Human Rights NGO Opposes Appointment of Suharto Era Strongman Wiranto as Chief Security Minister


JULY 27, 2016

Jakarta. The Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence, or Kontras, strongly opposes President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's decision to appoint former military commander General Wiranto as Chief Security Minister on Wednesday (27/07). Wiranto has been accused of numerous human rights abuses.

General Wiranto, a former strongman of the Suharto regime who is also the founder and chairman of the People's Conscience Party (Hanura), is believed to have been involved in the Trisakti tragedy which sparked a riot in Jakarta and led to the downfall of Suharto, the Semanggi I and II shootings, the disappearance of pro-democracy activists and the Biak Massacre in Papua – all in 1998 and 1999.

In 2003, a report from the United Nations Serious Crimes Unit repeatedly mentioned Wiranto as responsible for murders, deportations and widespread systematic violence against civilian population by the Indonesian army during its withdrawal from East Timor in 1999.

"With these facts, Kontras poses a question to President Jokowi and the State Secretary Minister: where is your commitment to professionalism and upholding the interests of the public, if you appoint Wiranto as a minister in this cabinet?" Kontras commissioner Haris Azhar said.

Kontras also called for public support and solidarity with families of the victims to bring individuals responsible for human rights violations to justice.

General Wiranto, who Kontras accuses of facilitating Suharto's New Order regime atrocities in the 1990s, already served as Chief Security Minister during Abdurrahman Wahid's presidency. He is among the nine new ministers sworn in by President Jokowi on Wednesday following the second cabinet reshuffle in less than two years.