Monday, November 30, 2020

Human Rights Abuses in Post-Suharto Indonesia

Menschenrechte in Indonesien und Timor-Leste 2020
Watch Indonesia!

In July 1997, when the Asian economic crisis began to hit Indonesia, as a journalist, I also began to travel to many parts of Indonesia, the world’s fourth most-populated country, covering the disappearance of staple foods from markets and suppression of uprisings.

In May 1998, President Suharto stepped down after 33 years in power. But the violence became bigger with many ethnic and religious groups trying to seize more political power and economic benefit from Java Island -- Indonesia’s most important island where both Suharto and his predecessor Sukarno had centralized governance since the 1950s.

On Sumatra Island, Aceh freedom fighters openly organized their ceremonies with AK-47s, having deadly clashes with the Indonesian military. On Kalimantan Island, at least 6,500 ethnic Madurese minorities were massacred as rival ethnic Dayak and Malay militants flaunted their muscles, demanding more say in governing the natural resource-rich island. On Sulawesi Island, the tension broke off around Lake Poso in which 600 people were killed in the Muslim-versus-Christian violence. 

East Timor was burned after Indonesia lost in the August 1999 referendum, opening the gate of history, and making the tiny nation a new sovereign state. In Papua and West Papua provinces, state repression against indigenous people simply continued with new forest concessions and mining operations. 

The biggest violence, however, took place in the Moluccas Islands where Christian militias battling Muslim jihadists, involving a large Salafi group that sent more than 5,000 fighters from Java. Several Afghanistan war veterans, including Al Qaeda’s operators, also went to the Moluccas Islands. It killed at least 25,000 people between 1999 and 2005. At least, 90,000 people were killed in that violent period in Indonesia.

In Jakarta, student protesters demanded, “Reformasi.” It was the most difficult battle cry.

Alas, the world did not know about the Indonesian violence.

Al Qaeda launched the September 11, 2001 attacks in New York and Washington, triggering the United States-led wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. The Arab Spring and war in Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East sucked up the international media’s attention.

It reminded me how the Vietnam War had also overshadowed the 1965-69 massacres that took place against communists in Indonesia, killing around 1 million people and outlawing then the third largest communist party in the world (after China and the Soviet Union).

General Suharto rose to power after those mass killings – the biggest one in the history of Indonesia. Post-Suharto presidents did little to address those gross human rights violations, nurturing the culture of impunity and violence. It should not shock any observer when mass violence also took place after Suharto’s departure. 

But President B.J. Habibie allowed a U.N. referendum in East Timor in 1999. President Abdurrahman Wahid revoked the ban on Chinese language, Chinese characters, and Confucianism. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono agreed to a European Union-sponsored peace negotiation on Aceh in 2005.

In 2004, the Indonesian parliament passed the local governance law, decentralizing much of the central authorities to the provinces and regencies. The law says that six sectors will remain the domain of the central government: foreign affairs; defense; policing; judiciary; fiscal, monetary; and religious affairs. But responsibility for everything else, from handing over forest concessions to managing education, was handed over to provincial authorities.

The idea to establish Islamic sharia – something that had been debated since 1945-- emerged again via that law, prompting Muslim politicians in predominantly Muslim provinces to write ordinances that meet “Islamic values.”

Yudhoyono, who ruled between 2004 and 2014, accommodated those demands, ignoring the religious affairs restrictions in the autonomy law. His administration strengthened the blasphemy law office, within the Attorney General Office, prosecuting and jailing 125 individuals for blasphemy in a decade --a steep rise from only 10 cases in the four decades after Sukarno wrote the 1965 blasphemy law.

The blasphemy law recognizes only six religions in Indonesia: Islam; Protestantism; Catholicism; Hinduism; Buddhism; Confucianism. Under the Yudhoyono administration, it was also expanded to discriminate against smaller non-Islam Sunni minorities such as Ahmadiyah and Shia. In 2016, a derivative of the blasphemy law was used to force the violent eviction of more than 7,000 members of the Gafatar religious community from their farm houses on Kalimantan Island.

The blasphemy law became a political weapon to mobilize Muslims, including against Jakarta Governor Basuki Purnama, himself a Christian, in the 2017 local election in which 500,000 Muslim protesters demanded the government to prosecute Purnama. He lost the election and ended up in prison for two years.

