Subject: Komnas Ham: All candidates from military involved in rights violations

ANT - LKBN ANTARA (Indonesia)

June 15, 2009

RIGHTS BODY : ALL CANDIDATES FROM MILITARY INVOLVED IN PAST ABUSES.

LENGTH: 315 words

Jakarta, June 15 (ANTARA): A member of the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) said all presidential and vice presidentialcandidates with a military background were involved in past human rights violations. "Speaking about their track records, all candidates from the TNI (Indonesian military) were involved in human rights violations. But it would be regrettable if this matter is raised now as it will give their rivals ammunition to attack them," Nurkholis said here on Monday.

But he declined to mention the names of the candidates involved in past human rights violations, arguing the public already knew who they were. "We should like to admit that all presidential and vice presidential candidates are now speaking of good things. We are not in a position to judge them because this is something in the area of politics," he said. Komnas HAM was fully aware that electing national leaders for the next five-year term had to do with the country's interests to promote human rights, he said.

Therefore, he added, the commission planned to invite the three presidential and vice presidential candidate pairs to discuss their vision and mission on the upholding of human rights. "It will be better for Komnas HAM to invite them directly rather than to speak to the media that may arouse denial. We will listen to their platforms and visions on human rights andhow they will implement their human rights policies in the future," he said. One of the three presidential candidates and two of the vice presidential candidates have military backgrounds. The last two are widely believed to have been involved in major human rights violations during their military careers, including the fatal shooting of students ahead of the May 1998 riots and mayhem in the wake of the UN-sponsored ballot in East Timor leading to the territory's secession from Indonesia in 1999.


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