INDONESIA: New Commissioner of the National Commission on Human Rights Must Be Professional and Credible!

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) supports the standing point of the Commission for Disappearances and Victims of Violence (KontraS) highlighting the process of selecting candidates for the Commissioner of the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM).

On 27 May 2022, the Selecting Committee, in the written test, has passed the candidate for the Commissioner of the Commission who has a background as a Police officer, namely Inspector General Remigius Sigid Tri Hardjanto. We regret that there is an active Police officer who is included in the 50 names of candidates for Commissioner who have passed the objective written test – writing papers for the period 2022-2027. This selection process should go through a transparent and accountable process and take into account aspects of possible conflicts of interest.

We believe that Inspector General Sigid cannot be separated from the precedent of his predecessors, such as Police Commissaris General (Retired) Firli Bahuri who crossed over to another civil institution and is now the Chair of the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), while another example is Mr. Iriawan alias Iwan Bule who has become the Acting Governor. Unfortunately, the participation of the Police in the registration of members in non-structural institutions has happened before during the selection of members of the LPSK and the Ombudsman.

The involvement of Police officers is not new in Indonesia. For instance, between the years of 2014 to 2019, President Joko Widodo gave many roles to Police officers or retired officers. Some of them are Police Commmisaris General (ret) Mochammad Iriawan as the Chairperson of the Indonesia Football Association (PSSI), General (ret) Tito Karnavian as the Minister of Home Affairs, Police Commissaries General (ret) Setyo Wasisto as the Inspector General of the Ministry of Industry, Police Commissaries General (ret) Firli Bahuri as the Chair of the KPK, and Police Commissaries General (ret) Budi Waseso as the Chair of the National Indonesian Scout Movement.

We strongly refuse the potential for conflicts of interest with an active Police officer of the National Police who passed the administrative and written test in this election process. With the release of active members of the National Police, it is feared that the Commission will become biased and intervene more deeply, such as through the National Police Commission (Kompolnas), which will then be able to prevent or recommend concrete courses of action to improve the Indonesian National Police. Thus, it will be difficult for the National Commission on Human Rights if something similar happens.

According to the National Commission on Human Rights, in the year of 2021, the National Police was the actor who most frequently reported for alleged human rights violations and there has been no improvement. Then, what if the latter elected Commissioner candidate is from the Police?

We encourage an open process that takes into account the professional aspect and produces credible election results. Conflicts of interest must be avoided since the initial selection process because the Commissioner candidates elected for the 2022-2027 period are not figures who actually pose a threat to human rights conditions. The Commissioners who will be elected will not only meet the requirements but must also be able to answer the needs of the protection, enforcement and promotion of human rights in Indonesia.

Based upon the above-mentioned information and facts, we urge:

1. The Selection Committee to pay attention to the process of selecting candidates for Commissioners, not only through administrative requirements but to look at all aspects holistically.

2. The Selection Committee should open indicators and test tools in the selection outside of the public hearing later, in order to see the capacity of each candidate and also to encourage panel transparency so that the public can consistently oversee it.