Thursday Actions which have been held weekly at the National Monument (Monas) Aspiration Park in front of the State Palace since 2007.
As a parent of a victim of the Semanggi I tragedy Sumarsih does not agree with last week's declaration of support for Widodo. She questions this support from two view points.
First, she questions the realisation of Widodo's pledge to resolve past cases of gross human rights violations, including the Semanggi I tragedy, as laid out in Widodo's Nawa Cita or nine point priority program.
"Actually the [the pledge to resolve past human rights cases] was just empty talk. It was just an attempt to garner votes in the last  presidential election", Sumarsih told Tirto on Monday July 9.
Second, the problems that have emerged after Widodo appointed former armed forces chief Wiranto as Coordinating Minister for Security, Politics and Legal Affairs (Menko Polhukam). She believes that Wiranto's presence in Widodo's cabinet has not expedited the resolution of past gross human rights violations.
She further questioned the handling of past gross human rights violations if Wiranto continues to hold the post of Menko Polhukam. This is because Sumarsih is of the view that Wiranto is the person who should be held accountable for the human rights violations in 1998.
"If then Pak Jokowi assigns Pak Wiranto [to oversea a resolution], then what will the results of the study [into resolving past human rights cases] be and what dossiers will then be studied by Pak Jokowi?", said Sumarsih.
"The truth for me is that Pak President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo, by appointing Pak Wiranto as Menko Polhukam, does not give me any hope in Pak Jokowi's administration [to resolve past cases of human rights violations", said Sumarsih.
A message for 98 activists
The woman who won the 2004 Yap Thiam Hien human rights award says that she once conveyed a message to 1998 activists to be ready to hold important positions in the administration when they once came to a Kamisan action. According to Sumarsih the presence of 98 activists in state institutions is needed to realise the agenda of reformasi.
She also urged 98 activists not to join Wiranto's People's Conscience Party (Hanura), former general Prabowo Subianto's Greater Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra) or Suharto's former ruling party Golkar, because she believes that these three political parties were established by and developed by people alleged to be responsible for the 1998 tragedy.
The woman who originates from the Central Java city of Salatiga, hopes that the 98 activists will start to think about an alternative candidate from within their own ranks which they can back in the 2019 presidential elections.
If 98 activists declare their own presidential and vice-presidential candidates, Sumarsih is prepared to support them and take part in the campaign.
"There should be no need for support [for Jokowi from 98 activists]. If necessary I will as a family member of a victim declare, agitate for, who is appropriate to support as a capres [presidential candidate] and cawapres [vice-presidential candidate] in 2019 [from activists groups themselves", said Sumarsih.
Support for Widodo
During the 98 Activists National Conference late last week, the organising committee claimed that 60 thousand people attended. The conference made seven recommendations which were read out in front of Widodo.
First, the conference participants agreed to safeguard the Republic of Indonesia from the threat of intolerance, radicalism and terrorism and reject the use of ethnic, racial, religious and inter-group issues (SARA) in practical politics.
Second that they want to continue the struggle for reformasi to fight the practices of corruption, collusion and nepotism (KKN). Third, the activists want to safeguard democracy from the threat of authoritarianism and militarism.
Forth, the participants agreed to fight for the resolution of past human rights cases and proposed that the student activists who were victims of the 1998 student shootings be declared as national heroes.
They also asked that the government declare July 7 as Hari Bhinneka Tunggal Ika (Unity in Diversity Day).
Finally, they declared their support for Widodo as a presidential candidate in the 2019 elections. They said they were convinced that Widodo is capable of realising the ideals promoted by reformasi in 1998 because he does not have a background of economic, political or humanitarian crimes.
When asked to explain in more detail about the conference agenda, Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P, Widodo's ruling party) politician Adian Napitupulu declined to comment.
Napitupulu was one of the politicians who seen attending the event. The spokesperson for the conference, Wahab Tolehu, also declined to comment despite attempts by Tirto to contact him by phone and SMS.
Responding to the event, 98 activist and executive director of the Lokataru Foundation Haris Azhar said that events such as this cannot be avoided in the lead up to the 2019 elections.
"The 98 alumni are many. Those that attended the event in Kemayoran yesterday were only a fraction. Most have different political perspectives. I'm sure that many 98 alumni also have criticisms about today's regime which still has a craving for power", Azhar told Tirto.
Although he sees it as being quite normal, Azhar believes that it is inappropriate to hold political activities in the name of 98 activists. Azhar expressed this view because he believes that the label "98 activists" is merely a historical identity.
The former coordinator of the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) said that no organisation of 98 activists has currently been established. Because of this, Azhar says that it is not impossible that there will be a similar declaration by other 98 activists in the future.
"Later a 98 activists declaration rejecting Jokowi could also take place, or a neutral [declaration]", said Azhar.
[Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service. The original title of the article was Kasus HAM Belum Tuntas, Dukungan Aktivis 98 ke Jokowi Dipertanyakan.]
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