In 2006, the Yudhoyono administration also introduced the “religious harmony” regulation, replacing the constitutional principle of “religious freedom.” The principle of “religious harmony” is that the majority has the veto power over the minorities. His administration set up “Religious Harmony Forums” in every province, city, and regency, as “advisory bodies” to approve new houses of worship and other religious matters. The composition of the forums should be proportional with the compositions of the six religions, which in practice entrenches discrimination against minorities. It prompted the closure of more than 1,000 churches in a decade across Indonesia.

Yudhoyono’s  administration tolerated local politicians writing discriminatory regulations against women and girls. In 2016, Indonesia’s National Commission on Violence Against Women (Komnas Perempuan) identified more than 400 discriminatory national and local regulations that harm women, including forcing women and girls to wear the hijab in government buildings, schools, or other public places. They also included curfews, sex segregated sitting areas, and other restrictions against women and girls. The hijab regulations mandate that women and girls wear hijabs, prohibiting them from wearing close-fitting clothing, and requiring them to cover their bodies except their hands, feet, and face.

Some provinces and regencies have introduced local rules that force even non-Muslim girls to wear hijabs, such as West Sumatra and Aceh on Sumatra, and Yogyakarta and Banyuwangi on Java. Some politicians argued that non-Muslim schoolgirls should “adapt” to the Muslim majority. On Lombok Island, a regent even asked female Muslim civil servants to wear the niqab –a full veil that covers the face but their eyes—as well as long dresses that do not reveal the shapes of their bodies.

Gross human rights violations that took place since President Sukarno declared independence in 1945, including the 1965-69 massacres, as well as ethnic and religious violence after the fall of President Suharto, have not been addressed. President Yudhoyono also avoided a U.N. investigation on abuses in East Timor, having only rudimentary trials against some local officials but not touching Indonesian military and police generals involved in the looting and killings there.

When Joko “Jokowi” Widodo won the presidential election in 2014, he promised to find “missing people,” including the famous poet-cum-dissident Wiji Thukul, and to promote religious tolerance. His administration organized a 2015 symposium on the 1965-69 massacres and released Papuan and Moluccan political prisoners, but he stopped there. He did nothing to revoke discriminatory regulations against women and girls or religious minorities. His administration soon arrested Papua and Moluccan activists again, continuing decades of arbitrary detention of political prisoners. Jokowi also tolerated the rise of discriminatory regulations against LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) individuals.

Jokowi and his Indonesian Democratic Party for Struggle (Partai Demokrasi Indonesia Perjuangan, PDIP) chose to use “Pancasila” to promote religious tolerance.

Pancasila was a political compromise made during the declaration of independence in 1945. Pancasila, which is about five principles for Indonesia, was included in the opening of the Constitution. The prepared text began with the first principle that the Republic of Indonesia is based on “the belief in the One and Only God, with the obligation to abide by Islamic law for adherents of Islam.”

On August 17, 1945, delegates from East Indonesia, which included Kalimantan, Sulawesi, Bali, and the Moluccas Islands, successfully argued that the sharia phrase be removed or else they “won’t join Indonesia.” Other Muslim leaders compromised with Pancasila becoming only “Belief in One God.”

But the Sukarno and Suharto regimes used the notion of Pancasila to justify the elimination of their opponents. Suharto used Pancasila to legitimize the mass killings. One of the biggest militias in Indonesia uses Pancasila in its name. It is not a surprise that some Muslim organizations oppose the PDIP’s move to introduce a Pancasila indoctrination law. It is obviously not the answer to eliminate discriminatory regulations and to protect human rights.

Post-Suharto electoral democracy helped reduce ethnic and religious violence but civil liberties, press freedom, women’s rights, children’s rights, religious freedom, and the rights of the minorities, are in decline.

Some popular movements have emerged such as the #ReformasiDikorupsi hashtag (reformasi has been corrupted). In 2019, hundreds of thousands of students, indigenous peoples, and minorities protested when the parliament tried to pass a new Criminal Code with more discriminatory articles that would violate rights. Some Indonesian students began to challenge racism against dark skinned Papuans like the #BlackLivesMatter in the U.S, organizing unprecedented protests against the criminalization of Papuan students and activists.

