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By Ati Nurbaiti

Human rights: Any strategy?

Published on Jun 21, 2014 11:46 AM
Indonesian presidential candidates Prabowo Subianto (left) and Joko "Jokowi" Widodo. The new president will have a grand opportunity to take a fresh stand on human rights issues. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

Damned if you do, damned if you don't - that is the dilemma of some voters ahead of the presidential election.

Those deciding to vote for Mr Prabowo Subianto might trust his seemingly determined attitude to solve all the nation's urgent problems but may doubt his human rights record.

Meanwhile, those bent on voting for Mr Joko "Jokowi" Widodo must hope he can ignore the influence of the likes of Mr Hendropriyono, the former National Intelligence Agency (BIN) director whose deputy was accused, then acquitted, of masterminding the murder of activist Munir, to mention just one case.

Unless we can ensure equal treatment of victims from our long list of past abuses, the emerging perception that some victims' need for justice is more important than others could be more divisive than cheering for one or the other candidate. Already the missing activists of the 1990s are gaining prominence, due to Mr Prabowo's presidential bid, compared with victims of other cases that allegedly implicate Mr Prabowo and other military or police officers.

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Background story

Democratic values in the form of respecting differences still have a long way to go. Consider that as recently as 2011, there was little outrage at the shooting in the third Papuan People's Congress.