Report – By Kompas in Jakarta
An Indonesian researcher and advocate has condemned a controversial new presidential security regulation as open to abuse by regional government heads who often trigger conflicts.
Setara Institute for Democracy and Peace researcher Abdul Khoir said Presidential Instruction Number 2/2013 on “The handling of domestic security disturbances” was easily subject to misuse by regional heads for their own political interests.
This was because regional governments were themselves often the cause of conflicts.
Khoir said that protected behind the view that a region was experiencing a domestic disturbance, regional heads could mobilise the national police and the TNI (Indonesian military).
During the election of regional heads for example, candidates who were currently in power or incumbents could use the presidential instruction (inpres) as legal justification to mobilise the police and military for their own political interests.
In addition to this, said Khoir, regional governments were often the cause and contribute to social conflicts.
“Like the Indonesian Christian Church case [in Bogor] for example, the regional head has openly refused to follow a Supreme Court decision [allowing the congregation to build a church],” he said.
Setara Institute chairperson Hendardi said that the inpres gave the TNI a much greater role in handling regional conflicts.
This was of concern because there were many rogue military officers who are part of conflicts, such as when they were employed as security personnel at plantations and mine sites.
“Before it wasn’t official, with this inpres it becomes legitimate”, said Hendardi.
Both Hendardi and Setara Institute deputy chairperson Bonar Tigor Naipospos doubt the effectiveness of the inpres.
Hendardi said this was because it failed to address the substance of conflicts, namely the problem of legal process and the government’s failure to support religious freedom and traditional land rights.
The Coordinating Minister for Politics, Legal and Security Affairs, Djoko Suyanto, has stated that there are no grounds for it to be said that the inpres provides an opportunity for the TNI to enter the domain of civil life, or provide the TNI with unlimited powers, let alone have the potential to cause massive human rights violations.
The inpres was issued to safeguard the creation of favourable social, legal and security conditions domestically in order to support the continuity of national development.
Source: Kompas, translated from Bahasa by James Balowski.