Human Rights Day: Indonesia Refuses to Reconcile with Dark Past

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  • National Resilience Institute (Lemhanas) Governor Agus Widjojo. TEMPO/Subekti

    National Resilience Institute (Lemhanas) Governor Agus Widjojo. TEMPO/Subekti

    TEMPO.CO, Jakarta -  National Resilience Institute (Lemhannas) Governor Agus Widjojo said Indonesia was not ready yet to reconcile with severe human rights violation in the past. He added that Indonesians had not achieved the required moral foundation to achieve that level yet. 

    “The Indonesian public is not prepared to enter reconciliation. Why? We have yet to obtain the moral high ground,” said Agus today in his speech at the commemoration of the International Human Rights Day at Hotel Royal Kuningan, South Jakarta. 

    Agus said human rights violators shared the same amount of sin, yet both parties had shown signs that they could not fully accept the dark past, said Agus, who is a survivor of one of Indonesia’s bleak historical past, the September 30, 1965 purge.

    Agus took the 1965 purge as an example, saying that many had failed to mention that the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) had also been accountable for numerous violations prior to October 2, 1965. 

    Read: KontraS: Human Rights Issues Not Priority for Jokowi-JK 

    “From the state’s point of view, the government has a major sin. But they could not move on from ‘the state can do no wrong’ perception,” said Agus.

    Agus went on to say that reconciliation was still hampered by the misconception adopted by state agencies, which often protected its personnel that were guilty of criminal violations in hopes of defending their organization’s reputation.

    Furthermore, Agus deems that moral high ground measures a civilization’s maturity and is deeply necessary. And without it, he continued, reconciliation would be impossible. “This goes to show that our civilization is not that advanced. We are still locked in a culture based on vengeance, a culture of violence,” said Agus.

    Agus then gave an example of the human rights court formed to handle the Serbian case, Yugoslavia, and Cambodia.

    However, he said that Japan was able to cover its dark past during the second world war in the name of national interest. “That is an example of how difficult it is to resolve past human rights violations,” said Agus.