Activists and Families of Enforced Disappearance Victims Demand Justice

A demonstration demanding justice and resolution to the abduction case of pro-democracy activists in 1997-1998 continued on Tuesday (28/9) in Jakarta. In the previous day the police arrested at least 30 protesters to disband a peaceful rally of victims and human rights activists.

“This action is a follow-up to our action yesterday” said Mugiyanto from the Association of Families of the Dissapeared (IKOHI), one of the organisations that initiated the protest .

They set up several tents in front of the Presidential Palace and displayed pictures of activists that have been abducted and disappeared by the New Order regime, such as Ben Peter, Wiji Thukul, Herman Lawrence, and Suyat.

Protesters from People’s Cultural Network (Jaker) gave political speeches, read several poems and sang songs of struggle. Other groups that joined the protests were Families of Victims of Enforced Disappearances 1997/98, the Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of Violence (Kontras), Institute for Policy Research and Advocacy, Great Family of the People’s Demoratic ( KBRD), and the Working People’s Association (PRP).

Activists and victims’ families urged the President to take action along the recommendation passed by the House plenary meeting on 28 September 2009 to solve the case of enforced disappearances in 1997/1998,

The recommendation contains four important points, i.e. the setting up of ad hoc human rights court, the search for the 13 missing activists, the rehabilitation and compensation for the families of victims of enforced disappearances, and the ratification of the Convention on Anti-Forced disappearances.

However, up to this day, the President has not followed up on any of the recommended measure.

“This shows that the President does not have any commitment to uphold human rights nor effort to prevent the recurrence of human rights violation cases in the future,” said Mugiyanto.

He was also disappointed by the lack of commitment in the part of the House of Representatives in supervising the implementation of the recommendations . “Resolving human rights violations is very important as a starting point towards the democratic process in Indonesia,” he said.

According to protesters, the abandonment of the recommendation is not only injuring the sense of justice among victims’ families, but will also harm the democratic process in Indonesia. (BFT/transl: Risma)

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