Front Line Indonesia:
Murders Death Threat and Other Forms of Intimidation of Human
IMPARSIAL: The Indonesian Human Rights Watch
Front Line and IMPARSIAL would like to dedicate this report to all those
who have given their lives so that others might enjoy the rights enshrined in
the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In particular, we would like to
honour those who have been killed or disappeared in Indonesia (1998-
2002) in connection with their defence of human rights as described in this
Human Rights Defenders
Fachrurazi Disappeared Aceh Janurary 2000
Sukardi Murdered Aceh January 2000
Suprin Sulaiman Murdered Aceh March 2000
Tengku A. Kamal Murdered Aceh March 2000
Jafar Siddiq Hamzah Murdered Aceh August 2000
Bakhtiar Murdered Aceh December 2000
Ernita Murdered Aceh December 2000
Idris Murdered Aceh December 2000
Rusli Murdered Aceh December 2000
Tengku M. Yusuf Usman Murdered Aceh September 2001
Political and Intellectual Leaders With a Role in Human Rights Defence
Herman Hendrawan Disappeared Jakarta March 1998
Petrus Bima Anugerah Disappeared Jakarta March 1998
Suyat Disappeared Jakarta March 1998
Widji Tukul Disappeared Jakarta March 1998
Nashiruddin Daud Murdered Aceh January 2000
Prof. Safwan Idris Murdered Aceh September 2000
Prof. Dayan Dawood Murdered Aceh September 2001
Theys Eluay Murdered Papua November 2001
Table of Contents
Front Line and IMPARSIAL: The Indonesian Human Rights Watch i
List of Abbreviations Commonly Used in this Report v
Executive Summary 1
1. Presentation of the Problem 8
2. Human Rights Defenders in Jakarta, 1998-2002:
New Threats Post-New Order 31
3. Human Rights Defenders in Aceh:
Savage Home for Human Rights Defenders 42
3.1 Human Rights Defenders 47
3.2 Political and Intellectual Leaders Who Also Have a Role in
Human Rights Defence 68
4. Human Rights Defenders in Papua:
(Still) Under Military Threat 77
4.1 Human Rights Defenders 84
4.2 Political and Intellectual Leaders Who Also Have a Role in
Human Rights Defence 94
4.3 Threats to Witnesses of Human Rights Violations 97
Appendix: United Nations Declaration on the Rights and
Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to
Promote and Protect Universally Recognised Human Rights
and Fundamental Freedoms 100
Front Line is the International Foundation for the Protection of Human
Rights Defenders. A Human Rights Defender is a person who works, non-
violently, for any or all of the rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration
of Human Rights. Front Line supports those individuals in their activities,
and tries to ensure that no physical or mental harm results from their Human
Front Line s main focus is on those Human Rights Defenders at risk, either
temporarily or permanently, because of their work on behalf of fellow
citizens. Front Line also promotes awareness of the Universal Declaration
of Human Rights, as well as other relevant internationally recognised
The cornerstone of Front Line is the indivisibility and interdependence of all
Human Rights civil, cultural, economic, political, and social. Front Line is
independent, impartial and is based in Ireland. Front Line the International
Foundation for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders was launched on
22nd February 2001 in Dublin.
Front Line came about as a direct result of the 1998 Paris Summit and the
need to have a body whose mandate and activities are focused specifically
on Human Rights Defenders. Front Line is working to ensure that the
principles and standards set out in the Declaration on Human Rights
Defenders are known, respected and adhered to worldwide.
Front Line Leadership Council Front Line Trustees
Hanan Ashrawi Denis O Brien (Chairman)
Robert Badinter Mary Lawlor (Director)
Bono Noeline Blackwell
His Holiness The Dalai Lama Michel Forst
Archbishop Desmond Tutu Kieran Mulvey
Adolfo Perez Esquivel Pierre Sane
Wangari Muta Mathai David Sykes
Indai Lourdes Sajor
Martin O Brien
ii FRONT LINE AND IMPARSIAL
IMPARSIAL The Indonesian Human Rights Watch
IMPASIAL was established in June 2002 by 17 of Indonesia s most
prominent human rights advocates who shared the same concern: the power
of the state showed an increasing tendency to assert itself to the detriment of
The founders of IMPARSIAL are: T. Mulya Lubis, Karlina Leksono, M.
Billah, Wardah Hafidz, Hendardi, Nursyahbani Katjasungkana, Binny
Buchory, Kamala Chandrakirana, HS Dillon, Munir, Rachland Nashidik,
Rusdi Marpaung, Otto Syamsuddin Ishak, Nezar Patria, Amiruddin, and
Ironically, although the new era after the fall of the New Order regime of
President Suharto in 1998 has opened the way for greater public advocacy
activities, the strength of human rights and other civil society groups has
tended to decrease in recent years.
All the founders agreed that the time had come for the establishment of a
new human rights protection organization to work for the following goals:
(1) to formulate a standardized approach to reporting and documenting
human rights protection matters;
(2) to prepare and campaign for an alternative human rights policy, and;
(3) to work as a partner of the National Commission on Human Rights
Vision and Mission
IMPARSIAL was taken from the word Impartial to denote the
organization s commitment to upholding the fundamental equality of the
rights possessed by all human beings, with special concern given to
promoting the rights of the less fortunate. The organization s impartiality
also denotes its commitment to helping victims of human rights abuse
regardless of their social origins, gender, ethnicity, political or religious
IMPARSIAL is a vehicle for promoting civil liberties, struggling for
fundamental freedom, fighting discrimination, and supporting human rights
abuse victims seeking justice and accountability.
FRONT LINE AND IMPARSIAL iii
IMPARSIAL monitors and investigates human rights violations, releases its
findings to the public, and demands the powerful within the state fulfill their
obligation to protect human rights and work towards the elimination of
violence from national life.
IMPARSIAL promotes solidarity between Indonesians and works to garner
international support for the faithful implementation of international human
IMPARSIAL researches the social reality that forms the context in which
human rights must be protected, recommends changes and alternative state
policy, and keeps a close watch on their implementation.
IMPARSIAL is independent of the state, non-partisan, and obtains its
funding from like-minded organizations and individuals without any
reciprocal obligation besides a firm commitment to work for the protection
of human rights.
To function as a vehicle for Indonesian civil society in its attempts to apply
internationally recognized human rights standards in public policy and in
IMPARSIAL is unique in Indonesia in that it strives to amalgamate a
number of important endeavours: to formulate alternative human rights
policies, establish a standardized documentation system of human rights
protection matters in order to advocate legal remedies, and to institute a
comprehensive system to protect human rights defenders.
In its work, IMPARSIAL is committed to supporting the important role
played by human rights defenders at all levels of society local, national
iv FRONT LINE AND IMPARSIAL
and international in advocating changes to national human rights policy
and conducting disciplined research and documentation of related matters.
We are deeply grateful to all those people who were kind enough to take the
time out to speak with us and share their experiences, analysis, ideas and
The report was written by Akuat Supriyanto, Hasudungan Sirait, Lyndal
Meehan and Suryadi Radjab. Rachland Nashidik was the co-ordinator of the
project at IMPARSIAL.
List of Abbreviations Commonly Used in this Report
ABRI Indonesian Armed Forces (prior to the change of
name to TNI in 1999)
AJI Independent Journalists Alliance
ALDERA People s Democratic Alliance
ALDP Papuan Democracy Alliance
APEC Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum
ASEAN Association of Southeast Asian Nations
Bappeda Provincial Development Planning Board
Becak Pedal-driven tricycle pedicab
BKO Bawah Kendali Operasi - non-territorial units and
troops under the operational command of territorial
Brimob Police Mobile Brigade
CAT Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel,
Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
CEDAW Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of
Discrimination Against Women
CERD International Convention on the Elimination of All
Forms of Racial Discrimination
CGI Consultative Group on Indonesia (See IGGI)
CRC Convention on the Rights of the Child
Cuak Civilian military informants
DKP Armed Forces Officers Honor Council
DOM Military Operations Region
DPRD Provincial parliament
ELSHAM Institute for Human Rights Study and Advocacy
FP HAM Human Rights Carers Forum
Golkar Golongan Karya or 'Functional Groups'
Haatzaai artikelen "Hate-sowing Articles" - Articles 154-57 of
Chapter V of the Criminal Code
IAIN National Islamic Institute
ICCPR International Covenant on Civil and Political
ICESCR International Covenant on Economic, Social and
IFA International Forum for Aceh
vi LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS COMMONLY USED IN THIS REPORT
IGGI Inter-Governmental Group on Indonesia, now
Consultative Group on Indonesia (CGI),
multilateral creditor organization
IHRSA Institute for Human Rights Study and Advocacy
ILO International Labor Organization
ITB Bandung Institute of Technology
IWGJP Irian Working Group for Justice and Peace
Komnas HAM Indonesian National Human Rights Commission
Komnas Perempuan National Commission for Women s Rights
Kontras Commission for Disappearances and Victims of
Kopassandha division Now known as Kopassus or Army Special Forces
Kopassus Army Special Forces
Kostrad Army Strategic Reserves Command
KPP HAM Human Rights Violations Investigation
KUHP Indonesian Criminal Code
LBH Banda Aceh Banda Aceh Legal Aid Institute
LBH Papua Papua Legal Aid Institute
Lemasa Amungme People s Foundation
LP3BH Legal Aid, Research, Investigation and
Menwa Military-affiliated student regiment
Moluccus Maluku and North Maluku provinces
NGO Non-governmental organization
NU Nadhlatul Ulama
OPM Free Papua Movement
Papua Council Regency-level PDP branch
PB HAM Human Rights Aid Post (Pos Bantuan HAM)
PBI Peace Bridge International
PCC People Crisis Center, established by the Students
Solidarity for the People (Solideritas Mahasiswa
untuk Rakyat: SMUR)
PDI Indonesian Democratic Party
PDI-P Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle
PDP Papuan Presidium Council
Pemraka Concerned Aceh Students and People s Posko
Pepera Papua s so-called Act of Free Choice
LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS COMMONLY USED IN THIS REPORT vii
PKI Indonesian Communist Party
Polri National Police
Posko Pos koordinasi or coordination post, established
by NGOs as operational headquarters.
PPP United Development Party
PRD People s Democratic Party
PusPOM Military Police Center
RAN HAM Human Rights National Action Plan
RATA Rehabilitation Action for Torture Victims in Aceh
RCTI Rajawali Citra Televisi Indonesia, private
RUU PKB Draft National Security and Safety Law
SEFA Save Emergency for Aceh
Semanggi I incident On 13 October 1998, 14 people, mostly students,
were shot dead by military snipers while protesting
near the Semanggi overpass in Central Jakarta
Semanggi II incident On 18 September 1999, 10 civilians were shot by
military snipers while protesting near the
Semanggi overpass in Central Jakarta
SIRA RAKAN Aceh People s Grand Assembly for Independence
(Sidang Raya Rakyat Aceh untuk Kemerdekaan) 11
SIRA Aceh Referendum Information Center
SKP Secretariat for Peace and Justice
SMID Students Solidarity for Democracy, the student
wing of the PRD
SU MPR Referendum Strugglers General Session (Sidang
Umum Masyarakat Pejuang Referendum) 8
November 1999. The name was chosen as a play
on the People s Consultative Assembly General
Session (also SU MPR).
Tapol tahanan politik or political prisoner. Name
chosen for the original British Campaign for the
Release of Indonesian Political Prisoners, also
known as Indonesia Human Rights Campaign in
London, established in 1973.
TGPF Government fact finding team into the May 1998
riots in Jakarta
TNI Indonesian Armed Forces
viii LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS COMMONLY USED IN THIS REPORT
TPN National Liberation Army, the armed wing of the
Trisakti incident On 12 May 1998, snipers opened fire on a peaceful
student demonstration at Trisakti University in
West Jakarta killing four students and sparking
mass riots that engulfed the city in following days
TVRI Televisi Rebublik Indonesia, state-owned
countrywide television station
YLBHI Indonesian Legal Aid Institute Foundation
YPMD Papua Rural Community Development Foundation
YRBI Yayasan Rumpun Bambu Indonesia
Executive Summary and Recommendations
Until the end of Soeharto s New Order government it was very difficult
for human rights defenders to operate openly due to severe restrictions on
freedom of assembly, association and expression. The popular movement
which led to his downfall also in some ways provided the foundations for
the human rights movement and other organizations (such as political
campaigners). However, in spite of promises for reform, violations have
continued against those who use their freedom to speak out against
human rights violations.
This report offers a broad outline of the political and historical context of
human rights violations and the work of human rights defenders. Its
primary focus rests on the cases of abuse, arbitrary arrest, torture,
disappearance, murder and other forms of intimidation perpetrated
against human rights defenders in Indonesia. The report is not exhaustive
but gives a picture of a pattern of intimidation of human rights defenders.
Three regions have been singled out for special consideration: the capital,
Jakarta, in the lead up to and following the 21 May 1998 resignation of
president Soeharto as well as Aceh and West Papua, which are home to
Indonesia s longest and bloodiest separatist movements. Just as human
rights violations have escalated in these regions, so too have crimes
against human rights defenders.
The overall political context and the pattern of human rights abuse
remains the same in other regions that have not been included in this
report, including Kalimantan, Sulawesi and the Moluccus (Maluku and
North Maluku provinces). The political and economic legacy left by
Soeharto continues to exert a powerful influence over national life. The
economic crisis that precipitated his downfall continues. The ongoing
political crisis is evident in the lack of true representation of the people s
interests in the parliaments and other government agencies as well as the
continuing influence of the armed forces over political developments.
The corruption, collusion and nepotism, known in Indonesian as simply
KKN , or korupsi, kolusi dan nepotisme, developed under Soeharto
continues to repress civil society. This is especially evident in the
weaknesses of the Indonesian justice system, where justice is bought and
sold and the judiciary and police continue to support the interests of the
powerful elite within the government and security forces. The lack of
2 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY AND RECOMMENDATIONS
political will to reform the system has also inhibited the establishment of
a functioning Ombudsman s office. In addition, human rights defenders
have come to seriously doubt the independence of the National
Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM), itself a legacy of
Soeharto s attempts to appease domestic and international critics.
Within this system of patronage and protection , the armed forces and
police continue to exert their power over civil society. The Army s
Special Forces (Kopassus) and the police Mobile Brigade (Brimob) are
responsible for the majority of attacks on civilians and human rights
defenders, particularly in Aceh and West Papua. In addition, civilians
with criminal connections are increasingly used by the security forces to
abuse and intimidate human rights defenders. In Aceh in particular,
civilians and internally displaced people have become pawns in the
ongoing battle between separatist forces and the security apparatus and
civilian deaths far outstrip fatalities from either of the warring sides.
In this context of political stagnation, economic uncertainty and social
flux, human rights defenders face numerous problems in empowering
civil society, reporting on human rights violations and developing
protective legal and institutional mechanisms. The following
recommendations are needed to protect human rights in Indonesia and
human rights defenders in particular.
IMPARSIAL and Front Line urge the Indonesian government to take the
following measures to help guarantee the physical integrity and working
conditions of those who defend human rights in Indonesia, as well as to
guarantee that those who threaten, intimidate, harass or abuse these
defenders are brought to justice.
These recommendations are made with the aim of reforming the
country s legal and justice system and resolving the conflicts in West
Papua and Aceh.
As a society in the midst of a transitional period, the government must
play an active role in reforming the justice system and promoting human
rights. The following recommendations are central to that effort.
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY AND RECOMMENDATIONS 3
1. Guarantee the Application of the Principles in the UN Declaration
on Human Rights Defenders
The United Nations Declaration of the Right and Responsibility of
Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect
Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms,
adopted by the UN General Assembly on 9 December 1998, contains
vital principles concerning the protection of human rights defenders. The
Indonesian government should take measures to ensure the principles in
the UN Declaration of the Right and Responsibility of Individuals,
Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally
Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms are fully
incorporated into national law and legal mechanisms. Authorities at all
levels of government should explicitly commit themselves to promoting
respect for human rights and to the protection of human rights defenders.
The Indonesian government is also urged to guarantee and protect all
human rights defenders in Aceh and West Papua in particular. The
Indonesian government should issue an invitation to the UN Special
Representative on Human Rights Defenders, Ms. Hina Jilani to visit
2. Investigate Fully Abuses Committed Against Human Rights
Authorities at both the national and provincial level of government must
ensure that thorough and impartial investigations are conducted into all
human rights violations, particularly those directed at human rights
defenders, so that those responsible are brought to justice and the victims
or their relatives are provided with adequate reparation. It should go
without saying that those who oversee such investigations must be
independent and that those responsible for the alleged human rights
violations have no authority over these investigations. The results of the
investigations should be made public.
3. Recognise the Oversight of International Human Rights Bodies
One critical means of providing human rights defenders the conditions
necessary to perform their vital function is through full government
recognition of and participation in international mechanisms for the
4 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY AND RECOMMENDATIONS
protection of human rights. Engaged participation in these mechanisms
sends a clear message to domestic society that human rights defence is a
legitimate and important social activity. This recommendation is
particularly relevant for the defence of human rights in Aceh and West
4. Constitutional Guarantee of Human Rights and Fundamental
The global community has committed itself to respecting and protecting
human rights and the role played by human rights defenders. The
Indonesian government should formalize its commitment by
guaranteeing fundamental freedoms and human rights under
constitutional law. The government should further its commitment
through taking action and education to ensure that all persons under its
authority enjoy these rights and freedoms without discrimination and
disturbances or threats that endanger their integrity.
5. Ratify the ICCPR and ICESCR and Publicize the CAT, CEDAW,
CERD and CRC
In strengthening its commitment to human rights, the Indonesian
government should immediately ratify the International Covenant on
Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) including Optional Protocols I and II
and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
(ICESCR). The government should also effectively publicize the
covenants that have already been ratified with particular attention paid to
publicizing the rights contained in these covenants and the government s
obligation to realize them in practice. The covenants in question are:
1) The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of
Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW),
2) The International Convention on the Elimination of All
Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD),
3) The Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and
4) The Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman
or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT).
Indonesia has ratified the CAT and made its first report to the Committee
Against Torture. The Committee made recommendations that Indonesia
has yet to implement. For example the government has not invited the
special rapporteur to visit Indonesia.
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY AND RECOMMENDATIONS 5
6. Ratify the Rome Statute (International Criminal Court)
The global commitment to reducing armed conflict has produced
agreement on the application of international law. The Indonesian
government should ratify the Rome Statute of the International Criminal
Court in order to inhibit the spread of violence and support the
prosecution of all those accused of genocide, crimes against humanity
and war crimes.
7. Strengthen the Commitment to Upholding the Law by Reducing
the Incidence of Cruel Treatment, Torture, Punishment and
The Indonesian government must strengthen its commitment to
guaranteeing the protection of human rights with the aim of eliminating
or reducing cruel treatment, torture and extra-judicial execution crimes
perpetrated by those responsible for upholding the law. We urge the
government to adopt four key instruments related to this aim:
a) Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials,
b) Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law
c) Body of Principles for Protection of All Persons Under Any Form
of Detention or Imprisonment,
d) Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners.
8. Adoption of International Legal Principles for Victims of Abuse
The Indonesian government and House of Representatives should adopt
international legal principles in regards to compensation for the victims
of human rights violations resulting from the abuse of state power,
particularly for victims of the extra-judicial crimes outlined in the
Declaration of Basic Principles of Justice for Victims of Crime and
Abuse of Power. The government should also formulate new draft laws
that allow for the perpetrators of serious human rights violations to be
tried under criminal law.
6 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY AND RECOMMENDATIONS
9. Creation of an Independent Judicial System
The commitment to upholding the law should be realised in a free and
impartial justice system. The government and Supreme Court must take
action to eliminate or drastically reduce corruption and bias in the
judicial system. Immediate action aimed at straightening out the court
mafia must be taken. Without an independent judiciary, equality before
the law and justice for all will remain elusive and the culture of impunity
will continue to spread.
10. Increase the Autonomy and Professionalism of the Police and End
the Military s Political Role
The separation of the National Police (Polri) and the Indonesian Armed
Forces (TNI) was formalized in 1999. However, the government must
work to improve the professionalism of the police force in dealing with
and overcoming civil policing matters and promote a respect for human
rights. In addition, the government must heed the demands of civil
society and end the military s role in politics and return the troops to the
barracks. Increased professionalism as a national defence force should
drastically reduce human rights violations in civil society and in regions
with separatist movements in particular.
11. Investigate Police and Military Abuse Independently
Given that a significant portion of the instances of abuse and threatened
abuse involve at least the suspicion of participation by the police and
military, effective and independent investigations are vital to any
comprehensive program aimed at ensuring that the work of human rights
defenders is respected. Independent investigations necessarily require
that civil authorities be empowered to investigate credible allegations of
violence without relying on the police to take witness statements, visit the
scene of the crime or provide other technical support. This is particularly
urgent in cases in which the alleged violation involves the police or
military. Investigators should be fully empowered to subpoena
documents, summons witnesses and enter the premises of public offices,
including police and military detention centers, in order to conduct
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY AND RECOMMENDATIONS 7
12. Victim and Witness Protection
In developing a justice system that respects and protects human rights,
the government must improve and accelerate the formulation of the draft
law on victim and witness protection. Confidentiality and other measures
should be complimented by guarantees that victims and witnesses are
protected from legal prosecution in pursuing their cases. In this way, libel
cases such as those taken out against Endin Wahyudin and Maria Leonita
Sricandra, who reported corruption at the Supreme Court, would be
13. Increase the Institutional Capacity of the Ombudsman
Indonesia s first Ombudsman Commission was formed under president
Abdurrahman Wahid in order to provide the government with input on
developing and improving the rule of law. The current government has
neglected this development. As a vital compliment to the justice system,
the Ombudsman Commission institution must be strengthened so that it is
capable of effectively monitoring judicial developments, especially
regarding advocacy and human rights.
Presentation of the Problem
The fall of president Soeharto on 21 May 1998 was a turning point in
modern Indonesian history. The economic crisis started in Thailand in early-
mid 1997 but the contagion soon spread. While other countries affected,
such as Malaysia, South Korea and Thailand itself, have made a comeback
despite the devastating impact of the watershed, Indonesia has not yet fully
The collapse of the economic miracle was evident when Soeharto called in
the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and signed the first Letter of Intent
agreement in October 1997 under a multi-billion rescue package hurriedly
cobbled together as the crisis spread to all sectors of the national economy.1
But the agreement could not stop the mass exodus of capital from Indonesia
and near collapse of the banking sector nor stabilize the social
undercurrents of resistance to the ruling regime.
The students were the first to popularize the new catch cry of economic and
political change: reformasi .2 As months of mass layoffs and skyrocketing
prices passed, the call drew increasing support from other elements of civil
society. Demonstrations on campuses across the country soon spread to the
streets to be met with military and police repression.
Students became the symbolic leaders of the emerging movement and its
aspirations for national renewal. The shooting deaths of four students at
Jakarta s upmarket private Trisakti University on 12 May 1998 thus had an
immense effect on the national psyche at the time. Riots soon broke out
around the campus in West Jakarta. The chaos then gripped many parts of
the capital, while the police and security forces tended to stand idly by
particularly when they became the targets of the people s ire.
But there was much speculation that elements of the military and regime
leadership were playing a dangerous game as the rioting spread throughout
Suryadi A. Radjab (1999), Praktik Culas Bisnis Gaya Orde Baru, Jakarta: Grasindo at pp 20-25.
Hendardi (1998), Penghilangan Paksa, Mengungkap Kebusukan Politik Orde Baru, Jakarta: PBHI and
PRESENTATION OF THE PROBLEM 9
Jakarta over 13 - 16 May . Reports of provocateurs appearing at trouble
spots and encouraging the destruction mounted particularly in the Glodok
area where Indonesian-Chinese were set upon. Rape and arson soon reduced
the shopping district to a state of anarchy.3
As the chaos spread, thousands of students began occupying the parliament
grounds. The students and supporters were united in the cause of ending
Soeharto s 32-year iron grip on the country. In addition, the movement had
developed into a broader pro-democracy and human rights movement
encompassing every sector of national life.
Still the students came in increasing numbers even after Soeharto offered to
hold democratic elections immediately. As Jakarta burned, Soeharto finally
stepped down and handed power to his handpicked successor B.J. Habibie.
Soeharto left behind a legacy of rapid economic and social development
but one shaped by militarism, corruption and inequality between the haves
and have-nots . Demands for decentralization of government power and an
end to the military s role in politics were just two of the themes of the
movement that burst into the national arena to shape the future development
of the country.
