At FORUM-ASIA, we employ a range of strategies to effectively achieve our goals and create a lasting impact.

Through a diverse array of approaches, FORUM-ASIA is dedicated to achieving our objectives and leaving a lasting imprint on human rights advocacy.

Who we work with

Our interventions are meticulously crafted and ready to enact tangible change, addressing pressing issues and empowering communities.

Each statements, letters, and publications are meticulously tailored, poised to transform challenges into opportunities, and to empower communities towards sustainable progress.

Multimedia Stories

With a firm commitment to turning ideas into action, FORUM-ASIA strives to create lasting change that leaves a positive legacy for future generations.

Explore our dedicated sub-sites to witness firsthand how FORUM-ASIA turns ideas into action, striving to create a legacy of lasting positive change for future generations.

Subscribe our monthly e-newsletter

Three years on, quest for justice for Munir lives on

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

Today three years ago, Munir Said Thalib, Indonesia's prominent human rights defender was poisoned on the way to the Netherlands. Munir, who made enemy with powerful military figures have been tirelessly exposing their dirty works not only on crimes against humanity but also the involvement in illegal logging, drug trafficking and weapon smuggling. Munir's legacy lives on – the fight for democratic transition and the rule of law – shall echo throughout the region on the day we remember his struggle.

Friday 7 September marked the third anniversary of the high profile murder case of Munir Said Thalib, the prominent human rights defender who was poisoned while in transit at Changi International Airport, Singapore. FORUM-ASIA and 40 organisations in Southeast Asia, South Asia and North East Asia join Indonesian human rights defenders, and the regional and global human rights community in honouring the life and work of Munir.

Munir's tireless involvement in human rights issues in Indonesia made him an enemy of powerful military bureaucrats including those within the National Intelligence Agency – Badan Intelijen Nasional (BIN). During and after the rule of Suharto, Munir received many death threats and attempts on his life. The final successful attempt came the day he was scheduled on Garuda Airline GA-974 to pursue his Masters in International Law and Human Rights at Utrecht University, the Netherlands.

Munir's work had angered military and intelligence figures for being 'unpatriotic' by revealing human rights abuses in Aceh and Papua, as well as military involvement in illegal logging, drug trafficking and weapon smuggling. Munir who co-founded the human rights organisations, KONTRAS and IMPARSIAL, also served as a member of the Commission on Investigation into Human Rights Violations in East Timor (Ad Hoc) and was a recipient of the prestigious Right Livelihood Award in 2000.

The latest findings show that he was laced with a fatal dose of arsenic at a café in Singapore by an intelligence officer and off-duty pilot, Pollycarpus Priyanto. He was sentenced to 14 years in jail but asserted he did not act alone. Other suspects included the former Director of Garuda Airways, Indra Setiawan and the Secretary to the Chief Pilot for Garuda Airways, Rohainil Aini. In October 2006, Pollycarpus was acquitted by the Supreme Court due to insufficient evidence. Rights groups demanded President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono appoint a new fact-finding team (TPF) which brought more evidence linking the murder to the seemingly impenetrable intelligence agency.

President Yudhoyono, known for his reformist agenda, is slow at reforming the security institutions and prosecuting senior officials who have committed human rights violations in the past. In June 2007, the Special Representative of the Secretary General on Human Rights Defenders, Ms. Hina Jilani, stated that despite the progress made by the government to bring the perpetrators to justice, she was concerned that the quest for justice may have been interfered with to protect the perpetrators of this heinous crime. She also reminded Yudhoyono's government that this case represented the situation of the human rights community in general and was a test of the government's will to protect human rights defenders in the country.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms. Louise Arbour, who also visited Indonesia in July, stressed the need to protect human rights defenders. Their work on the ground and their struggle to reform the military institution that has become synonymous with human rights violations, notably: the 1965 communist massacres and human rights violations in the East Timor, Aceh and Papua.

This is the legacy of Munir – establishing the rule of law and upholding human rights standards and norms. Munir's case exemplifies the impunity that remains prevalent not only in Indonesia but in Asia. Impunity, with regards to gross human rights violations committed by state agents will only serve as a license for more violations. As a member of the United Nations Human Rights Council, the Indonesian government must fulfil its pledges and commitments by ensuring a conducive and safe atmosphere for all human rights defenders to perform their work. The promotion and protection of human rights is enshrined in Article 12 of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders and other universally recognized international standards.

Today, we, join hands with Indonesian human rights defenders, and the regional and global community to express solidarity with Munir's family and call on Indonesian authorities to ensure that the perpetrators behind Munir's murder are brought to justice immediately.

See also: Chronology of Munir's Murder Case (in .pdf).


Anselmo Lee
Executive Director

For further information, please contact:

Anselmo Lee, Executive Director, [email protected] , +66 2 391 8801 (ext 501)

Tadzrul Tahir Hamzah, Southeast Asia Sub-region Programme Officer, [email protected], (ext 203)