Indonesia: UN human rights commissioner calls for Munir murder case to be reopened

, by Kompas

Jakarta – United Nations High Commissioner on Human Rights Navanethem Pillay has called for a full investigations into all cases of gross human rights violations in Indonesia. Specifically, she urged the government to reopen the investigation into the death of renowned human rights activist Munir Said Thalib and bring the intellectual actor behind the murder to trail.

“I have given a message to the Indonesian foreign affairs minister that the outside world is waiting for justice for human rights crusader Munir who was murdered in 2004. I have also proposed a retrial of Muchdi Purwopranjono (former State Intelligence Agency deputy chief) in order to clarify in a transparent manner [who] is responsible in this case”, said Pillay at a press conference at the end of her working visit to Indonesia on Tuesday November 13.

According to Pillay, the handling of human right violations in Indonesia has been inadequate and has become of special concern to the UN. In addition to Munir’s murder, Pillay also called for the establishment of an ad hoc commission under Law Number 26/2000 on a Human Rights Court in order to investigate the abduction of student movement activists in 1997-98.

The former International Criminal Court judge also urged the government to give serious attention to the problem of violence in West Papua. Pillay also expressed concern over the imposition of sharia laws (Islamic law) that are applied arbitrarily and discriminatively in Aceh.

During her visit to Indonesia, Pillay met with representatives of the Ahmadiyah, Shia and Christian religious communities in Indonesia. Pillay noted that Indonesia is still a young democratic state that has emerged from the shadow of decades of military rule. She also expressed her appreciation that as of September Indonesia has signed 150 (out of 180) international agreements on human rights (sic).

Pillay, a South African citizen of Indian decent, also noted that there is not one country in the world that has a clean human rights record. “What is important for Indonesia at the moment is transforming international human rights laws in Indonesia into local and regional level regulations”, she said.

Pillay praises Indonesia for making the democratic transformation from a military regime to a civil administration. Pillay also welcome the establishment of human rights institutions in Indonesia such as the National Human Rights Commission, the National Commission on Violence Against Women and the National Commission for the Protection of Children. (GRE).

Kompas