Saturday, 18 January 2020

Mahfud MD's Quest to Solve Human Rights Abuse Called into Doubt

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Laila Afifa

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  • Coordinating Minister for Politics, Law, and Human Rights Mahfud MD during the introduction of Indonesia Onward Cabinet at the State Palace veranda, Jakarta, Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2019. TEMPO/Subekti

    Coordinating Minister for Politics, Law, and Human Rights Mahfud MD during the introduction of Indonesia Onward Cabinet at the State Palace veranda, Jakarta, Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2019. TEMPO/Subekti

    TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - A number of human rights activists expressed pessimism for newly sworn-in Coordinating Minister of Politics, Law, and Human Rights Mahfud MD in solving past human rights violations. 

    According to the group, Mahfud alone will not be able to bring light to severe human rights violations without the utmost support from President Jokowi. 

    “We appreciate Professor Mahfud’s statement, but only Mahfud alone is nothing if Pak Jokowi does not condition his Cabinet to reach the same goal,” said the Indonesian Legal Aid Institute (YLBHI) head of advocacy M. Isnur in Jakarta on Thursday, October 24. 

    The minister’s plan to solve past human rights violation cases, says Isnur, will also be hampered by Prabowo Subianto, who was appointed by Jokowi as Indonesia’s defense minister. 

    Isnur said that Prabowo in the past had been incriminated in the kidnapping of pro-democracy activists in 1998, which he believes will be a sturdy wall in Mahfud’s quest to solve past cases. 

    “I guess it is near impossible for Mahfud MD to expose past human rights violation cases if his fellow Cabinet member is Prabowo,” he said. 

    Echoing Isnur’s statement, a researcher for the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) Dimas Bagus Arya highlighted the commitment, or the lack of, shown by Jokowi to truly solve these issues. 

    M ROSSENO AJI