Press Release

Indonesia: House of Representatives Holds Bill on Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, Nears Final Approval

The approval of the draft bill ratifying the Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance (ICPPED) needs to be carried out this year by the House of Representatives (DPR RI) as a guarantee against the recurrence of enforced disappearance. However, after a long journey since 2010 when the ICPPED was signed, the deliberation process of ratifying the convention and its ratification have stalled and have not yet received the green light for approval in the House. It was evident in the session before the August-September 2023 recess that National Legislation Program had not scheduled the discussion of the draft of the ratification bill. Ideally, the schedule for the RUU’s approval could be determined soon after being included in the list of open cumulative bills regarding the Ratification of International Agreements.

It’s not without reason that the Coalition of Civil Society Against Enforced Disappearance urges the ratification meeting to be held this year, coinciding with the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearance on 30 August 2023. The approval of this bill has even entered the National Action Plan for Human Rights (RANHAM) twice by the DPR, namely during the periods 2011-2014 and 2014-2018.

This bill is often misunderstood as a politically motivated law to hinder certain figures. This misunderstanding should have ended with the issuance of the 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 Security Affairs, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Ministry of Defense in 2023.

The approval of this bill must be understood as part of the preventive and corrective functions carried out by the state to prevent the recurrence of enforced disappearance events in the future. Furthermore, the approval of this bill can strengthen the legislative system and legal supremacy in Indonesia, as the convention regulates the provision of legal certainty for victims and their families, as well as ensuring the non-repetition of enforced disappearance practices for future generations.

This effort is not something suddenly demanded by civil society ahead of the 2024 presidential elections. Instead, it’s a lengthy process since the convention was signed on 27 September 2010, through the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Indonesia, Marty Natalegawa. After that, the convention came into force on 23 December 2010.

The importance of the approval of this bill aligns with the recommendation of the House by the Special Committee on Enforced Disappearance in 2009 for the cases of Abduction and Enforced Disappearance 1997/1998, point 4: “recommends to the government to promptly ratify the Convention against Enforced Disappearance as a form of commitment and support to stop the practice of enforced disappearance in Indonesia.”

Indonesia needs to replicate the success achieved when establishing the Commission of Truth and Friendship (KKP) between Indonesia and Timor-Leste in 2005, as well as the ongoing reunification of stolen children taken from East Timor during the period 1975-1999, who are currently in Indonesia.

Ratification also serves as a strengthening of human rights enforcement and peace in the regional context equivalent to ASEAN, demonstrating that Indonesia can set an example to prevent enforced disappearance practices. Given the current conditions, human rights defenders from the ASEAN member states are still vulnerable to becoming victims of enforced disappearance.

In Commemoration of the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearance, 30 August 2023

Coalition of Civil Society Against Enforced Disappearance

KontraS, KontraS Federasi, KontraS Aceh, AJAR (Asia Justice and Rights), IKOHI (Indonesian Association of Families of the Disappeared), Amnesty International Indonesia, ELSAM, YLBHI, LBH Jakarta, SETARA Institute, PBHI, and Imparsial