INDONESIA: President must honour human rights pledges

A Press Release from Asia Press Office, Right Livelihood Award Foundation forwarded by the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC)

Over a decade having passed since the assassination of Right Livelihood Award Laureate Munir Said Thalib, Indonesia’s most prominent human rights defender, 36 fellow Laureates from the across the world have joined Munir’s wife Suciwati to call on Indonesian President Joko Widodo to honour his election promises and bring those that masterminded Munir’s assassination to account.

President Widodo made it an election campaign promise to resolve Indonesia’s past human rights violations. However, those involved in the conspiracy to kill Munir still roam free under President Widodo’s watch.

Since Munir’s death via arsenic poisoning, the alleged hired assassin Pollycarpus has been convicted, then acquitted, then convicted again of the killing, and subsequently sentenced to 14 years in prison. Despite the conviction, Pollycarpus has already been freed and alleged mastermind General Hendropriono appears to be in close association with President Widodo.

Suciwati, who has relentlessly pursued justice for her husband, is currently in The Hague in The Netherlands to unveil a street in Munir’s honour. Netherlands is the same country where Munir’s lifeless body arrived on 7 September 2004, after being poisoned with arsenic on a flight from Jakarta to Amsterdam. Suciwati has expressed frustration at the case not being resolved after more than a decade:

“It is true that we have a new President. However there are some indicators that the case has been deadlocked. Firstly, after the Presidential inauguration, the Vice President made a statement that the case of Munir was finished. Secondly, since the Presidential campaign, perpetrators of human rights violations have expressed their support of the current President. Furthermore, the person ultimately responsible for the assassination of Munir [allegedly Hendropriyono, as former Chief of Indonesia’s intelligence agency], was offered a Presidential Advisor post…

People will be reluctant to become activists like Munir, because it’s dangerous and there is no protection for their lives. And because there has been no settlement of this case, it will set a bad precedent for this country. That is why we have to keep speaking out about solving the case, to keep reminding the public that this should not happen again…

Having the [Right Livelihood Award] Laureates signing the petition is very important in order to remind the Indonesian society that the international community, particularly many influential people in the world, is still concerned about this case.”

Follow this link to listen to more of Suciwati’s interview where she speaks on the current situation of justice in Indonesia and in terms of Munir’s case: 

Unveiling Munir Street

On 14 April 2015, Suciwati will be part of a series of events in The Hague to commemorate Munir and his legacy. The day is being jointly organised by Amnesty International and the Municipality of The Hague. Eduard Nazarski, Director of Amnesty International and the Mayor of The Hague, Jozias van Aartsen, will join Suciwati for the unveiling ceremony.

Fellow Rights Livelihood Laureate from 1986, Carmel Budiardjo, has given Suciwati her fullest support in her fight for justice:

“Naming a street in The Hague after Munir, Indonesia’s greatest human

rights activist, is very welcome. Everyone who walks along this Street should spend a few moments reflecting [on] the truth about Munir and urging the Indonesian government to do everything possible to find the people who planned his murder and bring them to justice.” 



His Excellency Joko Widodo

President, Republic Indonesia

Dear President Joko Widodo,

We, Laureates of the Right Livelihood Award, also known as the “Alternative Nobel Prize”, welcome the human rights pledges you made during your election campaign, including your promise to address past human rights violations in Indonesia.

The Right Livelihood Award was established in 1980 to honour and support those “offering practical and exemplary answers to the most urgent challenges facing us today.” Presented annually in the Swedish Parliament to outstanding environmentalists and proponents of peace and social justice, there are now 158 Laureates from 65 countries.

The late human rights defender Munir Said Thalib received the Right Livelihood Award in 2000 “for his courage and dedication in fighting for human rights and the civilian control of the military in Indonesia.“

As part of implementing your human rights agenda, we call on you to use your good offices to resolve the killing of prominent human rights defender Munir Said Thailb. Ten years after his murder, there remain credible allegations that all those responsible for his death have not been brought to justice.