Indonesian leaders need to learn from the failures of the last seven decades in not addressing past human rights abuses and prevent these historical burdens from being passed down to future generations.

Andreas Harsono works for Human Rights Watch, based in Jakarta, recently published his book Race, Islam and Power: Ethnic and Religious Violence in Post-Suharto Indonesia.

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Dinas Perhubungan Tutup Perlintasan Kereta Palmerah

Pagi ini
 seorang tetangga saya, mengirim surat ke Whatsapp group warga Apartemen Permata Senayan, persis tetangga Menara Kompas. Isinya, surat pemberitahuan dari kepala Dinas Perhubungan Jakarta Syafrin Liputo kepada manajemen Menara Kompas bahwa perlintasan dan jalan depan apartemen akan ditutup mulai besok. 

Liputo menulis bahwa jalan akan ditutup demi "mendukung pelaksanaan program penataan stasiun Palmerah dan peningkatan keselamatan perjalanan kereta api dan pengguna jalan."

Surat ini terdiri dari empat halaman. Ia dikirimkan kepada beberapa gedung sekitar perlintasan termasuk manajemen stasiun Palmerah, sekretariat Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat, SMAN 24, Persatuan Penembak Indonesia, PT Senayan National Golf, Senayan City Mall, Plaza Senayan, STC Senayan, Panin Group, Ratu Plaza, FX Sudirman, TVRI, Kompas Gramedia, Hotel Mulia, Hotel Sulthan, Hotel Century Park, Hotel Fairmont, Gelora Bung Karno dan beberapa perusahaan lagi. Semua gedung ini terletak di Kelurahan Gelora. 

Ironisnya, Apartemen Permata Senayan dan Pasar Palmerah tak termasuk dalam surat pemberitahuan. Sebagai warga Kelurahan Gelora, yang akan terkena dampak dari penutupan jalan ini, saya tahu bahwa warga terbanyak dalam kelurahan ini tinggal di daerah sekitar Pasar Palmerah. 

Gedung dengan jumlah warga terbanyak di kelurahan ini adalah Apartemen Permata Senayan. Gedung-gedung lain di kawasan ini adalah gedung perkantoran dan perbelanjaan. Orang tentu sedikit yang tinggal di sana. 

Liputo menulis bahwa ada timeline penutupan perlintasan dengan sosialisasi pada 16-18 November, pertemuan pers pada 23-25 November, uji coba pada 27-28 November serta ditutup pada 29 November. 

Dalam surat tersebut tak disebutkan hasil studi atau pertimbangan menutup jalan. Berapa orang yang meninggal karena kecelakaan di palang kereta api tersebut? 

Saya sudah tinggal di daerah ini sejak 1993 dan melihat dua persimpangan ditutup: Permata Hijau dan Slipi. Saya lihat penutupan kedua persimpangan tersebut memang memudahkan motorisasi, lalu lintas kendaraan bermotor lebih lancar, namun juga membuat pelanggaran jalur satu arah meningkat. Banyak pengendara motor, yang tak mau berputar beberapa kilometer, melanggar aturan lalu lintas. 

Pejalan kaki dibikin susah untuk berjalan apalagi menyeberangi rel kereta api. Beberapa kali saya menyeberang jalan di Permata Hijau. Wuh ... bahaya sekali. 

Menarik untuk tahu bagaimana evaluasi terhadap penutupan jalan-jalan tersebut. Seberapa jauh ia mengurangi dampak dari motorisasi di Jakarta terutama daerah Pejompongan, Palmerah, Senayan sampai Permata Hijau. 

Bagaimana dampaknya pada polusi udara? Bagaimana dampaknya pada makin sulitnya orang buat bersepeda dan berjalan kaki --dua moda transportasi yang bersahabat dengan alam-- serta dukungan dua moda tersebut terhadap pengembangan kereta api di seluruh daerah Jakarta dan pinggirannya? 

Bukankah pemerintahan Gubernur Anies Baswedan mulai mengembangkan trotoar di Jakarta termasuk daerah sekitar stasiun Palmerah dan Senayan? Bagaimana dengan membangun jembatan buat penyeberang yang berjalan kaki?

