"I cannot answer and confused when people ask about the status of my child who was involuntary disappeared...." (Paian Siahaan, Father of Ucok Munandar Siahaan)
Granting a Certificate of Status to Victims of Abduction and Enforced Disappearance is a good move by Komnas HAM in the absence of state accountability in the cases of the 1997-1998 kidnappings and enforced disappearances. This Certificate is needed by families of victims which were presented to the National Human Rights Commission as a state institution that has conducted a "Pro-justicia" investigation of the 1997-1998 abductions and forced disappearances case. The Certificate of Status for Victims of Enforced Disappearance is needed due to uncertainty of the fate, condition and whereabouts of the victims not only to assist the families of the victims who must bear the psychological burden, but also to create legal uncertainty which affects the unclear legal status of victims of enforced disappearances. Meanwhile, the families of victims, both as individuals and as part of social groups and citizens need certainty about the status of their family members who were disappeared, in order to take care of errands that are familial, civil and other related legal matters.
Granting a Certificate of Status for Victims of Enforced Disappearance by the National Human Rights Commission is expected not only to address the population administrative and civil problem but must be a stepping stone for the government to immediately conduct a search for victims who are still missing to ensure legal certainty and rehabilitation for victims and their families. Government efforts to search the remaining 13 victims that are still missing should have been done before. Given that the existing law that is Act No. 26 of 2000 concerning Human Rights Court has mandated settlement of gross violation of human rights, and the National Human Rights Commission has already submitted the result of the pro-justicia inquiry to the Attorney General's Office. Furthermore, the result has also been strengthened by the four recommendations of the National Parliament (DPR RI). Recommendation No. 2 for instance, stated that "...to recommend the President and Government, and other related authorities to find out the whereabouts of 13 disappeared persons who were the victims of the case of 1997-1998 Disappearances".
As a follow up of the granting of the Certificate, we urge the government:
1. To acknowledge the Certificate as an official document for the families of the victims to deal with their familial, civil, and other related legal matters;
2. To urge the President of Indonesia to follow up the recommendation of the Parliament to find out the whereabouts of the 13 disappeared persons;
3. To initiate other measures in providing the legal certainty and justice for the victims and their families;
Jakarta, 3 November 2011
Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of Violence (KontraS) and the Indonesian Association of Families of the Disappeared (IKOHI)