Subject: TNI Reform/Rights Reports: Improvement needed in security sector, NGOs

also: JP: Minister, TNI chief urge military, civilian reform; JP: Elsam asks political parties to promote human rights advocacy

The Jakarta Post

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Improvement needed in security sector

Desy Nurhayati, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

A group of NGOs has called on the government to conduct thorough reforms in the country's security sector this year, saying that efforts to improve the sector during previous years involved policy alone, lacking concrete implementation.

The NGOs, including the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras), Imparsial, International NGO Forum on Indonesian Development (INFID) and Human Rights Working Group (HRWG), told a media conference here Tuesday that as Indonesia was entering its 10th year of reform, there had not been significant enough improvement in the sector, mainly within the Indonesian Military (TNI) and the National Police.

"There are still many delayed agenda items in the TNI internal reforms, including the absence of a presidential decree to complete the 2004 law on TNI that prohibits the military from engaging in business activities," said Haris Azhar of Kontras.

"In fact, the military has not entirely given up its interests in business and politics," he said.

A long-delayed strategic defense review and quarrels between TNI and the police also pointed to irregularities in the security sector, he said.

"While the government has not been able to improve the welfare of military personnel, it has made a fuss about ... reserves, which will definitely require more budget.

"The defense budget itself has not been used efficiently. Sixty percent of the budget is still allotted for military personnel instead of establishing a more advanced defense strategy."

"The most important issue is not about the number of military personnel, but more about how to manage the defense system, particularly the military equipment."

The NGOs, however, noted several achievements in the sector, including the separation of police and military and success in making the state budget the only source of defense funding.

Don Kladius Marut, executive director of INFID, questioned the establishment of new military regional commands in areas including Papua and Flores (East Nusa Tenggara), where foreign investors are set to develop mining operations.

He believed the purpose of military force in those areas might be to exert control on local people who might oppose development.

"In Flores for example, most of the land belongs to the local community, who usually refuse to give land to investors, except by use of force. And this, can be done by deploying military personnel."

Regarding the police, the NGOs criticized the institution for being sluggish in responding to complaints from the public, notwithstanding the 2006 establishment of the National Police Commission which has oversight and monitoring authority.

They also urged the government to formulate policies on the state's intelligence body.

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The Jakarta Post

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Minister, TNI chief urge military, civilian reform

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

photo: Handover Salute: Former Indonesian Military (TNI) chief Air Marshall Djoko Suyanto (right) salutes the new TNI chief Gen. Djoko Santoso at a handover ceremony at TNI headquarters in Cilangkap, East Jakarta on Tuesday. Officially installed on Dec. 28, Santoso was formerly Army chief of staff. (JP/R. Berto Wedhatama)

Boosting professionalism and strengthening the rules keeping the military out of politics were among the priorities highlighted at a handover ceremony where Gen. Djoko Santoso moved to the helm of Indonesian Military (TNI).

"In general, all I need to do as TNI chief is see through the agenda items in the 2005-2009 TNI Strategic Plans and the 2005-2014 TNI Posture Development Plan," Santoso said after the ceremony at TNI headquarters in Cilangkap, East Jakarta, on Tuesday.

"Thus, it (my program) won't clash with what has been done by my predecessor, Marshall Djoko Suyanto."

Santoso said he would also improve TNI's alertness by strengthening weaponry systems and human resources; carrying out routine joint military trainings involving the Army, Navy and Air Force; and continuing and evaluating internal TNI reform that has already been going on for some 10 years.

"As TNI chief, I am nothing more than just a small part of the big system.

"My responsibility is to make sure that all items established within the TNI Strategic Plan and the TNI Posture Development Plan can be done well and are in line with the 1945 Constitution and regulations."

Meanwhile, Defense Minister Juwono Sudarsono said efforts to reform TNI, especially to enhance professionalism and discontinue political involvement, should also be accompanied by reform in the civil society.

"Now, it is the time for Indonesian civil society and all of its components, especially political parties, to prove that they are ready to take over TNI's political domination," he said at the sidelines of the ceremony.

"It depends on the ability of today's civilians to show good leadership, including a strong nationalism view, the one that has always been upheld by the military."

Juwono also called on the public to raise the need to reform political parties watching closely TNI's reform agenda.

"In order to be ready to take over the military domination, the parties need to have a strong program for continually rejuvenating members and good management as well.

"Indonesian political parties' systems are still weak."

Commenting on the replacement of the TNI chief, Juwono said that people should no longer worry about Army domination within TNI.

"Today it will not be a big problem for TNI to have a chief from forces other than the Army," he said.

"During the 32 years of New Order regime, the Army's domination of TNI was very obvious. However, people should not forget that today the Army is taking the lead in effort to reform TNI.

"It began in Sept. 1997, six months before then-president Soeharto resigned, when a number of high ranking TNI officers, led by Gen. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, started the formulation of a new TNI paradigm."

House of Representatives Speaker Agung Laksono said TNI needed to improve professionalism in order to be able to compete with neighboring countries' militaries.

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The Jakarta Post

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Elsam asks political parties to promote human rights advocacy

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

A rights watch group wants political parties to play a more active human rights advocacy role in both the legislative and executive arms of the government.

"The success of future human rights enforcement depends on the choice of candidates (to participate in state governance after the current presidential and legislative terms end in 2009)," executive director of The Institute For Policy Research and Advocacy (Elsam), Agung Putri, told a press conference Tuesday.

She said that nine years after the initiation of the 1998 reform movement, respect for human rights was still weak because potential candidates for central and local government offices weren't being scrutinized from that perspective.

Agung noted several improvements in human rights enforcement during the last few years, however most were limited to the reforms linked to formal instruments, such as the adoption of the international Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

She said that while the country had properly adopted international human rights instruments, many ordinances in Indonesia apparently violated international law.

She said that Elsam had discovered 46 ordinances that violated religious freedoms and women's rights. She cited the example of a West Sumatra ordinance requiring head scarves for female Muslim civil servants.

She said that none of the 46 ordinances had been reviewed or annulled by the central government.

"Political parties should be accountable for failures in upholding human rights because their people, in either the House of Representatives or the Presidential cabinet, could have taken action to prevent that," she said.

Addressing the same forum, Marzuki Darusman, a former Attorney General and now a Golkar legislator, said that the public needed to demand that political parties add human rights enforcement to their agendas.

For political parties, he said, human rights was only a "survival" issue. "Human rights enforcement is never an organic priority in the agendas of political parties."

Parties will only advocate human rights if that issue is of concern to voters, he said.

However, Agung warned of the risk of parties making human rights a part of their election platform but later failing to keep promises.

"We have to see who is behind the political parties to make sure whether they will implement their promises of human rights enforcement or not."

"If a party is supported by people with bad track records in human rights enforcement, there is a little chance that the party will keep its promises."

She added that political parties had to be independent and self-supportive to prevent external interference with their human rights agendas.

Agung predicted that political parties with human rights as a central campaign issue who were backed by people with good track records on human rights would be in good stead for the 2009 election. (lln)

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Joyo Indonesia News Service


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