MPR Demands President Investigate Past Human Rights Abuses


MAY 18, 2015

A protester holds a placard depicting the 1998 kidnapping of activists. (AFP Photo/Adek Berry)

Jakarta. Members of the People's Consultative Assembly, or MPR, on Monday demanded President Joko Widodo address historic human rights abuses.

"There have many human rights abuses, but we demand the ones mentioned in the truth and reconciliation bill to be solved first," MPR Speaker Zulkifli Hasan said on Monday.

Zulkifli said cases that must be prioritized included the 1965 communist purge, human rights abuses in Aceh and Lampung, and the fall out from the 1998 May riots.

The cases must be solved to provide closure and consolation for the families of victims, Zulkifli said.

Zulkifli said Joko has promised to resolve the aftermath of the 1998 tragedy, in which more than 1000 people died and there were widespread reports of gang rapes.

"They [families of victims] have been waiting for more than 17 years, it is not a short time and there has been no solutions from the government," Zulkifli said.

Muhammad Puri Andamas, student council president at Trisakti University, represents the families of students from the university killed during a 1998 demonstration.

He said he gave Zulkifli a letter of recommendation that requested the government immediately form a human rights tribunal to investigate the case.

The families of victims have also urged the government to honor the slain students as reformation heroes.