Responsibility towards Victims

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  • TEMPO.CO, JakartaThe government has made it easier for compensation to be paid out to victims of terrorism. But it is still not yet on the side of the victims of human rights violations.

    THE bombing in Bali on October 12, 2002, is always remembered as the deadliest terrorist attack in Indonesia. But the fate of those directly affected is often forgotten: the people suffering permanent scars or who have had bomb fragments in their heads for years, and of course, those who lost their jobs after the bombing.

    Government Regulation No. 7/2018 covered the payment of compensation, reimbursement and assistance for victims of terrorism. However, the fact is that it was not easy for victims to make use of it because the compensation could only be given following a court ruling. It is this regulation that was subsequently changed in July. Under this new regulation -- Government Regulation No. 35/2020 -- the process of paying compensation to victims of terrorism is easier. Last week, the Victim and Witness Protection Agency began to pay out compensation for the survivors of the Bali bombing.

    This regulation was actually produced to provide assistance to witnesses and victims, including victims of human rights abuses. The Victim and Witness Protection Agency is tasked with determining whether victims should be given assistance. And it is this regulation that was used to provide compensation for the Bali bomb victims.

    Unfortunately, under the new regulation, it is still not easy for the victims of human rights violations to make use of the easier procedures. The article stating that compensation can be claimed when the case is still under investigation was not changed. The problem is that compensation must be proposed and decided on by a Human Rights Court. As we know, these trials take a long time, especially for serious human rights offenses in the past that require a political process in the House of Representatives through the establishment of ad hoc courts. As a result, those affected by human rights cases in the past have not received compensation. The new regulation still does not side with them.

    In principle, the state should take responsibility for both the victims of terrorist attacks and of human rights abuses. They are both victims of the failure of the state to protect its citizens. The cost of medical treatment and trauma therapy should be covered by the state.

    In the last three years alone there have been at least seven terrorist attacks, from the bomb attack on Jalan Thamrin to the bombing in Sidoarjo, East Java, that killed 31 people and injured 87. Those who died had families who are traumatized and who have suffered economically as a result of the terror attacks. The people who were injured also have families, and this means that many people are traumatized. The number of victims of human rights violations is also large. Acts of violence in Papua, including those tried in Human Rights Courts, can serve as an example.

    The Victim and Witness Protection Law obliges the state to recognize them as victims, meaning they should be paid compensation for medical treatment and psychological injuries. However, the budget for this agency has fallen in the last five years from Rp160 billion to only Rp54 billion this year. This reduction means that there is also less money to pay compensation for the victims.

    Since there is nothing in this new regulation to make it easier for victims of human rights abuses to obtain compensation, the government must draw up a special scheme for them. The requirement for approval by a court makes it difficult for them to obtain their rights. The bureaucracy needs to be simplified for these victims, most of who are not well-educated.

    Read the Complete Story in Tempo English Magazine