Abdussalam Muhamad Deli, Raja Ismail, Volunteers with PB-HAM East Aceh

Re: Abdussalam Muhamad Deli, Raja Ismail, Volunteers with PB-HAM East Aceh

To: Mrs. Megawati Sukarnoputri, President of the Republic of Indonesia

From: Monique Pongracic-Speier of LRWC

Date: 2003-07-05

LRWC is gravely concerned by information received from the World Organization Against Torture regarding harassment and violence against certain human rights organizations and advocates in the Republic of Indonesia in the last month.

In particular:

  • On or about May 11, 2003, Mr. Abdussalam Muhama Deli, a 23 year-old volunteer with PB-HAM East Aceh, disappeared after he was abducted from the bus on which he was traveling between Central Langsa and his family’s village. Mr. Deli was forced into a “Kijang” car by unknown men in civilian clothing and taken in the direction of Langsa. Members of PB-HAM East Aceh who have inquired about Mr. Deli’s whereabouts have been unable to locate him. LRWC assumes that the abduction is related to Mr. Deli’s activities as a human rights advocate in East Aceh.
  • On the same day, Mr. Raja Ismail, a 50 year-old volunteer with PB-HAM East Aceh is reported to have been abducted outside Langsa. His body was found on May 13, 2003 in the Titi Kembar River in Langsa Lama village, East Aceh District. Mr. Ismail’s body had knife wounds and bruises and showed signs of strangulation. As with Mr. Deli, LRWC assumes that Mr. Ismail was abducted and murdered due to his work with PB-HAM East Aceh.
  • On May 20, 2003, an estimated 1000 civilian militia members threatened staff at the headquarters of Komnas HAM with violence if they continued with the investigation of the 1965 massacre and torture of unarmed civilians and political opponents of the Suharto government.
  • On May 26, 2003, about 30 members of the Pemuda Panca Marga (“PPM”), dressed in paramilitary uniforms, demonstrated in front of the offices of KONTRAS and attacked the organization and its founder, Mr. Munir, for KONTRAS’s criticism of the Government’s policies with respect to the Aceh problem. When the PPM demonstrators left KONTRAS’s offices, they locked and sealed the entrance gate in the name of the state.
  • On May 27, 2003, 150 members of PPM once again appeared at the same KONTRAS office. The PPM members interrupted a press conference in relation to the International Week of the Disappeared, mocked and physically injured KONTRAS personnel, and destroyed office equipment and paraphernalia. Upon leaving the KONTRAS premises, the same PPM members attended at the offices of PBHI and wounded a member of its staff.

With respect to the incidents of May 20, 26 and 27, LRWC is particularly concerned that police, although present, were either unable or unwilling to protect the rights of the affected members and staff of Komnas HAM, KONTRAS and PBHI.

LRWC respectfully urges your Government to act in accordance with the provisions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the international Covenants and Conventions to which the Republic of Indonesia is a party. LRWC also urges the Government of Indonesia to conform with the Declaration on the right and responsibility of individuals, groups and organs of society to promote and protect universally recognized human rights and fundamental freedoms adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on December 9, 1998. In particular, LRWC urges Indonesia to respect and conform with:

  • Article 1, which provides that “everyone has the right, individually or in association with others, to promote the protection and realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels”; and
  • Article 12(2), which provides that “The State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present declaration”.

LRWC calls on the Indonesian government and police to take immediate and effective steps to end all forms of harassment, threats and violence against Komnas HAM, KONTRAS, PBHI and other human rights organizations and defenders. More specifically, LRWC urges the Government of Indonesia to:

  • Order an immediate investigation of the attacks on Komnas HAM, KONTRAS, PBHI and the members of PB-HAM East Aceh, with a view to identifying those responsible, arresting them and bringing them to trial. LRWC expects and sincerely hopes that the Republic of Indonesia will apply penal, civil and administrative sanctions to those responsible, as provided by law.
  • Take all measures to locate Mr. Abdussalam Muhamad Deli, guarantee his physical and psychological safety and integrity, and order his release.
  • Identify those responsible for Mr. Deli’s abduction and prosecute them.
  • Identify those responsible for the for the murder of Mr. Raja Ismail and prosecute them.

We also hope the Government of Canada will exercise all available influence to persuade Indonesia to live up to the international agreements to which it is a party and to guard the rule of law for all its citizens.

Please advise LRWC, by mail, e-mail or fax, of the actions that the Government of Indonesia is taking in relation to the matters discussed above. LRWC awaits your response.