Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Journal launching and public seminar: Indonesian Foreign Policy Making, the Role of Civil Society Organisations in Mainstreaming Human Rights

I attended an interesting presentation at Universitas Parahyangan (UNPAR) in October. It was titled “SUR Journal Launching and Public Seminar: Indonesian Foreign Policy making, the role of civil Society Organisations (CSO) in mainstreaming Human Rights.

This was the launch of the 20th Edition, and this excellent  journal is produced in English, Portuguese and Spanish, available online or in print. It was jointly arranged by KONTRAS, CONECTAS (Brazil), Universitas Parahyangan (UNPAR), the Indonesian Institute of Sciences – Center For Political Studies (LIPI) also provided a speaker.

The general feeling was not optimistism but hope that Jokowi-Kalla will address human rights issues. Many of these organisations however, are not confident they will. They note that Jokowi has made no specific mention of Human Rights as a priority or a matter of concern.

The overarching shadow of Megawati and her composition of Jokowi’s cabinet further makes it unlikely. They noted that the Defense Minister, Gen Ryamizard Ryacudu, within Megawati’s inner circle has a record of serious human rights abuses especially in Aceh and East Timor.

They also talked about how Hendropriyono, the former ex head of Badan Intelligen Negara (BIN), and suspect in the death of the human rights activist Munir remains a key adviser, and his son-in-law is the new head of the Presidential Guard. Sjafrie, another suspected war criminal has been proposed as the new head of BIN.

The new government will apparently be much more nationalistic and it is likely that things like the Lombok Treaty will be re-assessed and maritime boundaries will be a key area of discontent and potentially prove unsettling and an area of conflict with Australia.

Colin Singer
Chairman, Foreign Relations Committee and Social and Political Director, Indonesia Institute

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