Rights body backs TNI chief allowing ex-PKI descendants to be soldiers

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Jakarta – The National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) has backed National Defense Forces (TNI) Chief General Andika Perkasa’s decision to enable relatives of former political prisoners of the now-defunct Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) to join the TNI.

“Komnas HAM strongly supports the recruitment of TNI troops who no longer discriminate against the relatives of ex-PKI political prisoners,” Komnas HAM Chief Ahmad Taufan Damanik stated on Sunday.

Limiting the descendants of ex-PKI political prisoners to join TNI is against the law and constitution, he said.

According to the constitution, every person has the same rights and must not be treated unfairly for whatever reason, he added.

He stated that the TNI chief’s action is in accordance with the Provision of the Temporary People’s Consultative Assembly (TAP MPR XXV/1966) prohibiting communism, Leninism, and Marxism. This indicates that the restriction does not apply to the offspring of ex-PKI political prisoners who are not totally tied to their parents’, grandparents’, or relatives’ ideology or political party.

“We cannot inflict their “inherited sins” on their children and grandkids,” he stated.

He stated that the TNI chief’s action is aimed at ensuring equal human rights for all citizens in the country.

Many offspring of ex-PKI political prisoners were barred from becoming government services or pursuing further education during the New Order period.

“For tens of years, they were denied their basic fundamental rights to education and job. If we allow this to happen again, ” he said.

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