The overwhelming push for reformasi, subsequent repression, and the first
tentative steps into a new democratic era represent the context in which the
current struggle for human rights in Indonesia must be placed. The election
of 1999 the country s first democratic elections since the 1950s instated
a more democratic system. However, the past still casts a long shadow over
Indonesia today, particularly in the two regions selected for special
consideration in this report West Papua and Aceh. At the eastern and
western ends of the archipelago, West Papua and Aceh are home to the
country s longest and most violent independence movements. With the
exception of now independent East Timor, the two provinces have seen the
most systematic violations of international human rights standards.
Potret Pelanggaran Hak Asasi Manusia di Indonesia 1998: Menagih Tanggung Jawab Negara, (Jakarta:
PBHI and Inpi Pact, 1998).
10 PRESENTATION OF THE PROBLEM
Defining Human Rights Defenders
The United Nations has manifested in no uncertain terms that the work of
human rights defenders is of critical importance for the promotion of human
rights worldwide and, as such, these defenders deserve special protection.
The UN General Assembly, in Resolution 53/144, approved the Declaration
on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of
Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and
Fundamental Freedoms on 9 December 1998 - the eve of the fiftieth
anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Resolution
2000/61 of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, passed in
April 2000, established the mandate of the Special Representative of the
Secretary General on Human Rights Defenders.4
While these resolutions emphasize the critical role played by human rights
defenders and create the means for ensuring that governments respect and
protect their work, they do not exactly define who is a human rights
defender. Similarly, Hina Jilani, Special Representative of the Secretary
General on Human Rights Defenders, appointed pursuant to Resolution
2000/61 of the Commission on Human Rights, opted not to establish a static
definition of human rights defenders in her initial report on the situation of
human rights defenders submitted to the General Assembly on 10 September
Front Line provides the following definition of a human rights defender:
A human rights defender is a person who works, non-violently, for any or
all the rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
This definition thus encompasses those who defend a wide range of rights -
not only civil and political human rights, but also economic, social and
cultural rights. This report focuses on the killing, death threats, beatings,
frivolous lawsuits and prosecutions, and other means of intimidation
directed against human rights defenders as a result of their work.
Thus, while we begin with a broad definition of human rights defence, we
limit cases documented to those in which the evidence demonstrates a clear
link between the killing, death threat and other intimidation suffered by the
Front Line & Global Justice (2001), Front Line Brazil: Murders, Death Threats and Other Forms of
Intimidation of Human Rights Defenders, 1997-2001, Dublin: Front Line, at p. 11.
See A/56/341, September 10, 2001.
PRESENTATION OF THE PROBLEM 11
person and her or his defence of the rights protected in the Universal
Overview: Political Context
President Soeharto rose to power in 1965 on the back of massive social,
economic and political turmoil. The economy at that time was in chaos and
tensions between political adversaries, particularly the Armed Forces,
Muslim groups and the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI), had reached
Speculation is still rife on just how much Soeharto knew in the lead up to the
abduction and murder of six military generals on the eve of 30 September
1965. In any case, with the Armed Forces reeling from the murders and the
population in a state of shock, the new military leadership - under Soeharto
launched a massive bloodletting campaign aimed at ridding the country of
the PKI. In the chaos that ensued an estimated one million civilians perished.
Although the military and civilian supporters primarily targeted PKI
members, the anarchy allowed the settling of old scores in villages
primarily across Java and Bali - and Soekarnoists were also targeted.
President Soekarno was incrementally stripped of his power and Soeharto s
New Order regime set about entrenching itself in all facets of national life.
Even as the regime arrested and imprisoned without trial those with links to
the PKI and Soekarno, many intellectuals and students tended to see
Soekarno s removal as an opportunity to grow and prosper. While their
support lent the new authoritarian regime much of its legitimacy, its real
power lay in the military.
The militaristic regime embraced the free market and reopened relations
with the West and global capital movers and shakers in general. Investment
flowed in and the effects of the economic crisis gave way to rapid growth.
As a result, instances in which the abuse suffered is not targeted at the victim because of her or his work
in rights defense (such as an injury suffered during a public demonstration) are not included (unless the
demonstration itself is viewed as a defense of human rights). Ibid, at pp. 12-13.
12 PRESENTATION OF THE PROBLEM
Drawing on the nationalist ethic known under Nazi Germany and Imperial
Japan, the New Order effectively constructed an integralist state . Formally
autonomous groups within civil society came to be enmeshed in state
organs. The regime sanctioned only one representative body for a broad
range of interest groups, such as women, youth, students, workers, peasants,
entrepreneurs and even fishermen.
The government did not call its new model of national organization
integralist as such. The regime adapted the national ideology Pancasila or
five pillars in order to Indonesianise the project. Pancasila, the regime
maintained, promoted consensus and abhorred the Western model of
political rivalry. In effect, political opposition was not merely banned but
portrayed as a betrayal of Pancasila and the nation.
The representative bodies allowed under this system were incorporated
into what has been described as an electoral machine , namely Golkar
(Golongan Karya, or 'Functional Groups'). Golkar obtained over 60% of the
vote in the general elections held every five years from 1971 until the
regime s demise in 1998. Golkar can in fact be traced back to an army-
devised competitor to the communist party in the 1960s. Closer relations
with the military developed as retired officers began entering national and
local government through Golkar. Golkar s (and the military s) power over
civil society lay in the pervasive bureaucracy of this system.
A comprehensive strategy to limit political activity in civil society in the
interests of economic growth and national stability developed throughout the
1970s. The Pancasila Democracy of Soeharto s regime required the
amalgamation of five secular nationalist and Christian parties into the
Indonesian Democratic Party (PDI). Sensing the potential for concerted
resistance from the Islamic community, the United Development Party
(PPP) was also formed in 1973 as a result of a fusion of four surviving
Dissent was further silenced by the fact that other political parties were
outlawed and only Golkar was allowed to campaign outside the cities and
outside of a strictly controlled campaign season. All government employees,
including teachers, were compelled to campaign and vote for Golkar. The
government further obliged all mass organizations to adopt Pancasila as their
sole ideological basis, which sparked opposition from the Islamic
community in particular. However, open resistance subsided after the
PRESENTATION OF THE PROBLEM 13
shooting deaths and subsequent torture and disappearances of Muslim
activists at Jakarta s Tanjung Priok port district in 1984.
Students and intellectuals also presented periodic opposition. In the 1970s,
independent student representative bodies on campus continued to pressure
for greater democracy. Ascending military power saw them as a threat and
banned them, later introducing a series of policies that sought to depoliticize
or normalize campus life. 7
Overall, Soeharto s master plan to wipe out political opposition in the
interests of economic growth and national stability was highly effective
throughout the 1970-80s and into the 1990s. The dual function (dwifungsi)
of the military in both security and national politics became entrenched.
However, one figure did emerge as a possible threat Megawati
Soekarnoputri, daughter of Indonesia s founding president. She was elected
to lead the nationalist PDI in 1993 and her popular appeal with the ordinary
people mounted. Soeharto and the military finally moved against her in
1996, ousting her through supporting the former party leader. Although her
supporters rallied, a violent crackdown sparked riots, which in turn justified
a broader crackdown on the pro-democracy movement.
With Ibu Mega out of the way, the New Order s political dominance
continued unabated. Indeed, Golkar had its most stunning victory at the May
1997 general elections with 74% of the vote. Even as the economy crashed
and anti-government demonstrations mounted, Soeharto received the full
endorsement of the People s Consultative Assembly (MPR) in March 1998
for yet another five-year term.
Soeharto s handpicked vice president, B.J. Habibie, took over when the
economic and political crisis overwhelmed him. Habibie did not enjoy good
relations with the military, especially after the decision to work with the
United Nations to hold a referendum on independence in East Timor.
Civilians pushing the incumbent government for even greater political
reforms at home were also targeted by the military. Military snipers killed 24
civilians in the Semanggi I and II incidents near the Semanggi overpass in
Central Jakarta during the Habibie presidency.
Suryadi A. Radjab, Tahanan Politik Mahasiswa: Sandera bagi Pembangunan, Imparsial, April 1997.
See also Departemen Pendidikan dan Kebudayaan, Pedoman tentang Normalisasi Kehidupan
Kemahasiswaan dan Badan Koordinasi Kemahasiswaan, (Bandung: Rektorat ITB, 1979).
14 PRESENTATION OF THE PROBLEM
Megawati s victory at the subsequent democratic elections of June 1999
did not lead to the presidency. Islamic parties and Golkar, the second largest
party in the new parliament, banded together to elect Muslim cleric
Abdurrahman Wahid. The new President s apparent determination to reduce
the military s role in national politics won him no friends in the country s
most stable and powerful institution. Military circles and nationalist
politicians in Jakarta also condemned Wahid s accommodative approach to
the separatist movements in Aceh and West Papua.
Wahid did not last long under such pressure and his enemies convened a
Special Session of the MPR in July 2001. The military refused to uphold his
order to disband Golkar and the parliament, issued the night before the
Session. Vice President Megawati ascended to the presidency the next day.
Megawati was indeed renowned for her close relations with the military
prior to the push to remove Wahid. Repression in Aceh and Papua have
increased further under her administration.
In addition to domestic factors, international events have had a fundamental
impact on recent political developments. The 11 September 2001 terrorist
attacks in the United States forced a thorough re-evaluation of security
policy with knock-on effects in the economic, political and social realms.
The deaths of over 190 people, mainly foreign tourists, in the 12 October
2002 bombings in Bali brought the fight against terrorism closer to home.
Soeharto s Legacy: Militaristic Corporatism
The military s role in national politics and economic development was one
of the defining features of the New Order and it continues to exert a
powerful influence today.
The trauma of the bloodletting of the 1960s kept the people in a state of fear
and the regime began transforming itself with the military s ascendancy
assured. Due to the centralization of power in the Jakarta elite, with Soeharto
established as the unchallenged center point, patronage was the key to
gaining a foothold in the economy. The culture of patronage and its
networks extended down to the lowest levels of government and the military
PRESENTATION OF THE PROBLEM 15
resulting in what has been described as an exclusionary corporatist regime.8
In general under this system, the New Order co-opted potential opponents
and bound allies and clients to the state with the allocation of rights to
exploit national resources such as oil, minerals, timber as well as cheap
The system drew in international enterprises and Soeharto cultivated
business partners among Indonesia s ethnic Chinese minority. The
ascendancy of certain businessmen caused jealousy and contributed to the
targeting of Indonesians of Chinese descent during the May 1998 riots in
The integralist approach to politics described previously also encompassed
the national economy and created, for example, Pancasila Industrial
Relations . Under this labour organisation ethic, the government promoted
economic partnership in which only one labour union was permitted and a
host of other labour-related groups, such as entrepreneurs, fishermen and
peasants, were also represented by one Golkar - controlled body.
The military also expanded its business interests. This was particularly
evident in Papua and Aceh where the security forces received payments
from foreign and domestic companies, particularly in the forestry and
mining and oil/gas sectors, for protection from the separatists but also
began establishing and working in partnership with companies. Indeed, the
first civilian Minister of Defence under president Wahid estimated that
around two-thirds of the military s annual budget came not from the
government coffers but from the profits of these myriad enterprises, which
have never been comprehensively audited or reported to the government.
The government-military elite hold of the national economy eventually came
to encompass virtually all sectors of the economy from one end of the
country to the other. Their power was evident in the virtual seizure of land
required for business development. Owners according to existing laws as
well as those whose claim rested on traditional ownership were powerless to
resist the military-backed capitalist onslaught. Meanwhile in the broader
society, corruption, collusion and nepotism came to be referred to simply as
KKN , or korupsi, kolusi dan nepotisme. Time magazine investigations
revealed that assets valued at $73.24 billion gleaned from sectors as diverse
Vedi R Hadiz, Buruh dalam Penataan Politik Awal Orde Baru, Prisma, No. 7, July 1996.
16 PRESENTATION OF THE PROBLEM
as mining, forestry, hotels and tollroads had passed through the hands of the
Soeharto family alone during Soeharto s 32-year rule, with holdings at the
time estimated at a conservative $15 billion.9
Defending Human Rights in Soeharto s Indonesia: Students and NGOs
The highly centralized political and economic systems that drew heavily on
national identity and pride described previously did not leave much room for
the development of independent institutions in civil society. The regime in
fact regularly stated that the Western-inspired concept of human rights was
alien to indigenous culture. The impunity with which the regime and
military imprisoned, held without trial and executed over one million alleged
communists and others in the 1960s was an important factor in the people s
fear of challenging the status quo. When protests did get out of hand, the
regime used it as an excuse to crackdown on all groups voicing opposition to
In spite of the New Order established under Soeharto, many among the
younger generation who had not experienced the immediate trauma of the
slaughter soon began to mobilize. They maintained that the regime had co-
opted only a portion of the student movement in the 1960s and had
subsequently betrayed the people s faith. Corruption and mismanagement at
the State Logistics Body (Bulog) and state-owned oil and gas enterprise
Pertamina were the first targets of note in early 1970. The regime did not
waste time cracking down on the rebellious elements. 10
The student movement reared its head again in 1974 when University of
Indonesia students organized large demonstrations to greet the arrival of
Japanese Prime Minister Kakuei Tanaka. The demonstrators spilled into the
streets and were quickly joined by thousands of poor, angry Jakartans. At
least eight people were killed in the "Malari" (January 15 Incident) fires and
riots. In the aftermath, roughly 800 people were arrested and prominent
student leaders and several faculty members were imprisoned.
Time Magazine, 24 May 1999.
In Bandung, the capital of West Java, for example, police began cracking down on civil rights and
forcibly cutting the long hair of youths on the streets. Student Rene L Conrad was shot and killed at a
demonstration at the Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB) on 6 October 1970. See Suryadi A. Radjab,
Panggung-Panggung Mitologi dalam Hegemoni Negara, Gerakan Mahasiswa di Bawah Orde Baru,
Prisma, No. 10, October 1991. See also Mayapada, No. 89, 22 October 1970.
PRESENTATION OF THE PROBLEM 17
In the run-up to presidential elections in March 1978, student council leaders
at major public universities across the country issued statements and held
rallies boldly calling for the replacement of Soeharto and re-orientation of
the country s economic and political systems. The students also criticised the
close alliance between Golkar and the army and the increasing political role
of the army. Soeharto later imposed the Campus Normalization Act of 1978,
which prohibited political activities on campus and abolished the university-
wide student councils that had provided the framework for student political
It was no coincidence that a plethora of new student groups mushroomed off
campus during the 1980s. Study and discussion groups on all manner of
topics, both political and nonpolitical, developed. During the 1980s, former
student activists and some intellectuals also began establishing
nongovernment organizations (NGOs), which continued to draw in new
students and activists throughout the decade. Most aimed to empower local
communities and enhance their economic opportunities. This trend was not
only evident on Java island but also later in Aceh and West Papua where
students and NGO activists began to take an active role in empowering local
communities, in addition to their efforts to help victims of police and
military brutailty. As the phenomena spread, the students former tendency
to favor the regime s promotion of development soon took a critical bent.
The high incidence of land dispute cases in particular lead NGOs to see
those affected as victims of development.
The other social strata of victims of the development grand plan workers
also began mobilizing effective strikes in the 1980s for higher minimum
wages and better conditions. The movement grew increasingly broad in the
1990s and was met with brutal force. The rape and murder of labour activist
Marsinah in May 1993 in East Java became a rallying cry for human rights
and labour activists and drew international attention to the situation in
Indonesia. Military involvement has never been proven in a court of law but
independent investigations by the YLBHI and others point to local military
involvement in collusion with the factory owners.
Repression of human rights came in for intense international scrutiny in the
early 1990s. The United States voiced concerns on Indonesia s human rights
track record in negotiations over the general system of preferences (GSP)
Suryadi A. Radjab, Op. cit.
18 PRESENTATION OF THE PROBLEM
trade program. The scrutiny intensified with the 12 November 1991
massacre in Dili, the capital of East Timor, in which an estimated 271 people
perished. Activists managed to smuggle a video recording of Indonesian
soldiers indiscriminately firing on a memorial procession-turned-peaceful
pro-independence demonstration in the Santa Cruz cemetery. International
creditors and donors of the Inter-Governmental Group on Indonesia (IGGI)
began tying their assistance to improvements in the human rights situation in
The government made several attempts to appease its critics in this regard.
In 1992, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), of which
Indonesia is by far the largest member country, released the Jakarta
Message in which governments agreed to promote and respect human
rights. The government ultimately established the National Commission on
Human Rights (Komnas HAM) in 1993 but reserved the right to hand pick
all leaders, which it did with little reference to the aspirations of independent
human rights defenders.
These independent activists made their own landmark breakthrough in 1992
by dedicating an award to human rights workers "who resist the militaristic
and repressive policies of New Order Indonesia." The most unique aspect of
the Yapusham Award was that it was named after Yap Thiam Hien, a lawyer
who courageously represented political prisoners associated with the
communist party even as the New Order systematically eliminated the party
and ideology. The award is presented every year on International Human
Rights Day, 10 December.
Former student and NGO activists also moved into the press. The tight
control on the industry and the fact that only one representative body was
allowed did not stop many journalists addressing the injustices of Soeharto s
model of development as well as democracy and human rights issues. In
1994, the regime closed down three pioneering publications - Tempo, Editor
and the DeTik tabloid. Nevertheless, unlicensed publications particularly on
campus and among NGOs were circulated widely.
As Soeharto s grip on the military weakened and his advanced age caused
increasing speculation on the future of the country without him at the helm,
Megawati Soekarnoputri continued to gain in popularity. The daughter of
founding president Soekarno took over the nationalist state-sanctioned
Indonesian Democratic Party (PDI) in 1993. In addition to her mass popular
PRESENTATION OF THE PROBLEM 19
appeal, Megawati attracted the support of individuals and groups with far
more commitment to championing democracy and human rights than she
herself possessed. She became a popular figurehead for the emerging
movement. The regime finally moved to cut her and her supporters down
ahead of national elections by backing an internal party coup in 1996.
When her supporters holed up in the party s headquarters in Jakarta and held
anti-government demonstrations, the military and hired thugs of the Pemuda
Pancasila (Pancasila Youth) group attacked the building on 27 July 1996.
Five people inside the building were killed, twenty-three went missing, and
nearly 150 people were injured in the ensuing rioting. The regime used the
chaos as justification for a comprehensive crackdown on the opposition
Among Megawati s ambitious supporters were progressive students of the
People s Democratic Party (PRD). The PRD was established on 22 July
1996 with branches in 14 provinces in deliberate contravention of the
country s political laws, which allowed only two parties and Golkar. The
regime blamed the PRD for inciting the rioting after the 27 July raid and
labeled all PRD members communists in an attempt to discredit and
demonise the party and democracy movement. PRD members arrested
after 27 July were tried under the country s draconian anti-subversion laws
but the party used the trials to popularize their ideas through the media. PRD
chairman Budiman Sudjatmiko gave a three-hour speech in court critiquing
the regime but was nevertheless sentenced to 13 years jail. Other PRD
activists, such as Dita Indah Sari of the PRD-affiliated labour union,
received lighter sentences.
As the PRD case illustrates, the discourse on democratic and human rights
was growing and spreading throughout the archipelago. The crackdown in
the lead up to the 1997 general elections did not stop some activists
encouraging voters to cast a white or invalid ballot in protest. Other
activists and intellectuals established an independent electoral monitoring
body to draw attention to vote rigging as well as the myriad political
repressions enacted by the regime.
The regional and then national economic crisis was not far away. Indeed
when NGOs began mobilizing civilian demonstrations, particularly in early
1998, they raised non-political but fundamental human rights, such as the
20 PRESENTATION OF THE PROBLEM
right to work and food.12 As the economy worsened and Soeharto and the
elite dug in their heels, the reformasi movement popularized by the
students gathered momentum. The media brought all the regime s worst
traits into full view as the military crackdown intensified. The shooting
deaths of four students at Trisakti University on 12 May 1998 triggered the
final crisis of the corrupt regime as rioting engulfed many parts of the capital
over 13-16 May. The rioting was marked by mass violence, particularly
against Indonesia s Chinese minority in the Golodok area of Jakarta, where
rapes, robery and arson reduced the shopping district to a state of anarchy.
Nevertheless, the sight of tens of thousands of jubilant students occupying
the national parliament in the final days of the regime was symbolic of the
great enthusiasm in the broader society for comprehensive change.
Many observers maintain that the military, or at least elements of it, were
directly responsible for some of the worst violence witnessed in Jakarta
during the lead up to Soeharto s downfall in an attempt to provoke mass
unrest and further its political interests. In any case, the people were not as
easily provoked as when Soeharto seized power 32 years before and a
tragedy on that horrific scale was avoided. Economic development and the
spread of new ideas such as human rights contributed to the euphoria as well
as to the relative stability of the transition.
Habibie Government and Human Rights
Soeharto passed the reins of government to his handpicked vice president,
B.J. Habibie, on 21 May 1998. The parliament itself remained unchanged
and opinion was divided on whether the technocrat had the will or the power
to realize the aspirations of the people.
Civil society groups had already begun to investigate the riots, rapes and
disappearances of activists when Habibie formed the Joint Fact Finding
Team to look into the May tragedy. Activists felt a political compromise was
behind the inclusion of military and police leaders on the Team with
representatives of Komnas HAM and NGOs. Likewise, entrenched interests
Among the most effective early demonstrations were those held by the Voices of Concerned Mothers
group, which was initiated in February 1998 by women's activist Dr Karlina Leksono to protest the soaring
price of food for children. The sight of women, particularly housewives, protesting en masse against the
government was not only morally compelling but no easy target for the security forces and government in
the ensuing crackdown.
PRESENTATION OF THE PROBLEM 21
in the parliament continually threatened to compromise the formulation of
new political laws for democratic elections.
However, the fall of Soeharto was a double edged sword for the civil society
movement. After the victory, it splintered into factions and lost much of its
popular support. Large demonstrations, nevertheless, continued at the
Semanggi overpass near Atmajaya University in Central Jakarta. On 13
October 1998, 14 people, mostly students, were shot dead by military
snipers while protesting in disgust at Golkar and the military s continuing
political role and the parliament s official elevation of Habibie as president.
Moderate electoral laws were eventually passed, with Golkar remaining and
the military/ police seats in parliament reduced from 75 to 38.
When the election was held in June 1999, 48 political parties took part but
almost all parties, with the exception of the PRD and some Islamic parties,
were most striking for their similarities. Most were linked in some way to
the old regime - established by splinter groups or public figures - with no
definitive policies.13 Almost no follow up action was taken on the numerous
accusations of money politics, vote buying and vote rigging reported by
domestic and international monitoring agencies.
The Habibie presidency was also noted for the referendum on independence
in East Timor. An estimated one-third of the population had perished from
abuse and disease under Indonesian rule since the annexation in 1974. Some
speculated that Habibie wanted to secure a place in history as a great human
rights defender in allowing the referendum to go ahead. But while his esteem
grew in the eyes of the international community, Indonesian nationalists
were loath to let the territory go and the military openly stated its aim of
maintaining national unity . Civilian militias were formed amongst pro-
Indonesian East Timorese with military and police backing in the lead up to
the 30 August 1999 ballot. The preparatory period was marked by
intimidation and violence but hell broke loose when the extent of the pro-
independence victory became known. A scorched earth policy carried out
by the militias and their backers lead to torture, rape, murder and an
estimated 25,000 refugees were rounded up and taken across the border into
In the case of Megawati s new PDI-Struggle (PDI-P), a plethora of smaller parties of unclear origin
copied her black bull party symbol leading many to believe that the old regime had pumped millions
into nothing parties purely to confuse the tens of millions of disadvantaged voters sure to vote for their
22 PRESENTATION OF THE PROBLEM
Indonesian West Timor. The disaster in East Timor presented Indonesia s
first official crimes against humanity cases.14
Anti-military, Habibie and Golkar demonstrations continued until the final
days of the Habibie presidency at the Semanggi overpass in Central Jakarta.
Snipers again shot at protesters on 18 September 1999 and 10 civilians were
killed in the Semanggi II incident. Protesters also condemned a new draft
National Security and Safety Law (RUU PKB), which many saw as directly
related to the rising demands for independence in Aceh and Papua following
East Timor s example. The demonstrators saw the laws as little more than a
means to expand military dominance of civil society and even instate martial
law should opposition threaten the government.
