Press Release
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In Response to the President of Argentina's State Visit to Indonesia, KontraS Encourages a Discussion of Past Human Rights Violations with the Indonesian Government

January 16, 2012-Today, the Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner begins her visit to Indonesia and the city of Jakarta. Her objective in coming to Indonesia is to foster economic cooperation and trade between our two countries.

The Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of Violence (KontraS) extends a great welcome to her Excellency, President Fernández on her visit. We hope that during this trip to Indonesia, President Fernández will consider the importance of human rights in two areas.

First, we hope that the President of Argentina's business and economic dialogue will emphasize the value of human rights. We have been informed that one of her objectives in coming to Indonesia is to foster cooperation between the Indonesian government and business groups. We welcome and support this endeavor but we hope that the cooperation that her government seeks does not include individuals or corporations who are accused of human rights abuses.

Second, we sincerely hope that President Fernández, in addition to her discussions on trade and economic agreements, will discuss matters of social justice with our President, Mr. Soesilo Bambang Yudhoyono. In particular, we are referring to the importance of settling past cases of crimes against humanity in Indonesia, especially the enforced disappearances that occurred here between 1965-1966 and 1997-1998.

Argentina and Indonesia have a shared history of past crimes against humanity. Cases of abduction and enforced disappearances took place simultaneously in both our countries; during the 1976-1983 military junta in Argentina and during former Indonesian President Soeharto's New Order regime (1965-1998). President Fernández's visit and her input will be important for Indonesian government.

The combined efforts of the Argentine government, civil society, and the victims and their families led to the world’s most successful endeavor to recognize past crimes against humanity. Accountability and legal reform efforts in Argentina have also proceeded well. In addition, the victims’ families movement in Argentina, led by the human rights group Las Madres de la Plaza de Mayo, have influenced victims of past human rights violations around the world and continues to encourage others to speak out about their cases.

With deep respect and acknowledgment for the Argentine government's commitment to human rights and righting past wrongs, we hereby request that during her visit to Indonesia, President Fernández encourage the Indonesian government, especially the relevant authorities and the President of Indonesia, to not hesitate to take action to settle the gross human rights violations that occurred under the New Order regime. This can be done by encouraging the President of Indonesia to, first, issue a policy ensuring truth, justice, and reparations for victims and their families; second, conduct a thorough search for victims of enforced disappearances; and third, to ratify the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearances.


Jakarta, January 16, 2013

Yours sincerely,

Haris Azhar
Executive Coordinator of KontraS