JAKARTA - A coalition of NGOs has criticised the General Elections Commission (KPU) for the lack of assessment of the presidential candidates' track records on human rights, which the coalition said had benefited the Gerindra Party's Prabowo Subianto.
The NGOs, which are united as the Coalition Against Forgetting, also said they regretted the KPU's refusal to incorporate human rights as a separate topic in any of the recently televised presidential debates.
"It's odd that the KPU did not seek a recommendation from Komnas HAM [the National Commission on Human Rights] regarding the presidential candidates' human rights records; a procedure that state institutions usually undertake when electing government officials," director of human rights watchdog Imparsial, Poengky Indarti, said Monday.
"During the selection process for the Indonesian Military [TNI] commander or National Police chief, for example, the House of Representatives asked Komnas HAM about the candidates' human rights records. Why didn't the KPU do the same thing following the selection of the presidential candidates?" she added.
The NGO coalition previously filed a complaint about the KPU to the Indonesian Ombudsman, which has twice invited KPU representatives to discuss the matter but to no avail.
Ombudsman commissioner Budi Santoso told The Jakarta Post that the KPU had instead sent a written response to the Ombudsman's request, highlighting that it had included human rights during the debates.
"We have done our best to accommodate both parties. Thus, it's up to them whether they want to meet directly to discuss the matter. We are always willing to mediate between them," Budi said.