Wahid Government and Human Rights
Most human rights defenders breathed a sign of relief when Muslim cleric
Abdurrahman Wahid was finally elected president in October 1999. The
near blind head of Indonesia s largest Islamic organization, the Nadhlatul
Ulama (NU), was noted for his pluralist and humanitarian approach to
politics. However, the people s hopes were perhaps too high at such a
tentative stage in the country s development.
Wahid sent out many positive signals in the initial stages of his presidency.
A cease fire agreement of sorts, known as the Humanitarian Pause , was
brokered with the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) with the aid of the Henry
Dunant Center in Geneva. Wahid also indicated a readiness to change the
name of Irian Jaya province to West Papua as requested by local leaders and
allowed the flag that had come to symbolize the separatist movement to be
flown alongside the Indonesian national flag. But in the field, the military
repression continued and human rights violations cases began increasing.
Wahid also removed Armed Forces Commander and Minister of Defence
General Wiranto after the East Timor massacres. But he rejected the
suggestion that Wiranto and other alleged human rights violators go before
Laporan Penyelidikan KPP HAM Timor Timur, released by Komnas HAM on 31 January 2000.
PRESENTATION OF THE PROBLEM 23
an international tribunal.15 Rather, he supported the formation of a national
ad hoc court and preparations were made for the necessary new law.16
Wahid s political enemies grew in number when he pushed through with the
separation of the police and military and placed the police under the office of
the President. This move was intended to further develop the civil policing
function of the police force and develop the military s defence role -
primarily towards external threats to Indonesian sovereignty. In reality, the
powerful military resisted relinquishing its former pre-eminent status and
military units continued to interfere in policing matters, especially towards
demonstrators and in labour disputes. Wahid s other attempts to reshuffle
the military leadership and promote reform-minded officers also met tough
There has been much speculation on the extent of military involvement in
the bloody inter-communal clashes, primarily between Christians and
Muslims, that threatened Wahid s presidency. There is much evidence that
officers were involved in the clashes in the Moluccus, which has claimed
over 8,000 lives since 1999. Some have linked retired generals and business
interests to the conflict. But whether officers acted on orders or with the
consent of the leadership in the conflicts in the Moluccus, Poso (Central
Sulawesi) and Sampit (Central Kalimantan) has never been established. As
conflict colored by religious animosity flared in the regions, the country was
rocked by the 2000 Christmas Eve bombings in which at least 16 people
died and 90 were injured.17 Although the police and military blamed GAM,
many suspected only certain organisations with military expertise could
launch such a concerted attack spanning six provinces.
Human rights defenders were also targeted during Wahid s presidency.
NGOs were more than disappointed in the state-controlled investigations
into human rights violations and the failure to endorse the declaration of
serious human rights violations in the May 1998 riots. Bomb and death
threats were widely reported. The offices of both the PBHI and Kontras were
attacked in 2001.
Eka Fitria, Kejahatan terhadap Kemanusiaan, www.pbhi.org.
Suryadi Radjab et.al, Pengadilan Hak Asasi Manusia dan Pengadilan Pidana, (Jakarta: PBHI and The
Asia Foundation, 2002).
Tiga Tersangka Diduga Pelaku Pengeboman Ditangkap, Suara Pembaruan, 26 December 2000.
24 PRESENTATION OF THE PROBLEM
With support in civil society waning, Wahid s political enemies in the
military and parliament moved to convene an Extraordinary Session of the
MPR to replace him and install his vice president Megawati Soekarnoputri
in July 2001.
Megawati Government and Human Rights
Megawati s presidency thus far has been full of contradictions in almost all
sectors of national life, not least in human rights protection. Many believe
her accommodative approach to handling the military, which fully
supported her rise to power on Wahid s heels, is a major factor in these
Although the incidence of communal conflict and grenade attacks in major
cities has decreased markedly, the number of human rights violations
perpetrated by the military - particularly in Aceh and West Papua - have
increased substantially. Journalists in particular have been singled out while
the arbitrary arrests, abductions, torture, shootings and murder of human
rights activists in Aceh and Papua continue. The numbers of internally
displaced people has swollen to 1.3 million.18 In Jakarta, civilians have
perpetrated attacks on human rights defender organizations such as Kontras
and the Urban Poor Consortium (UPC). This report maintains that these
civilian groups would not have acted without support from on high .
In addition, while many more cases of human rights abuse have gone before
the courts and perpetrators have been sentenced, neither the police
investigations nor the judicial process have fully explained the motives and
aims of the perpetrators. Likewise, the masterminds behind the systematic
terror campaign launched on Christmas Eve and in East Timor to name just
two examples remain a mystery.
The appearance of the rule of law and relatively stable internal security
situation have not brought major advances in reducing the pervasive
corruption that is keeping foreign investors away and perpetuating economic
uncertainty. Many from among the ranks of the country s estimated 40
million unemployed or underemployed workers are turning to petty crime to
survive. The rising numbers of those living below the poverty line include an
Masalah Pengungsi Baru Bisa Diselesaikan Tahun 2002, Suara Pembaruan, 16 October 2001.
PRESENTATION OF THE PROBLEM 25
estimated 4.5 million under five-year-old children, or 25% of Indonesia's 18
million toddlers, suffering from malnutrition. These people have little time
or energy to devote to human rights issues even those that directly affect
One other fundamental contradiction in the government s human rights
policy is not unique to Indonesia. The vast majority of countries that have
committed themselves to the war on terrorism following the 11 September
2001 attacks in the United States have taken measures that are ostensibly
aimed at netting terrorists but function to the detriment of civil liberties.
Indonesia presents many unique problems and the government finds itself in
an awkward position mainly due to the fact that more than 80% of the
country s 220 million people are at least nominally Muslim. Islamic
politicians within Indonesia made much of the fact that the US bought
Indonesian support in its war with promises of $400 million in financial aid
immediately after the catastrophe. Meanwhile, Vice President Hamzah Haz
has loudly condemned the US over its terrorist actions against civilians in
Human rights activists were more concerned that the US was seeking to
renew ties with the Indonesian military, embargoed since the East Timor
massacres, and that the military was set to reassert its power over civil
society. In this context, the government set about formulating controversial
anti-terrorism laws. Human rights defenders rallied to condemn the initial
drafts.19 The devastating 12 October 2002 bombings in Bali, in which at
least 190 people perished, have fasted-tracked the passage of new laws
governing police and military powers. Indonesian fundamentalist Muslim
clerics such as Abu Bakar Baasyir and the mysterious Hambali have been
accused of planning major terrorist attacks in Indonesia, Malaysia and
Singapore and their links to the Bali bombers and Osama bin Laden s Al-
Qaeda organization are currently the focus of intense investigations.
It is in this heated and uncertain climate that human rights defenders must
work to ensure that the gains made after the collapse of the militaristic
regime of former president Soeharto are not whittled away. While civil
society institutions remain weak and human rights defenders remain the
target of military and police brutality, there is no guarantee of a healthy
democracy in Indonesia.
Pemberantasan Terorisme Harus Tetap Hormati HAM, Kompas, 10 December 2001, at p. 7.
26 PRESENTATION OF THE PROBLEM
Indonesian and International Human Rights Protection
Since 10 December 1948 and the birth of the Universal Declaration of
Human Rights, the international community has committed itself to
respecting and protecting human rights. That commitment was developed
further with the Covenant and Economic, Social and Cultural Rightss and
the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights passed by the
United Nations on 16 December 1966.20 Indonesia, however, has yet to
ratify either of these covenants.
From the mid-1980s, the New Order regime of former president Soeharto
came under increasing domestic and international pressure to improve its
human rights record and ratified four pivotal conventions. The Convention
on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women
(CEDAW) was signed in 1984, the Convention on the Rights of the Child
(CRC) in 1990, the Convention Against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or
Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT) in 1998 and the International
Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination
(CERD) in 1999.
Other conventions ratified with specific reference to the International Labour
Organization (ILO) include: the Convention concerning the Application of
the Principles of the Right to Organize and to Bargain Collectively (ILO
Convention No. 98, ratified 1956), Convention concerning Remuneration for
Men and Women Workers for Work of Equal Value (No. 100, ratified
1957), Convention concerning Freedom of Association and Protection of the
Right to Organize (No. 87, ratified 1998), Convention concerning the
Abolition of Forced Labor (No. 105, ratified 1999), Convention concerning
Discrimination in Respect of Employment and Occupation (No. 111, ratified
1999), Convention concerning Minimum Age for Admission to Employment
(No. 138, ratified 1999), and Convention concerning the Prohibition and
Immediate Action for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labor
(No. 182, ratified 2000).
Unlike other regions, Indonesia and its neighbours have yet to formulate a
joint agreement on human rights. At the 1994 meeting of the Asia Pacific
Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in Bogor, West Java, the visiting
Suryadi Radjab et.al, Hukum Hak Asasi Manusia dan Humaniter Internasional, (Jakarta: PBHI and The
Asia Foundation, 2002), pp. 33-40.
PRESENTATION OF THE PROBLEM 27
heads of state did discuss human rights and make several recommendations
but no actual commitment or organizational structure has subsequently
developed. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) had
planned to establish a Human Rights Committee but in 1997 leaders decided
to change to a national focal point strategy that recommended:
The formation of a task force to study issues related to a regional
human rights protection mechanism;
The convention of a regional conference to discuss the formation of
the Human Rights Committee, and;
The development of programs aimed at improving the rights of
women, children and other vulnerable groups.
Defending human rights in the region would be greatly facilitated by a joint
body but many argue that the sheer size and diversity of the region inhibit its
The Legal Status of Human Rights Defence
Indonesia s legal problems are not only related to corruption in the courts
and the lack of an independent judiciary but also to the development of the
system because most legal products are based on the legacy of the Dutch
colonial regime and the 1945 Constitution. These factors present numerous
difficulties in developing mechanisms to protect human rights.
Perhaps the most contentious remaining law of the Dutch colonial era for
human rights activists is the haatzaai artikelen or "Hate-sowing Articles".
The Hate-sowing Articles are Articles 154-57 of Chapter V of the Criminal
Code itself adopted almost whole from the Dutch legal code for
indigenous subjects. The Articles prohibit the expression in public or
through the media of hostility, hatred or contempt toward the government or
toward one or more groups in Indonesia.
After the Dili massacre of 1991, the government did take several steps
towards improving its human rights record, or at least its image. The
National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) was ultimately
established under Presidential Decree No. 50/1993. Many cases were
brought before the Commission but, although the public profile of the cases
and the issues in general were raised, the results were generally
disappointing. The government had reserved the right to appoint all leaders
28 PRESENTATION OF THE PROBLEM
and the bureaucratic and submissive culture of Golkar entered along with
them. The formation in 1998 of the National Commission for Women s
Rights (Komnas Perempuan) and a Ministry for Women s Affairs under
Wahid were considered major turning points in the struggle to further
women s rights.
The impetus for legal reform of human rights protection mechanisms
gathered steam after the fall of Soeharto. The government finally passed
Law No. 39/1999 on Human Rights and formulated a Human Rights
National Action Plan (RAN HAM). International pressure was instrumental
in the final formulation of Law No. 26/2000 on the formation of an ad hoc
Human Rights Court to try crimes against humanity and gross human rights
violations related to the East Timor case and the unlawful killing and
disappearances of the 1984 Tanjung Priok incident.
The 1945 Constitution, the world s briefest constitution, has undergone no
fewer than four amendments in the last four years. But the results have not
pleased human rights activists who maintain that the amendment process
was largely closed to public participation and failed to resolve numerous
legal obstacles related to the protection of human rights.
The Ability to Monitor Human Rights
Monitoring is the most essential element in formulating an accurate picture
of the state of human rights protection. Over 30 years of militaristic rule in
Indonesia severely restricted public discourse on human rights and
consequently the public s ability to report violations, collect evidence and
take follow-up action.
Weaknesses also exist in the justice system comprising the judiciary, prisons
and the police. At present in an administrative sense, the judiciary and
judicial affairs as well as prisons are below the Ministry of Justice and
Human Rights. The system is virtually closed to independent observers and
the government has displayed a complacent attitude towards reforming the
judiciary and cracking down on rampant corruption, collusion and nepotism
(KKN) at all levels of the judicial system.
Members of the public experience numerous problems when facing the
police detention and prison system. Members of the public not only often
PRESENTATION OF THE PROBLEM 29
have to bribe their way in to see relatives but access is also denied to human
rights monitors. As a result, there is precious little research into prison
conditions and the rule of law in this stage of the justice system.
These institutional obstacles are symptoms of the economic and political
crises that represent the greatest obstacle to monitoring human rights
violations in Indonesia. Although the media has taken advantage of its new
freedoms to popularize and report on human rights issues, the vast majority
of Indonesians continue to feel disempowered in the midst of the current
uncertain environment. Recent education programs with domestic and
international backing cannot reach the millions of people suffering at the
hands of a corrupt justice system. However, the human rights monitors
trained will share their skills with the broader community and the movement
will gather its own momentum and direction over time.
The cycle of impunity that developed throughout the militaristic regime of
former president Soeharto continues to exert a powerful influence over the
development of human rights in Indonesia today. Human rights violations,
including those against human rights defenders are rarely investigated and
those that have been investigated have not reached trial.
Victims of human rights violations are reticent to take their cases before the
courts for a number of reasons. First, they believe that justice will not be
served because of the corruption and bias of the justice system. Second, they
fear for their safety because the perpetrators remain free and there is no
witness protection act in place. And third, they are pessimistic regarding the
development of the judicial process, which may be furthered through the
pursuit of cases.21
The ad hoc Human Rights Court trials on East Timor have been deemed
unsatisfactory by both domestic and international watchdogs. This highlights
many of the problems faced by human rights activists in Indonesia in a broad
sense. Complaints on the management of the East Timor trials focus on the
limited scope of the prosecutions, which do not involve the national military
Suryadi Radjab et.al, Keadilan di Masa Transisi dan Impunitas, (Jakarta: PBHI and The Asia
Foundation, 2002), pp. 29-30.
30 PRESENTATION OF THE PROBLEM
and police leadership or reflect the systematic nature of the crimes. High-
ranking officers, such as Regional Police Commander, Brigadier General
Timbul Silaen, who was responsible for security, have been acquitted. Only
civilians have been found guilty to date although appeals are currently being
planned in relation to military and police officers. Needless to say, these
complaints have arisen despite intense international scrutiny and media
Problems have also arisen in regards to the National Truth and
Reconciliation Commission. Although the 1999 Human Rights Law allows
for the Commission s immediate establishment, it has yet to materialize. 22
Many human rights advocates have argued that the Commission, modeled on
the South African Commission of the same name, is unsuitable in the
Indonesian context because of the different nature of the crimes. Others have
called for a completely independent Peoples Court to try human rights
violators including those at the highest levels of the military, police and
No Indonesian government to date has taken definitive action in protecting
human rights defenders in their work. The cycle of military and police
impunity continues unabated in Aceh and West Papua in particular. In
addition, civilian groups are increasingly involved in human rights
violations. They are generally linked under a patronage and protection
system to powerful institutions or leaders of the security forces or civilian
government. The distinct lack of will to reign in these groups and their
patrons has lead many human rights defenders to believe that the
government is simply allowing the current atmosphere of fear to continue.
The freedom and safety of human rights defenders remains under threat.
See Article 47 Law No. 26/2000 on The Human Rights Court.
Suryadi Radjab et.al., Keadilan di Masa Transisi dan Impunitas, pp. 84-106.
Human Rights Defenders in Jakarta, 1998-2002:
New Threats Post-New Order
As the seat of national government, Jakarta is indeed the focus of greater
attention compared to the regions. Many human rights and other NGOs are
based there and Jakarta serves as the main focal point for the networks of
these organizations throughout the archipelago. But working as a human
rights defender in the national capital is by no means a guarantee of safety.
When the New Order of former president Soeharto fell, human rights
defenders saw an unprecedented opportunity to increase their activities and
expand their networks. With the fall of the dictator came increasing pressure
on the armed forces - the 'traditional' abuser of human rights throughout the
old era. Public support for the resolution of past human rights violations
cases increased. A number of leading advocacy organizations, including the
Indonesian Legal Aid Institute Foundation (YLBHI), Indonesian Legal Aid
and Human Rights Association (PBHI) and the Commission for
Disappearances and Victims of Violence (Kontras), began pursuing cases
through the courts. Although many cases that had never been addressed were
opened up, their goals of accountability and suitable punishments for the
guilty were not realized as hoped. That is, only junior officers have been
tried and sentenced - leaving their commanders untouched by the
investigations and legal process.
This miscarriage of justice was caused by the continuing strength of the
military in the post-New Order period and the fact that the Jakarta political
elite was unable to exert control over the institution and its top brass. In
addition, the 'new' political elite contained many with strong links to the old
regime and military and furthering their political interests became an
inhibiting factor in the pursuit of justice.
Many cases failed to get off the ground because of actions taken by the
civilian authorities. In the case of the shooting deaths of four students at
Trisakti University in West Jakarta on 12 May 1998, for example, the
special investigation team established by the parliament declared that there
was no evidence of serious human rights violations24 Indeed, the Parliament
Almost all factions of the House of Representatives agreed that there had been no serious human rights
violations in the case. The two parties that had initiated the formation of the special team, the PDI-P and the
PKB, eventually also agreed. See Kompas, 12 June 2001. The Attorney General s Office, the government
32 HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS IN JAKARTA, 1998-2002;
NEW THREATS POST NEW-ORDER
had no authority to decide on this matter, which should have been left to the
National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM). Nevertheless, the
military used the decision as its justification for refusing to appear before the
Human Rights Violations Investigation Commission (KPP HAM)
established by Komnas HAM. The military used similar tactics to evade
accounting for the shooting deaths of 24 demonstrators near the Semanggi
overpass in Central Jakarta in 1999 also.
The determination with which NGOs continued to pursue these cases
brought greater threats and violence. Unfortunately, the threats and violence
have increased as the new 'reformasi era has progressed. In two cases
described in this section, the attack on Kontras and the Urban Poor
Consortium (UPC), civilians were the perpetrators. Few doubt they would
have acted without protection 'from on high'.
As bringing those responsible for human rights crimes to justice becomes
increasingly convoluted and difficult, the need to protect human rights
defenders in Jakarta is increasingly urgent.
Student Demonstrations and Human Rights Violations
Towards the end of 1997, the student movement burst once more into the
national political arena. Not only was the timing right in terms of the
economic crisis but the mood of the people was ripe for change. As the
movement gathered steam, normally apolitical or politically apathetic
groups, such as professionals, teachers, religious leaders and the women s
movement, threw their support behind the students. The movement became
increasingly radical. The orginal populist theme that the government lower
prices soon transformed into a concerted push to bring Soeharto down .
The government itself reacted negatively to these developments. Various
policies and a terror campaign against leading groups and activists resulted.
One of the most dangerous developments was the use of unprecedented
numbers of intelligence operatives and informants. The groups considered
most dangerous were constantly terrorized but this only added greater
impetus to the struggle.
agency responsible for pursuing human rights violation cases through the courts, also denied that serious
human rights abuses had occurred. See Kompas, 24 May 2002.
HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS IN JAKARTA, 1998-2002; 33
NEW THREATS POST NEW-ORDER
Confirmation of the terror campaign was soon evident. A bombing at
Klender and the abduction of political activists, mostly students, hit the
headlines (see following section). The increasing pressure on the police and
military as the driving forces of the terror campaign and the general
repression of the time meant that controlling troops in the field became
But the repression did not stop the students. Their militancy increased as
economic conditions deteriorated further. The aim of bringing Soeharto
down emerged as a broader pro-democracy and human rights movement that
aimed to end the military s role in national politics and abolish the
repressive political laws that restricted political activities and the number of
As momentum and support grew, the students began to take their
demonstrations outside campus grounds and the numbers of ordinary
citizens joining in increased significantly. The government even went so far
as to outlaw demonstrations outside of campus grounds. But the impetus of
the movement was overwhelming by that stage and posko operational
headquarters had already sprung up on almost every campus to mobilize the
masses into action. Clashes with the police and military intensified.
In general, however, the students aimed for peaceful mass demonstrations.
The brutality witnessed in upholding the ban was thus not based on the
desire to protect the public. The shooting deaths of four students at
Jakarta s upmarket private Trisakti University on 12 May 1998 is a case in
point. At the time of the shootings, the students were returning to their
campus after a peaceful demonstration in which no clashes occurred at all.
They were shot from behind.
Other abuses occurred around the Semanggi overpass in the heart of Jakarta
near a campus that attracted large crowds to its demonstrations. Rubber
crowd control bullets and real bullets were used in the Semanggi I incident
on 13 October 1998 in which 14 civilians were shot dead and 25 people shot
with two people shot more than once. Of the 467 injured in the chaos, 78
suffered head wounds.
34 HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS IN JAKARTA, 1998-2002;
NEW THREATS POST NEW-ORDER
Komnas HAM recorded 85 violations of the right to hold peaceful
demonstrations in relation to the Trisakti and Semanggi I cases alone, as the
following table illustrates:
Cases Kind of Repression (Level 3) Total
Trisakti Forced disbursal of demonstration/ public protest, 22
rally, street march
Semanggi Obstruction of demonstration/ public protest, rally, 39
1 street march
Semanggi Limitations on assemblies/ gatherings 12
Semanggi Forced disbursal of demonstration/ public protest, 23
1 rally, street march
The actions of the police and military at the time, as reported by Komnas
HAM, show that the violence used against the students and fellow
demonstrators was not only intended to paralyse the student movement.
They also intended to threaten and endanger the lives of all civilians they
faced in Jakarta as the old authoritarian regime crumbled around them. The
pervasive culture of impunity enjoyed by the armed forces and police is
evident in the fact that the masterminds of the attacks have never been
revealed or punished according to the law.
Abductions of political and human rights activists, Jakarta, 1997-199825
The abduction of human rights and political activists was one of the most
important phenomena that marked the fall of the Soeharto New Order
regime. The Indonesian military, in this case the Army Special Forces
(Kopassus), have admitted to involvement in the abduction of nine activists,
who were later released. Those freed have reported that they endured torture
during their time in detention. They also maintain that activists abducted like
themselves but never found were also incarcerated at the same locations in
Material taken from various sources, including testimony of Nezar Patria, ELSHAM annual report 1998,
Kompas 7 and 8 January 1999, and www.detik.com.
HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS IN JAKARTA, 1998-2002; 35
NEW THREATS POST NEW-ORDER
The abductions were carried out in three phases: in the lead up to the general
elections of May 1997, in the two months prior to the General Session of the
People s Consultative Assembly (SU MPR) in March 1998, and prior to
Soeharto s relinquishment of power on 21 May 1998.
A number of activists abducted in the second phase were released in May
1998. They are Pius Lustrilanang, head of ALDERA (People s Democratic
Alliance), Desmon Mahesa (lawyer with a legal aid NGO), Haryanto Taslam
(member of the People s Democratic Party of Struggle: PDI-P), as well as
Faisol Reza, Rahardjo Waluyo Djati, Nezar Patria, Mugianto, Aan Rusdianto
and Andi Arief - activists of the People s Democratic Party (PRD). Some of
these men have spoken openly about their experiences. They were the lucky
ones. Other activists abducted at this time have never been seen again. They
are: Suyat, Herman Hendrawan, Petrus Bima Anugerah, and Widji Tukul.
All were activists with the PRD, a party established by progressive students
in 1996, when the ban on political parties not sanctioned by the government
was still firmly in place. Widji Tukul was a founder of the PRD and a poet
noted for his empathy and support for the struggles of ordinary people.
Not one of the activists abducted in the first and third phases have been
found alive. These victims, apparently abducted for their political activities,
include Yani Avri and Sonny (PDI-P activists), Dedy Hamdun (activist with
the United Development Party: PPP) and Ismail and Noval Alkatiri (friends
of Dedy Hamdun). Meanwhile, those abducted in May 1998 and whose
whereabouts remains unknown include Yidin Muhidin, Hendra Hambali
(both students) as well as ordinary citizens Ucok Siahaan and M Yusuf who
were apparently lost in the riots that gripped Jakarta from 13-15 May prior to
Soeharto s downfall.
Nezar Patria, secretary general of the Indonesian Students Solidarity for
Democracy (SMID), the student wing of the PRD, gave an account of his
ordeal to the Commission for Disappearances and Victims of Violence
(Kontras) on 7 June 1998. Nezar said that on 13 March a group of men
later known to be Kopassus members stormed into the house rented by
himself and Aan Rusdianto in Klender, East Jakarta. The gun-wielding
abductors immediately warned them against resistance. Their hands were
bound and eyes covered with black cloth. They were then taken to, what
they believe was, an important military installation in Jakarta.
