Resolution adopted without a vote* by the Inter-Parliamentary Council
at its 162nd session (Windhoek, 11 April 1998)

The Inter-Parliamentary Council,

Referring to the outline of the case, as contained in the report of the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians (CL/162/11(a)-R.1), and to the resolution adopted at its 161st session (September 1997) concerning the case of Ms. Megawati Sukarnoputri, of Indonesia,

Taking account of the information and observations provided by the Indonesian delegation at the hearing held on the occasion of the 99th Inter-Parliamentary Conference (April 1998),

Recalling that Ms. Megawati, a former member of the House of Representatives, was unseated in June 1996 as leader of the Indonesian Democratic Party (PDI) by the " Medan Congress " which, according to the sources, was engineered by the Government; that, following the refusal of her supporters to evacuate the Party's Headquarters, police raided and violently seized them on 27 July 1996, which led to mass demonstrations and riots in Jakarta,

Also recalling that, in its report on these events, the Indonesian National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM), stated inter alia that " the Government/authorities involved themselves excessively and one-sidedly and out of proportion to their function as political steward and security force " in this conflict and recommended inter alia that " Government interference in the form of support for one side in a dispute should be guarded against ",

Further recalling that, as a result of her ouster as party leader and her refusal to recognise the new leadership, and owing to the existing law and interpretation of the Constitution which prohibits the establishment of a new political party, she was unable to stand as a candidate in the parliamentary elections of May 1997,

Considering that, according to the Indonesian delegation, she herself announced her non-participation in the election; recalling, however, that the Indonesian delegation to the Beijing Inter-Parliamentary Conference (September 1996) stated that in order to participate in the elections Ms. Megawati had to be put on a list of candidates of her party, for which purpose she would first have had to recognise the legitimacy of the Medan Congress; that, moreover, there was no possibility for her to run on another party ticket,

Recalling that Ms. Megawati has been questioned several times as a witness in connection with the 1996 demonstrations and riots in Jakarta; that she and her husband were also questioned as witnesses in connection with an alleged illegal meeting, namely a PDI anniversary meeting they held on 10 January 1997 at their home,

Considering that, according to the Indonesian delegation, Ms. Megawati had violated Law 5/1963, which provided that " whoever holds a political meeting, is obliged to inform the Police Office within three times 24 hours of the purpose, nature and implementation of the activity in question "; that the case was still at the investigation stage, Ms. Megawati being a witness; recalling also that, according to the sources, a request to hold the meeting, which was initially planned for Bali, was submitted to the competent authorities which reportedly never replied; that the meeting was therefore held at Ms. Megawati's home,

Considering that Ms. Megawati lodged several lawsuits concerning her ouster as leader of the PDI; that, as regards the lawsuit she filed against the Government and Mr. Suryadi, Central Djakarta District Court declared itself incompetent to deal with the case; that, however, the High Court ruled otherwise and referred the matter back to Central Djakarta District Court; that Mr. Suyadi and the Government have appealed against that decision to the Supreme Court,

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 had 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 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 for election,

Noting finally that, in a statement released on 12 January 1998 to draw the Government's attention to the need to address human rights and political reform within any economic reform that might be imposed, the Indonesian National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) recommended that the Indonesian Government take the following measures: (a) put an end to misuse of the law as an instrument of repression; (b) permit greater freedom of expression; (c) heed calls for greater political openness,

  1. Thanks the Indonesian delegation for the information and observations it supplied and for its co-operation;
  2. Reiterates the considerations and concerns as expressed in the resolution it adopted at its 161st session (September 1997), particularly in regard to the apparent absence of any measure to follow up the recommendations of the National Human Rights Commission concerning the July 1996 events;
  3. Expresses yet again its deep regret that Ms. Megawati was unable to stand for election, and is convinced that this was not the outcome of a freely chosen decision but due to the legal entanglement in which she found herself;
  4. Is concerned that investigations regarding the alleged illegal meeting of 10 January 1997 are seemingly still under way;
  5. Would appreciate information on the stage reached in the lawsuit Ms. Megawati filed against the Electoral Board regarding its decision not to accept the electoral roll she had presented;
  6. Believes that it is a matter of concern to the Indonesian Parliament to apply the principles proclaimed by the Inter-Parliamentary Union in its Declaration on Criteria for Free and Fair Elections and in its Universal Declaration on Democracy;
  7. Calls therefore once more on the authorities, in the light of the principles proclaimed by the IPU, to reconsider the regulations on political parties;
  8. Entrusts the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians - in view of the fundamental issues regarding freedom of expression, association and assembly involved in this case - with conducting an on-site mission to Indonesia to consult with the authorities and the sources regarding this case;
  9. Notes with satisfaction that the Indonesian delegation expressed its intention to relay the Committee's concerns and opinion in this matter to the competent Indonesian authorities,
  10. Requests the Secretary General to convey these considerations to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, inviting him to ensure that the Committee's mission can be received in Jakarta in the very near future;
  11. Requests the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians to continue examining the case and report to it at its next session (September 1998).

* The Indonesian delegation expressed reservations about the resolution adopted by the Inter-Parliamentary Council, nevertheless stating that it would commend the Council's decision regarding the on-site mission to the competent authorities.

Note: you can download a complete electronic version of the brochure "Results of the 99th Conference and related meetings of the Inter-Parliamentary Union" in PDF format (file size approximately 540K). This version requires Adobe Acrobat Reader, which you can download free of charge.Get Acrobat Reader

Human rights of parliamentarians | Home page | Main areas of activity | Structure and functioning