DPR-RI Holds hostage Draft Law on Protection of All People from Enforced Disappearances after one step to be passed

Jakarta, 30 August 2023 – Ratification of the Draft Law (RUU) on the Convention on the Protection of All People from Enforced Disappearances needs to be implemented this year by the House of Representative (DPR-RI) as a guarantee that acts of enforced disappearances will not be repeated. However, after a long journey since the convention was signed in 2010, this bill has stalled and has yet to receive the green light for ratification in the Indonesian Parliament. It was proven that in the DPR RI session before the August-September 2023 recess, the National Legislation Program had not yet scheduled a discussion of the bill. Supposedly, the schedule for the ratification of the bill can be done as soon as it is included in the List of Open Cumulative Bills on Ratification of International Agreements.

It is not without reason that the Civil Society Coalition Against Enforced Disappearances is urging that the ratification discussion be held this year, coinciding with Anti-Enforced Disappearance Day on 30 August 2023. The ratification of this bill has even been included in the National Human Rights Action Plan (RAN-HAM) twice by the DPR, in the 2011-2014 and 2014-2018 periods.

This bill is often misunderstood as a politically charged law to trip up certain figures. This misunderstanding should have ended with the issuance of a Presidential Letter (Surpres) containing the approval of 4 related ministries, namely the Ministry of Law and Human Rights, the Coordinating Ministry for Political, Legal and Human Rights, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Ministry of Defense in 2023.

The ratification of this bill must be understood as part of the state’s preventive and corrective functions to prevent the recurrence of enforced disappearances in the future. Apart from that, the ratification of this bill can strengthen the legislative system and the supremacy of law in Indonesia because the convention regulates the provision of legal certainty for victims and their families and guarantees that the practice of enforced disappearances will not be repeated for future generations.

This effort is not something that civil society suddenly demanded ahead of the 2024 elections. Rather, it has been a long process since the convention was signed on 27 September 2010 through the Indonesian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Marty Natalegawa. After that, the convention came into force (entered into force) on 23 December 2010.

The importance of ratifying this bill is in line with the DPR’s recommendation by the Special Committee on Enforced Disappearances in 2009 for the 1997/1998 Kidnapping and Enforced Disappearance cases, point 4 (four): “recommend to the government to immediately ratify the Convention against Enforced Disappearances as a form of commitment and support to stop the practice of forced disappearances in Indonesia”.

Indonesia needs to repeat its success when creating the Republic of Indonesia – Timor Leste Truth and Friendship Commission (KKP) in 2005 and the reunification of stolen children from Timor for the 1975-1999 period who are currently in Indonesia.

Ratification is also a space to strengthen the enforcement of human rights and peace in regional areas at the ASEAN level so that Indonesia is able to set an example to prevent the practice of enforced disappearances. Given the current conditions, human rights defenders from countries in the ASEAN region are still vulnerable to becoming victims of enforced disappearance.

In Commemoration of Anti-Enforced Disappearance Day – 30 August 2023


The Coalition of Civil Society Anti-Enforced Disappearance

KontraS, Federasi KontraS, KontraS Aceh, AJAR (Asia Justice and Rights), IKOHI (Ikatan Keluarga Orang Hilang Indonesia), Amnesty International Indonesia, ELSAM, YLBHI, LBH Jakarta, SETARA Institute, PBHI, dan Imparsial.