36 HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS IN JAKARTA, 1998-2002;
NEW THREATS POST NEW-ORDER
Nezar said he endured various forms of torture. He was stripped to his pants
and undershirt and forced into a room with chilling air conditioning. They
asked repeated questions about the whereabouts of Andi Arief, who was
then head of SMID and the PRD after PRD chairman Budiman Sudjatmiko
was imprisoned. Nezar was repeatedly bashed and given electric shocks to
the feet. He was later tied to a cot by the hands and feet and given repeated
electric shocks. The attackers sought information on his political activities.
The torture continued in the following days and Nezar met fellow PRD
activist Mugiyanto, who also received the same treatment.
On 15 March, Nezar, Aan and Mugiyanto were moved to cells at the Jakarta
Metropolitan Police headquarters. They were forced to sign their letters of
detention in which they were accused of criminal subversion against the
state. They were kept separately in isolation for around three months before
being released. During their detention at Jakarta police headquarters, all
three were called by officers of the Military Police and asked about their
abduction by the unknown assailants.
From the accounts given by the survivors, it appears the methods of
abduction and torture were similar for all victims. Rahardjo Waluyo Djati
was also forced to sleep on a block of ice and Pius Lustrilanang was
submerged in icy water. As public attention focussed on the kidnappings, a
number of NGOs stated that the abductions were part of a concerted military
operation. Commander of the Armed Forces and Minister of Defence at the
time, General Wiranto, denied the accusations. He said the Armed Forces
(then known as ABRI prior to the name change in 1999 to TNI) had never
ordered the abduction of activists. On 29 June, Wiranto stated that they had
identified several officers suspected of involvement in the kidnappings
and that the officers had overstepped their authority.
On 3 July, Wiranto announced the results of their internal investigation
revealing that Kopassus officers were involved in the kidnappings. But he
said that there had only been a procedural mistake or a mistake in
interpreting their orders. Several days later, the military police announced
that 11 officers, from the lowliest rank through to a Major, were involved in
the procedural mistake . The scenario presented to the public ran like this:
a certain Major Bambang Kristiono who led the abduction operation had
erred in analyzing his orders. The Jakarta Military Command top brass had
only asked the Kopassus members to investigate activists it considered could
HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS IN JAKARTA, 1998-2002; 37
NEW THREATS POST NEW-ORDER
disturb the upcoming SU MPR. Instead, so the story goes, they formed
Rose Team to abduct the activists.
A military tribunal was held to hear the cases and proceedings ran for almost
one year. The charges against the officers were extremely mild all related
to the problem of the procedural mistake . Not one mentioned the torture
suffered by the activists.
On 6 April 1999, the Military High Court sentenced the 11 soldiers to
between 12 and 20 months jail. Major (Infantry) Bambang Kristiono was
sentenced to 22 months, while Captain (Inf.) FS Multajar was sentenced to
20 months, as was Captain (Inf.) Nugroho Sulistyo Budi, Captain Julius
Stefanus and Captain (Inf.) Untung Budiarto. They were also discharged
from the Army.
The officers sentenced to 16 months jail were: Captain (Inf.) Dadang
Hendra Yuda (34), Captain (Inf.) Jaka Budi Utama (32), and Captain (Inf.)
Sauka Nur Sarif (30). Junior Sergeants Sunaryo (38), Sigit Sugianto (40) and
Senior Sergeant Sukardi (39) were sentenced to 12 months jail.
Prior to the ruling, the armed forces Officers Honor Council (DKP) formed
by the military leadership found three officers had allowed the procedural
mistake , namely Lieutenant Prabowo (former Kopassus Commander),
Major General Muchdi Purwopranjono (Kopassus Commander General) and
Colonel Chairawan (former Commander of Kopassus Group 4). All three
Prabowo, Soeharto s son-in-law, admitted the charges against him before the
DKP but no follow up action has followed. He denies knowing of the
brutality against the nine activists released and the whereabouts of those still
missing. But he maintains that his actions were carried out with the
knowledge of his superiors either Wiranto or the President himself. The
problem is, conspiracy theories abound particularly as suspicions remain
that Prabowo s troops instigated much of the rioting in May 1998 to further
his own political ambitions. Wiranto too had his eye on the top job after
Soeharto fell. And how do the abductions of activists fit in? They were a
threat just as the democracy movement was a threat to the military regime
entrenched under Soeharto. With the elite power struggle and shadow play
to distract attention, the military dodged fully accounting for those who
perished for their belief in democracy and human rights.
38 HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS IN JAKARTA, 1998-2002;
NEW THREATS POST NEW-ORDER
Kontras Offices Bombed and Raided, Jakarta26
The Commission for Disappearances and Victims of Violence (Kontras) was
established in 1998 and began its work with investigating the abductions of
political activists at the time. From there, the group developed into one of
Indonesia s most respected human rights defender organizations noted for
its bravery and ability in championing human rights abuse cases perpetrated
by the state.
Such credentials have not won it favor with those accused of perpetrating the
crimes and Kontras has been constantly targeted. According to Kontras
head, Munir, the office regularly receives bomb threats so often that the
staff did not take the threats seriously. This only increased the shock when a
loud explosion in front of the office in Central Jakarta occurred on 27
Although the building shook violently, no windows were broken and none of
the property inside was damaged at all. As such, Munir concluded that the
bomb was not intended to harm the people but rather to serve as a warning
for Kontras to scale back its activities.
At the time, Kontras was indeed investigating several bombing cases, such
as the bombing of the Jakarta Stock Exchange in which 11 people perished
and an explosion on a bus near the courthouse where former president
Soeharto was on trial in absentia. According to Kontras activist Munarman,
the attack on their office could have been related to Kontras statements to
the media that certain elements of the military were involved in the bombing
Around six months after the bombing, the office was once again attacked,
this time by around 200 members of the civilian paramilitary groups
established by the military prior to the elections of 1999. The paramilitary
groups were ostensibly formed to assist the military control demonstrations
leading up to the elections but they were widely hated and accused of being
little more than hired thugs granted impunity to terrorize the population.
The group that attacked Kontras called itself the Bloody Cawang Forum
after the attack by irate locals of the Cawang district of Jakarta on the
civilian paramilitary members in 1998. The group maintained that Kontras
Based on news published online by Tempo Interaktif, 27, 28, 29 September 2001 and 13, 14 March 2001.
HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS IN JAKARTA, 1998-2002; 39
NEW THREATS POST NEW-ORDER
had discriminated against them by pursuing human rights violations cases
involving students but paying no attention to their plight.
The 200 former paramilitary men entered the Kontras offices through the
back and front doors simultaneously and began tearing up the place.
Windows, computers and other office equipment was destroyed as they
yelled insults at Kontras and Munir, whose hand was injured as he faced the
According to Munir, the attackers warned him to stop all Kontras
investigations into the Triskati and Semanggi I and II incidents, which
involved several high-ranking military officers. Although they were not the
only human rights violations perpetrated by the military handled by Kontras
at the time, they attracted alot of attention.
Just one day before the attack on the office, Kontras lead a demonstration of
the families of the victims in front of the home of former Armed Forces
Commander, Wiranto. The demonstration was held because the former
General refused to fulfill the summons of the official Human Rights
Violations Investigation Commission (KPP HAM) formed by Komnas HAM
in relation to the Trisakti and Semanggi incidents. Because of this
coincidence and the fact that the civilian parmilitary units were established
during Wiranto s time at the helm of the Indonesian military, many have
concluded that attack on the Kontras office was tied to Wiranto. The police
arrested seven of the attackers who received short prison terms.
Unfortunately they did not direct their investigations to those behind the
Urban Poor Consortium activists attacked, Jakarta, 28 March 200227
The Urban Poor Consortium (UPC) is one of Jakarta s foremost NGOs
struggling for the rights of the millions of disadvantaged in the country s
capital. Over the last five years, leader Wardah Hafidz has become
something of an icon to the urban poor and the group has been at the
forefront of resistance to city policies that do not protect the rights of the
One of the UPC s most public campaigns has centered on the issue of the
peddle-driven tricycle pedicabs or becaks , which represent the only income
Based on various sources but primarily Kompas 30 March 2002.
40 HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS IN JAKARTA, 1998-2002;
NEW THREATS POST NEW-ORDER
source for thousands of poor city dwellers. The city government has
outlawed their use in important sections of the city and launched periodic
crackdowns seizing and destroying the becaks and arresting drivers. The
UPC has directed much of its campaigning against the man behind the becak
policy and other polices that harm the poor: Jakarta Governor Sutiyoso.
On the becak issue, the UPC together with 67 citizens representing 15,000
urban poor launched a class action suit against Sutiyoso as well as the
Jakarta Metropolitan Police Chief and the Jakarta Military Commander. In
the verdict handed down on 21 March 2002, the Jakarta High Court ruled
that becaks, as well as street traders and buskers affected by the ban, were
permitted to operate under law.
Unfortunately, Governor Sutiyoso paid no heed to the court s decision. The
seizures of becaks and of the food stalls of the street traders continued
unabated. The crackdown compelled the UPC and 400 of their urban poor
supporters to take their grievances to the National Commission for Human
Rights (Komnas HAM) on 28 March 2002. While they were waiting for
Komnas HAM representatives to meet them in front of the office in Central
Jakarta, nine rented minibuses suddenly appeared. Around 500 people
spilled out and immediately set upon the UPC group throwing rocks and
beating all in sight. The attackers were members of the Betawi Rempug
Forum claiming to represent the original Betawi inhabitants of Jakarta but
known to be close to Governor Sutiyoso.
As a result of the attack, 51 people including women and children sustained
injuries. Wardah Hafidz was clutched around the throat and Komnas HAM
staff member Vonny Renata was struck in the head with a stone. Endang, a
twelve-year-old boy, was hit by stones and the attackers also stood on the
head of a 5 year old child, Fitria. The windows of the Komnas HAM office
NGOs and human rights defenders throughout Jakarta and beyond
condemned the attack. Many said the attack on defenceless people,
particularly women and children, represented a serious human rights
violation. Many also claimed the Betawi Forum would not have acted
without support from friends in high places .
The Jakarta Metropolitan Police indeed arrested seven of the attackers but
they were only charged under civil law for the physical abuse of the UPC
HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS IN JAKARTA, 1998-2002; 41
NEW THREATS POST NEW-ORDER
members and supporters. There was no attempt to pursue those behind the
attack, although Governor Sutiyoso was compelled to issue a statement
denying his involvement.
Despite the best efforts of the UPC and other concerned parties, Sutiyoso
was re-elected Jakarta Governor in September 2002 amid allegations of
massive corruption and the bribery of provincial parliament legislators.
Aceh: Cruel Home for Human Rights Defenders
Victims of violence perpetrated by the so-called security apparatus (the
police and military) are easy to come across in every corner of Nanggroe
Aceh Darrussalam (NAD or more commonly known as Aceh province,
hereinafter refered to as Aceh). The violence has in fact increased since the
abolition of the Military Operations Region (DOM) martial law period,
which was imposed from 1989 to 1998.
Seeking to crush the GAM separatist movement despite the end of the DOM
period, the Indonesian government has launched numerous military
operations, including three waves of the Operasi Sadar Rencong (OSR I-II-
III) and Operasi Cinta Meunasah (OCM). Many more operations have never
been publicly acknowledged. These operations have involved both territorial
units of the Aceh Military Command as well as non-territorial units, which
are troops brought in and placed under the operational command of Aceh s
territorial commanders (known as BKO units/troops).
The atrocities have continued. The slaughter of Acehnese at Simpang KKA,
Idi Cut, Beutong Ateuh, and the Bumi Flora killings at a plantation in East
Aceh, are only two of the worst examples. At the Islamic boarding school in
Idi Cut, 57 civilians were murdered by rampaging soldiers, while 31 people
were killed in the Bumi Flora incident on 9 August 2001 the police allege
GAM was responsible but GAM denied slaughtering its own people.
The results of the latest study by the Banda Aceh Legal Aid Institute (LBH
Banda Aceh) show that the bloodshed in Aceh is far from over. In the eight
months to August 2002, LBH Banda Aceh head Rufriadi says 3,503 civilians
fell victim to the ongoing battle between the security forces and GAM. Of
the total, 974 died. Others fell victim to torture (1,486 people), forced
abduction (223) and arbitrary arrest (820).28 By comparison, in the 15
months prior to April 2001, 1,340 Acehnese and members of the security
forces were killed.29 These and other figures show that the number of
victims is increasing and civilians always represent the largest share.
Civilians are especially caught in the struggle between GAM and the police
and Indonesian Armed Forces (TNI) in the regions. GAM has made its home
Press release LBH Banda Aceh director Rufriadi, 4 September 2002
Tempo, 28 May 2001.
ACEH: CRUEL HOME FOR HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS 43
base in the interior. A common tactic is the use of villages and townships as
buffer zones. It is therefore highly likely that the entire area will turn into a
battle zone when GAM is under attack. The logic of the Police/TNI is
simple: GAM is a separatist movement and the separatist movement has
broad support in Aceh, therefore the local people actively support GAM s
activities and are their enemies. On the other hand, GAM has also been
known to target civilians, especially when they betray the group s activities
to the security forces, but these cases are not numerous.
In addition to the loss of lives and destruction of property, the other major
feature of this kind of conflict is the large number of internally displaced
people. Acehnese refugees from the conflict are generally those accused by
the Police/TNI of being GAM members or supporters. Haunted by fear, the
people are forced out of their homes and most seek protection in public
places, such as mosques and schools. A portion flee Aceh altogether.
The suffering of these people touched the hearts of many who have gone on
to become activists and embrace humanitarian work. Much of the relief
effort has come from the student community and their activities revolve
around reducing the burdens and suffering of the internally displaced.
After the withdrawal of the DOM, Muara Dua district in North Aceh became
the first real centre for humanitarian activists. At the time, around 13,000
people had fled their homes in Kandang township to avoid the police and
military repression under the Operasi Wibawa (Operation Power). In
January 1999, security personnel had run amok through Kandang because
the people had banded together and demanded that human rights violators of
the DOM era be tried for their crimes.
In attempting to relieve the suffering of the people, the students came to bear
much of the brunt of military and police repression. The operational
headquarters or posko set up in Simpang Keramat, Kuta Makmur district,
North Aceh, was raided. There was no physical violence.
The students learned from their experiences in Muara Dua when further
humanitarian work became necessary in Pusong, Banda Sakti district, North
Aceh. This time the students were more focused and systematic in their
work. The People Crisis Center (PCC) established by the Students
Solidarity for the People (SMUR) had its headquarters in Pusong. The
security forces responded by setting up a similar centre for activities nearby.
44 ACEH: CRUEL HOME FOR HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS
The students concentrated their efforts on meeting the internally displaced
peoples basic needs, particularly regarding food, medical care and
education for the children. The fact that many needed victimisation support
compelled the students to expand their activities. They began taking patients
to hospital and meeting them often. Students also stayed with many
throughout their time in hospital because the security forces were ever-
present and this gave rise to serious fears and concerns for their safety.
Activists also attempted to raise money to pay for treatment.
But the complexity of the conflict and the high incidence of detentions,
torture and disappearances soon saw the students expand their activities even
further into advocacy. They attempted to protect victims and hunt down
missing persons from their last known positions and the security units
stationed in the area. Besides establishing posko headquarters, they recorded
data on conflicts in the regions, took part in negotiations and advocacy and
helped evacuate and protect victims of the conflict.
The next major centre for humanitarian activists was at Simpang Pt Kertas
Kraft Aceh, North Aceh. Activists set up headquarters there and another at
the Cut Meutiah hospital, Lhokseumawe, after the mass slaughter of
The flow of refugees increased after the introduction of the Operasi Sadar
Rencong in 1999. Repression only made GAM increase its resistance and
battles raged in numerous places. The people came in waves to seek shelter
and the total number in the area reached 309,982 in 1999. 29
By late 1999, the situation intensified further with the 8 November gathering
at the Banda Aceh Grand Mosque. The Aceh Referendum Information
Center (SIRA) claimed two million Acehnese turned out for the rally to call
for a referendum on the future of the province but independent observers say
this figure is too high. In any case, the demonstration only lead to greater
repression from Jakarta. Head of the SIRA Presidium Muhhamad Nazar was
jailed. Student activism died down and, at camps for the internally displaced,
only a fraction of the former student turnout remained to carry on the work.
The Humanitarian Pause agreement reached after long negotiations in
Geneva on 12 May 2000 did not spell the end of armed conflict between
Hidup dan Bertahan di Wilayah Konflik Aceh NGO Human Rights Coalition, 2001.
ACEH: CRUEL HOME FOR HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS 45
GAM and the Indonesian Police/TNI. The fall of president Abdurrahman
Wahid in July 2001 lead to the appointment of President Megawati
Soekarnoputri and renewed conflict between the antagonists.
Human Rights Defenders Treated as Insurgents
Humanitarian work is a dangerous business in Aceh. Of primary concern is
the fact that the security apparatus regularly accuse human rights defenders
of being GAM supporters or sympathisers. Commanding officers have told
humanitarian workers that they, as defenders of GAM s armed wing
(AGAM), should remain quiet if dealt the same treatment as AGAM. Head
of staff at the Iskandar Muda military district that covers Aceh, Syarifudin
Tippe, accused humanitarian workers of promoting double standards
because GAM attacks on police and military personnel were not classified as
human rights violations.4
Following Soeharto s fall from power in 1998, humanitarian workers were
free to work even in conflict areas. The various symbols of their
organizations and large stickers on their vehicles were enough to earn them
entrance. Volunteers wore their ID cards wrapped to their forearms. Once at
their intended destinations, the symbols would be displayed prominently and
strung around their operational headquarters.
But, as mentioned, the situation began to change in 1999 after Soeharto s
immediate successor B.J. Habibie was ousted in the country s first
democratic elections since the 1950s. The police and military changed from
keeping a low profile to asserting their interests in Aceh. Arrests of activists
and the terrorizing of their supporters became commonplace once again.
A spate of murders of prominent activists followed, among them: Sukardi
(YRBI; Yayasan Rumpun Bambu Indonesia), Tengku M. Yusuf Usman
(Aceh NGO Human Rights Coalition), Suprin Sulaiman (PB HAM, an
affiliate of the Aceh NGO Human Rights Coalition), Idris, Ernita and
Bakhtiar (RATA; Rehabilitation Action for Torture Victims in Aceh) and
Jafar Siddiq Hamzah (IFA; International Forum for Aceh). Fachrurazi
(Pemraka; Concerned Aceh Students and People s Posko) remains missing
to this day. But activists were not the only ones targeted. Intellectuals and
Syarifudin Tippe, Aceh di Persimpangan Jalan, Pustaka Cidesindo, 2000.
46 ACEH: CRUEL HOME FOR HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS
other prominent citizens that had spoken out against the violence were also
murdered, including Prof. Safwan Idris (IAIN Ar-Raniry Chancellor), Prof.
Dayan Dawood (Syah Kuala University Chancellor) and Nashiruddin Daud
(national legislator). It appeared the critics were being wiped out
Unfortunately, humanitarian workers have not kept comprehensive records
of the crimes against them. Many see the beatings, physical abuse and other
forms of terror meted out against them as a natural consequence of their
work. Even the head of the Banda Aceh Legal Aid Institute Rufriadi has not
kept faithful records. The kinds of abuse listed in the following table have
been documented after much cooperation between humanitarian groups.
Violations Against Humanitarian Activists in Aceh
Kind of Abuse Period Total
Jan- Jul- Jan- Jul- Jan- Jul-
Jul 99 Dec Jun 00 Dec Jun 01 Oct
99 00 01
Arrests -- 9 2 2 9 21 43
Disappearances -- -- 1 -- -- 1 2
Torture -- 6 6 2 -- -- 14
Murders -- 1 3 5 4 2 15
Sexual Assault -- -- -- 1 -- -- 1
Total -- 16 12 10 13 24 75
Source: Hidup dan Bertahan di Wilayah Konflik (Aceh NGO Human
Rights Coalition 2001)
The freedom once experienced by humanitarian workers in the field has
ended. In many cases, the symbols that were once a free pass to conflict
areas now draw down the wrath of the security forces. Sometimes, even
looking like a student can cause trouble and students continue to be attacked
as GAM supporters.
ACEH: CRUEL HOME FOR HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS 47
Assistance provided by international organizations such as Peace Bridge
International (PBI) has alleviated some of the pressure on NGOs such as the
Banda Aceh Legal Aid Institute, Aceh NGO Coalition Forum, RATA and
Flower. PBI have stationed members at the Aceh groups headquarters and
accompany their activists in the field. The security forces have been
chastened with the appearance of foreigners but even this is no guarantee of
safety for Acehnese humanitarian workers.
Threats and Violence Against Human Rights Defenders in Aceh
This section is divided into two sub-sections:
1) Human rights defenders whose work as human rights defenders is the
direct reason for their being threatened.
2) Political and intellectual leaders who also have a role in human rights
3.1 Human Rights Defenders
YRBI activist Sukardi Tortured and Murdered
Sukardi asked Syafridah, a fellow staff member of the Yayasan Rumpun
Bambu Indonesia (YRBI), to wait for him. He planned to take another YRBI
staff member to Lhok Pawoh village, a distance of about 4 kms, and return
to take Syafridah to Panton Luas village. Sukardi left on his motorcycle at
around 17.00 local time on 31 January 2000.
Syafridah departed alone after waiting an hour. After 2.5 hours and still no
sign of Sukardi, the remaining staff of YRBI attempted to track him down
but found no trace. With night falling and an eerie stillness engulfing them,
the humanitarian workers decided to halt the search.
They began early the next day but were soon informed by a caller that a
corpse had been found in an appalling condition just near the village of Kuta
Blang, Samadua district. Upon inspection, they concluded that the corpse
was Sukardi s remains. His whole body was covered in the telltale signs of
heavy torture. Near the body, they found a copy of a magazine produced
locally for the police and bullet casings.
48 ACEH: CRUEL HOME FOR HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS
The local people of Kuta Blang village said they had heard the approach of a
vehicle in the middle of the night and then a gunshot. They later found his
remains at dawn. His motorbike was never found.
Sukardi, born in 1970 and a graduate of Animal Husbandry at Syah Kuala
University, was one of YRBI s most active men in the field and kept in
constant contact with various elements of South Acehnese civil society.
While still a student, he was active at the headquarters in Sawang and often
helped civilians reclaim cars detained by the police and military. When the
issue of holding a referendum to decide Aceh s future began to heat up, he
was also involved in compiling data on victims of violence and evacuating
refugees from conflict areas. Exactly why he was singled out for such brutal
treatment is unknown.
Indeed the YRBI was not actively involved in advocacy work at the time.
Since their establishment in 1995, they tended to concentrate on empowering
local community groups and developing education programs for village
children. When the armed conflict flared in Aceh s interior regions, their
work decreased because the guerrilla warfare interrupted normal life and
increased risk of injury to staff. The intensification of the war in the interior
drew the group into humanitarian activities.
The YRBI office staff were terrorized the night following the discovery of
Sukardi s remains. Just as a staff member replaced the phone after informing
colleagues of the day s shocking events and was about to send a fax, the
electricity died. Only the YRBI office was affected and the double-storey
wooden structure fell silent.
When staff went down to inspect the electricity board, they were informed
that several unknown persons had been seen sitting on the office veranda
likely listening to the activities inside through the thin walls. When the
electricity died, the men suddenly left.
Three days later, a YRBI staff members were terrorized at Kuala Bateh,
Blang Pidie. Several armed men threatened the staff members with their
guns and demanded to know where they were going.
ACEH: CRUEL HOME FOR HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS 49
When another staff member set out for the provincial capital Banda Aceh
one week after the murder, the intimidation stepped up a gear. The day after
the staff member departed, several men appeared at the person s house
demanding to know where he had gone. When told of his intended
destination, the men left and began searching for the staff member s cousin
in three nearby districts. They finally located the cousin and set upon him as
they would any GAM member. He was taken to Tapak Tuan and detained.
YRBI has learned that the men involved were from one of the security units
stationed nearby, which had come under pressure after Sukardi s death. The
Aceh provincial police chief had been repeatedly questioned at the time on
the murder by the international and national media on the brutal killing.
