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SIARAN PERS
Indonesian Government Will Sign the United Nations Convention Protecting Persons from Enforced Disappearances

Tgl terbit: Selasa, 30 Oktober 2007

Indonesian Government Will Sign the United Nations
Convention Protecting Persons from Enforced Disappearances

Join Statement of IKOHI - Kontras - AFAD - FEDEFAM

October 29, 2007 - A delegation of representatives from KontraS and the Association of Family Members of the Disappeared in Indonesia (IKOHI) are accompanied by representatives of the Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD) and the Latin American Federation of Associations of Relatives of Disappeared - Detainees in visiting government agencies to remind the Indonesian government of its official promise to sign the United Nations Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance. 

In a meeting with the Ministry of Justice, the Minister of Law and Human Rights, Andi Mattalatta assured the delegation of Indonesia's commitment to human rights, which, as he said, has still to be fully implemented. When brought to his attention the still unresolved cases of enforced disappearances and the imperative for an international instrument protecting people from this heinous crime and reminded of the Indonesian's government's pronouncement during the High Level Segment session of the UN Human Rights Council, Minister Mattalatta said that he would follow the matter up with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 

Mr. Patricio Rice of the Latin American Federation of Associations of Relatives of Disappeared - Detainees shared the Argentinian experience on the issue of enforced disappearances, particularly the continuing legal actions being done on the cases that happened in the past and which continue to be one of the priority concerns of the organizations of families of the disappeared in his own country.  While a form of pension cannot compensate for lives lost due to enforced disappearance, it is a symbol of the government's admission of its debt and responsibility to those who disappeared and to their families, Mr. Rice stated.   

The representatives of the Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD), whose federation was formerly chaired by Munir until the time of his death, also expressed concern over the still unresolved murder of its former Chairperson.  The visiting delegates were assured that the judiciary is taking action on this case in order to ensure that a fair judgment can be attained to the satisfaction of everybody.

In a separate meeting with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the same delegation met with Director General Rezlan Ishhar and Professor Harkristuti Harkrisnowo who both confirm of Indonesia's intention to sign the United Nations Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances.  The Foreign Affairs Ministry accordingly is in the process of consulting other government agencies on the issue. 

AFAD and FEDEFAM expressed hope that Indonesia would be the fifth Asian country to sign the Convention especially so that the phenomenon of enforced disappearance is a continuing reality in many Asian countries which recently submitted the highest number of cases to the United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances.  To note, in the Asian region, there are no existing regional human rights mechanisms and no national laws criminalizing enforced disappearances.  Thus, this new treaty adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on December 20, 2006 and signed by 71 governments would be relevant to Indonesia and the rest of Asia. It provides two new rights, e.g. the right to truth and the right not to be subjected to enforced disappearances.

It is significant to note that Indonesia is a member of the United Nations Human Rights Council. The United Nations Working Group on  Enforced Disappearances confirmed to have sent a request for an official invitation from the government.  Moreover, Indonesia is one of the first members of the United Nations Human Rights Council to be subjected to a Universal Periodic Review - a mechanism wherein the human rights performance of the government will be evaluated. The said process is scheduled to be done in April 2008.

Mr. Rice ended with a note that in Argentina, thirty years ago, disappeared people were thrown from the infamous "death flights" out of the ocean. Thirty years later, some of the remains of these people have been positively identified through the expertise of the Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team. Such a message of hope is a challenge for governments and civil society in Asia to combat enforced disappearances and end impunity in the region.

The delegation is scheduled to meet with Indonesia's National Commission on Human Rights tomorrow; to give lectures to the academe and to share experiences with families of the disappeared in the country. It is also seeking an audience with President Sucilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

 

MR. MUGIYANTO  
Chairperson, AFAD

MARY AILEEN D. BACALSO
Secretary-General, AFAD

MR. PATRICIO RICE ATTORNEY
Adviser, FEDEFAM

USMAN HAMID
Coordinator, KontraS



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