Best Practice from Palu for the Settlement of Past Human Rights Violations

ELSAM, Palu – The local initiative to settle past human rights violations has emerged in Palu. Formally, it presents at the same time with Palu Declaration as Human Rights City in 2012, promoted by SKP-HAM (Solidarity of Human Rights Violations Victims) Central Sulawesi. In that moment, Rusdy Mastura, as the Mayor of Palu at that time,   bravely stated the official apology to the victims of human rights violations in 1965-1966 Tragedy. In order to look back to the process, ELSAM researchers have conducted a series of data collection process to write the success story of Palu. The writing is expected to expose the detailed factors which triggered the initiative, achieved outcome and the social changes. The expected result is to become the experience and best practices which can be the reference of other regions in Indonesia, or others in the world along with the developing concepts of human rights and local government framed on Human Rights City.

The data and information collection jointly conducted by ELSAM and SKP-HAM Central Sulawesi managed to retrace the information from the first party, such as the former Mayor of Palu Rusdy Mastura, several government officers of Palu, victims, religious groups in Palu, and also the military side. In one meeting, Rusdy Mastura retold the background of his guts to apologize to the victims which purely came from the humanity reason. He affirmed that the victims of 1965-1966 Tragedy, on one side, suffered from stigmatization and discrimination, on the other side, they played many roles in the initial development of Palu.

Those reasons have encouraged him to officially acknowledge the gross human rights violations in Palu, and state the apology to the victims. “I was sincerely, personally, and on behalf of Palu government, also part of Masyumi family in Palu apologizing to the victims who actually are our own family,” Rusdy Mastura said. Further, the commitment was formulated through the issuance of Mayor Regulation (Perwali) of Palu No. 25 Year 2013 on Local Human Rights National Action Plan (RANHAMDA) of Palu. Even though the regulation was established within the framework of RANHAMDA, it specifically addressed the acknowledgement of victims of 1965-1966 Tragedy, and the remedy to be implemented by Palu Municipality to the victims.

The implementation of Perwali comprised of any issues. It does not only promote the truth revealing and assistance to remedy, but it also created a social transformation process in Palu to ensure the paradigm change, elimination of stigmatization and promotion of reconciliation between the society and victims of 1965-1966 Tragedy. Several activities designed and implemented further promoted the legal framework to implement the fulfillment of victims’ rights, conduct investigation and record the victims, conduct trainings and assistance to the government officials of Palu, and support in any other forms. It is expected that the initiative in Palu will actuate the process of settlement of past human rights violations at the national level and encourage the national reconciliation.

Though the settlement at the local level has several limitation which is unable to fully fulfill the victims’ rights such as right to justice through legal accountability, the step has become new achievement to a comprehensive settlement.  Regarding with the settlement in Palu, its scope was limited to adjust to the authority and mandate borne by the local government, referred to the Local Government Law.

Since the beginning, those efforts have already been designed in the framework of Human Rights City, within which emphasizes remedy. Therefore, the systematic and development scopes were formulated to be limited to the city/region, according to the characteristics and dynamics of Palu Municipality. Meanwhile, the achievement in Palu has created new milestone in the settlement of past human rights violations, and also proved that local government can actively participate in the settlement of past human rights violations.

The above success story in Palu has gained much appreciation from the national government in Jakarta. It does not only come from the institutions which have involved earlier such as Witness and Victims Protection Agency (LPSK) and Human Rights National Commission (Komnas HAM), but also from several ministry/institutions, such as Ministry of Law and Human Rights, Presidential Advisory Board (Wantimpres), and Presidential Staff Office (KSP). At any chance, not only do those institutions gave appreciation, they also addressed on the importance of spreading and duplicating the success story of Palu to other regions in Indonesia. [ ]