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AHRC: Open Letter to UNOHCR

Below is an excerpt from the Asian Human Rights Commission's open letter to the UN, please see the following PDF link for the full letter and appendixes:

28 October 2009
An Open Letter to the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances by the Asian Human Rights Commission
Mr. Jeremy J. Sarkin,
UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
Palais des Nations 1211 Geneva 10

Dear Mr. Jeremy J. Sarkin,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) is seeking the intervention of the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances concerning the many disappearances committed by the State in Indonesia’s past, concerning which impunity prevails to date. One of the key events that led to the reformation of the Indonesian state were protests against Suharto's New Order regime in 1997 and 98. At that time many activists were abducted and disappeared. For more than 10 years local non-governmental organisations as well as the National Commission for Human Rights (Komnas HAM) have urged the government to resolve these cases and have conducted considerable campaigns to push for justice without success. President Yudhoyono promised to make issues of impunity and atrocities that occurred during the past a top priority for his last presidential period. President Yudhoyono has recently been re-elected for a second term and the AHRC fears that no further progress will be made in these cases wit
Between 1997 and 1998, 23 students and other activists were reportedly abducted by the Army Special Forces Command (known as Kopassus) because of their political activism in the struggle for change and democracy under the New Order regime.

This movement finally led to the reformation of the Indonesian state towards a modern democracy. For Indonesia to become a modern, stable democracy benefiting from the rule of law and the respect for human rights, it is vital for justice to be rendered concerning the grave and widespread abuses of the past. While all of the country’s many victims of a range of grave and widespread abuses require justice and reparation, the AHRC believes that in taking up the emblematic cases of the disappeared students and activists the Working Group could contribute significantly to dismantling the current system of impunity that is affecting these cases. This would then have helpful repercussions on the problem of disappearances more widely and the system of impunity concerning oth
The initial abduction of nine student activists - Pius Lustrilanang, Desmon J Mahesa, Haryanto Taslam, Mugiyanto, Aan Rusdianto, Faisol Reza, Rahardja Waluya Jati, Nezar Patria and Andi Aref - led civil society to demand their release and accountability on the part of the military that had perpetrated these disappearances. One by one the victims were returned, however, 13 people are still missing, namely: Suyat, Yani Afri, Sonny, M. Yusuf, Noval Alkatiri, Dedy Hamdun, Ismail, Bimo Petrus, Abdun Naser, Hendra Hambali, Ucok Siahaan, Yadin Muhidin and Wiji Thukul.

On October 2006, the National Commission for Human Rights (Komnas HAM) released the results of an enquiry that mentioned several human rights violations, including arbitrary arrest and detention, torture, and enforced disappearance, and highlighted the need for reparation to be provided to the victims and/or their families. This report was submitted to the Attorney General at the end of 2006.



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