Resolution adopted without a vote* by the Inter-Parliamentary Council at its 161st session
(Cairo, 16 September 1997)

The Inter-Parliamentary Council,

Having before it the case of Mrs. Megawati Sukarnoputri, of Indonesia, which has been the subject of a study and report of the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians in accordance with the " Procedure for the examination and treatment by the Inter-Parliamentary Union of communications concerning violations of human rights of parliamentarians ",

Taking note of the report of the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians (CL/161/10(a)-R.1), which contains a detailed outline of the case,

Taking account of the observations provided by the Indonesian delegation to the 98th Inter-Parliamentary Conference (September 1997),

Considering that Mrs. Megawati, a member of the House of Representatives, was elected in 1993 as leader of the Indonesian Democratic Party (PDI) for a five-year term; that in June 1996 a congress of dissident party members was held in Medan, North Sumatra, as a direct challenge to her leadership; that, at the end of the congress, Mr. Suryadi, Deputy Speaker of the House of Parliament, was elected leader of the PDI; that the Government recognised the Medan Congress as being legitimate, including its results,

Considering that, according to Mrs. Megawati's group, the Medan Congress was initiated and masterminded by the Government and the military to prevent the PDI from nominating Mrs. Megawati for the 1997 presidential elections as the first candidate ever to oppose Mr. Suharto and that, consequently, the Congress and its results are illegitimate since it was held in clear breach of the Party Constitution and Rules,

Considering that, according to the authorities, the Medan Congress was convened at the wish of the majority of PDI members and based on provisions in the party regulations; that it elected Mr. Suryadi as its new General Chairman; that as the Congress had been held in accordance with the prevailing procedures, the Government recognised it as being legitimate, including its results,

Considering that Mrs. Megawati filed lawsuits against the Indonesian Government and the officials elected at the Congress; that Jakarta Central Court decided that it was not competent in the case, suggesting that the dispute be settled as an internal matter; that, however, Jakarta High Court ruled on 10 July 1997 that Jakarta Central Court was competent to examine the lawsuit in question and that Mr. Suryadi appealed against that decision to the Supreme Court,

Considering that, following Mrs. Megawati's ouster as party leader, her supporters occupied the PDI Office in Jakarta; that, according to the sources, on 27 July individuals wearing PDI clothing and saying they were supporters of Mr. Suryadi arrived at the party office and began attacking those inside the office, who counter-attacked; that riot troops reportedly took no action for about two hours and only then forcibly entered the office; that in the ensuing confrontation dozens of people were injured; that, following the police raid, riots involving thousands of people occurred in several areas of Jakarta,

Considering that in the report which the National Human Rights Commission (KOMNAS) issued on 12 October 1996 regarding these incidents, it stated inter alia the following: " The seizure of the PDI headquarters ... was an action, accompanied by violence, by the Medan Congress PDI central leadership and groups supporting it, and was carried out together with the security forces. This represented a continuation from a sequence of earlier events related to the creation of an open conflict in the PDI in which the Government/authorities involved themselves excessively and one-sidedly and out of proportion to their function as political steward and security force ",

Considering that, to mitigate the consequences of those incidents and avoid any recurrence of such troubles, the Commission opined inter alia that:

  • " Government interference in the form of support for one side in a dispute should be guarded against;
  • The use of violence cannot be justified and should be avoided. The existence of a variety of opinions in organisational life is natural;
  • Disputes which cannot be settled by means of deliberation should be settled through the courts ",

Considering in this connection that, according to the Indonesian delegation, KOMNAS recommendations should be seen as simply advising the institution of proceedings also against Mr. Suryadi,

Considering that, according to the sources, the authorities closed down Mrs. Megawati's new headquarters arguing that the office was in a residential area, while Mr. Suryadi was authorised in August 1996 to establish the PDI headquarters at his personal residence,