The terror intensified even further in August 2000 only this time it was
indirect. Unknown persons kept showing up at the old YRBI offices in
Sawang and asking locals where the office had gone and where the activists
were now living. By 2001, the pressure was increasing with these unknown
persons doggedly searching the activists. Those that had assisted the group
in the past became reticent to continue working with them. A man suspected
of being an intelligence operative warned one staff member not to go home
one night because he was the target of a major search.
The terror campaign ruined YRBI s work and the staff member that made
his way to Banda Aceh was afraid of returning to base in Simpang Tiga
Sawang. He only returned in April 2001.
In October 2001, a YRBI staff member was shot though not fatally wounded
and another volunteer, an Islamic community leader, was terrorized. The
organisation then decided to move its headquarters to Banda Aceh although
they faced losing their close relations with the small communities that had
supported their work.30
IFA President Jafar Siddiq Hamzah butchered in Medan,
Jafar Siddiq Hamzah, the founder and president of the International Forum
for Aceh (IFA), disappeared on 5 August 2000 from Medan, capital of North
Source: Sanusi M. Syarif, head of YRBI and elder brother of the deceased, Sukardi.
50 ACEH: CRUEL HOME FOR HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS
Sumatra province, which borders Aceh. His friends and family began the
search but found nothing. Because Jafar was so well known to local as well
as international activists, the pressure built on the police and military to find
Jafar but the response was abysmal. They merely denied any knowledge.
On 3 September 2000, villagers of Nagalingga, Merek district, Tanah Karo
(around 80 kms from Medan), smelled something rotten on the outskirts of
their little village. What they found were five badly decaying corpses. The
police estimated the victims had been dead 10 days. All were naked, bound
in barbed wire with their hands tied behind their back. They had been shot.
Three days later with the help of the family, one of the corpses was
identified as Jafar although his face was no longer recognizable from the
effects of torture and decay. News of the activist s death spread quickly.
However, the headlines at the time were dominated by the brutal murder of
three foreign United Nations staff members in West Timor by locals
allegedly provoked by the Indonesian security forces.
According to his family, Jafar had been afraid throughout his stay in Medan.
He had received death threats and suspected that he was being constantly
Jafar had lived in Medan before. He had worked at the local Legal Aid
Institute as a lawyer and spokesman during his studies at Alwashliyah
University. His forthright statements to the media on any number of issues at
the time lead the security forces to see him as an enemy and he was also
always suspected of supporting the Aceh separatist movement. He claimed
that he was being shadowed by security personnel throughout October-
December 1996 and, fearing for his safety, left for New York with his wife.
In New York, the boy from Lhokseumawe who grew up in a strictly Islamic
family was increasingly busy. He established IFA to promote human rights
and democracy for his homeland. He also continued his studies at the New
In America, he was known as one of the most prominent Acehnese activists
and lobbiers with an easy, calm and friendly manner. He gave testimony to a
committee of the US Congress on human rights violations in Aceh and
ACEH: CRUEL HOME FOR HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS 51
Jafar Siddiq Hamzah decided to return to Aceh in 2000 and intended to
establish the very first local newspaper in the Acehnese language, the Su
Aceh. He also intended to establish a new organization to be known as the
Support Committee for Human Rights in Aceh. But the plans were thrown
into chaos with his untimely and tragic execution.31
Tengku A. Kamal, Lawyer and Humanitarian Pause Monitor,
Tengku A. Kamal was head of an Islamic boarding school and a monitor of
the Humanitarian Pause in South Aceh. He feared for his safety when
summoned by police and asked Suprin Sulaiman, a lawyer with the Aceh
NGO Human Rights Coalition, to accompany him to the Tapak Tuan police
station. They set out with their chauffeur, Amiruddin, in a vehicle belonging
to the Monitoring Team. The large sticker on the side of the vehicle said
Peace Through Dialogue .
The police said the summons was related to accusations that members of the
police Mobile Brigade had mass raped women who had once been
welcomed into Tengku A. Kamal s home.
The women had gone to the Banda Aceh office of the National Human
Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) to give testimony on the ordeal. On the
way home, they had stopped off at Tapak Tuan and Tengku A. Kamal had
given them a place to stay for the night.
When Tengku A. Kamal, Suprin Sulaiman and chauffeur were returning
from the police station that day, 29 March 2001, they were stopped on the
road and brutally murdered. It appeared that Suprin was their primary target
from the beating he sustained.
Suprin was born on 3 December 1965 in Susoh district, South Aceh, and
graduated from the Law Faculty of Syah Kuala University. He then became
involved with the Pos Bantuan HAM (PB HAM), which was affiliated to the
Aceh NGO Human Rights Coalition.
Sources: Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, Tapol and various Indonesian publications.
52 ACEH: CRUEL HOME FOR HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS
The Coalition immediately began looking into the murders. Several
eyewitnesses said Mobile Brigade police had done the deed. A dark-
coloured Panther that was known to be an unmarked Mobile Brigade car had
been seen parked at the nearby Tapak Tuan school. The car was full of men
in civilian clothes and several had long hair and wore earrings. When the car
carrying the human rights defenders passed by, they followed and later
overtook the car. The eyewitnesses said they then heard gunshots and the
Panther was seen speeding back through the town in great haste not long
The Aceh NGO Human Rights Coalition reported their information on the
murders to Komnas HAM hoping that the perpetrators might be brought
before the courts to pay for, what the NGOs described as, a serious human
rights violation. They did not get the response they deserved. Komnas HAM
merely sent a letter to the Aceh police chief asking him to investigate the
murders and consider the findings of the NGO Coalition. Komnas HAM
must have known that this would only intensify pressure on the Coalition
and any other party that had reported on the murders and the rape case and
leave them no recourse to seek justice elsewhere. Journalists were repeatedly
called in over their reports and accused of publishing slander against the
police. Although none were declared suspects in any legal case, the
projustisia summonsing was in itself an act of terror.
Subsequent developments in the rape case were equally devastating for
human rights defenders in Aceh. The victims were summoned by the police
and, after being detained, were flown by helicopter to Banda Aceh. In the
provincial capital they were forced to make statements that their prior
testimonies had been false. The effect was as intended: the case was
dropped. Activists heavily involved in the victims advocacy campaign fled
Aceh in fear.
Three RATA Members Executed
Initially, RATA (Rehabilitation Action for Torture Victims in Aceh) had
never come into conflict with the police or military. The organization had
focused on handling the medical and psychological scars of victims of the
DOM period of martial law in Aceh. They had actively cultivated good
relations with the security apparatus and lobbied hard for understanding on
ACEH: CRUEL HOME FOR HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS 53
the nature of their purely humanitarian activities. But good relations are no
guarantee of safety.
The day was 6 December 2000. At around 8.00 in the morning, four
volunteers left their office in Pusong, Lhokseumawe, to head out to the new
office in Kuta Blang. The four Idris (27), Ernita binti Wahab, (23),
Nazaruddin (22) and Bachtiar (24) set out in a RATA vehicle. The move to
the new office was not yet complete and they spent some time tidying the
From the new office, they then set out to meet patients in Tanah Pasir. They
took three patients to the local health center and escorted them home after
treatment. At around 12.30, they set out to visit another patient at Jambu Air.
But the occupants of a vehicle that had been following them ordered them to
pull over mid-journey. Two other vehicles appeared from behind. Four
members of the so-called Operational Assistant Force also known as
cuak or civilian military informants got out of the Taft-model vehicle.
Around five men descended from the other two vehicles all in civilian
clothes. All the men carried firearms.
One of the cuak men ordered them from the RATA vehicle. Their wallets
were inspected. After some questioning, they were separated and the
questioning continued in the cars.
In Lapang village at around 13.00, the RATA volunteers were ordered to
remove their shoes and get out of the vehicles. The beating and threatening
began. If they fell, they were ordered to stand again. Bullets were fired near
their feet although none penetrated. This torture scene and the beatings
with a camera tripod was recorded on a handycam.
One of the assailants removed the RATA sticker from the NGO vehicle and
fitted false number plates. He then set out in the car but returned after only
15 minutes apparently satisfied there were no unwanted witnesses in the
The four RATA volunteers were then ordered back into the vehicles and
they set off. After passing through two military check points, they arrived at
around 14.30 in the village of Cot Mat Tahe where a bomb had recently
exploded. After further beatings and more bullets fired at the ground, a local
54 ACEH: CRUEL HOME FOR HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS
man named Rusli was forced into a vehicle and the convoy set out yet again.
They stopped in front of the Kandang junior highschool and were ordered
Bachtiar, Nazaruddin, Ernita, Idris and Rusli s hands were tied. Two
vehicles (including that belonging to RATA) then brought them to a deserted
house around 400 meters from the main road. The men continued to record
on the handycam. Ernita and Idris were brought into the house by one of the
cuak men and another man, a suspected armed forces officer. They were
kicked until they fell to the ground and then shot in the head.
Nazaruddin, who remained in the car, managed to free the bindings on his
hands and he attempted to free Bachtiar. He had not succeeded when one of
the cuak men appeared. Nazaruddin, Bachtiar and Rusli were ordered from
the car. As they approached the dilapidated old house, Nazaruddin made a
run for it. He heard two gunshots that spelt the end for Bachtiar and Rusli.
One of the men chased after Nazaruddin and he heard the gunshots fired
after him. Nevertheless, he ran for 15 minutes through the scrub and hid
himself. As the sun set, he climbed a small hill and spied a light in a window
of a nearby house. The occupants were scared of the man they saw
wearing nothing but his underpants as he approached the house but they let
him in and gave him some food and water. Nazaruddin asked to be taken to
a neighboring village and the head of the household accompanied him. From
the house, Nazar called RATA s office in Banda Aceh. One of the RATA
activists then met him at the village and brought him back to the provincial
capital. Fearing for his safety, Nazar left for the United States where he
remains to this day.
Nazaruddin testified on the events surrounding his abduction in New York.
The police then released an official statement in which they claimed that the
murders had been carried out by four members of the Lhokseumawe sub-
district military command assisted by four civilian informants. The
murderers were put in detention in Medan, capital of neighboring North
Sumatra province. The police released the identities of the four civilian cuak
informants: Ampon Thaib Geudong (alias Teuku Pon 48 years old),
Abdullah bin Yusuf (alias Guru 37), Maimun (alias Buyung 44) and
Madiah (44). Meanwhile, the military officers detained at the North Sumatra
Bukit Barisan military command in Medan were: chief of the 011 subdistrict
ACEH: CRUEL HOME FOR HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS 55
intelligence unit in Lhokseumawe Major Jerry Patras and three subordinates
Sergeants Slamet Jawa and Ermanto and Lieutenant Harry Truman.
However, in March 2001 news began circulating that the four cuak
informants had escaped from the Medan police Mobile Brigade detention
centre. The police apparently did not even attempt to locate them and no
news was heard. That is, until RATA sources said they had seen several of
the men in Banda Aceh in the very vehicle they had taken the day of the
From the very beginning, RATA had doubted the police were serious in their
efforts to resolve the case. They were also disappointed with the
establishment of a joint civil-military panel of judges to try the case when
the dossiers from the four military suspects were handed over to the
Attorney General s Office. RATA director Nurdin AR publicly rejected the
joint panel and stated that the murderers should be tried under the civil
judicial process alone.
Nurdin s statements brought only increased repression on the group he
established. He was eventually forced to seek sanctuary in Jakarta for seven
months after being followed continuously by unknown persons in Aceh.
The murders also took their toll on RATA s humanitarian work and the
organization effectively closed for three months immediately after as staff
attempted to deal with their trauma. Their desire to see the murderers
punished for their crimes was later tempered by repeated threats of violence.
Every time they spoke out, their activists in the regions came under renewed
pressure and grave fears were held for their safety. If we re too loud in our
campaign, then our colleagues in the regions become targets, Nurdin AR
commented after he had stepped down as RATA leader and attempted to
make a new life as an entrepreneur.
RATA concentrated on helping the victims of the DOM martial law period
those suffering both physical and psychological scars no matter what
agency was responsible. Their efforts focused on assisting victims get back
on their feet financially and earn a living, although they admit that few fully
recover from the trauma. To date, RATA has helped around 1,200
individuals in four of the worst conflict-torn areas: Pidie, Bireun, North
Aceh and East Aceh.
56 ACEH: CRUEL HOME FOR HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS
Their latest efforts to rehabilitate victims of the DOM period are income-
generating projects aimed at affected communities and villages across
PB HAM Volunteer Tengku M. Yusuf Usman Shot Dead
Another murder took its toll on PB HAM s activities in Aceh with the death
of volunteer Tengku M. Yusuf Usman in Septemeber 2001.
The lead up to Indonesian Independence day celebrations on 17 August are
always a tense time in Aceh. The people of Simpang Ulim in East Aceh,
together with the entire population of the province, were ordered by security
personnel to fly the Indonesian national red and white flag on the day in
2001. This assertion of Indonesian control has always been a point of
contention for GAM. The people are thus always in a no-win situation,
facing the wrath of either the police and military or the separatist fighters.
PB HAM volunteer Tengku M. Yusuf Usman (41) sought counsel with local
GAM leaders over the issue and asked that the Indonesian flag be flown in
the interest of avoiding further conflict with the police. The GAM
representatives were not pleased and Yusuf felt that they had threatened his
life in their brief exchange.
He then sought sanctuary in Banda Aceh where his friends advised him to
remain in case the situation in his area deteriorated.
On 6 September 2001 not long after Yusuf s return, a stranger came looking
for him at his home at around 22.00 local time. The visitor left after several
minutes and Yusuf prepared for bed.
But moments later another call was made to the house and Yusuf left his
four sleeping children and wife to meet the visitor. It is unclear if the same
person returned or another appeared. The person then ordered Yusuf to go
with him but he refused. Yusuf was then dragged out of the house and two
or three minutes later shots were fired. He died before his wife could learn
Sources: Nurdin Abdul Rachman (RATA director at the time) and two staff members. Nazaruddin s
testimony published by Human Rights Watch used as supplementary material.
ACEH: CRUEL HOME FOR HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS 57
the identity of the murderer. She had indeed not seen the man as she had not
received him together with her husband and the night was dark.
Just who murdered Tengku M. Yusuf remains a mystery. The Aceh NGO
Human Rights Coalition is inclined to believe that GAM was responsible
because of Yusuf s prior run in with local leaders. Unfortunately, the lack of
clues and eyewitnesses has left little room for investigation and the Coalition
has been unable to take further action on the case.
The serious crimes outlined above are not the only ones to strike PB HAM.
The warnings to stay away from trouble have seen the group s activities
dwindle. In South Aceh, for example, the group no longer has a lawyer as
none are brave enough to replace Suprin Sulaiman.
The Aceh NGO Human Rights Coalition was formed in 1998 and brought
together numerous smaller NGOs. They have concentrated on accompanying
victims, advocacy, litigation and human rights campaigning. The group has
aid posts (PB HAM) in East, North, West and South Aceh and in Pidie.
Each PB HAM had at least two lawyers.33
Pemraka Activist Fachrurazi Missing Presumed Dead
That night, the flare up in the armed conflict between separatists and the
Indonesian Armed Forces and police in Samalanga, Bireuen, had forced
thousands of locals to flee their homes. As normal, the national troops
combed through the area on the following morning 6 January 2000.
Fachrurazi, an activist of the Concerned Aceh Students and People s Posko
(Pemraka), set out on his motorbike that day from the group s posko or
operational headquarters in Simpang Mamplam, Samalanga, to the mountain
region where the refugees from the violence had fled. Only around 2.5kms
lay between the posko and the site of the previous night s clashes and only 3
kms to the location of the refugees.
But, while on his way to pick up a wounded refugee and escort him to the
nearest medical facility, Fachrurazi came across officers sweeping through
Source: Risman A. Rachman, Coordinator Aceh NGO Human Rights Coalition and Faisal Hadi, staff
member of the Aceh NGO Human Rights Coalition.
58 ACEH: CRUEL HOME FOR HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS
the conflict zone. He backtracked to avoid the officers but he was too late.
Mobile Brigade police of the Lyang regiment on their way to the refugee
camp caught him by surprise and took him into custody.
A local man was descending the mountain on a bike at around 10am local
time and saw Fachrurazi being ordered to the ground. He dismounted and
pushed his bike forward to get a better view but was chased off. He
immediately headed for the Pemraka posko to relate what he had seen.
After hearing the story, the Pemraka student volunteers contacted the Banda
Aceh Legal Aid Institute and asked for assistance in locating Fachrurazi at
the police stations in the area. Although they searched everywhere, they
could not find him. The Dini police sub-precinct drew their attention
because a Mobile Brigade Regiment 1 truck was seen leaving the grounds
and heading east towards Fachrurazi s last known position.
After the Idul Fitri celebrations to mark the end of the fasting month, the
students continued their search at all the local police stations in East Aceh
and Pidie. Fachrurazi had been a member of the military-affiliated student
regimen (Menwa) at his campus and they also sought out his old associates
to ask for help. But still there was no word.
Around five months later, a friend saw a Lhokseumawe BKO officer from
a unit sent to Aceh under the command of the local security apparatus
riding Fachrurazi s motorbike. Pemraka activists accompanied by staff of
the Legal Aid Institute then headed for the Cot Girek police Mobile Brigade
office. The officers there just shrugged off their inquiries.
Fachrurazi s parents searched for their son at the Pidie and North Aceh
stations of both the police and military but found nothing. On 11 February
2000, they received word that Fachrurazi had been freed that very day but he
has never been found.
Fachrurazi, a student at the Iskandar Thani Institute of Higher Education,
had only become involved with Pemraka four months before his
disappearance. His work had almost exclusively centered on accompanying
internally displaced people in and around Samalangga where people refused
to return to their homes even after five months the longest resettlement of
refugees after the end of the DOM martial law period.
ACEH: CRUEL HOME FOR HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS 59
Pemraka and its primarily student activists are among the human rights
defenders most targeted by the so-called security apparatus. Their work in
conflict areas puts them at the heart of the armed conflict in Aceh. Their
posko in Batee Ilik, Bireuen, was fired upon during the Wibawa Rencong
Operation. The shock therapy perpetrated by troops of Mobile Brigade
Regiment I also included burning the homes of local community leaders.
When the shooting began, all but one Pemraka activist fled the posko and
the police later arrested and tortured the remaining member, Faisal.
The Pemraka posko at Peurelak was also attacked. The incident began when
two members of the police Mobile Brigade were shot at the Peurelak market
and officers went looking for the perpetrators at the refugee camp. They
fired shots apparently only to set locals into a panic and many refugees
were beaten and kicked during the search. From the camp they proceeded to
the nearby Pemraka posko and fired upon the office. No one was shot but
activists were badly beaten.
In Idie, East Aceh, the local Pemraka posko was also fired upon in 2000. At
the time, the office was vacant. Not so at the Meulaboh posko where troops
raided during a meeting in which activists were assessing their programs.
Members of the security forces warned the Takengon posko to shut up shop
and the activists later evacuated to Banda Aceh. In Mutiara district, Pidie,
eight Pemraka activists were seized and taken to the local military subdistrict
command. In preceding weeks, the volunteers had spoken to the local
security forces and asked them not to force refugees to return home against
their will. They later received a threat that their posko would be burned if
they continued their activities in the area. The volunteers were evacuated to
Banda Aceh for medical treatment.
Even in Banda Aceh, the group s posko did not escape the crackdown. They
were targeted before and after the Aceh People s Grand Assembly for
Independence (SIRA RAKAN) held by the SIRA organization on 11
November 2000. Police raided the office and destroyed property. Three
activists were arrested and taken to the local police station. Both Aceh police
and the BKO police took part in the raid.
Besides the physical intimidation, the group s poskos regularly received
threatening phone calls before and after the SIRA rally. The callers would
say things such as you are all protecting GAM, you are all GAM. We re
60 ACEH: CRUEL HOME FOR HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS
going to shoot you, and You re all going to be arrested tonight. If
military or Mobile Brigade personnel passed the Banda Aceh office, they
would yell out Independence (Merdeka) at the top of their voices to
provoke the activists inside.
Still in Banda Aceh, two Pemraka activists were detained for no reason
while accompanying victims of military and police violence to the Zainal
Abidin Hospital. They were only released two days later.
The situation was also incredibly tense before and after the 8 November
1999 demonstration known as the SU MPR short for the Referendum
Strugglers General Session. The name was chosen as a play on words
because the People s Consultative Assembly General Session (also SU
MPR) was held in Jakarta at around the same time.
Owing to the national Assembly session, the security apparatus toned down
their activities. But then a new trend emerged. Reports began coming in of
unknown armed men arriving at the homes of citizens and demanding
money and valuables. Pemraka did not stand idly by but sent out volunteers
when reports were made.
One night in Keuceut, Banda Aceh, a group of armed men arrived at the
home of a local and demanded money and a car. By chance, around 20
volunteers were at the Pemraka office that night and all headed out after
someone at the house contacted them. When they arrived, the electricity had
A Toyota Kijang 4WD was seen leaving the house and the Pemraka activists
assumed that all the assailants had left. However, four men on two trail bikes
then emerged and confronted the Pemraka volunteers. Although the men
left, they soon returned and began firing at the activists. Muhsalmina and
Iswandi were shot in the hand. The incident occurred at around 00.30 local
time. After investigations, Pemraka concluded that the men on the trail bikes
at the house that day were members of the army.
Pemraka was established on 10 April 1999 by student senates from 13
institutions of higher education across Aceh. They were inspired to form the
group after launching relief efforts to deal with the violent crackdown in
Muara Kundo, Bataile, Bireun regency. They initially concentrated just on
accompanying victims, much like the RATA organization described
ACEH: CRUEL HOME FOR HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS 61
previously. But as the number of refugees from the violence increased,
reaching into the hundreds of thousands at the worst time, their activities
expanded. Their work soon included providing logistical support and
delivering food and other basic necessities obtained from various sources,
working with local government health care centres to deal with the sick and
injured and supporting education programs for the children of internally
displaced families. The group established offices to coordinate activities in
the regencies, especially those torn apart by the armed conflict. Although
several poskos remain, repression at the hands of the security apparatus has
scaled down the group s activities drastically. They now concentrate on
helping the victims.34
People Crisis Center (PCC) Terrorized
Officers of the police Mobile Brigade suddenly appeared on 19 January
2000 at the refugee posko or operational center established by the PCC in
Cot Ijue, Matang Geulampang Dua, Jeumpa district, North Aceh. They
asked the activists there at the time why they had established the center and
yelled and insulted them. When one of the volunteers said they were
assisting the refugees, a policeman snapped There s no refugees here. This
is all a lie.
With no provocation, the police then set about turning the office upside
down and destroying whatever they could get their hands on. Shots were
fired, though not at the activists, who were then ordered outside. Once
outside, they were ordered to stand in a line and look at the ground
forbidden to look at the officers. PCC local coordinator Rizanur was seen
sneaking a look at the officers and was punished with a bayonet stab to the
back. The others were also beaten and kicked repeatedly. The abuse only
stopped when refugees began protesting. Rizanur was taken to hospital after
the police officers left.
This was far from the only time PCC activists have been targeted.
Volunteers in Julok, East Aceh, fell victim in the lead up to the 11
November 2000 SIRA demonstration to call for a referendum on the
province s future. Officers from the Mobile Brigade appeared one day and
asked the volunteers what the SIRA demonstration was about. They replied
Sources: Asnawi (Pemraka Coordinator), Farizal, and several Pemraka activists.
62 ACEH: CRUEL HOME FOR HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS
they did not know. The officers then became enraged and began tearing up
the place and destroying everything in sight. The volunteers fled for the back
door but two did not escape. They were badly beaten and taken to the local
The Mobile Brigade officers returned later and said they were looking for
something . One of them then said he had found a homemade bomb in the
office. The two prisoners were then tortured and accused of hiding the
bomb. They were released one week later.
The PCC denied that they had hidden a bomb at the office and maintained
that the Mobile Brigade officers had planted it when they came the second
A PCC activist named Ayub was singled out for brutal treatment in 2000 for
his work at a refugee camp in Idi Rayauk, East Aceh. Ayub had just returned
home at about midnight from the refugee camp and was met by several
security officers waiting outside his home. They asked why he had been to
the camp. When he answered that he was a humanitarian aid worker, the
officers became angry and one yelled, There are no humanitarian workers,
it s all just GAM s work.
