Kontras sees no light at end of tunnel

Kontras sees no light at end of tunnel
, 6 December 2010

The Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) has again urged the government to solve a slew of cases of forced disappearance that remain shrouded in mystery.

“We condemn President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s unwillingness to solve many cases of forced disappearance in the country,” the commission’s impunity and victims’ rights fulfillment division chief Yati Andriyani told The Jakarta Post on Sunday.

Even today the government has not yet shed light on the mysteries behind the disappearances during the 1998 riots, the students rallies at Trisakti University, the incidents at the Semanggi cloverleaf overpass in 1998 and 1999, and the 1989 Talangsari riot.

“The families of the victims have the right to know their family member’s whereabouts. They need to know whether they have already died or are still alive somewhere,” she said.

The President’s political will was key to solving those cases, she added. “We demand immediate action from the President to follow up recommendations by the special committee for missing persons at the House of Representatives on the disappearances of democracy activists in 1997-1998,” she said.

The rights group also lamented the fact that the government has never followed up on recommendations from the National Human Rights Commission.

Indonesia signed the Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearances at the UN in late September, a move rights activists hope will pave the way for investigations into past disappearances of government critics.

Kontras urged the government to ratify the convention in order to adopt it as a legal instrument.

Dozens of people from the Human Rights Victims Association and Kontras gathered at the State Palace on Sunday demanding that the government uphold justice.

Sharing the same sentiment, Gajah Mada University student Dian Paramita plans to hold a free music concert at Es Teler 77 restaurant in South Jakarta Wednesday to honor Munir’s courage on the day he was born, Dec. 8, 45 years ago.

Dian, who has been trying to gain support from the Twitter community over the past month, also plans to hold an auction of 45 limited-edition T-shirts with Munir’s face and the slogan “Reject the Forgotten Munir”.

Profits from the auction will be used to produce non-limited T-shirts bearing a picture of Munir, which would be distributed for free to the public. Glenn Fredly, Pandji and Efek Rumah Kaca will perform at the concert, which is scheduled to be attended by Munir’s wife, Suciawati.