Human Rights Watch urges the adoption by the government of Indonesia of the following recommendations:
Repeal the so-called special investigation (Penelitian Khusus or Litsus) regulations which require that new teachers and entrants to a range of other strategic professions undergo mandatory ideological and political background checks. Individuals should no longer be banned from teaching or be subject to removal on account of their past or present political affiliations or those of their colleagues or family members. Academic merit henceforth should be the sole criterion for hiring and promotion decisions.
The government should cease all media and book censorship. The government censorship clearinghouse created in 1989 should be disbanded, and the attorney general should be stripped of power to censor books and other printed materials. Although Indonesian law allows members of the academic community to apply for exemptions to use censored materials, in practice the governments censorship of memoirs, literary works, and a wide range of foreign and domestic historical works and social science texts has had a chilling effect on scholarly inquiry across a range of disciplines.
Repeal the three laws used most often to silence dissidents, including students and faculty critics: Presidential Decree 11/1963 (subversion); Article 154 of the Criminal Code (spreading hatred toward the government); and Articles 134-137 (insulting the head of state).
Repeal the set of ministerial decrees known collectively as Normalization of Campus Life Coordinating Body for Student Affairs (Normalisasi Kehidupan Kampus Badan Koordinasi Kemahasiswaan or NKK/BKK) and all other governmental decrees that prohibit students from engaging in political activity on campus, limit student autonomy and effectively make university administrators answerable to military authorities and to the central government in Jakarta for violations of the restrictions. Minister of Education Juwono Sudarsono has indicated that the policies are under review; they should be abolished altogether. The government should also make a public commitment to respecting students basic rights, including their right to hold peaceful public protest marches.
End all military intervention in campus affairs.
Legal and extra-legal military and intelligence agencies, including branches of the militarys Coordinating Agency for the Maintenance of National Stability (Badan Koordinasi Bantuan Pemantapan Stabilitas Nasional or Bakorstanas), should be prohibited from engaging in on-campus intelligence gathering absent a warrant; harassment of students and faculty who make critical comments at seminars or in interviews with the press should be stopped.
Campus-based Student Regiments (Resimen Mahasiswa) should be used solely as a vehicle for recruitment and training of future military personnel, and no longer as an on-campus intelligence network by which military authorities monitor the activities of students.
The practice of routine coordination of student supervision between university administrators in charge of student affairs (Pembantu Rektor III and Pembantu Dekan III) and military and intelligence officers, also facilitated by the NKK/BKK decrees described above, should immediately cease. The duties and powers of the university administrators should be reformulated so as to give maximum scope to student autonomy in accordance with academic standards.
Abolish the practice by which government agencies such as the Ministry of Information and the Social and Political Affairs Directorate of the Ministry of Home Affairs maintain blacklists to prevent critical academics, writers and other disfavored individuals from attending campus seminars or stating their views in public media. Regulations requiring that seminar organizers give prior notice to the Ministry of Home Affairs and national police headquarters in Jakarta when foreign speakers are invited to campus should also be repealed.
Abolish research permit procedures which give government and military officials effective veto power over proposed academic field research and invite corruption. Academic merit should be the sole criteria by which proposed research is evaluated.
Abolish mandatory on-campus ideological indoctrination sessions (already suspended for academic year 1998-99 by order of the Department of Education and Culture dated June 1, 1998). If government-sponsored, on-campus civic education is retained, academic values must at all times govern the selection of materials to be covered in the curriculum.
Police and military should cease indiscriminate and punitive attacks on student demonstrators and adhere at all times to international standards governing the policing of civilian protest.
Peaceful, lawful assemblies should not be disturbed.
In dispersing violent assemblies, officials should at all times act in accordance with the United Nations Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials, including its requirements that all law enforcement officials exercise restraint in the use of force and act in proportion to the nature of the threat that they face, minimize damage and injury and respect and preserve human life, and use firearms only when less dangerous means are not practicable.
The government should treat all students arrested or detained during protest rallies in accordance with internationally recognized standards of criminal justice.
Under no circumstances should students be arrested for exercise of their rights to free expression, association and assembly.
Students arrested for suspected participation in violent acts should be informed immediately of the reasons for the arrests, be informed promptly of the charges against them, and be presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty according to law in a public trial with all guarantees necessary for their defense.
No students arrested or detained should be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
All claims of use of excessive force by security forces against protesters and other civilians should be subject to full and impartial investigation by an independent body, and those found responsible should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
The government should immediately conduct thorough inquiries into the cases of all students and other activists whose whereabouts remain unknown and who are presumed to be in detention. Where inquiries have already begun, vigorous investigations should continue until the disappeared are accounted for. If they are found to be or to have been in police or military custody, those responsible for violating established criminal procedure should be prosecuted accordingly.