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UN panel scrutinizes Jokowi’s neutrality over his son’s 2024 candidacy

UN Human Rights Committee questions Indonesian President Jokowi’s neutrality regarding his son’s candidacy in the 2024 election. Expert asserts Indonesia’s democracy at lowest ebb under Jokowi’s leadership.



INDONESIA: In a recent session of the United Nations Human Rights Committee (CCPR) held in Geneva, Switzerland, Bacre Waly Ndiaye, a member of the committee, raised concerns about the neutrality of President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) regarding the candidacy of his eldest son, Gibran Rakabuming Raka, in the 2024 Presidential Election.

Bacre Waly Ndiaye. (Photo:

The session, which took place on Tuesday (12 March), was attended by representatives from CCPR member states, including Indonesia.

During the question-and-answer session, Ndiaye posed several inquiries regarding the assurance of political rights for Indonesian citizens in the 2024 elections.

Last-minute candidate requirement changes trigger UN concerns

Ndiaye pointed out that Indonesia held its presidential election in February 2024, campaigning underway following a last-minute decision altering candidacy requirement, allowing the president’s offspring to participate in the candidacy.

“What steps have been taken to ensure that high-ranking officials, including the president, do not excessively influence the electoral process? Has the government investigated allegations of election interference?” Ndiaye questioned during the meeting.

However, the Indonesian representatives, led by Tri Tharyat, the Director-General of Multilateral Cooperation at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, did not address Ndiaye’s queries regarding Jokowi’s neutrality in the 2024 elections.

Instead, Tri highlighted the increased participation of Indonesian citizens in the 2024 elections compared to 2019, emphasizing that Indonesia’s general elections are the largest in the world.

“Just a few weeks ago, 204.7 million Indonesians enthusiastically exercised their rights in the largest election ever,” Tri Tharyat stated.

“This increase of 46 million eligible voters compared to 2019 signifies a proud moment for Indonesia as we celebrate it as a festival of democracy.”

Expert asserts Indonesia’s democracy at lowest ebb under Jokowi’s leadership

Political observer and Executive Director of Sudut Demokrasi Riset dan Analisis (SUDRA), Fadhli Harahab, expressed his views on the matter, describing it as a stain on Indonesia’s democratic journey in the eyes of the international community.

“This marks a black spot on Indonesia’s democratic journey in the eyes of the international community,” Fadhli remarked on Saturday (16 March).

He argued that democracy in Indonesia during Jokowi’s era has reached its lowest point, especially after the Constitutional Court approved Gibran Rakabuming Raka’s participation in the 2024 presidential election.

“Jokowi has demonstrated to the world that Indonesian democracy, once admired, has now declined,” Fadhli concluded.

Chico Hakim, the spokesperson for the National Campaign Team of Ganjar Pranowo-Mahfud MD, also commented on the issue, stating that it reflects Jokowi’s current image in the eyes of the world.

“This reflects Jokowi’s current image in the eyes of the world. Jokowi, who has been praised for years as a democratic, humble leader, and whose family was not involved in politics but only operated a food business, is now seen as the opposite of the image he built,” Chico said on Saturday (16 March).

He added that although there are no serious implications for now from the remarks made in the UN Human Rights Committee session if Indonesia’s democracy index continues to decline, it will weaken Indonesia’s bargaining power regarding human rights in other international forums.

On the other hand, Subiran Paridamos, the Executive Director of Sentral Politika, viewed the UN Human Rights Committee’s stance as coinciding with presidential candidate number 2, Prabowo Subianto, addressing issues of human rights enforcement in Palestine.

“The discourse from the UN Human Rights Committee emerged following Prabowo Subianto’s speech, which explicitly mentioned and addressed the issue of a country in the world that speaks eloquently about human rights but ignores human rights violations in Palestine,” Subiran said on Saturday (16 March).

According to Subiran, it is inappropriate for the UN Human Rights Committee to question Indonesia’s democratic process.

“The question is, what interest does the UN Human Rights Council have in Indonesia’s presidential election? Why suddenly meddle in Indonesia’s democratic affairs? Does Indonesia’s presidential election have any relevance to international human rights?” Subiran questioned.

“If what is being questioned is its democracy, then no country in the world, including the United States and India, runs as large and complex democratic procedures as Indonesia,” he continued.

Furthermore, Subiran viewed Indonesia’s election process as transparent and direct, minimizing the possibility of external parties considering President Jokowi’s intervention.

“If what is being questioned is presidential intervention, the neutrality of the apparatus, and so on, then Indonesia’s elections are based on the principles of transparency and fairness, involving many actors to minimize abuse of power in the elections,” he explained.

“Therefore, when foreign countries, including the UN, seek to question Indonesia’s democracy, they should be the ones learning democracy from Indonesia,” he concluded.

The issue also sparked divided opinions among netizens. Comments on a post by Kompas Daily on platform X regarding this news varied.

(Source: X Platform/@kompascom)

“Indonesia is indeed part of the UN, but that doesn’t mean every issue needs UN approval,” wrote user @po_heng.

Meanwhile, user @Nung94Ira*** commented, “I thought it was just a local issue, turns out the international world also feels the scent of the flaws in the presidential election.”

(Source: X Platform/@kompascom)

“Well, it’s understandable. Our Foreign Minister is quite vocal about being anti-Israel on the international stage. That alone is enough to draw the world’s attention to Indonesia. So, if there are questions like this, there’s no need to be surprised,” remarked user @affandi_sa***.

(Source: X Platform/@kompascom)

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