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Twelve years after Munir’s assassination still no real answers

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(Bangkok, 7 September 2016) – Twelve years since the killing of prominent human rights defender, Munir Said Thalib, the Indonesian Government still has failed to take any concrete action to solve his assassination. The person who put the poison into Munir’s cup has served his time in prison, but it remains unknown who the mastermind behind the attack was.

Prior to his assassination, Munir had been repeatedly targeted because of his courageous criticism of human rights abuses and exposure of corruption. On 7 September 2004, Munir was poisoned with arsenic while on a flight from Jakarta to Amsterdam operated by state-owned airline Garuda Indonesia.

The results of the investigation by the Fact Finding Team (Tim Pencari Fakta – TPF), an investigation team established by Presidential Decree, has not been published until today. Numerous attempts by civil society organisations to have the TPF results document made public have been denied by the Indonesian Government. This shows the lack of political will in this case. It is an example of the lacklustre stance of the Government towards addressing human rights violation, while it utilises human rights promises to increase its popularity.

Thanks to Munir’s efforts, the stories of many activists, who had been victims of enforced disappearance, became public knowledge. He greatly contributed to the growth and strengthening of the human rights movement in Indonesia. He co-founded the Commission for Disappearance and Victims of Violence (KontraS) and served as director of IMPARSIAL – the Indonesian Human Rights Monitor, both member organisations of the Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA).

Today, while Munir’s family and colleagues are still waiting for justice, FORUM-ASIA reiterates its call to President Joko Widodo to:

  • Find and publish the 2006 Fact Finding Team’s Report on the investigation into Munir’s assassination;
  • Fulfil his promise, made during the presidential campaign[1], to solve, without any further delay, past human rights violations;
  • Establish an independent and impartial investigation aimed at bringing to justice all persons who are suspected of having been involved with Munir’s assassination; and
  • Guarantee, under all circumstances, the physical and psychological integrity of human rights defenders in Indonesia.

Munir has left us more than a decade ago. Someone like him, who contributed so significantly to the promotion of human rights in Indonesia post-reformation, deserves justice. Justice delayed is justice denied. #MenolakLupa


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[1] The resolution of past cases of human rights violations and respect for human rights overall were included in President Joko Widodo’s vision and mission during his presidential campaign, Nawacita.