Ayub was then taken to the Idi Rayeuk police sub-precinct although the unit
that took him remains unknown. Members of the secretive Army Special
Forces (Kopassus) Rajawali (Eagle) unit then appeared and claimed only
they had the right to handle the case. Ayub was then taken to the local
military coordination headquarters by the Rajawali officers. They accused
him of being a GAM operative and his protests that he was just a
humanitarian worker only earned him repeated beatings. He was stripped
naked and his feet crushed under chairs legs. He was even ordered to
massage each of the officers at the headquarters. He was detained for one
week and beaten repeatedly until several ribs were broken.
Ayub s family and friends naturally set out to find the missing activist. But
both the police and the military, including the Rajawali unit, denied any
knowledge. On the seventh day, they finally admitted to detaining Ayub and
his family was permitted to visit him. They were eventually permitted to
take him home but with a catch. Ayub was forced to sign a statement that
he had not been mistreated while in detention, that he would not seek legal
recourse and that the matter was thereafter closed.
ACEH: CRUEL HOME FOR HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS 63
Although Ayub received medical treatment for over six months after
returning home, his wounds have not healed properly and he experiences
pain with every breath. He has also left the PCC group.
Ayub has also just learned that his release from detention was due to
repeated phone calls from local and international organizations.
Many more PCC activists have fallen victim to the savagery of the security
forces in Aceh. Iman was another activist targeted for his work with refugees
at the Simpang Irok camp. One day he attempted to dissuade a group of
officers from entering the camp. He was arrested and forced into the boot of
the officers vehicle and later taken to the local police station.
The PCC has often been targeted by the police and military because its work
takes activists into the worst of the conflict-torn regions. The PCC is
primarily a student group and was formed after the mass refugee exodus in
and around Kadang, Lhokseumawe. This was the first wave of internally
displaced people following the DOM martial law period. When the mass
slaughter at Pusong, North Aceh, occurred in 1999, the PCC accompanied
the victims to medical centers because the refugees were consumed with fear
of the police and military officers stationed there. After the Pusong incident,
the slaughter flared again in Simpang Kramat Idi and the PCC again stepped
in to help the victims and their families. The students denied the military s
accusation that they were involved in the separatist battle by asserting that
their work was purely humanitarian. Assertions were not enough. 35
Banda Aceh Legal Aid Institute Targeted
The Banda Aceh Legal Aid Institute (LBH Banda Aceh) continued to
receive harsh treatment at the hands of the security apparatus throughout
2000 when their litigation and other legal activities piled up. The
intimidation peaked when their office at Jl. Teuku Umar 225 was raided in
July and all their computers seized and staff terrorized.
Whether it was coincidence or not, the LBH Banda Aceh was cooperating
with other Aceh human rights NGOs on an anti-militarism campaign at the
Source: PCC activists, including regional coordinator.
64 ACEH: CRUEL HOME FOR HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS
time. The LBH Banda Aceh office was raided on the third day of the
campaign. The staff were ordered outside, told to take off their clothes and
lie on the ground in the burning sun. The officers insulted the activists with
taunts such as You re all GAM , This is GAM headquarters and
animals . They were ordered into police and military trucks and locked in
from the outside before heading to the police precinct station. Once there,
the activists were told to lay in the hot sun and were insulted and beaten.
When the officers learned that LBH Banda Aceh director Rufriadi was
among those taken, their savagery increased. How much did you pay for
your degree, one of the officers yelled. Addressing the others but accusing
Rufriadi, the officer said, Turns out this is GAM s lawyer .
This incident is just the most obvious case of abuse against the LBH Banda
Aceh staff. Whenever VIP visitors arrived, officers would burst in. On one
occasion, a foreign ambassador visited the head office and the police
appeared and began ransacking the premises. They penetrated through to the
back of the office to a small outside rest area. They searched the place from
top to bottom and said they had found bullets. Wait a minute, we will look
for all the evidence we can that this is GAM s headquarters, said one
officer before they all departed.
Officers returned when the Netherlands Ambassador to Indonesia paid a
visit to LBH Banda Aceh. This time they arrived in a Toyota Kijang 4WD
well-known as the vehicle of preference when abducting people because of
its dark-tinted windows. They looked around the place and asked the locals
who was at the office. They threatened that they would be back later at
The LBH Banda Aceh offices were often used by activists planning strikes.
If a strike occurred, the security forces always accused the LBH Banda Aceh
of masterminding it. This justified the regular examinations of the office
and its contents. The intelligence wing of the Army Special Forces
(Kopassus) even went through the place when the LBH was holding a press
conference to criticize the Henry Dunant Centre, which had helped broker
the Humanitarian Pause and other agreements between GAM and the
LBH activists in the field are also often disturbed. One female worker of the
LBH legal division, for example, reported that she was regularly disturbed in
her hotel room by an unknown man who would knock on her door while she
ACEH: CRUEL HOME FOR HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS 65
was trying to sleep and then disappear when she opened the door. A
threatening voice would warn her over the phone, usually to drop the case
she was handling at the time.
LBH lawyers were also terrorized in their attempts to help a gentleman who
had been detained because his son was a member of GAM. During
negotiations with the Hasanuddin division of the Army Strategic Reserves
Command (Kostrad), one of the commanders said, We don t believe in the
law or human rights. If we cut off all the heads of all the LBH people and
throw them into the street today, we re sure not a single person would come
to defend you. Not in Indonesia, not overseas either. The lawyers were
naturally extremely worried for their safety.
LBH s drivers are also repeatedly threatened in their journeys and have had
guns held to their heads. On one occasion in 1999, one driver was pulled
over and fitted with a bulletproof vest by soldiers. They then fired at him.
Although the vest saved his life, he suffered concussion and serious bruising.
Both the military and the police Mobile Brigade often accuse LBH Banda
Aceh of being GAM, or at least supporting their separatist activities. This is
most likely because most of the cases they handle involve people accused of
being GAM members. LBH Banda Aceh director Rufriadi puts the
proportion of such cases at around 80%. The remainder are activists with
any number of problems with the security apparatus.
LBH Banda Aceh was established in 1995. From that time until 1999, the
organization primarily focused on providing legal support and specialized in
human and civil political rights. This distinguishes them from the other LBH
branches throughout Indonesia, which tend to specialize in the economic and
social spheres, including labour and land issues. Since 2000, the
organization s activities have expanded to include litigation, campaigning,
documentation and mass organization of the human rights movement.36
FP HAM Activist Anwar Yusuf Abducted
On 7 February 1999 at around 18.30 local time, a soldier of the Idi Rayeuk
military sub-district command arrived at the house of Anwar Yusuf, a
Source: LBH Banda Aceh director Rufriadi
66 ACEH: CRUEL HOME FOR HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS
volunteer of the Human Rights Carers Forum (FP HAM). The soldier told
Anwar s mother that her son was being taken to the command station for
questioning over the recent incident at Matang Ulim.
Indeed, Anwar had just returned from investigating the deaths of villagers
shot by armed forces (TNI) soldiers when returning home from a meeting in
Matang Ulim, East Aceh on 3 February. Besides interviewing witnesses,
Anwar had also been to inspect the Arakundo River where the victims
bodies had been found.
At the Idi Rayeuk command, Anwar Yusuf was interrogated by four
soldiers. Most questions concerned his reason for being at the Arakundo site.
According to Anwar, throughout the interrogation he was beaten with
stones, broom handles and chairs. Scalding coffee was thrown over him and
the officers threatened his life. He was accused of being a GAM member and
was forced to crawl along the floor with a wooden pole strapped behind his
knees. He was then forced to sleep upright in the chair.
The following day he was taken to the East Aceh military headquarters. The
activist, who had been with FP HAM since 1998, was moved to a police
detention house on 8 February. He was released two days later.
After Yusuf failed to return home, his mother attempted to obtain some
information concerning his whereabouts from the military and the police.
They denied any knowledge of Anwar.37
SEFA Activist Amrisaldin Tortured
Save Emergency for Aceh (SEFA) activist Amrisaldin was caught as the
police Mobile Brigade were sweeping through Meukek, South Aceh. The
24 year old was arrested. His crime: carrying a report on human rights
violations by the military and police and the situation concerning internally
displaced people in South Aceh. He was also carrying medical supplies to
distribute among refugees in the area.
Source: Amnesty International
ACEH: CRUEL HOME FOR HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS 67
At the Meukek police precinct station, Amrisaldin was tortured for five
hours from around 21.45 local time on 2 September 2000 to around 02.15
the next day. He said he was beaten about the face and kicked repeatedly in
the head and stomach. His forehead was slashed with a knife. Later, the
officers set a flame from a lighter to his genitals, armpit hair and cheeks.
They also threatened to kill him on the spot.
The torture subsided somewhat when fellow activists began calling the
police station. It stopped altogether when it became clear that the abduction
was being monitored by a human rights organization in Jakarta. The
interrogation, nevertheless, continued until 04.00 and he was repeatedly
accused of being a GAM operative. A claim he denied outright.
Amrisaldin was only freed on the condition that he stay in Tapak Tuan for
five days and report to the local police. He was also forced to sign a
statement saying that he would not make the case public.38
Wakampas Activist Muhammad Haikal Tortured
The activists were distributing aid among refugees at the Ujoing Pulo
Bakongan mosque in South Aceh when a number of soldiers under the
operational command (BKO) of the Bakongan military subdistrict command
arrived. They were ordered to go with the officers. The activists in question
were Muhammad Haikal of the Wakampas group and five student activists
Zairi Karnaini, M. Dinar, Ahmad Fadli, Razikin, and Rizal Sabri.
At the military command station that day, 17 November 1999, the captives
were stripped naked and tortured. Haikal received the most brutal treatment.
They were finally freed after pressure came from numerous quarters.
Zairi Kanani, Ahmad Fahdli, Razikin and Rizal Sabri of Syah Kuala
University and Muhammad Dinal of IAIN Ar-Raniry were freed the day
after their abduction but Haikal was only freed on 19 November. Before
their release, the activists were tortured and forced to stand naked in front of
a GAM flag to have their photo taken. Commander of the 0107 South Aceh
military command Let. Col. (Infantry) Sunarto claimed the charges against
the activists were forcing refugees to flee their homes and resisting arrest.
Source: Amnesty International
68 ACEH: CRUEL HOME FOR HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS
3.2 Political and Intellectual Leaders Who Have a Role in Human
IAIN Chancellor Prof. Dr. Safwan Idris Murdered at Home
Mrs. Safwan Idris was the one to open the door when there came a knocking
at 6.50am on 16 September 2000. She thought the two men greeting her
were students or colleagues of her husband and so she called to him. When
the Chancellor of the Ar-Rinary National Islamic Institute (IAIN) came to
the door, the two men suddenly drew pistols. The shots rang out through the
morning stillness. Safwan collapsed bleeding profusely.
In a state of panic the family then rushed him to the local hospital but his
wounds were fatal. The Professor drew his last breath on the way to the
hospital. The two gunmen had escaped on a motorbike.
The cold-blooded murder came as severe shock to many in Aceh. Safwan
was a respected religious leader or ulama and a prominent academic. His
murderers have never been found. Many believe there were political motives
behind the killing and most said Safwan was another victim of the
systematic extermination of leaders of the educated classes who had taken a
critical stance on the conflict in Aceh.
Prof. Dr. Safwan Idris, a graduate of the University of Wisconsin in the
United States, was one of the most prominent proponents of a peaceful
solution to the situation in Aceh. He was a member of the Aceh Human
Rights Violations Independent Investigation Commission a body
established during the Habibie presidency. The IAIN chancellor was known
as a moderate. He was also purported to be one of the strongest candidates
for Aceh Governor for the 2000-2005 term. 39
Syah Kuala University Chancellor Prof. Dr. Dayan Dawood Shot Dead
Dayan Dawood had not gone far from his office at Syah Kuala University,
Jl. Tgk. Daud Beureeh. Directly in front of the provincial waterworks
building, at the Lampriek bridge, shots were fired. Two bullets pierced the
Source: Human Rights Watch, Tapol, Amnesty International and various Indonesian publications.
ACEH: CRUEL HOME FOR HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS 69
left side of his face and one entered his back. His panic-stricken driver
rushed Dayan directly to hospital but the wounds were too severe and the
Chancellor could not be helped.
Eyewitnesses to the shooting on 6 September 2001 said Dayan had been shot
by two men on a motorbike who had followed him from the campus. The
fact that the waterworks office was just 500 meters from the Governor s
office did not stop the men firing on the dark sedan containing the
Up till then, the area had not witnessed the violence sweeping across the
province. In addition to being near the Governor s office, which was always
guarded by the police Mobile Brigade, the area also contained the
headquarters of the 012 military district intelligence unit, the Mobile Brigade
and the traffic police. At the time of the shooting, the area was swarming
with security personnel because President Megawati Soekarnoputri was
scheduled to fly in the very next day.
Dayan Dawood, born in Banda Aceh on 29 May 1946, graduated from the
University of Hawaii and had served as head of the Aceh Provincial
Development Planning Board (Bappeda) from 1993 to 1996. He was known
as a moderate who abhorred violence and always advocated negotiation.
Although he did not often speak of his political views to the media, he was
one of the first local figures to suggest that the DOM martial law status be
lifted from the province. On 14 October 1996 he said the DOM period
should end because the business and economic life of the province was
suffering. With the DOM in place, investors were staying away, he said.
After the murder, the police immediately stated that GAM was responsible.
They said GAM was angry at the Chancellor because he refused to meet
their demands. Naturally, GAM denied the accusation. GAM spokesman for
Aceh Rayeuk at the time, Ayah Sofyan, countered by saying the murder was
part of the security apparatus attempt to finish off all prominent Acehnese
After a year had passed and debate raged on whether to declare a military
emergency in the province, the police announced that they had captured the
GAM members responsible. They identified the men as: Mahyuddin (alias
Raja Preman), Manaf (alias Letkol) and Daniel (alias si Ceh). During the
70 ACEH: CRUEL HOME FOR HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS
raid to capture the men, the police said, Daniel and Manaf had perished
while Mahyuddin was seriously wounded and brought to the Kramatjati
police hospital in Jakarta for treatment of gunshot wounds.
Mahyuddin s family approached the Banda Aceh Legal Aid Institute soon
after. They claimed the accusation against Mahyuddin was false because
Mahyuddin had been at home with them at the time of the murder. Because
Mahyuddin was then in Jakarta in hospital, the Institute asked Kontras to
look into the case. Their investigations revealed little except that Mahyuddin
had been admitted to the Kramatjati hospital. They were not permitted to
meet him.40 Many more questions hang over this case.
Legislator Nashiruddin Daud Murdered in Medan
As an Acehnese member of the House of Representatives (DPR), the name
Nashiruddin Daud became linked to the troubled province. He was a
member of the third largest party in the parliament, the United Development
Party (PPP), and was extremely vocal in advocating trials for all human
rights violators during the DOM period in Aceh. When the House finally
established a special team to investigate human rights violations in Aceh, he
was selected as deputy leader. He played an instrumental role in bringing
several top armed forces and police leaders for questioning by the team in
In January 2000, Nashiruddin went home to Aceh with several other
politicians to prepare for the Aceh People s Congress. He then planned to
return to Jakarta after the preparations were complete through Medan, North
Sumatra. In Medan on 24 January 2000, he was seen getting into a black
Mercedes with an unidentified man. They left a housing complex for local
legislators just moments before Nashiruddin should have caught his flight to
Jakarta. His whereabouts after the sighting remain unknown.
The very next day, 25 January 2000, a badly battered corpse was discovered
in Deli Serdang, North Aceh. It was the 58 year old legislator. The
murderers remain unknown to this day but most believe the killing was
Sources: LBH Banda Aceh director Rufriadi, Human Wrights Watch, Tapol, Amnesty International and
various Indonesian publications.
ACEH: CRUEL HOME FOR HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS 71
politically motivated. Nashiruddin s determination to drag human rights
violators of the DOM period before the courts was well known.
In September 2000, a member of the military police and a civilian were
arrested and charged with the murder. They have never appeared before a
court and may have been released. 41
Journalists Victimized in Aceh After DOM withdrawn
Journalists have been among the most targeted section of Acehnese society
throughout the conflict. The following table documents the victimization of
journalists in Aceh from 1998-2002. The list contains data on victims
compiled by the Aceh branch of the Idependent Journalist s Alliance (AJI)
and the Aceh Press Club. These attacks were carried out by all armed parties
in the struggle and are perpetrated against international and national
Perpetrators: Indonesian Armed Froces TNI (14), GAM (8), Mobile
Brigade (7), Others (6)42
Sources: Human Rights Watch and various Indonesian publications.
Source: AJI Banda Aceh (2002) and Aceh Press Club (2002).
No Victim s Name Organisation Date Results Reason Perpetrators Location
1 Muharram M Nur Serambi 21/12/98 Equipment Failed to Quote GAM Lhokseumawe,
Indonesia Destroyed GAM Statement North Aceh
2 Mukmin Manani Tabloid Panji 26/2/99 Died Unclear Unclear Desa Alue
Demokrasi Awe, North
3 Rusli Ismail Waspada May 99 Interned Reported on GAM GAM Meureudu Pidie
4 Ali Raban RCTI 19/6/99 Beaten and Recording a TNI Lhokseumawe,
Bruised dialogue between North Aceh
national police chief
and victims of
5 Umar HN RCTI 4/7/99 Threatened Photographed a TNI Matangkuli,
with a gun burning market North Aceh
6 Muharram M Nur Serambi 4/7/99 Threatened Photographed a TNI Matangkuli,
Indonesia with a gun burning market North Aceh
7 Ali Rabab RCTI 4/7/99 Threatened Photographed a TNI Matangkuli,
with a gun burning market North Aceh
8 Chalid Umar Reuters 4/7/99 Threatened Photographed a TNI Matangkuli,
with a gun burning market North Aceh
No Victim s Name Organisation Date Results Reason Perpetrators Location
9 Armia APTN 4/7/99 Threatened Photographed a TNI Matangkuli,
with a gun burning market North Aceh
10 Supriadi Medan Post 3/8/99 Abducted Unclear Unclear Hukit Hagu,
and North Aceh
11 Sjamsul Kahar Serambi 10/8/99 Grenades Unclear Unclear Banda Aceh
Indonesia launched at
12 Guntur Adi Sukma Analisa 16/9/99 Tortured Accused of Police Langsa, East
insulting police Aceh
13 Watara, Japanese Asia Press 30/11/99 Beaten Photographed TNI TNI Lamno, West
National Agency soldier firing a gun Aceh
14 Thomas Dalal, US Cypa Press 30/11/99 Beaten Photographed TNI TNI Lamno, West
National soldier firing a gun Aceh
15 Nasrun Yunan Aceh Ekpress 12/12/99 Roughened Reported GAM TNI Blang Pidie,
up anniversary South Aceh
16 Rusli Ibrahim Waspada July 00 House Accused of TNI & Meureudu,
ransacked reporting Police Pidie
17 Supriadi Medan Pos 2000 Died Unclear Unclear Lhoksulon,
No Victim s Name Organisation Date Results Reason Perpetrators Location
18 Murizal Hamsah Forum October Detained Resembled GAM Ssamalanga,
Keadilan 00 military-police North Aceh
19 OZ Rusli Radja Pena Lestari 18/2/01 Died Unclear Unclear Langsa, East
20 M Chalied RCTI 30/3/01 Verbally Reported at a TNI Lhokseumawe
assaulted burning market
21 Abdul Halim Reuters 30/3/01 Verbally Reported at a TNI Lhokseumawe
Mubary assaulted burning market
22 Umar HN RCTI 12/5/01 Tortured Caught in GAM Police Lhoseukon,
military and police Mobile North Aceh
23 Abbas Gani Majalah Fakta 12/5/01 Tortured Caught in GAM Police Lhoseukon,
military and police Mobile North Aceh
24 Murizal Hamzah Forum 12/5/01 Tortured Accused of TNI Lhok Nibong,
Keadilan photographing a East Aceh
assaulted by an
No Victim s Name Organisation Date Results Reason Perpetrators Location
25 Serambi Indonesia Serambi 20/6/01 Did not go Threatened after GAM Greater Aceh
staff Indonesia to print on reporting on a
June 20 murder suspected to
have been carried
out by GAM in
June 19 edition
26 Ibrahim Ahmad Serambi 29/7/01 Verbally Reported on Police Lhokseukon
Indonesia assaulted refugees Mobile
27 Adnan NS Waspada 2001 Vehicle Crossed a TNI- Unclear Banda Aceh
fired upon controlled area
28 Ramadhan MS Waspada 2001 Vehicle Returning home Unclear Banda Aceh
29 M Suheri TVRI Aceh 5/8/01 Detained Accused of working GAM Peureulak, East
over one for the government Aceh
30 Bahrun Pohan TVRI Aceh 5/8/01 Detained Accused of working GAM Peureulak, East
over three for the government Aceh
31 Kusuma Wijaya TVRI Aceh 5/8/01 Detained Accused of working GAM Peureulak, East
over one for the government Aceh
No Victim s Name Organisation Date Results Reason Perpetrators Location
32 Serambi Indonesia Serambi 19/8/01 Did not go Reported on the GAM Greater Aceh
staff Indonesia to print for Bumi Flora incident
33 Zahrial Serambi 13/12/01 Death Unclear Police Teunom, West
Indonesia threat Aceh
34 Maimum Mirdaz Serambi 10/7/02 Tortured Reported that Police Aceh Jeumpa
Indonesia deputy GAM Mobile
bureau chief in commander of the Brigade
Bireun Batee Iliek region
killed by the Mobile
35 Rizanur Serambi 10/7/02 Tortured Reported that Police Aceh Jeumpa
Indonesia deputy GAM Mobile
Bireun bureau commander of the Brigade
journalist Batee Iliek region
killed by the Mobile
36 Rusmadi HS Serambi 10/7/02 Tortured Reported that Police Aceh Jeumpa
Indonesia deputy GAM Mobile
Bireun bureau commander of the Brigade
journalist Batee Iliek region
killed by the Mobile
Human Rights Defenders in Papua:
(Still) Under Military Threat
Between 29 May and 4 June 2000, thousands of Papuans attended the
Second Papua Congress. The massive gathering was thus named in reference
to the First Papua Congress held in 1961, at which local leaders declared the
territory s independence from Dutch colonial rule. Through the Second
Papua Congress, the people of West Papua sought to clarify the
circumstances surrounding their subsequent integration into the Republic of
Indonesia.43 The primary resolutions of the Congress included the following:
1. The Papuan people have been sovereign as a people and state since 1
2. The Papuan people through the intermediary of the Second Congress
reject the 1962 New York Agreement which was legally and morally
flawed because no representatives of the Papuan people were involved.
3. The Papuan people through the intermediary of the Second Congress
reject the results of the Pepera (the Act of Free Choice ) because it was
conducted under threats, intimidation, sadistic killings, military violence
and immoral deeds that gravely violated humanitarian principles. The
Papuan people therefore call on the United Nations to revoke UN
Resolution 2504 adopted on 19 November 1969.
4. Indonesia, the Netherlands, the United States of America and the United
Nations must recognise the political rights and sovereignty of the West
Papuan people, which are lawful by virtue of historical fact, law, and
social and cultural heritage.
5. The crimes against humanity that have been perpetrated in West Papua as
a result of the international political conspiracy in which Indonesia, the
Netherlands, the United States of America and the United Nations were
Notes on the resolutions of the Congress are collected in : Theo PA Van den Broek, OFM dkk, Memoria
Passionis di Papua, Kondisi Hak Asasi Manusia, Gambaran 2000, Sekretariat Keadilan dan Perdamaian
(SKP) Keuskupan Jayapura, Jayapura, 2001.
involved must be thoroughly investigated and the perpetrators tried
before an international tribunal.
6. The United Nations, the United States of America and the Netherlands
should review their involvement in the process by which Indonesia
annexed West Papua and should honestly, justly and truthfully convey
the findings to the Papuan people on 1 December 2000.
In addition, the Congress formalized the establishment of the Papuan
Presidium Council (PDP) as the means to struggle towards the peaceful
attainment of independence and elected Theys Hiyo Eluay as chairman.
The resolutions of the Congress became proof that that the Papuan people
had never considered their integration with Indonesia as absolute. And yet
the Western powers, the Republic of Indonesia and the UN endorsed the
Pepera or Act of Free Choice in 1969, which maintained that the majority of
Papuans had chosen integration with Indonesia. Consequently, Indonesia s
takeover of West Papua was formalized in UN resolution No. 2504 on 19
November 1969. 44
In 2000, the people of Papua attempted to correct the historical record on the
Pepera and the human rights violations that accompanied it, not least the
violation of the right to determine their own fate free from fear and violence.
