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U.S. NGOs Write Indonesian President on Murder of Human Rights Activist Munir

Office of the President
Istana Merdeka
Jakarta 10110
via fax: (202) 775-5365

December 3, 2004

Dear President Yudhoyono:

It with sincere regret that -- as we congratulate you as the first popularly elected President of Indonesia -- we must also raise as an extremely urgent matter the assassination of our friend and colleague Munir. Among those Indonesians working to promote respect for human rights and democracy, no Indonesian was held in greater regard within Indonesia and around the world.

As great as was the shock of his unexpected death, subsequent confirmation by competent Dutch authorities that Munir was murdered has overwhelmed his many admirers around the world.

Mr. President, we deeply appreciate your stated desire to ensure that the perpetrators of this criminal act are apprehended and fully prosecuted. As you are aware, the international community has been consistent and unanimous in its criticism of the Indonesian Government for its failure, for many years, to ensure justice in the case of many grave human rights abuses. We recall with sadness and outrage the torture and murder in the year 2000 of another respected human rights advocate, Jafar Siddiq Hamzah. Jafar's murder investigation was flawed for many reasons, including a failure to share the full autopsy report with his family and investigation techniques that alienated his friends and family. We note with great concern that Jafar's murderers remain at large.

We respectfully urge that you take all actions necessary to ensure that the Indonesian police apprehend the murderers of Munir and that the Indonesian courts effectively prosecute those responsible. Specifically, we urge the following:

  • That the Indonesian government, under your leadership, convene an independent investigation involving Indonesia's National Commission on Human Rights and professional and well-respected civil society attorneys and human rights defenders;
  • That the investigation team report directly to you and that they receive your personal and public assurances regarding their safety and access to all informational, financial and human resources necessary to the success of the investigation;
  • That the Indonesian police provide Munir's family immediate access to the entire autopsy report.
  • That the Indonesian police, with your full and public backing, provide effective protection from intimidation and violence to Munir's family and friends .

Your leadership provides an opportunity for the Indonesian government to demonstrate that the commitment to democratic values reflected in your country's remarkable electoral process, which won broad international praise, extends also to matters of justice and accountability for criminal actions, such as Munir's assassination, that undermine the rule of law and democracy in Indonesia.


John M. Miller
Media and Outreach Coordinator
East Timor Action Network

Suraiya IT
International Forum for Aceh

Scott Nova
Worker Rights Consortium

Bama Athreya
Deputy Director
International Labor Rights Fund

Ed McWilliams
Indonesia Human Rights Network

S. Eben Kirksey
West Papua Action Network

Miriam Young
Senior Program Officer
Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Center for Human Rights



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