OPEN LETTER TO HIS EXCELLENCY SUSILO BAMBANG YUDOYONO
October 7, 2010
HIS EXCELLENCY SUSILO BAMBANG YUDOYONO
Republic of Indonesia
Jl. Medan Merdeka Utara
Jakarta Pusat 10010
Fax: + 62 21 231 41 38, 345 2685, 345 7782
His Excellency Yudoyono,
Warmest greetings from the Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances!
First and foremost, we would like to express our sincerest gratitude and warmest felicitations to the Indonesian government for signing the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance. Your signing the Convention signifies a very important moral commitment of the Indonesian government not to repeat the horrors of the years of dictatorship during the Suharto era. It was also a fulfillment of the Indonesian government’s promise before the UN Human Rights Council to sign the Convention. More importantly, it was a clear indication that the government has listened to the cry of the families of victims of this very cruel form of human rights violation, i.e. enforced disappearance.
We have visited your country several times during these last few years to knock at doors of the government offices in order to solicit their endorsements for the signing of the Convention. Our most recent visit was during our Fourth Congress which was held in Indonesia on 31 May – 5 June 2010 and which was graced by no less than the Chairperson of the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances, Mr. Jeremy Sarkin and by the Minister of Law and Human Rights, Mr. Patriales Akbar. With the families of the disappeared in your country at the forefront of our campaigning and lobbying and with us accompanying them, we echo our grateful voices of families of the disappeared in your country. We are indeed, grateful that the Indonesian government has heard our collective voices through your indelible signature to this important human rights treaty, which provides among other things, the right to truth and the right not to be subjected to enforced disappearances.
The signature of the Indonesian government to the international treaty against enforced disappearances will certainly serve as an impetus for other Asian governments to imitate your exemplary act and will hopefully encourage more signatures and ratifications from other Asian states in the near future.
The major challenge now is the process towards its ratification. As we know, 19 states have already ratified the treaty. We need one more state to ratify before the treaty’s entry into force which we are optimistic to happen before the end of this year.
Indonesia will go down in history as one of the first twenty countries to ratify the Convention immediately after signing. Doing so would then give your government the legal obligation to abide by the important provisions of the treaty. It will surely go a long way towards preventing the recurrence of cases, recognizing the rights of families of the disappeared and thus, helping us realize our vision of attaining a world without disappeared people. Your next steps would surely contribute to the speedy process of genuine democratization of Indonesia.
His Excellency, once again, please receive our gratitude for signing the treaty. Rest assured, as part of civil society, we will always be here to work hand in hand with the government in our common belief in the universality, indivisibility and interdependence of human rights.
Thank you very much.
MARY AILEEN D. BACALSO