International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearance 2016: Fulfil the Rights of Enforced Disappearance Victims and Strengthen Protection to Prevent Recurrence

United Nation General Assembly has adopted International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance – CPED) on 21 December 2010. This instrument has been a part of international law which has binding legal force. Since then on, started in 2011, August 30 is celebrated as International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearance. At this year celebration, the UN General Secretary, Ban Ki-Moon, delivered the message again to every UN country members to immediately ratify or make CPED accessible, including ask the Convention countries to implement the mandate as mentioned in the Convention. This ratification is important in order to prevent the practice of enforced disappearance.

However, the reality shows the other way around, the enforced disappearance still commonly occurs. According to the report made by UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearance (UNWGEID)on 28 July 2016, since this working group was established, there have been at least 55.273 cases which have spread in 107 countries, including Indonesia.

In the context of Indonesia, UNWGEID found that, since 1980 until 2016, there were 163 cases related to enforced disappearance. From these cases, none of them has been successfully solved by the government, neither the effective restoration to the victims has been conducted. Moreover, in 2011 and 2013, the General Assembly has released General Allegation to Indonesia for its disobedience against UN Declaration for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances 1992. It also does not get any response from the government.

Not only that, the absence of the state in guaranteeing the protection of each individual’s right from the practice of enforced disappear also was shown with the absence of response from Indonesian government on UNWGEID request on 27 November 2015 to do official visit to Indonesia. This visit is in its capacity to conduct observation of Indonesia’s in combating the practices of enforced disappearances.

In the context of institutionalize CEPED in national law of a country, since 29 August 2016, this Convention has been signed by 96 countries and 52 of them has ratified that instrument. Indonesia itself has signed the CPED on 27 September 2010, and also in 2012, Indonesia has accepted the recommendations from numbers of Universal Periodic Review countries to ratify CPED, but ironically up to this date the government has not ratified the mentioned agreement.   The discussion to ratify that convention, which appeared in DPR, was halted just before the 2014 General Election due to the big political implication that emerged.

At the celebration of International Day of the Victims of the Enforced Disappearance, and by considering how weak the protection of individual’s right from the practice of enforced disappearance in Indonesia, as well as by considering the absence of the restoration of rights of the enforce disappearance victims, Institute of Policy Research and Advocacy (ELSAM) proclaimed;

First, the President to immediately response to the DPR’s recommendations on the investigation result of the enforced disappearances in 1997 – 1998 conducted by National Commission on Human Rights, by: (i) immediately conduct a search for the missing person; (ii) immediately release Presidential Decree on the establishment of Ad-hoc Human Rights court for enforced disappearance cases; (iii) provide the restoration rights to the victims; and (iv) immediately ratify the convention against enforced disappearance.

Second, to immediately do the follow up on 163 alleged enforced disappearance cases in Indonesia in order to give clarity to the victims’ fate, and also to provide an effective restoration to them. In addition to that, it is also import to remember that enforced disappearance crime is a continuing crime, so it will result in a continuing effect not only for the victims but also for their families.

Three, to immediately give response and accept UNWGEID request related to the official visit to Indonesia to observe the implementation of guaranteeing the protection of each individual from the practice of enforced disappearance. Also, in the context of following up the acceptance of UPR recommendation in 2012, it is essential to ratify CPED as a positive response toward Indonesia commitment and also part of the effort to prevent repetitiveness.

Jakarta, 30 August 2016