Approaching of International Day of Anti-Enforced Disappearances on Wednesday, August 25, 2021, the Civilian Coalition Against Enforced Disappearances consisting of several civil society organizations consisting of KontraS, Asia Justice and Rights (AJAR), Amnesty International Indonesia, Association of Families of the Disappeared ( IKOHI), YLBHI, LBH-Jakarta, ELSAM, KontraS Federation, KontraS Surabaya, KontraS Sulawesi, KontraS Aceh, LBH-Bandung, Social Initiatives for Public Health, Solidarity for Victims of Human Rights Violations (SKP-HAM) Central Sulawesi and human rights activists, held hearings open online with a number of government agencies and legislative representatives as a space to bring together their commitments in the urgency of ratifying the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance as the protection of human rights for all Indonesians, as well as sharing progress with the public regarding the steps that have been taken by the executive government in drafting the ratification bill towards the discussion stage in the House of Representatives later.
In this hearing, the Director of Human Rights Instruments of the Ministry of Law and Human Rights, Timbul Sinaga explained the process that his side had carried out, on July 30, 2021, the Ministry of Law and Human Rights had made an application for a permit for the initiative to draft a Bill on the ratification of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance which was addressed to the Minister of Foreign Affairs in accordance with the statutory mechanism. His side also stated that he had held several intense meetings related to the preparation for this ratification by involving the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Coordinating Ministry for Political, Legal and Security Affairs and Presidential Staff Office. “Furthermore (the request for an initiative permit from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs) will be submitted to the State Secretariat, and will then be assisted by the State Secretariat and also the KSP so that this initiative permit will be issued immediately and to be submitted to the DPR,” Sinaga explained.
Representing the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Vienna Adza as the official Diplomat Functional at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs explained that throughout 2019 and 2020 the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had updated existing academic texts, and also carried out socialization and gathered input from Ministries/Institutions, academics and other stakeholders. Adza continued that regarding the ongoing initiative permit process, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs would act as a counterpart agency. Before the hearing ended, Adza emphasized, “The letter (application for the initiative permit) has been signed by the Foreign Minister and tomorrow will be sent to the State Secretariat.”
Coordinating Ministry for Political, Legal and Security Affairs (Kemenko Polhukam) as the coordinator who supervises this process, Associate Legal Analyst of Kemenko Polhukam Faizal Banu stated that in principle the Coordinating Ministry for Political, Legal and Security Affairs will continue to encourage the ratification process and synergize according to its main functions and authorities. As Indonesia has committed that depriving someone of one’s freedom against the law cannot be justified from the start of independence. “We will try our best to accelerate or complete the process of ratification of the Convention,” said Faisal Banu.
Furthermore, representing the Presidential Staff Office, Mugiyanto said that the ratification of this Convention is the priority of the Jokowi’s Administration. He confirmed that the Ministry of Law and Human Rights had compiled a timeline so that the initiative permit from the President would be issued at least in October 2021 and the ratification document could be immediately submitted to the House of Representatives. Then in the remaining time during November-December, his party hopes that the DPR can process the ratification of the Convention so that on International Human Rights Day on December 10 this year Indonesia has become a State Party to the International Convention against Enforced Disappearances. Continuing the letter of initiative that will be sent by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the State Secretariat, Mugi stated that Presidential Staff Office will encourage and oversee the State Secretariat so that the President’s Letter regarding the Bill on the Ratification of the International Convention against Enforced Disappearances can be immediately issued and accepted by the Housemate of Representatives. “Hopefully, the factions in the House of Representatives will approve the ratification proposed by the Government so that we can immediately become a State Party and our common desire to have an instrument to prevent enforced disappearances in the future can be realized,” he concluded.
