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12 September 2014

Open Letter: Indonesian government must address impunity for Munir’s assassination

Mr. Joko Widodo
The Elected President of Indonesia
Transitional House (Rumah Transisi)
Jl. Situbondo no.10
Menteng, Central Jakarta

Your Excellency,

We write to you today to express our serious concern that ten years after the assassination of human rights defender Munir Said Thalib, the Government of Indonesia has yet to conduct a thorough, impartial and effective investigation to bring to justice all those who are responsible for his death.

On 7 September 2004, Munir was found dead on a flight from Jakarta to the Netherlands. An autopsy conducted by the Dutch authorities indicates that he had been poisoned with arsenic. Prior to his assassination, Munir had been repeatedly targeted because of his activities for the protection and promotion of human rights. In 2002 and 2003, unknown assailants attacked his office. In August 2003, a bomb exploded outside his house in Bekasi, West Java.

Munir’s tireless work contributed to the development of democracy, and greater respect for human rights and fundamental freedom in Indonesia today.

While three persons have already been convicted in connection with the murder, no attempt has been made to identify, prosecute, and punish those who actually planned and ordered Munir’s death.

In 2004, under Presidential Decree No. 111/2004, the Government created a Fact-Finding Team to investigate Munir’s death and make recommendations thereon. We note that the report and recommendations of the Fact-Finding Team have never been made public or made known to the family of Munir. Neither has there been any official indication from the Government that it will act on the said recommendations.
Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Indonesia is a party, requires the State to take effective steps to investigate unlawful killings, whether by State agents or by private persons.  As the UN Human Rights Committee has affirmed, the

Indonesian government must exercise due diligence to prevent, punish, investigate or redress the harm caused by such acts.
We urge you, as President-elect, to keep your election campaign promise to address impunity for past violations of human rights in Indonesia. Specifically, we call on you to:

  • Publish the 2006 Fact-Finding Team’s report on the investigation into Munir’s assassination.
  • Conduct a credible, thorough, and impartial investigation aimed at bringing to justice all persons for whom there is reasonable suspicion of involvement in Munir’s assassination, including those involved with ordering and planning the killing, without undue delay.

Sincerely yours,
Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development  (FORUM ASIA)
Front Line Defenders
International Commission of Jurists (ICJ)
International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)
The Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of Violence (KontraS)

For further information:
Andrea Giorgetta: ag@fidh.org or +66886117722
Rei Firdha Amalia : email: rei.firdhaamalia@kontras.org or +62 85793017953
Emerlynne Gil (Bangkok) – emerlynne.gil@icj.org or +66840923575
Jim Loughran (Dublin) :  jim@frontlinedefenders.org, or +353 (0)1 212 375
John Liu : johnliu@forum-asia.org or  +66802828610

CC:
1. Mr. Hafid Abbas
National Commission on Human Rights
Jl. Latuharhary No.4B Menteng 
Jakarta, Indonesia 10310
Phone: +62 21 3925230
Fax: +62 21 3925227