January 17, 2023
JAKARTA – President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo is expected to tour some regions in the country to hold a meeting with survivors and families of human rights abuses as part of an effort to bring closure to past atrocities.
Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Mahfud M.D. said on Monday that President Jokowi was serious about finding resolutions for past human rights abuses and the trip would be an opening salvo in the effort.
“These ceremonial trips will show the public that the government means business. It is likely that the President will make a visit to places like Aceh and Talangsari,” Mahfud told reporters on Sunday, referring to two places where the Indonesian Military (TNI) personnel were alleged to have committed human rights violations against civilians during the New Order and early Reformasi period.
Last week President Jokowi expressed deep regret over gross human rights violations during the country’s post-colonial past, going back to the mass killing of communists and suspected sympathizers in the mid-1960s.
He cited 11 other rights incidents, spanning a period between 1965 and 2003, including the killing and abduction of students blamed on security forces during protests against New Order strongman Soeharto’s autocratic rule in the late 1990s.
“I, as a head of state, acknowledge that there were gross human rights violations that did happen in many events,” said Jokowi.
“And I strongly regret that those violations occurred.”
On Monday, Mahfud added that the government would hold meetings with survivors and families of past atrocities who currently reside overseas and issue policies that would guarantee their rights as Indonesian citizens.
Mahfud said the government eyed Geneva, Amsterdam or a city in Russia to be the site of meetings with the Indonesian diaspora.
Jokowi has tasked Mahfud, Law and Human Rights Minister Yasonna Laoly and Foreign Minister Retno L.P. Marsudi to prepare logistics for the meetings.
“Those who now live overseas should also get the same message and this again shows that we are serious,” Mahfud said as quoted by Kompas.