Saya tentu ingin tahu lebih banyak studi guna mendukung penutupan lintasan kereta dan jalan yang menuju Pasar Palmerah. Pada 1989-1993, saya banyak belajar soal transportasi publik yang berkelanjutan dari Michael Replogle.

Sejak 1993, saya setidaknya menolong lebih dari selusin orang yang terlibat kecelakaan lalu lintas. Namun jumlah kecelakaan terbanyak bukan dari kereta api namun dari motor yang tak berhenti saat lampu merah dekat lintasan kereta api. Mereka kebanyakan menabrak penyeberang jalan atau kendaan lain. 

Saya harap Gubernur Baswedan dan Liputo mau menunda penutupan jalan ini nanti malam. Buatlah konsultasi publik yang memadai. Bukalah data dan angka. Perhatikan kritik terhadap motorisasi. Pikirkan nasib pejalan kaki, pengendara sepeda pancal dan beberapa kusir dokar yang bekerja di Pasar Palmerah. Ini daerah padat. Banyak orang menyeberang jalan. Motorisasi bukan satu-satunya jawaban dari persoalan transportasi di Jakarta. 

Update 29 November 2020

Jalan lintas ditutup dini hari 29 November 2020. Ia hanya dilakukan "sosialisasi" selama tiga hari. Tak ada hasil riset yang dibagikan kepada warga soal penutupan jalan serta dampak dari jalur satu arah. Dinas Perhubungan tampaknya tak punya riset soal pelanggaran lalu lintas akibat jalur satu arah. 

Monday, November 09, 2020

Cerita dan Obituari

Berbagai cerita remeh, tapi menarik, setidaknya bagi keluarga saya, soal pengalaman hidup saya, dari kegembiraan sampai kesedihan, dari kawan sampai adik, mungkin juga kompetitor atau lawan.

Saya selalu tinggal di Pulau Jawa --Jember, Lawang, Malang, Salatiga, dan Jakarta-- namun pernah bermukim di Phnom Penh dan Cambridge. Saya pernah bekerja buat suratkabar di Bangkok dan Kuala Lumpur, sering datang di dua kota tersebut. Saya juga bekerja untuk Human Rights Watch di New York. Banyak cerita muncul dari semua tempat ini. 

Saya menganggap diri saya "orang Jakarta." Kedua anak saya lahir di Jakarta. Saya kenal banyak gang dan cerukan di daerah Palmerah --lingkungan dimana saya tinggal sejak 1994. Saya tahu banyak sekali tempat makan yang maknyus di Jakarta. 

Saya mengatur bagian ini berdasarkan tahun penerbitan. Ia tentu mencakup masa kecil, remaja, kuliah sampai kehidupan dewasa saya, terutama di Jakarta.







Atiek C.B. dan keluarga Joe Biden di Delaware

KALAU tak salah ingat, saya mulai kenal penyanyi Atiek C.B. pada awal 2009, ketika saya datang ke New York buat ikut program Human Rights Watch. Saya seorang penggemarnya sejak 1980an. Kami jadi sering mengobrol: Wilmington maupun Jakarta. Dia tinggal di sebuah rumah di Wilmington, sekitar 90 menit dari New York. Kami juga kenal keluarga masing-masing. Saya kenal suaminya, Laurance Smith, dan anak-anak mereka. Atiek juga kenal Sapariah dan anak-anak kami. 

Sabtu malam lalu, saya menerima kabar kemenangan Joe Biden sebagai presiden Amerika Serikat dari Atiek C.B. Masih siang di Wilmington. 

Saya sudah tidur, sudah Minggu dini hari di Jakarta, kecapekan menunggu hasil perhitungan suara dari Pennsylvania. Dia kirim macam-macam berita juga layar CNN, televisi yang pertama kali menyatakan Joe Biden sudah dapat 273 suara, tambahan 20 suara dari Pennsylvania. 

Dalam sistem pemilihan umum di Amerika, seorang kandidat menang bila dapat separuh lebih dari total 540 suara (electoral college).

Atiek memang suka dengan Joe Biden. 

