Kontras demands government ratify convention on missing persons

Detik.com – September 1, 2009
Banner reads 'Solve the Missing Activists Case' (Tempo)
Banner reads 'Solve the Missing Activists Case' (Tempo)

Rachmadin Ismail, Jakarta – The Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) visited the Directorate General of Human Rights at the Department of Justice and Human Rights on Tuesday September 1.

Together with family members of missing people, they demanded the fulfillment of a promise to deal with missing persons cases by ratifying the international convention on missing persons.

 ”Kontras along with the families of victims hope that the Department of Justice and Human Rights will soon ratify the international convention for the protection of all persons from enforced disappearances,” said Kontras coordinator Usman Hamid at the department’s offices on Jl. HR Rasuna Said in the Kuningan area of South Jakarta today.

Usman demanded the fulfillment of a promise made during the era of Justice and Human Rights Minister Hamid Awaludin who declared his commitment to sign the Convention Against Enforced Disappearances in 2007. To this day however, the convention has not yet been signed.

According to Usman, the ratification of this convention is important primarily in dealing with cases of missing persons in Indonesia, which was rampant prior to the reformasi era. “If the convention was ratified victims could report to the United Nations and request protection through international conventions in order that Indonesia can be reprimanded,” he explained.

Aside from Usman, Tuti Koto, the mother of a victim of the 1998 abductions of student activists also hopes that the government will ratify the convention that has so far only been signed by 13 countries. This is because she has given up seeking legal assistance from institutions within Indonesia.

“My child has been missing for 12 years now. Although I’m a person who doesn’t understand the law and doesn’t understand politics I ask that the government not treat me like a fool. Sign it now”, she said.

In response the Director for Reinforcing Human Rights at the Department of Justice and Human Rights, Rusdiyanto pledged to prioritise a program to sign and ratify the convention. He asserted that it has already been designated as a human rights national action plan and would be implemented soon by the incoming government.

“We have been coordinating with various parties, however because of the large number of programs, it’s likely that it will not be implemented until the next government [takes office],” asserted Rusdiyanto. (anw/iy)

[Translated by James Balowski.]