Recently, the American journalist Allan Nairn interviewed General Hendropriyono, a former Chief of State Intelligence Agency and former team member on your election campaign. During this interview, Nairn states that Hendropriyono admitted “command responsibility” in the 2004 assassination of Munir.

The continuing lack of accountability for Munir’s killing provides a chilling reminder to human rights defenders in Indonesia that their work remains under threat.

In expressing our fullest solidarity with Munir Said Thalib as fellow Laureates of the Right Livelihood Award, we urge you to ensure that the following steps are taken as a matter of priority:

  1. Initiate a new, independent investigation by the police into the murder of Munir, to ensure that all perpetrators, at all levels, are brought to justice in accordance with international human rights standards, particularly, the “mastermind” behind the murder;
  1. Publish the official 2005 fact finding team report into Munir’s killing as a key step towards establishing the truth; and
  1. Review past criminal proceedings against those accused of involvement in Munir’s murder, and, in particular, investigative reports of witness intimidation.

Yours Sincerely, 

Signed by the following Right Livelihood Award Laureates:

  1. Daniel Ellsberg, USA (RLA 2006)
  2. Basil Fernando, AHRC, Hong Kong (RLA 2014)
  3. Monika Hauser, Medica Mondiale, Germany (RLA 2008)
  4. Hans Herren, Biovision Foundation, Switzerland (RLA 2013)
  5. Hunter Lovins, Natural Capitalism Solutions, USA (RLA 1983)
  6. Anwar Fazal, Right Livelihood College, Malaysia (RLA 1982)
  7. Johan Galtung, Norway (RLA 1987)
  8. Birsel Lemke, Turkey (RLA 2000)
  9. Helen Mack-Chang, Guatemala (RLA 1993)
  10. Manfred Max-Neef, Universida Austral de Chile, Chile (RLA 1983)
  11. Bill McKibben,, USA (RLA 2014)
  12. Raúl A. Montenegro, FUNAM, Argentina (RLA 2004)
  13. Vandana Shiva, Navdanya, India (RLA 1991)
  14. Suciwati, widow of Munir, KontraS, Indonesia (RLA 2000)
  15. Shrikrishna Upadhyay, SAPPROS, Nepal (RLA 2010)
  16. Dr. Theo van Boven, The Netherlands (RLA 1985)
  17. Alyn Ware, Global Coordinator, PNND New Zealand/Switzerland (RLA 2009)
  18. Angie Zelter, Trident Ploughshares, UK (RLA 2001)
  19. Nnimmo Bassey, Nigeria (RLA 2010)
  20. Glorene Das, for Irene Fernandez, Tenaganita, Malaysia (RLA 2005)
  21. Medha Patkar, Narmada Bachao Andolan, India (RLA 1991)
  22. Irfan Engineer, for Asghar Ali Engineer, India (RLA 2004)
  23. Lobzang Tsultim, LEDeG, India (RLA 1986)
  24. Masami Tsuchiya Seikatsu Club, Japan (RLA 1989)
  25. Teruko Kobayashi Seikatsu Club, Japan (RLA 1989)
  26. Ryoko Shimizu, Seikatsu Club, Japan (RLA 1989)
  27. Hogyun Kim, CCEJ, South Korea (RLA 2003)
  28. Arun Gupta, IBFAN, International (RLA 1998)
  29. K. Ravindran, KSSP, India (RLA 1996)
  30. Vijay Pratap, Lokayan, India (RLA 1985)
  31. Ovais Sultan Khan, Lokayan, India (RLA 1985)
  32. Swami Agnivesh, India (RLA 2004)
  33. Hanumappa Sudarshan, VGKK, India (RLA 1994)
  34. Sulak Sivaraksa, Thailand (RLA 1995)
  35. Ruth Manorama, India (RLA 2006)
  36. Sima Samar, Afghanistan (RLA 2012)

CONTACT: Josefina Bergsten, Asia Press Office,


Mobile: +852 9632 3144

Skype: josefinabergsten

Document Type : Forwarded Press Release
Document ID : AHRC-FPR-009-2015
Countries : Indonesia,
Issues : Extrajudicial killings,