Expectation of the approval by the House of Representatives is not without an ironic background. In fact, although the push for the Government of Indonesia to ratify the Convention against Enforced Disappearances was first issued by the DPR in 2009, however, when the Draft Bill on Ratification of this Convention entered the House of Representatives in 2013, the House of Representatives actually delayed its ratification indefinitely on the grounds that it needed time for consultation and review. Since then the formation of the House of Representatives has changed twice in 2014 and 2019, but there is still no certainty or at least news, when this ratification will be discussed again at the legislative level.
Responding to the ongoing process in the executive, KH. Maman Imanulhaq, a member of Commission VII of the House of Representatives from the PKB faction, stated firmly that PKB gave a positive response to the ratification of the convention. “In essence, we have one voice, yes, that our enthusiasm for accelerating the ratification of the International Convention Against Enforced Disappearances must indeed be realized on the momentum of December 10,” he said. In addition, according to him, the acceleration pattern between the Government and the DPR requires pressure from civil society, either through letters, social media, or direct meetings with related factions in the house of representatives.
Kang Maman’s statement was also supported by Taufik Basari, a member of Commission III from the Nasdem Party Faction who also expressed his readiness to push for the ratification of this Convention. In addition, according to Taufik Basari or often called Tobas, socialization is an important effort that must be carried out by the Government. He explained that the pros and cons of the ratification of the convention among the representatives usually occurred because of misunderstandings about the Convention against Enforced Disappearances which could have implications for past political conditions. “If the military/police also convey strong support and it also reaches the House of Representatives, it will certainly help our efforts to pave the way for approval of the ratification of this Convention. So the key remains in the government in my opinion.” added Tobas.
In line with the above, Hinca IP Pandjaitan – Commission III, member of the Legislative Council and Secretary General of the Democratic Party since May 2015, also conveyed the commitment and support of the Democratic Party in ratifying the Convention. The importance of the issue of enforced disappearances transcends the boundaries of who the government coalition is or not, but this is a shared responsibility. “Indeed, on September 27, 2010, we have signed this Convention, but have not ratified it. So we may call it President SBY who started it, we hope that President Jokowi will fulfill it,” he said. In the next 95 days leading up to December 10, 2021, Pandjaitan especially asked the Presidential Staff Office to prepare a Presidential Letter to enter the House of Representatives more quickly so that the discussion of the bill can be carried out during the current legislative session – which is still ongoing until October. “If the Presidential Staff Office is ready, we will wait in the Parliament, Senayan. Anytime it’s ready,” he said.
Also present was a member of Commission II of the PKS Faction, Nasir Djamil, who was committed to the same thing. According to him, this hearing is one of the community’s efforts not to forget human rights. Human rights norms are included in the amendments to the Constitution to show the world and society that Indonesia is a state of law, not a state of power. Powerful states have a habit of forgetting and even burying events related to human rights violations. “Actually, when we are consistent in implementing and ratifying this issue, then it is also an indicator related to the progress of democracy, the progress of civilization, and also progress as a state of law. Therefore, the state needs to be serious so that this ratification is not delayed any longer and of course the PKS faction as one of the political forces in the parliament is pushing this because what is called human rights is a right that he has carried since he was born.” he insisted. “The further away, the longer we don’t ratify, that means we don’t have feelings anymore. Imagine if the State had no feelings anymore.”
The various statements above show a breath of fresh air to the public for the State’s commitment to immediately ratify the International Convention Against Enforced Disappearances. We appreciate the ongoing efforts of the government and will continue to oversee it until the State’s commitment to ratify the International Convention Against Enforced Disappearance is immediately realized. We therefore encourage that:
Jakarta, August 26, 2021
Civil Coalition Against Enforced Disappearance
(KontraS, AJAR, Amnesty International Indonesia, IKOHI, YLBHI, LBH-Jakarta, ELSAM, KontraS Federation, KontraS Surabaya, KontraS Sulawesi, KontraS Aceh, LBH-Bandung, Social Initiative for Public Health, Solidarity for Victims of Human Rights Violations (SKP-HAM) Central Sulawesi)
The Footage of this audience can be seen below