Sejak Biden masih wakil presiden bersama Presiden Barack Obama, Atiek sering cerita soal Biden, dari kebiasaan dia naik kereta api Wilmington-Washington D.C. setiap hari selama 30 tahun sampai kecelakaan yang merengut isteri dan anaknya pada 1972. Pada 2015, anak sulung Joe, Beau Biden, juga meninggal karena kanker dalam usia 46 tahun. Rumah keluarga Smith sekitar 10 menit dari rumah keluarga Biden di Greenville, Wilmington. 

Kini rumah keluarga Biden, menurut Atiek, “Gak bisa masuk dijaga ketat banget, soalnya Proud Boys militia sepertinya gak happy.” 

Atiek juga kirim foto ketika dia selfie bersama Dr. Jill Biden, isteri Joe Biden, di Cristiana Mall Delaware, pada 2018. Atiek bilang Jill setir sendiri mobil Honda CRV, juga bawa barang belanjaan sendiri. 

Proud Boys adalah organisasi kanan jauh, neo-fasis, keanggotaan hanya khusus lelaki, di Amerika Serikat dan Kanada. Mereka sering terlibat demonstrasi dukung fasisme serta anti-Islam dan anti-Marxisme. Beberapa anggota mereka juga ditangkap karena lakukan kekerasan. Polisi Amerika menilai jaringan ini sebagai "organisasi ekstrimis." Proud Boys juga dilarang oleh Facebook, Instagram, Twitter dan YouTube. Mereka pendukung Presiden Donald Trump yang kalah lawan Biden. 

Kami tentu lega orang macam Joe Biden dan Kamala Harris terpilih sebagai presiden dan wakil presiden Amerika Serikat. Kamala Harris adalah wakil presiden perempuan pertama dalam sejarah Amerika. Dia juga wakil presiden pertama dari keturunan ayah Jamaica dan ibu India. 

Biden dan Harris membuat tanggungjawab kami sebagai orang tua jadi lebih ringan ketika mendidik anak-anak kami bahwa kepribadian yang baik --hormat orang lain tanpa pandang kelas sosial atau ras atau agama atau iman, berpikir kritis, percaya pada ilmu pengetahuan-- sangat penting buat masa depan mereka. 

Kami juga perlu pemimpin yang bisa mengatasi ancaman dari perubahan iklim, setidaknya mau berusaha secara serius menjaga lingkungan hidup. Ini akan jadi salah prioritas Biden plus tiga usaha lain: wabah coronavirus, rasialisme sistematis di Amerika Serikat, dan kesulitan ekonomi. Amerika adalah negara dengan korban meninggal tertinggi karena coronavirus: 230,000 orang. 

Joe Biden memandang setiap orang dengan "dignity and respect." 

"The average guy is important to him," kata seorang masinis kereta api Amtrak, langganan Joe Biden. 

Tugas kami sebagai orang tua terganggu ketika pemimpin populis macam Trump, maupun lainnya di berbagai negara lain, berkuasa dan sering berbohong, menyebarkan kebencian atas nama ras atau agama. Trump mencabut kesertaan Amerika dari perjanjian Paris soal climate change

Jill Biden tetap mengajar bahasa Inggris ketika Joe jadi wakil presiden (2009-2016). Kini Jill Biden juga tetap jadi dosen North Virginia Community College sambil menjadi "first lady" Amerika Serikat: menyiapkan kuliah, menilai makalah mahasiswa, dan sebagainya. 

Sejak Donald Trump muncul Jumat malam untuk bilang dari Gedung Putih bahwa pemilihan umum di Amerika Serikat "dipenuhi kecurangan," tanpa sama sekali mengajukan bukti, Trump tak muncul ke hadapan publik. Dia cuma main Twitter saja. Itu pun sering diberi keterangan oleh Twitter bahwa kicauan Trump tanpa bukti. 

Saya setuju dengan langkah Twitter untuk memberikan peringatan pada setiap kicauan Trump yang ngawur. Twitter tak bisa take down account Trump karena dia seorang pejabat negara. Tapi langkah tersebut bisa diambil bila Trump sudah turun dari kepresidenan. Saya takkan kaget bila account Trump dihapus Twitter. Langkah ini perlu dilakukan terhadap semua pemimpin di dunia. 

Atiek mengirim pesan, "Lame duck president dua hari ini plays golf terus di Virginia, mumettt 😀"