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Press Release
   
 
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The United Development Party’s position on human rights

To the honorable

Mr. Suryadharma Ali
Head of the United Development Party (PPP)   

Dear Mr. Ali,

We are pleased that the legislative elections were generally peaceful and took place without significant acts of violence. However, we are concerned about the problems with the voters list (DPT) which left many without their right to vote. We hope the process to improve the quality of the voter rolls before the presidential elections can be carried out in a peaceful manner. 

Regarding the presidential elections, we hope that the competing political parties can show their concern for the human rights agenda, especially in the solving of past human rights violations. What is truly worrying is that in their fight to gain power, political parties are making coalitions with human rights violators, giving the violators a connection to future political power.   

We wish to remind all political parties that human rights violators are now considered enemies of mankind (hostis humanis generis) in international law. This means that those committing evil acts cannot use their position as President or Vice-President to protect themselves from prosecution. We remind the political parties that leaders such as Augusto Pinochet, Charles Taylor, Saddam Hussein, Omar al-Bashir and others have been singled out by the international community to be held responsible for their violations. We hope that we will not have a similar experience with a future leader of our country. Human rights violators, no matter who they are or when they committed their acts, will not be free from the law, especially international human rights law (the no safe haven principle). Power cannot be used as a shield to maintain impunity.

So far, we believe that PPP has been committed to the rule of law and respect of human rights, as expressed in the party’s mission statement. We hope that the strengthening of the people and human rights is on the agenda for this year’s presidential election. However, we are very worried by the presidential choices this year. Almost all the political parties are working to keep their power by joining together with other parties purely for political reasons.

Based on the analysis above, first, we ask that PPP not get caught up with short-term political needs, relative to its pro-people and pro human rights agenda. Second, we hope that PPP prioritizes ethical and moral issues and maintains distance from human rights violators in the election. Power must be used to help the welfare of all the people, and not as a betrayal of their welfare. It should be used to fulfill the people’s prosperity and security, and work towards justice and truth. We hope that the coalitions formed by the political powers are not just based on the divvying up of power but also on an agenda of economic, social, and civil-political rights.  

Jakarta, May 3, 2009

Tuti Koto, Family member of a kidnapping and forced disappearance victim

Sumarsih,  Family member of a Trisakti Semanggi victim
Ruminah, , Family member of the May 1998 tragedy victim
Suciwati, Family member of the killed human rights activist Munir

Bedjo Untung, Victim of the 1965/1966 tragedy
Kabul, , Family member of a Talangsari 1989 victim
Amang, Family member of the May 1998 tragedy victim
Benny Biki, Family member of a victim of Tanjung Priok