INDONESIA: UN called to act as Yudhoyono is re-inaugurated amid stalemate on disappearances cases

Hong Kong, October 28, 2009 

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) is concerned that after Soeharto’s fall there is no significant progress in the resolution of the past human right abuses which occurred under the New Order regime, in particular disappearances. 

For example between 1997 and 1998, 24 activists were abducted because their struggle for change and democracy at that time. Only 9 of them returned alive while 13 others are still missing and one has been confirmed to have died. 

After more than 10 years of reformation in Indonesia this case has not been resolved, largely due to the lack of political will within the government. After the Attorney General (AG) recently rejected the recommendations of the National Commission for Human Rights and refused responsibility to conduct investigations into this case, the hopes for justice have been dashed yet again. 

Since the families of the victims continued to demand justice, the House of Representatives finally issued a recommendation to the government to establish an ad hoc Human Rights Court regarding this case and further demanded the AG to conduct investigations. 

On October 20, 2009 President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono was re-inaugurated after his first presidential period ended without any progress concerning the promises he made regarding human rights and justice for the victims of the New Order regime. The AHRC is concerned by the ongoing lack of credible measures by his office to address grave human rights cases such as the disappearances of 97/98. 

The AHRC has written a letter of appeal to the UN Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances (UNWGEID) in which Mr. Basil Fernando, director of the AHRC, has called for the UN body to intervene to ensure that the Indonesian government resolves this case. The full text of the letter is available at here

“Resolution of the gross violation of human rights are difficult without the support and political will from the government,” said Fernando, “As the Indonesian government has shown its inability to resolve the case, international mechanisms such as the UN Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances are required to intervene.” 

In the letter, the AHRC requests the working group to monitor the protection of the rights of victims the government is obliged to ensure. Under international law, Indonesia is obliged to investigate any case of disappearances and to provide justice and remedies for all victims. The government should without delay ratify the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance and reform the Attorney General Office.

Document Type : Press Release
Document ID : AHRC-PRL-039-2009
Countries : Indonesia,
Issues : Enforced disappearances and abductions,