After thirty years within Indonesia and experiencing all manner of human
rights violations, the people of Papua sought an historical solution: they
demanded the independence torn from them.
Many differences, as well as similarities, exist between West Papua and
Indonesia. The Dutch New Guinea of colonial times was administered in
conjunction with the neighbouring Moluccu islands until the Pacific War.
However, the differences were clear, as succinctly expressed in 1949 by Van
Maarseveen, the Dutch Minister for Overseas Territories: 'New Guinea does
not belong to Indonesia proper is separate from Indonesia geographically,
ethnographically and also politically. New Guinea forms a completely
separate territory with a separate history.'
The account of the political history of Papua is based on: Richard Chauvel, Where Nationalisms Collide,
Inside Indonesia, July-September 2001.
HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS IN PAPUA: 79
(STILL) UNDER MILITARY THREAT
The evident differences, and national interests in the South Pacific,
prompted the Dutch to hold the territory apart and West Papua was
consequently not handed over upon the resolution of Indonesia s four-year
independence struggle (1945-49). The Dutch then began to prepare West
Papua for self-determination. Up until 1960, decolonization measures
included the formation of a representative council, increasing numbers of
Papuans in the administration to replace Europeans and Indonesians, and
establishing a Papuan volunteer corps.
These political changes in West Papua coupled with the escalation of the
Cold War lead to the release on 19 October 1961 of a political manifesto
produced by the Komite Nasional Papoea, under the leadership of members
of the New Guinea Council. On behalf of the Papuan people, the manifesto
demanded independence as enjoyed by the free peoples of the world and
urged the Netherlands New Guinea government to permit the Papuan flag to
be flown beside the Dutch flag and to change the name of the territory to
1 December 1961 is considered by the West Papuans as their independence
day because on that day the 'Morning Star' flag was raised for the first time
and the 'Hai Tanahku Papua' anthem sung in the presence of the Governor,
members of the Council and political party leaders.
However, the proclaimed independence started to become less relevant, as
the US, the Netherlands and Indonesia, under the auspices of the UN, began
secret negotiations on the future of West Papua without any involvement
from local leaders. The New York Agreement was signed in August 1962
and covered the transfer of West Papua to Indonesia after a period of UN
administration. M W Kaisiepo, a leading member of the council and of the
Komite Nasional Papoea, commented: 'We were traded as goats by the
The UN and other Western powers never saw genuine Papuan self-
determination as an option after the Agreement and the Pepera was even
conducted after Indonesia had effective control of West Papua. The people
of Papua, as well as records recently released by Western governments,
testify to the intimidation and violence perpetrated during the Pepera by the
Indonesian military, which had moved in to West Papua since 1961.
80 HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS IN PAPUA:
(STILL) UNDER MILITARY THREAT
And so, West Papua fell to Indonesia. In the years since, the collective
memory of its people has been tainted with the trauma of ongoing violations
of human rights: both civil and political rights as well as economic, social
and cultural rights. The policies of the militaristic regime of former president
Soeharto in particular have fostered a deep antipathy in West Papuans
towards Indonesia. 45
Militarism and Human Rights Violations
Throughout the militaristic regime of former president Soeharto, human
rights violations in West Papua were a constant problem. The military, as the
most powerful element of government, sought to protect and develop their
economic interests and the region s natural wealth in wood, mining and the
seas was exploited.
The military did not just stick to the business of ensuring security for mining
and forestry enterprises active in West Papua but began a range of
businesses of their own. 46 The military not only neglected the traditional and
basic human rights of locals affected by its businesses but often used
violence to achieve its aims. 47
In order to strengthen their power, the military turned West Papua into a
Military Operations Region (DOM). The excesses of this time were most
evident in the mass murder that took place in 1977 in and around Tiom (now
Jayawijaya). The DOM, which was also part and parcel of an internal
military project to boost its prestige and ensure promotions for all
concerned, had a grave impact on the lives of the West Papuans. The Papua
Legal Aid Institute (LBH Papua) maintains that thousands of civilians
became victims of the military during this time. Arbitrary detention and
SKP Keuskupan Jayapura, Gambaran Permasalahan di Papua, makalah presentasi dalam pertemuan
dengan presiden R.I, 27 June 2000.
See ELSHAM Report (1), Operasi Militer Pembebasan Sandera dan Pelanggaran HAM di Pegunungan
Tengah Irian Jaya, ELSHAM, Jayapura, 1999. The report outlines the dependence of giant mining
companies such as the Freeport mine in Timika on the military for security and protection . Also contains
interview with Damianus Wakman, head of the Papua Legal Aid Institute, August 2002.
The military also exploited natural resources, including the forests, which often lead to conflict with local
communitites. See ALDP, Laporan Hasil Penelitian Pemetaaan Daerah Konflik Pelanggaran HAM pada
Lima Kabupaten di Papua, ALDP and USAID, Jayapura, 2001.
HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS IN PAPUA: 81
(STILL) UNDER MILITARY THREAT
arrest, seizure of property, razing of houses, torture, forced abductions, and
murder were widely reported. 48
Research conducted by the Democracy Alliance for Papua (ALDP) in five
regencies representing around 50% of the province by territory found that
there were 132 human rights violations between 1995 and 2001. The state
apparatus the military, police and other government agencies were
directly responsible for the largest share (57%). 49
The constant repression coupled with the impunity of human rights violators
were pervasive influences on the political, economic, social and cultural life
of the West Papuans. Many young people elected to join the Free Papua
Movement (OPM) established in 1964 by political leaders who rejected the
Pepera to wage an ad hoc guerilla war for independence.
This group employed a number of means to force their point, from attacking
security outposts to taking both foreign and Indonesian hostages, and
garnered significant support from the broader West Papuan society.50
Nevertheless, the vast majority of West Papuans prefer to reach their goal of
independence by peaceful means. This point was also covered in the
resolutions of the Second Papua Congress.
Human Rights Defenders in Papua
Front Line51 defines a human rights defender as a person who works, non-
violently, for any or all of the rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration
of Human Rights. Though not always the case, a human rights defender is
generally an activist from a non-government organization (NGO) or a
community leader, including religious and traditional community leaders. In
the case of West Papua, the role of human rights defender is generally
fulfilled by NGOs, political activists, lawyers and community leaders.
Papua Legal Aid Institute, Laporan keadaan HAM di tanah Papua-Indonesia, Jayapura, 2001. Interview
with Damianus Wakman, head of the Papua Legal Aid Institute, August 2002.
The attack on the Abepura police precinct in October 2001, for example, was reportedly sponsored by the
OPM. See: ALDP, Op.cit.
Front Line & The Global Justice Center, (2001), Front Line Brazil: Murders, Death, Threaths and Other
Forms of Intimidation of Human Right Defenders 1997-2001, Dublin: Front Line.
82 HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS IN PAPUA:
(STILL) UNDER MILITARY THREAT
When the human rights movement as we know it today first emerged in
West Papua at the beginning of the 1980s, the decision to become a human
rights defender was very risky52. In 1983 when activist Arnold Ap was
arrested by the military s Kopassandha division (now known as Kopassus or
Army Special Forces), the four students that lobbied for his release in
Jakarta, namely Ottis Simopiarief, Yohanis Rumbiak, Yakob Rumayau, and
Loth Sarakan, were threatened and hunted by the Kopassandha. They
eventually sought political asylum at the Netherlands Embassy in Jakarta.
The incident represented the birth of the human rights movement in West
Papua as well as the starting point for several human rights organizations.
The advocacy campaign launched in Arnold Ap s defence brought together
the Indonesian Legal Aid Institute Foundation (YLBHI) and the leaders of
the Catholic and Protestant Churches in West Papua. They then formed the
Papua Legal Aid Institute (LBH Papua).
When formally established in 1983 under first director Bambang
Widjoyanto, LBH Papua was already handling a number of political cases.
Among them was the case of Dr. Thomas Wanggai, an intellectual who
declared the establishment of the independent state of West Melanesia.
Wanggai and his core followers were arrested and sent to trial. He was later
found dead in his cell.
LBH Papua together with several other NGOs in Jayapura facilitated the
formation in 2000 of the Papua chapter of Kontras, the Commission for
Disappearances and Victims of Violence. Kontras is also active in
cooperating with all human rights defenders in investigating human rights
violations cases such as forced abductions or disappearances.
Another pioneer human rights organization in West Papua is the Papua Rural
Community Development Foundation (YPMD) established in 1984. YPMD
activist John Rumbiak was given the task in 1994 of researching the
utilization of the traditional land of the Amungme people. His findings
highlighted serious human rights violations perpetrated against the
community in the interests of PT Freeport Indonesia - the world s largest
gold mine. This widely published study grabbed considerable attention from
international NGOs and governments. At the local level, traditional
The following account is based on : ELSHAM Papua (2), Militerisme dan Nasib pembela HAM di Papua
Barat, Suatu Studi Kasus, manuskript, undated.
HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS IN PAPUA: 83
(STILL) UNDER MILITARY THREAT
community leader Tom Beanal was inspired to form the Amungme People s
Foundation (Lemasa) to struggle for the victims of human rights violations.
Another strong defender of human rights in West Papua is the Institute for
Human Rights Study and Advocacy (IHRSA), which is perhaps better
known by its Indonesian acronym of ELSHAM (Lembaga Studi dan
Advokasi Hak Asasi Manusia). This group was formed from the Irian
Working Group for Justice and Peace (IWGJP), which was active in human
rights violation cases involving PT Freeport Indonesia. This group has
developed networks of volunteers that extend down to the village level even
in remote areas and it can consequently monitor human rights violations
across West Papua.
The militarism that has gripped West Papua means that NGO activists and
other human rights defenders live with fear and terror. They are often
accused of supporting separatist activities in West Papua. The accusation is
usually launched by the elite leadership of the Indonesian Armed Forces
(TNI) because activists have exposed human rights violations perpetrated by
the military.53 As the military is sworn to uphold the unity and integrity of
Indonesia, the threats implicit in the accusations sometimes turn violent, as
evident in the subsections that follow.
The existence of NGOs to protect human rights defenders is thus of the
utmost importance. As such, the monitoring and recording of cases of
violence against them is central to upholding human rights. It is a small
piece of a much larger picture and often forgotten by human rights defenders
Threats and Violence Against Human Rights Defenders in West Papua
There are three categories of threatened individual covered in this section of
1) Human rights defenders whose work as defenders is the direct reason
for their being threatened.
2) Political and intellectual leaders who also have a role in human rights
Most recently at the beginning of October 2002, Armed Forces Commander General Endriartono
Soetarto accused ELSHAM of being a supporter of the separatist movement immediately after the NGO
announced its findings into military involvement in the attack on a school bus in Timika in August 2002.
84 HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS IN PAPUA:
(STILL) UNDER MILITARY THREAT
3) Witnesses who in the absence of a witness protection programme put
themselves at risk because of their determination to give evidence and
testify against human rights violations. The cases illustrated in this
sub-section support Recommendation 12 of this report54. This urges
the government to accelerate the formulation of the draft law on
4.1 Human Rights Defenders
Threatened Arrest of ELSHAM Activist Fredy Sapari, Nabire55
At the beginning of June 2001, ELSHAM presented a report to the
provincial police on numerous unresolved cases in the province. The NGO
also released a statement to the press on the appearance of masked attackers
(so-called ninjas ) armed with swords and machetes terrorizing the people
of Nabire and surrounds at night.
Several days after the release, the Paniai police summoned Fredy Sapari, a
volunteer with ELSHAM in Nabire, for questioning. Freddy was summoned
twice, on 13 and 14 June. The summons only mentioned that he was being
called in relation to new information on threats to the security situation. The
summons also did not mention the relevant laws under which the summons
ELSHAM protested the summons and maintained that the presentation of
the report on unresolved criminal cases was handed to the police with the
intention that the police launch follow up action. Unfortunately, the police
used the release of the document as an excuse to threaten the work of human
Freddy did appear at the Paniai city police station but, after receiving
protests from numerous concerned parties, he was not summoned again.
See ELSHAM Papua (2),op.cit. Aloy Renwarin, Pentingnya Perlindungan Bagi Aktivis HAM di Papua
Barat, makalah untuk lokakarya Pembela HAM di Bogor, Desember 2001. ELSHAM Papua (5) Tanpa
Alasan Yang Jelas Fredy Sapari Tidak Jadi Diperiksa Polisi Paniai, press release, 19 Juni 2001.
HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS IN PAPUA: 85
(STILL) UNDER MILITARY THREAT
Death Threats Against Yohanis Gerson Bonay,
Lawyer and ELSHAM Director, Jayapura56
ELSHAM is one of the leading human rights defenders networks in West
Papua and its chairman, Yohanis Gerson Bonay, is therefore one of the most
likely activists to receive threats.
On 14 December 2000, Bonay was summoned by police for questioning in
relation to the Bloody Abepura incident in which police raided student
boarding houses in Jayapura. The police maintained the lawyer had
committed libel against the police at a press conference held after the
incident. Bonay was questioned for seven hours before being released.
Six months later, when the National Commission on Human Rights
(Komnas HAM) fact-finding team had completed its investigation into the
incident, threatening emails and telephone calls again arrived for Bonay. On
9 June, ELSHAM received an email from a person using the name Judas
Iscariot that claimed the ELSHAM headquarters would be attacked at dawn.
On 18 July 2001, Bonay was working at the ELSHAM office. Bonay, hear
me well. Your life will not be long, said a voice with a heavy Javanese
accent over the telephone. Not long after, Bonay s wife Elsye Rumbiak
received similar threats over the phone. In a harsh voice the caller who
claimed his name was Marthen said, Tell Bonay. He ll die sooner or later.
The terrorizing calls continued the following day. Tell Bonay to be careful
if he leaves the house, a caller told Bonay s wife.
On that same day, an officer of the Army s Special Forces (Kopassus)
named Donny Hutabarat visited Bonay at his office. In their brief meeting,
Donny said the purpose of his visit was to introduce himself and assure
Bonay that Kopassus members were not involved in the threatening
See: Interview with Johanis Bonay, September 2001. ELSHAM (2),ibid, Aloy Renwarin, ibid. ELSHAM
(6), Lagi, Direktur ELSHAM Papua menjadi Incaran Aparat Keamanan, siaran pers, 6 September 2001.
ELSHAM (7) Direktur ELSHAM Papua Yohanis G. Bonay, SH telah Diperiksa di Polda Papua, siaran
pers, 13 September 2001.
86 HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS IN PAPUA:
(STILL) UNDER MILITARY THREAT
We (Kopassus) do not usually terrorize. We are an anti-terror force and
don t terrorize like that. If you receive any more threatening calls, contact us
immediately, Hutabarat said while handing over his name card.
The police summoned Bonay on 6 September 2001 in relation to accusations
that he had again committed libel, but this time against Kopassus. The
accusation originated in the disappearance of Hubertus Wresman, a student
from the Sarmi district of Jayapura. The family of the victim had reported
his disappearance to the Indonesian Christian Church (GKI) of Papua and
the church had referred the matter to ELSHAM. After studying the case,
ELSHAM suspected the kidnappers were criminal elements of Kopassus.
The GKI and ELSHAM then reported the case to the commander of the
XVII Trikora military command of West Papua and an investigation team
was formed comprising intelligence officers of the military district.
Kopassus, GKI and ELSHAM were invited to witness the investigation
process. The team concluded that Hubertus had indeed been kidnapped but
did find Kopassus members responsible. Based on this conclusion, Kopassus
accused Bonay of blackening the force s name.
ELSHAM rejected the accusations against Bonay and maintained that the
investigation should have been conducted by the relevant military institution
(the military police) or by an independent institution (Komnas HAM).
Following the death of independence movement leader Theys Eluay, Bonay
received further death threats. In December 2000, Theys family asked
ELSHAM to look into the circumstances surrounding the suspicious death
and ELSHAM s consequent investigation drew unwanted attention. One day
a person purporting to be a policeman telephoned Bonay and claimed that he
was being targeted by Kopassus. Because security could not be guaranteed,
Bonay evacuated to Australia for three months.
Death Threats Against Lawyer Yan Ch. Warinussi, Manokwari57
On 21 June 2001,Yan Ch. Warinussi, lawyer and director of the Legal Aid,
Research, Investigation and Development Institute (LP3BH) Manokwari,
See: ELSHAM (2), ibid, Aloy Renwarin, ibid, dan ELSHAM (8), Yan Ch Warinussi, Pengacara Hukum
LP3BH Manokwari Diancam Ditembak Komandan Sabhara Polres Manokwari, siaran pers, 21 Juni 2001.
And interview with Johanis Bonay, September 2002.
HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS IN PAPUA: 87
(STILL) UNDER MILITARY THREAT
received a death threat from Commissioner Sebayang, commander of the
local police unit. Sebayang threatened to shoot Warinussi because the lawyer
had sent a letter containing a strong protest to chief of the Manokwari police
district Drs. Budi Bambang Santoso. The letter dated 16 June 2001 protested
the acts of violence perpetrated by the Manokwari police against his client,
Yoseph Betay, since his detention three days before.
The threat was made at the Manokwari police station when Warinussi was
with his client. Sebayang said with great aggression that the accusations in
the letter were lies. While pointing his pistol at Yoseph, Sebayang reportedly
said, Instead of appealing (to your lawyer), it s best if I just shot you and
Sebayang then threw the letter on the ground and repeatedly trampled on it.
He said to Warinussi: You re just a shit lawyer. LP3BH is shit, human
rights shit. Lawyers don t know anything. Go ahead and report to the
President as well. But note, this is my name!
Intimidation of John Rumbiak, ELSHAM Supervisor, Manokwari58
On 19 July 2002, LP3BH in Manokwari held a training session on
investigation techniques and human rights advocacy for 30 volunteers. The
volunteers were being prepared to research the recent incident at Waisor,
Manokwari, where traditional landowners were attacked by security forces.
The expert invited to lead the course was John Rumbiak from ELSHAM
While the training session was underway, seven members of the Manokwari
police lead by Inspector Hasby W. arrived heavily armed. The police said
they had come to the training session because Rumbiak had expelled two of
their police intelligence colleagues from the area.
Rumbiak said that he had done no such thing and had asked the two to stop
wandering around the outskirts of the area bothering students who were
trying to concentrate. He said he had asked the two to sit down but the
See: ELSHAM (2), Ibid and ELSHAM (9), Kopassus membantah Teror Johanis Bonay dan di
Manokwari John Rumbiak Diteror Anggota Polisi, press release, 19 Juli 2001.
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intelligence operatives had rejected the offer and then reported to their
superiors at the Manokwari police station.
Deputy chief of the Manokwari police, Drs. Tavip Yulianto, later admitted
that the intelligence operatives had been sent to monitor the training and not
break up the gathering. However, the arrogance of the police in bringing
their full compliment of weapons to the training location had indirectly
intimidated the training participants and John Rumbiak in particular.
Questioning of Zandra Mambrasar and Ronald Tapilatu,
ELSHAM Staff, Jayapura59
In mid-2001, two ELSHAM staff members, Zandra Mambrasar and Ronald
Tapilatu, were summoned for questioning as witnesses by the Jayapura
police. They were called in relation to the Bloody Abepura case and a press
release issued by ELSHAM, which the police said slandered or offended the
legal government and represented written slander according to the
Indonesian Criminal Code (KUHP). The civil case the police were planning
was never taken to court.
Students Attacked in Bloody Abepura Incident, Jayapura
Students have also pioneered the human rights movement in West Papua and
have met violent police and military repression, of which the Bloody
Abepura incident is the most striking example.
The incident began on 7 December 2000. At around 01.30 local time, a
group of around 15 persons entered the grounds of the Abepura police
station in Jayapura. Although the visitors were suspected of sympathizing
with the Fee Papua Movement (OPM), they wore casual clothes and were
initially received with courtesy by the officer on duty. However, the group
suddenly overpowered the police at the station and escaped with a police
issue Mouser gun. After the raid, the police Mobile Brigade attacked the
boarding houses of West Papuan students in and around Abepura.
The boarding houses were well known as places where students of Jayapura
campuses and schools gathered. The police attacked all inhabitants of the
See: ELSHAM (2), ibid and Aloy Renwarin, Op.cit.
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boarding houses because the students had gained a reputation as leaders of
the movement drawing renewed attention to issues such as the
demilitarisation of the province and calls for independence. The police paid
no mind to the fact that not all students were involved in this movement.
They proceeded to round up students at the Ninmin, Yapen Waropen and
Ilaga boarding houses.
The police Mobile Brigade also attacked several nearby districts and shot
dead Elkius Suhuniap. Two other gunshot victims, Lilimus Suhuniap and
Agus Kabak, were not fatally wounded. In addition to the students, tens of
residents were forcibly taken to the Jayapura police station.
At the Jayapura police station, all of those arrested, both male and female,
were tortured. The 23 persons taken from the Ninmin boarding house, were
beaten as they descended from the truck, by police with plastic batons, rifle
butts, shovels, rattan canes and other blunt instruments.
The detainees were then divided according to gender and their status as
university or highschool students. At 05.30 on the following day, the male
victims were herded into the police waiting room and tortured beaten and
repeatedly kicked. Eky Gwijange was forced to cut his hair and eat it as a
police officer held a knife to his throat. One of those seized, Ory Ndorngky,
died of the injuries sustained during the torture.
The victims were detained and the torture continued until 8 December. They
were only sent home on that day after signing statements avowing that they
would not repeat their actions and were then forced to report to the police on
a regular basis.
After the incident, the National Commission on Human Rights formed a
fact-finding team. The Commission worked on their report until mid-2001
and recommended that the Attorney General s Office investigate all parties
to the attack and bring them before the Human Rights Court. They also
urged the government to produce a Government Regulation on the
protection of victims and witnesses as well as the provision of
compensation, restitution and rehabilitation for all victims.
The case currently remains at the Attorney General s Office and is scheduled
for hearings in November 2002.
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Detention of Hubertus Kwambre, ELSHAM Volunteer, Jayapura60
Towards the end of 2002, ELSHAM volunteer Hubertus Kwambre, who was
then investigating the suspicious death of Papua Presidium Council
chairman Theys Eluay, was taken into custody as he approached Arso by
members of the Army Special Forces (Kopassus). He was eventually
Threatening calls to Yance Hara, Fakfak61
On 19 January 2002, ELSHAM volunteer in Fakfak Yance Hara received a
threatening call from a person who refused to give their name. Is this Yance
Hara who upholds truth and justice? asked the stranger. Lance answered in
the affirmative. Well if you give information, make sure it s right. Because
if it isn t watch out the voice replied.
Two days later, the caller rang again and said only one sentence: You
should not spread information around about the things going on here.
ELSHAM believes the threatening calls were related to the organization s
public statements on the infiltration of Laskar Jihad fighters in Fakfak.
This group, which is better known for its role in the bloody intercommunal
violence in the nearby Moluccu islands, was suspected of opening operations
in Fakfak and surrounds. While the local people were seriously concerned
by the infiltration, the police have never taken a firm stance on the issue.
The Terrorizing of Simon Hindom,
ELSHAM Volunteer and Community leader, Fakfak62
Simon Hindom is one of the most influential leaders of the indigenous
peoples of the Fakfak area and is well known for his vocal advocacy of the
traditional rights of the people of West Papua. The arrival on the scene of the
Laskar Jihad and another paramilitary group with connections to military
ELSHAM (3), Ibid.
ELSHAM (2), Ibid.
See: ELSHAM (2), Ibid and ELSHAM (10), Simon Hindom Relawan Distrik Kokas Giliran Diteror,
press release, 20 Februari 2002.
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the Red-White group prompted Simon to send regular reports and
updates on the situation to ELSHAM Papua.
Simon was terrorized on 28 January 2002 by two security personnel in
civilian clothes. One Papuan and another non-Papuan were seen pacing up
and down in front of his house with rifles. They left the area after thirty
Sensing the danger, Simon went to the house of his brother-in-law Maryos.
But shortly after a masked man in black was seen near the house. Local
residents chased the man and he escaped into the night. Simon s family
feared for his safety and suggested the leader evacuate to the relatively
remote village of Gwerpe, near Fakfak city.
In 2000, Simon was summoned by the Fakfak police and was asked to
produce his identity card as an ELSHAM volunteer. The police concluded
that he was the person that had regularly reported on human rights violations
in the area to ELSHAM in Jayapura.