Considering that, according to the sources, the former PDI headquarters which had been occupied by the police after the raid of July 1996, instead of being handed over to the Attorney General's office as it constitutes important evidence for a number of judicial proceedings under way in connection with the July events, were handed over in late 1996 to the " Office of State Secretariat ", which ordered the repair and renovation of the building, an action the sources claim to be prohibited under Article 417 of the Penal Code,

Considering that, according to the sources, on 10 January 1997 Mrs. Megawati's supporters organised a meeting to celebrate PDI's 24th anniversary; that a request to hold the meeting, initially planned to take place in Bali, was submitted to the competent authorities, which reportedly never replied; that the meeting was therefore organised at Mrs. Megawati's home,

Considering that, in February 1997, Jakarta police officials reportedly stated that Mrs. Megawati and her husband, who is also an MP, may become suspects on account of having organised an illegal meeting; that, according to the Indonesian delegation, Mrs. Megawati is indeed being questioned as a witness in connection with that allegedly illegal meeting,

Considering that, in September 1996, the Electoral Board rejected the candidate list submitted by the Megawati group and that it accepted the list submitted by the Suryadi group in November 1996,

Considering that Mrs. Megawati was thus prevented from being a candidate in the parliamentary elections of May 1997; that she filed a lawsuit against the Electoral Board,

Recalling that she is unable to found a new party because the authorities refuse to register any new party on the grounds that a national consensus reached in 1969 and embodied in the " Law on political parties " limits the number of parties to three, a rule which the sources consider to be contrary to the spirit of the 1945 Constitution,

Bearing in mind that the Inter-Parliamentary Council, in the Declaration on Criteria for Free and Fair Elections adopted unanimously in Paris on 26 March 1994 with a delegation from the Indonesian Parliament in attendance, proclaimed that " everyone has the right to join, or together with others to establish, a political party or organisation for the purpose of competing in an election ",

Recalling that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which is recognised as the expression of a general standard on human rights, enshrines the right to freedom of association and the right to take part in the conduct of public affairs, which includes the right to stand in elections,

1. Thanks the Indonesian delegation for the observations it provided;

2. Deeply regrets that Mrs. Megawati was prevented from participating in the parliamentary elections of May 1997 as a result of her possibly unlawful ouster as President of the PDI and a restrictive conception of political pluralism;

3. Recalls in this connection the report of the National Human Rights Commission of 12 October 1996 and the conclusions reached therein, namely that in the case of the Medan Congress - which resulted in Mrs. Megawati being ousted as leader of the PDI and subsequently debarred from the electoral process - state authorities " involved themselves excessively and one-sidedly and out of proportion to their function as political steward and security force ";

4. Regrets that the Indonesian authorities do not seem to have heeded the Commission's recommendations, and believes that Parliament, as guardian of human rights, has a particular interest in ensuring that the recommendations of the National Human Rights Commission are indeed followed up;

5. Expresses the hope that, in the light of the recommendations made by the National Human Rights Commission, Mrs. Megawati will not be prevented from pursuing her political activities normally;

6. Would appreciate the view of the authorities on the allegation that, in repairing the former PDI headquarters, an important piece of evidence was deliberately destroyed, an action prohibited under Article 417 of the Penal Code;

7. Notes that, according to the Jakarta High Court ruling of 10 July 1997, Central Jakarta District Court is competent to examine the lawsuit Mrs. Megawati has filed against the Government and Mr. Suryadi regarding her ouster as leader of the PDI, and would appreciate being kept informed of the relevant judicial proceedings;

8. Earnestly hopes that the authorities will, in the light of the principles proclaimed by the Inter-Parliamentary Union, reconsider the regulations on political parties;

9. Requests the Secretary General to convey these concerns to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, inviting him to supply his comments and the information sought;

10. Likewise requests the Secretary General to convey this decision to the National Human Rights Commission;

11. Requests the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians to continue examining the case and report to it at its next session (April 1998).

* * *

* The Indonesian delegation expressed reservations with regard to the resolution adopted by the Inter-Parliamentary Council.

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