The Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras), a non-governmental organization advocating human rights issues, wants President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to make use of the last five months of his term of office to stop all forms and manifestations of human rights discrimination in Indonesia.
“In the last days of his presidency, President Yudhoyono should be able to stop human rights discrimination which has continued to occur,” Kontras coordinator Haris Azhar in a statement in Jakarta on Saturday, as quoted by Antara news agency.
He said it was time for Yudhoyono, as a President who bore responsibilities to uphold the Constitution, to take measures to protect every Indonesian citizen without exception and to make sure their constitutional rights were upheld.
The activist further said the current government had a responsibility not to pass on such a negative situation to the new government that would soon take leadership of the country.
“The new Indonesian President, whoever he or she is, will always have a similar constitutional responsibility, namely to uphold the 1945 Constitution,” said Haris, adding that the new leader must put forward and uphold justice and prosperity for all Indonesian people.
Earlier, international human rights watchdog Amnesty International said the new head of state elected in the July presidential election must prioritize the handling of human rights violations that had continued to happen and revoke repressive and discriminative laws.
Amnesty International deputy director for Asia Pacific, Ruppert Abbott, said that during ten years of President Yudhoyono’s leadership, Indonesia had only recorded sporadic progress in maintaining human rights. Some setbacks had reportedly reoccurred in a number of fields, such as the government’s policy to put the death penalty into effect again after suspending it for four years.
Attacks and persecutions against minority religious groups, such as Ahmadiyah, had also increased during President Yudhoyono’s leadership, which were getting worse with laws passed both at national and regional level that had discriminate and violate certain human rights, he added.
Nevertheless, Abbott said, Indonesia had also recorded some achievements, such as playing an important role in the establishment of ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights, a regional agency that is tasked with ensuring human rights are upheld in Southeast Asia.