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INDONESIA: The Convention against Enforced Disappearances must be ratified urgently

February 1, 2011
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A Joint Statement by the Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of Violence (KontraS) in Indonesia and the Asian Human Rights Commission

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On December 23, 2010 the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance entered into force with Iraq becoming the 20th state to ratify the convention on November 23, 2010. According to article 39, paragraph 2 the convention will enter into force one month after the 20th state has ratified it. (photo: victims meet the President, source: KontraS)

We believe that the convention will bring a positive impact for the United Nations Working Group on Involuntary Disappearances (UNWGEID), particularly in countries that have ratified the convention.

While Indonesia has signed the convention they have not yet ratified it and due to the long history of forced disappearances it is vitally important that the country ratifies the convention immediately. Cases of forced disappearances date back as far as the 1965 – 1966 massacre; the mysterious shootings in 1981 to 1983, Tanjung Priok case on September 12, 1984, Talangsari case in 1989, the enforced disappearance of students activists in 1997 – 1998, the case of May 13 – 15, 1998 and the Military Operation (DOM) in Aceh in 1989 to 1998 and there are others.

It is necessary for Indonesia to ratify the convention in order to afford protection for the people and to prevent the repetition of enforced disappearances. It is also necessary as it will ensure that the government acknowledges that forced disappearances are a most serious crime.

On September 27, 2010, the Indonesian government, through the foreign minister, Mr. Marty Natalegawa, signed the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance. It is believed that this achievement is the result of a lobbying process carried out during the course of the last three years with the Ministry of law and Human Rights, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Commission III of the Indonesia’s Parliament and the National Commission on Human Rights. Furthermore, the signing is also a manifestation of the commitment that has been made by the former Foreign Minister, Mr. Hamid Awaluddin. On March 12, 2007 in a speech at the High Level Segment of the UN Human Rights Council Mr. Hamid said that the Indonesian government will ratify the convention.

The signing has relevance to the four recommendations that were issued by the Parliament on September 28, 2009. In particular the fourth point, that the government would ratify the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappeared as a form of commitment and support to stop the practice of enforced disappearances in Indonesia.

However, the necessity to ratify the convention has not been interpreted by the Indonesian Parliament as a priority because the parliament has not put the matter on the list of priorities of the National Legislation Program (Prolegnas) in 2011. This is contrary to the fourth point of the parliament's recommendation and the National Action Plan on Human Rights (RANHAM) in 2010 to 2015 which has scheduled that the convention will be ratified.

In response to this situation we urge President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to give priority to the ratification of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearances. The Indonesian President must urge the Law and Human Rights Minister to prepare a study paper regarding the ratification. Furthermore the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) must take the initiative in efforts to ratify the convention and not deny the public participation.

Appendix

No
Case
Victim’s Number of Enforce Disappeared
Reference
1 1965 - 1966 Massacre 500. 000 – 1.000.000 victims Several references from victim's organization and researcher
    78.000 victims – 2.000.000 victims
2 the mysterious shooting in 1981 to 1983 5000 victims but only 67 victims who able to identified The report of monitoring and research from Komnas HAM
3 Case of Tanjung Priok in 1984 14 victims The Inquiry report of Komnas HAM
4 The Talangsari Lampung case in 1989 88 victims KontraS’ investigation report
5 Military operation in Aceh between 1989 - 1998 1.958 victims The report of several NGO’s in Aceh
75 victims (37 Men, 37 Women and 1 child) The report of monitoring and research from Komnas HAM
6 Case of 27 Juli 1996 23 Victims The report of monitoring and research from Komnas HAM
7 Kasus Penghilangan Paksa aktivis 1997 - 1998 13 Victims The report of monitoring and research from Komnas HAM and KontraS’ investigation report
8 Case of 13 - 15 May 1998 1.190 victims Report of joint investigation team on May tragedy in 1998
9 Several human rights violation in Papua
  Case of Teminabun between 1966 - 1967 Several prisoners of 500 prisoners who detained disappeared after release The report of monitoring and research from Komnas HAM
  Case of Sentani in 1970 20 victims The report of monitoring and research from Komnas HAM
  Case of Jaya Wijaya and Wamena Barat 2000 victims disappeared and dead The report of monitoring and research from Komnas HAM and KontraS’ investigation report
Document Type :
Statement
Document ID :
AHRC-STM-023-2011
Countries :
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