International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearance: “Demand the State’s Commitment to Ratify the Anti-Enforced Disappearance Convention”

The long series of incidents of enforced disappearances starting from the Massacre of 1965 – 1966, to the disappearances of Ruth Sitepu, extends the list of enforced disappearance victims who did not get the attention of the Government of the Republic of Indonesia. In the tragedy of with the records of 774 people were disappeared. During the reign of authoritarianism in the New Order era, 23 people were victims of enforced disappearances in the mysterious shooting incident (Petrus) in 1982-1985, 15 people were also became the victims of enforced disappearances in Tanjung Priok massacres in 1984, 235 people died and unknown whereabouts in the Talangsari Incident in 1989, and 23 activists were kidnapped in the period of 1997-1998, of which 13 people are still missing. These figures has not been added to the 18,600 people who disappeared during the East Timor Incident in 1975-1999 as well as thousands of others in the conflict in Aceh, both before, during and after the implementation of the Military Operations Area (DOM), as well as the prolonged conflict in Papua which still occurs today. In 2016, an Indonesian citizen who resided in Malaysia named Ruth Sitepu was suspected of being a victim of enforced disappearance along with her husband. The blacklist of the incident of enforced disappearance has made it even more hindering the victim and the victim’s family to meet justice amid the country’s lack of understanding of human rights. 


Through the momentum of International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearance (30/08), the Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of Violence [KontraS] recalling again that the state is the actor of the perpetuation of impunity. This is indicated by the absence of concrete steps in ratifying the International Convention on Protection of All Peoples from Enforced Disappearances which was signed more than 10 years ago. Then, the absence of any follow-up from the government on the Special Committee for the Disappeared Recommendations formed by the House of Representative (DPR) of the Republic of Indonesia in 2009. On the other hand, there are still various alleged actors are in government circles or have a strong relationship with public officials which further complicates the process of seeking justice by victims and victim’s families, this is caused by the lack of vetting mechanism in Indonesia. 


On the other hand, most of the victims are also questioning about their fate and whereabouts, so that their families still suffer losses, both psychologically and with limited access, due to the uncertainty of the status of their missing family members. This condition makes it even more difficult for victims and victims ‘families to this day, that the state has not shown its commitment to the fulfillment of victims’ rights such as the right to justice, the right to truth, the right to reparation and guarantees of non-repetition. 


Based on the facts metioned above, along with the commemoration of International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearance 2020, the Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of Violence (KontraS) urges the government to: 

  1. Immediately ratify the Convention against Enforced Disappearances, as a form of commitment to seek, find, return victims, and stop the practice of enforced disappearance in Indonesia, as well as prosecute and dismiss suspected perpetrators of past human rights violations perpetrators; 
  2. Implement the Recommendations for the Special Committee for the Disappeared established by the House of Representatives (DPR) of the Republic of Indonesia in 2009 as a whole, namely: 1) Establishing an ad hoc Human Rights Court; 2) Search for 13 people who were still declared missing by Komnas HAM; 3) Provide rehabilitation and compensation to families of victims of enforced disappearance; and 

  3. Strengthen the synergy between state institutions, namely the DPR, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Ministry of Law and Human Rights, to accelerate the process of deliberating the ratification of the International Convention on the Protection of All Persons from the Crime of Enforced Disappearance. 



Jakarta, August 30, 2020 

KontraS Worker Body, 




Fatia Maulidiyanti 



Contact person: Syahar Banu (0812-8585-7871/