The Terrorizing of Latifah Anum Siregar, PDP Lawyer, Jayapura63
Since the death of Papua Presidium Council (PDP) chairman Theys Eluay in
November 2001, PDP lawyer Latifah Anum Siregar was continuously
followed by an unknown stocky man with long hair. Anum had defended the
PDP leaders arrested the year before.
The longhaired man not only followed Anum when traveling but was a
constant presence when Anum was at home in Bumi Cenderawasih, Entrop,
Jayapura. He would stop his trail bike near the house and fire the engine up
loudly at any hour of the day or night. Over a period of five days, the man
also threw stones at the house.
See: ELSHAM (2), Ibid, and interview with Latifah Anum Siregar, September 2002.
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Threats Against AJI Journalists, Jayapura64
Towards the end of 2000, two journalists of the Independent Journalists
Alliance (AJI) in West Papua, Kris Ansaka from the TIFA Papua weekly
and Lucky Ireeuw of the Cenderawasih Pos daily, were summoned by
police. They were summoned in relation to reports published on the
ELSHAM press release issued after the Bloody Abepura incident. Other
journalists that reported on the ELSHAM press release were not summoned.
Then on 24 November 2001, unknown persons attacked AJI s Jayapura
office. The attack was launched in the middle of the night when the office
was vacant. Rocks thrown broke all the office windows and glass shards
were littered across the desk of AJI Papua chief Fritz Ramandey.
According to Fritz, the attack was directly related to reports published by
AJI journalists in Papua. AJI journalists in various papers throughout West
Papua had always taken a critical approach in their writings after the death
of Theys Eluay. The incident was reported to the police but they found no
indication of who had been involved.
Terror at ELSHAM Papua s representative office in Jakarta65
Unknown assailants broke into the representative office of ELSHAM Papua
in Jakarta on 10 October 2002. ELSHAM head representative in Jakarta
Albert Rumbekwan was not at the office at the time. The house was
occupied only by three of his nieces, namely Beatrix Komboy, Corry, Mami,
and his nephew named Otto.
According to Albert s account, two persons arrived at the house at 12.00
local time on a Suzuki motorbike. They approached the front gate and rang
the bell twice. Those inside were reticent to open the gate as Albert had
instructed them to only admit persons known to them in his absence. Albert
had left the instruction because unknown persons had often appeared at the
office throughout September with the obvious intent of monitoring activities.
See: Aloy Renwarin, op.cit and interview with Frits Ramandey, head of AJI Jayapura.
ELSHAM Papua Representative Office in Jakarta, Kronologi Kasus Pembongkaran Kantor Perwakilan
ELSHAM Papua di Jakarta, 10 Oktober 2002, and interview with Albert Rumbekwan, October, 2002.
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The two men departed when no one opened the gate but returned ten minutes
later. One jumped the fence into the yard and broke the lock with a crowbar.
They were also seen wielding reaping knives known as clurit .
The two men also successfully entered the house and headed straight for the
office rooms at the front. They then broke into cabinets and removed files on
human rights abuses in West Papua. After breaking into the main desk and
other cupboards, the men took 10 diskettes filled with information on the
organisation s investigations.
The investigations covered human rights violations including the suspicious
death of Theys Eluay and the attack on a school bus in which two Americans
were killed. However, they did not take Albert s handphone, which had been
left on top of the desk.
Albert s nieces and nephew witnessed some of the raid but they hid in the
bathroom because of fear for their safety. When the two men left the
premises, they attempted to contact ELSHAM in Jayapura to notify them of
the break in.
When Albert returned at around 15.00 local time and heard of the raid, he
immediately contacted the local area officials and the South Jakarta police.
The police arrived and took fingerprints from the crime scene and
At the time of publication, the police have yet to determine the identity of
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4.2 Political and Intellectual Leaders Who Have a Role in Human
The Abduction and Murder of Theys H Eluay
Political and Cultural Leader, Sentani66
To the people of West Papua, and the independence movement in particular,
Theys Hiyo Eluay was a revered leader. As such, he was installed as the
chairman of the Papua Presidium Council (PDP) at the Second Papua
Congress in 2000.
Theys set out for the headquarters of the local Tribuana Army Special
Forces (Kopassus) base in the Hamadi area near Jayapura on Saturday 10
November 2001 at around 19.00 local time. He went at the invitation of the
Tribuana commander to attend national hero s day celebrations. At 22.15,
Theys driver Aris Masoka telephoned Theys wife Ny. Yaneke Eluay and
hurriedly told her that Theys had been abducted by a group of well built
Amber denoting non-Papuan immigrants who had taken Theys in their
On 11 November 2001 at 12.30 local time, Ny. Yaneke Eluay reported the
incident to the Papua police headquarters. The police eventually located the
car near Koya Tengah and found Theys dead inside. Aris Masoka remains
missing to this day.
Theys' death was pronounced unnatural by the Pathology Institute of the
Medical Faculty of the University Indonesia in Jakarta, which conducted the
autopsy and found evidence of death by strangulation. Eyewitness accounts
indicated that the well built abductors were military officers.
The murder of the independence leader attracted broad attention from
national and international human rights workers. President Megawati
Soekarnoputri issued Presidential Instruction No.10/2001 ordering the
formation of a National Investigation Commission to thoroughly investigate
The primary material of this account of Theys murder is drawn from Damianus Wakman, Kriminal dan
Pemunuhan Theys Hiyo Eluay, Kasus Penculikan dan Penghilangan paksa Aris Toteles Masoka: Murni
atau Kejahatan Negara. The report is an undated manuscript of legal analysis of the case. See also the
May- September 2002 editions of the Jubi tabloid, and ELSHAM, Papua Legal Aidf Institute and
KONTRAS Papua: Menolak tim Independen Bentukan KOMNAS HAM Jakarta, undated media release.
Also ELSHAM Papua (4), Penculikan dan pembunuhan Theys H. Eluay, Suatu Bentuk Tindak Kejahatan
Negara, undated summary report.
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the death. The Commission comprised leaders from Jakarta, including
National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) member Major
General (Retired) Koesparmono Irsan, as well as Papuan leaders John Ibo
and Phil Erari.
The Commission found strong evidence that pointed to the involvement of
three senior and three low-ranking officers of the Kopassus Tribuana
division. The three officers were Lieutenant Colonel Hartomo, Major Doni
Hutabarat and Captain Rianaldo. The military police have since arrested nine
people suspected of carrying out the abduction.
However, the Commission fell short of calling the abduction and death a
serious human rights violation. Or in other words, they merely labeled it a
standard criminal matter. The human rights defenders community in Papua
was sorely disappointed with this development. From the very beginning
they rejected the formation of the Commission and doubted its
independence. The independent investigations launched by ELSHAM, the
Papua Legal Aid Institute and Kontras concluded that the death involved
state agencies and represented a serious human rights violation. They argued
that the officers would not have acted without instruction from their seniors
in the institution. On top of this, the elimination of Theys had reportedly
been discussed at a Cabinet meeting on political and security matters.
Two West Papuan members of the Commission, Phil Erari and John Ibo,
eventually withdrew from the Commission after it had completed its work.
They felt the desire of the sponsors of the investigation had compromised
the findings. In addition, they discovered a record of a meeting between the
head of the Commission, Koesparmono Irsan, and officials of the State
Secretariat in which they decided to avoid declaring the case a serious
human rights violation.
Although the findings of the Commission were unsatisfactory to many
concerned parties, the legal process continues to this day. In October 2002,
the military police are preparing to bring Lieutenant Colonel Hartomo and
the co-accused before a military court.
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Arrest of Papua Presidium Council (PDP) members67
On 28 November 2000, PDP Secretary General Thaha Alhamid was
detained by police and questioned in relation to the 12 November 1999
Declaration, wherein activists reportedly declared the independent state of
West Papua at the House of PDP chairman Theys Eluay. The day after
Alhamid s detention, Theys and other PDP leaders Don Flassy, John
Mambor, and Father Herman Awom were taken into custody at the Papua
provincial police headquarters. Their arrest was formalized on 29 November
2000 and all were kept at the provincial headquarters.
The police denied the arrests were connected to the impending 1 December
anniversary of the original declaration of West Papuan independence in
1961. Nevertheless, on the suspicion that the PDP leaders plotted insurgency
against the legal government, the police planned to keep them in detention
until 25 December 2000. The Jayapura High Court then granted an extension
of the detention period until 15 March 2001.
In the lead up to court hearings into the case, Theys was treated at the Cikini
hospital in Jakarta and John Mambor at the Jakarta Hospital. The court
hearings began on 14 May and the accused were charged with insurgency in
relation to, among other things, the 12 November 2000 Declaration, The
Papua Grand Council, the 1 December anniversary commemorations and the
Second Papua Congress that took place from 29 May to 4 June 2000.
The hearings were initially slow and drawn out but were jolted by the shock
waves of the sudden abduction and murder of Theys Eluay in November
2001. The court eventually ruled that the insurgency charges were
unsubstantiated on 4 March 2002.
Death Threats Against Thaha Alhamid, Secretary General of the PDP68
Thaha Alhamid is a political activist who has always chosen to advocate a
peaceful struggle for Papuan independence. Several weeks after the death of
PDP Chairman Theys Eluay, on 28 November 2001, he received an SMS
The primary material of this account is drawn from: ALDP, ibid, and interview with Herman Awom,
Papua Presidium Council (PDP) moderator, and Latifah Anum Siregar, PDP lawyer, September 2002.
ELSHAM (2), ibid, and Cenderawasih Pos daily newspaper 4 December 2001, Kaka Thaha ko Siap
Sudah susul Bapak Theys. See also interview with Latifah Anum Siregar, PDP lawyer, September 2002.
HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS IN PAPUA: 97
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message: Big brother Thaha, you get ready to join Theys. The message
was sent from handphone number 0815169058.
PDP lawyer Latifah Anum Siregar reported the threat to the deputy chief of
the Papuan police Drs Raziman Tarigan, SH. But the police follow up was
not as hoped. Raziman merely said, We don t have to handle every report.
We have to select which reports need to be followed up and which don t.
Death Threats Against Herman Awom, PDP Moderator 69
Father Herman Awom, moderator of the PDP, also received death threats
following Theys murder. Prior to the burial service in mid-November 2001,
an unknown telephone caller threatened: Be careful. Get ready to join
But that was not the end. Father Awom s house was also under constant
watch by unknown men. They usually parked their Toyota Kijang 4WD in
front of his house, which was not far from the Kopassus headquarters.
Latifah Anum Siregar as the legal counsel in the Theys case repeatedly
asked for the police to pay greater attention to these threats against political
activists. Because his security could not be guaranteed, Father Awom has
been forced to take precautions. At the very least, I must travel with three
persons in the car, he said.
4.3 Threats to Witnesses of Human Rights Violations
Threats Against Ismail Nali, Witness in the Murder of Theys Eluay70
The home of Ismail Nali, a witness in the suspicious death of Theys Eluay,
was visited on 7 January 2002 by a messenger named Nathaniel Mallo from
the Army Special Forces (Kopassus). The man left a message with Ismail s
wife to the effect that Ismail must appear before Kopassus the following day.
If he failed to do so, the man threatened that he would be taken by force. The
following day, Ismail escorted by Mallo met with Kopassus members.
ELSHAM (2) ibid, and interview with Herman Awom, September 2002.
ELSHAM (2), Ibid.
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Kopassus has no right to call witnesses or interfere in an investigation in any
way. Ismail agreed to meet them out of fear at the threat from the Kopassus
messenger. As noted previously, evidence of the involvement of Kopassus
members in Theys death was reported and the force is known for using
intimidation and fear against civilians who speak out against them.
Threats Against Yeret Imowi, Witness in the Murder of Theys Eluay71
Yeret Imowi was traumatized as a result of his role as a witness to the
murder of PDP chairman Theys Eluay. The Military Police Center
(PusPOM) summoned Yeret to appear as a witness in the Theys case in
On 18 August 2002, two officers of the military police force arrived at
Yeret s home in the Hamadi Mountain area with the summons notice.
However, Yeret did not want to fulfill the summons out of fear for his
safety. He argued that he had already provided information as best he could
in the investigation. He was also concerned that he would be forced to
change his testimony.
The greatest fear, however, was caused by the suspicion that he would be
terrorized if he did not fulfill the summons and appear at the PusPOM. The
local military police commander Colonel Sutarna had indeed threatened to
force witnesses to comply with the summons. At the beginning of May,
Yeret was badly shaken by another incident. He was almost shot by a
Kopassus soldier, Sergeant Yani of the Hamadi division in Jayapura,
although the officer maintained the he had not fired the shot deliberately.
ELSHAM finally provided Yeret with legal assistance.
See: ELSHAM (2), ibid, ELSHAM (11) Giliran Yeret Iwomi Saksi Kasus Theys Dipanggil Lagi Oleh
Puspom, press release, 18 April 2002.
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Telephone threats to Boy Eluay, witness in the Theys murder case72
Boy Eluay is not only the son of murdered PDP chairman Theys Eluay but
also the head of the Free Papua Task Force (Satgas Papua Merdeka) the
security force formed after the Second Papua Congress in 2000.
Since the death of his father, Boy has received regular threatening telephone
calls from an unknown person. On 14 December 2001, Boy received an
SMS (short message service) from handphone number 08124801124: Boy,
you just give good information. You must help the police because we are
also helping your family. We have already received the names of those that
killed your father. The telephone number was that of police Captain Arif
Basra of the West Papua provincial police.
Another SMS message from a different number said: Boy, Your father is
already over (dead). With you and the Secretary General (Thaha Alhamid)
that s easy. So be prepared too.
Boy reported the threats the day the messages arrived. He said that prior to
his father s death he had been constantly followed by a number of persons.
Among them were persons known to him as members of Kopassus, he said.
ELSHAM (2), Ibid, ELSHAM (12), Boy Eluay, Putra sulung Theys Hiyo Eluay Mendapat Ancaman
Melalui Telpon Gelap, press release, 4 Desember 2001.
United Nations Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of
Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect
Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms
General Assembly resolution 53/144
The General Assembly,
Reaffirming the importance of the observance of the purposes and principles
of the Charter of the United Nations for the promotion and protection of all
human rights and fundamental freedoms for all persons in all countries of
Taking note of Commission on Human Rights resolution 1998/7 of 3 April
1998, See Official Records of the Economic and Social Council, 1998,
Supplement No. 3 (E/1998/23), chap. II, sect. A. in which the Commission
approved the text of the draft declaration on the right and responsibility of
individuals, groups and organs of society to promote and protect universally
recognized human rights and fundamental freedoms,
Taking note also of Economic and Social Council resolution 1998/33 of 30
July 1998, in which the Council recommended the draft declaration to the
General Assembly for adoption,
Conscious of the importance of the adoption of the draft declaration in the
context of the fiftieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human
Rights, Resolution 217 A (III).
1. Adopts the Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals,
Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally
Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, annexed to the
2. Invites Governments, agencies and organizations of the United Nations
system and intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations to
intensify their efforts to disseminate the Declaration and to promote
universal respect and understanding thereof, and requests the Secretary-
General to include the text of the Declaration in the next edition of Human
Rights: A Compilation of International Instruments.
85th plenary meeting
9 December 199
Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and
Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized
Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms
The General Assembly,
Reaffirming the importance of the observance of the purposes and principles
of the Charter of the United Nations for the promotion and protection of all
human rights and fundamental freedoms for all persons in all countries of
Reaffirming also the importance of the Universal Declaration of Human
Rights2 and the International Covenants on Human Rights Resolution 2200
A (XXI), annex. As basic elements of international efforts to promote
universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental
freedoms and the importance of other human rights instruments adopted
within the United Nations system, as well as those at the regional level,
Stressing that all members of the international community shall fulfil, jointly
and separately, their solemn obligation to promote and encourage respect for
human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction of any
kind, including distinctions based on race, colour, sex, language, religion,
political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other
status, and reaffirming the particular importance of achieving international
cooperation to fulfil this obligation according to the Charter,
Acknowledging the important role of international cooperation for, and the
valuable work of individuals, groups and associations in contributing to, the
effective elimination of all violations of human rights and fundamental
freedoms of peoples and individuals, including in relation to mass, flagrant
or systematic violations such as those resulting from apartheid, all forms of
racial discrimination, colonialism, foreign domination or occupation,
aggression or threats to national sovereignty, national unity or territorial
integrity and from the refusal to recognize the right of peoples to self-
determination and the right of every people to exercise full sovereignty over
its wealth and natural resources,
Recognizing the relationship between international peace and security and
the enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms, and mindful that
the absence of international peace and security does not excuse non-
Reiterating that all human rights and fundamental freedoms are universal,
indivisible, interdependent and interrelated and should be promoted and
implemented in a fair and equitable manner, without prejudice to the
implementation of each of those rights and freedoms,
Stressing that the prime responsibility and duty to promote and protect
human rights and fundamental freedoms lie with the State,
Recognizing the right and the responsibility of individuals, groups and
associations to promote respect for and foster knowledge of human rights
and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels,
Everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to
promote and to strive for the protection and realization of human rights and
fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels.
1. Each State has a prime responsibility and duty to protect, promote and
implement all human rights and fundamental freedoms, inter alia, by
adopting such steps as may be necessary to create all conditions necessary in
the social, economic, political and other fields, as well as the legal
guarantees required to ensure that all persons under its jurisdiction,
individually and in association with others, are able to enjoy all those rights
and freedoms in practice.
2. Each State shall adopt such legislative, administrative and other steps as
may be necessary to ensure that the rights and freedoms referred to in the
present Declaration are effectively guaranteed.
Domestic law consistent with the Charter of the United Nations and other
international obligations of the State in the field of human rights and
fundamental freedoms is the juridical framework within which human rights
and fundamental freedoms should be implemented and enjoyed and within
which all activities referred to in the present Declaration for the promotion,
protection and effective realization of those rights and freedoms should be
Nothing in the present Declaration shall be construed as impairing or
contradicting the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United
Nations or as restricting or derogating from the provisions of the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenants on Human
Rights3 and other international instruments and commitments applicable in
For the purpose of promoting and protecting human rights and fundamental
freedoms, everyone has the right, individually and in association with others,
at the national and international levels:
(a) To meet or assemble peacefully;
(b) To form, join and participate in non-governmental organizations,
associations or groups;
(c) To communicate with non-governmental or intergovernmental
Everyone has the right, individually and in association with others:
(a) To know, seek, obtain, receive and hold information about all human
rights and fundamental freedoms, including having access to information as
to how those rights and freedoms are given effect in domestic legislative,
judicial or administrative systems;
(b) As provided for in human rights and other applicable international
instruments, freely to publish, impart or disseminate to others views,
information and knowledge on all human rights and fundamental freedoms;
(c) To study, discuss, form and hold opinions on the observance, both in law
and in practice, of all human rights and fundamental freedoms and, through
these and other appropriate means, to draw public attention to those matters.
Everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to
develop and discuss new human rights ideas and principles and to advocate
1. Everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to
have effective access, on a non-discriminatory basis, to participation in the
government of his or her country and in the conduct of public affairs.
2. This includes, inter alia, the right, individually and in association with
others, to submit to governmental bodies and agencies and organizations
concerned with public affairs criticism and proposals for improving their
functioning and to draw attention to any aspect of their work that may hinder
or impede the promotion, protection and realization of human rights and
1. In the exercise of human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the
promotion and protection of human rights as referred to in the present
Declaration; everyone has the right, individually and in association with
others, to benefit from an effective remedy and to be protected in the event
of the violation of those rights.
2. To this end, everyone whose rights or freedoms are allegedly violated has
the right, either in person or through legally authorized representation, to
complain to and have that complaint promptly reviewed in a public hearing
before an independent, impartial and competent judicial or other authority
established by law and to obtain from such an authority a decision, in
accordance with law, providing redress, including any compensation due,
where there has been a violation of that person's rights or freedoms, as well
as enforcement of the eventual decision and award, all without undue delay.
3. To the same end, everyone has the right, individually and in association
with others, inter alia:
(a) To complain about the policies and actions of individual officials and
governmental bodies with regard to violations of human rights and
fundamental freedoms, by petition or other appropriate means, to competent
domestic judicial, administrative or legislative authorities or any other
competent authority provided for by the legal system of the State, which
should render their decision on the complaint without undue delay;
(b) To attend public hearings, proceedings and trials so as to form an opinion
on their compliance with national law and applicable international
obligations and commitments;
(c) To offer and provide professionally qualified legal assistance or other
relevant advice and assistance in defending human rights and fundamental
4. To the same end, and in accordance with applicable international
instruments and procedures, everyone has the right, individually and in
association with others, to unhindered access to and communication with
international bodies with general or special competence to receive and
consider communications on matters of human rights and fundamental
5. The State shall conduct a prompt and impartial investigation or ensure that
an inquiry takes place whenever there is reasonable ground to believe that a
violation of human rights and fundamental freedoms has occurred in any
territory under its jurisdiction.
No one shall participate, by act or by failure to act where required, in
violating human rights and fundamental freedoms and no one shall be
subjected to punishment or adverse action of any kind for refusing to do so.
Everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to the
lawful exercise of his or her occupation or profession. Everyone who, as a
result of his or her profession, can affect the human dignity, human rights
and fundamental freedoms of others should respect those rights and
freedoms and comply with relevant national and international standards of
occupational and professional conduct or ethics.
1. Everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to
participate in peaceful activities against violations of human rights and
2. The State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the
competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with
others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse
discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his
or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration.
3. In this connection, everyone is entitled, individually and in association
with others, to be protected effectively under national law in reacting against
or opposing, through peaceful means, activities and acts, including those by
omission, attributable to States that result in violations of human rights and
fundamental freedoms, as well as acts of violence perpetrated by groups or
individuals that affect the enjoyment of human rights and fundamental
Everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to solicit,
receive and utilize resources for the express purpose of promoting and
protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms through peaceful means,
in accordance with article 3 of the present Declaration.
1. The State has the responsibility to take legislative, judicial, and
administrative or other appropriate measures to promote the understanding
by all persons under its jurisdiction of their civil, political, economic, social
and cultural rights.
2. Such measures shall include, inter alia:
(a) The publication and widespread availability of national laws and
regulations and of applicable basic international human rights
(b) Full and equal access to international documents in the field of human
rights, including the periodic reports by the State to the bodies
established by the international human rights treaties to which it is a
party, as well as the summary records of discussions and the official
reports of these bodies.
3. The State shall ensure and support, where appropriate, the creation and
development of further independent national institutions for the promotion
and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms in all territory
under its jurisdiction, whether they be ombudsmen, human rights
commissions or any other form of national institution.
The State has the responsibility to promote and facilitate the teaching of
human rights and fundamental freedoms at all levels of education and to
ensure that all those responsible for training lawyers, law enforcement
officers, the personnel of the armed forces and public officials include
appropriate elements of human rights teaching in their training programme.
Individuals, non-governmental organizations and relevant institutions have
an important role to play in contributing to making the public more aware of
questions relating to all human rights and fundamental freedoms through
activities such as education, training and research in these areas to
strengthen further, inter alia, understanding, tolerance, peace and friendly
relations among nations and among all racial and religious groups, bearing
in mind the various backgrounds of the societies and communities in which
they carry out their activities.
In the exercise of the rights and freedoms referred to in the present
Declaration, everyone, acting individually and in association with others,
shall be subject only to such limitations as are in accordance with applicable
international obligations and are determined by law solely for the purpose of
securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others
and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the
general welfare in a democratic society.
1. Everyone has duties towards and within the community, in which alone
the free and full development of his or her personality is possible.
2. Individuals, groups, institutions and non-governmental organizations have
an important role to play and a responsibility in safeguarding democracy,
promoting human rights and fundamental freedoms and contributing to the
promotion and advancement of democratic societies, institutions and
3. Individuals, groups, institutions and non-governmental organizations also
have an important role and a responsibility in contributing, as appropriate, to
the promotion of the right of everyone to a social and international order in
which the rights and freedoms set forth in the Universal Declaration of
Human Rights and other human rights instruments can be fully realized.
Nothing in the present Declaration shall be interpreted as implying for any
individual, group or organ of society or any State the right to engage in any
activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of the rights and
freedoms referred to in the present Declaration.
Nothing in the present Declaration shall be interpreted as permitting States
to support and promote activities of individuals, groups of individuals,
institutions or non-governmental organizations contrary to the provisions of
the Charter of the United Nations.
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