Commemorating the assassination of Munir

24 September 2014

ImpunityTen years have passed since Munir, a leading human rights activist in Indonesia, was killed, an event that is being commemorated not only in Indonesia but also across Europe and elsewhere. To this day, the person who masterminded the killing is still walking free.

What people in Indonesia people know is that a Garuda pilot named Pollycarpus was responsible for administering the poison that killed Munir. He was tried and convicted of administering the poison and has spent time in prison for the crime. But to this day, people in Indonesia do not know who it was, who ordered the killing of this human rights activist. The former deputy chief of the State Intelligence Agency (BIN), Muchdi Purwoprandjono, was tried, but acquitted of the murder. However, Hendropriyono, who was the head of BIN at the time of the murder has now been named as an advisor to President-Elect, Joko Widodo.

The failure to deal with this murder is still a matter of deep concern to civil society in Indonesia and in Europe who are inspired by a sense of solidarity with victims of human rights violations and who question the determination of the authorities to deal with basic human rights abuses.

The case of Munir is a clear example of the fact that human rights activists have been killed and are still being killed in a country that is regarded throughout the world as a democratic country.

Can we hope that the newly-elected president of Indonesia, Joko Widodo, will resolve this problem? This was the main issue of a two-day conference held in Germany on 23-24 September 2014, shortly after the tenth anniversary of Munir’s killing.

Suciwati, the widow of Munir, and many activists throughout Indonesia, continue to raise their voices regarding the many human rights violations that continue to occur in Indonesia. Suciwati and some human rights activists from KontraS and Watch Indonesia! met with the Foreign Affairs Ministry in Berlin as well as holding meetings with members of the German Parliament during the course of this week. What they aimed to do at these meetings is to inform these officials about the Munir case and how other cases have been handled, as well as about the current situation of human rights in Indonesia.

Suciwati, along with Indria Fernida from KontraS, urged the German Government and other governments in Europe to take firm action regarding the killing of Munir and to pay closer attention of human rights violations in the country.

“Resolving the case of Munir’s murder will be a real test of the mission and vision of the forthcoming government under President-elect Joko Widodo. This is a test of the new government in standing firm by its commitment, bearing in mind the fact that these perpetrators are linked to those in positions of power in Indonesia. Resolving all cases of human rights violations comprehensively is a real test of the commitment of any government to prove its integrity.”

The two-day meeting in Berlin heared speakers from Indonesia, Germany and the Netherlands and discussed actions by civil society in Indonesia and in Europe to strengthen their solidarity and work together, exchanging information and experiences regarding the many basic human rights abuses that have occurred in the past and continue to occur in Indonesia. It opened with recitations of poetry by Indonesian poet, Wiji Thukul and Wayang performances.

[Note: Munir died from arsenic poison while on a flight from Indonesia to Amsterdam on 24th September 2004]

Translated from Indonesian by Carmel Budiardjo

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