Posts Tagged ‘Munir’

Weekly television programme for Human Rights in Asia: this time focus on Indonesia

April 23, 2015

This is already episode 69, published on 17 April 2015. This one focuses on Indonesia.

The programme begins with the latest in the decade-long fight for justice for slain human rights defender Munir Said Thalib: the naming of a street in The Hague in honour of Munir. This week, Munir’s wife travelled to The Netherlands to unveil Munir Street.  AHRC TV caught up with Suciwati and learned about a recent Petition signed by Right Livelihood Award Laureates from across the world calling on Indonesian President Joko Widodo to resolve Munir’s case and prosecute those responsible for his assassination.

Next, there is a long section on the Filipino migrant worker Mary Jane Veloso who faces the firing squad in Indonesia for drug trafficking. Global campaigns are underway to stop the execution, as Veloso appears to have been duped into carrying a suitcase containing drugs into Indonesia. AHRC TV speaks with Eni Lestari of Asian Migrants Coordinating Body and Dolores Balladares of United Filipinos, who are lobbying hard to save Veloso’s life.

Finally, AHRC TV tunes in to human rights defender Chris Biantoro, who speaks about the increase in incidents of torture in Indonesia and other fatal flaws that characterise Indonesia’s criminal justice institutions.

I do no longer refer to all episodes in this remarkably long running experiment in using images as anyone can subscribe to the You Tube channel.

Meet the Right Livelihood Award laureates in Sweden, Norway, Germany and Switzerland

November 23, 2014


On 1 December, the 2014 Laureates – Basil Fernando, Asma Jahangir, Bill McKibben and Alan Rusbridger – will receive the Right Livelihood Awards []Edward Snowden, will not be able to participate in person. There may be a live video-link with him during the Award Ceremony streamed live on the homepage at 16.00 (CET).

During the week, the Laureates will participate in several public events in Sweden, Norway, Germany and Switzerland. The detailed programme with more information about registration for the events is available from the website, but I want to  highlight the following:

Human Rights Defenders in Asia:




On Friday, 28 November, Asma Jahangir (MEA Laureate 1995) and Basil Fernando will participate in a seminar on civic organisations’ contributions to Asian societies at the Swedish Institute of International Affairs. The seminar will be followed by a screening of the documentary “Unjust”, which is produced by the Basil Fernando’s organisation and features among others the story of murdered RLA Laureate Munir from Indonesia.

In Berlin on 27 November, Fernando will also speak about civil society’s involvement in Asia along with Maina Kiai, UN Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Assembly and Association.


On 2 December, Asma Jahangir will give the 7th Right Livelihood Award Lecture at the University of Zürich, organized by the Right Livelihood Award Foundation Switzerland.





Laura Poitras’ documentary film CITIZENFOUR focuses on the encounters with Edward Snowden as he hands over classified documents providing evidence of mass surveillance by governments. The film will be screened on Saturday, 29 November at Södra Teatern in Stockholm.

The film is followed by a discussion with Daniel Ellsberg (2006 Laureate), Ewen MacAskill (The Guardian), Sarah Harrison (WikiLeaks), and Wolfgang Kaleck (European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights). Tickets are available for sale.







Democracy and the right to know: The digital world poses opportunities as well as challenges for today’s journalists. On Monday, 1 December, Alan Rusbridgerwill discuss responsible journalism and the public’s right to know with Peter Wolodarski (Dagens Nyheter) at the Swedish Institute of International Affairs in Stockholm.


New Indonesian President Jokowi urged to have human rights agenda

August 21, 2014

The same day as the Indonesian Supreme Court rejects the challenge against president-elect Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, the Jakarta Post  reports that human rights defenders urge him stand firm in advancing human rights in Indonesia immediately after the People’s Consultative Assembly MPR inaugurates him and his vice president-elect Jusuf Kalla on 20 October.  International NGO Forum on Indonesian Development [INFID] program officer Hilman Handoni hoped that Jokowi would increase the number of ‘human rights-friendly’ cities in the country (i.e. a city based on the concept of protecting a plural society and facilities friendly to the disabled, women, children and the elderly]. Human rights watchdog Imparsial researcher Swandaru added that he hoped Jokowi would give stronger protection to human rights defenders because many of them were still facing serious threats for advancing human rights in the country. Chrisbiantoro of the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence [Kontras] said he hoped Jokowi would strengthen the National Commission on Human Rights’ Komnas HAM capacities, which have been widely criticized for having weakened due to previous government, leaving many rights abuse cases unresolved: “Let’s see unresolved cases such as the murder cases of human rights activist Munir Said Thalib and journalist Fuad Muhammad Syafruddin or Udin. Their killers are still free. That’s Jokowi’s homework ”

via Jokowi urged to enforce human rights | The Jakarta Post.

Filippines HRD wins Emilio Mignone award for work against enforced disappearances

December 23, 2013

(Mary Aileen Bacalso receiving the Award in Argentina from foreign Minister Hector Timerman)

Human rights defender Mary Aileen Bacalso from the Philippines received the Emilio F. Mignone International Human Rights Award in Argentina Tuesday last week for her advocacy work in her capacity as the secretary-general of the Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD). Argentine Foreign Minister Hector Timerman presided over the ceremony, which was conducted at the Argentine Foreign Ministry. It was attended also by representatives from Argentine human rights organizations, and the family of human rights defender Emilio Mignone, after whom the award was named. [Mignone’s daughter Monica disappeared during the Argentine dictatorship]

Bacalso’s own husband was abducted by seven armed men in 1988.  He was released after being tortured and made to admit to the accusations, said Bacalso in a phone interview with In 1998, she co-founded AFAD with two other organizations in India and Sri Lanka as a response to the problem of enforced disappearances in many parts of Asia. In Sri Lanka alone, there were 60,000 cases at the time, according to the AFAD website. From the beginning, they took pointers from and coordinated with human rights groups in Latin America which were formed in the 1980s to take action on enforced disappearances. AFAD now has 11 member-organizations from eight countries, with the main office based in the Philippines. They disseminate information, campaign for the ratification of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, research and document cases, and accompany families of victims of enforced disappearances.

Aside from bringing them recognition, Bacalso said she hoped the award would also give them credibility as they try to convince governments in Asia and in the rest of the world to stop enforced disappearances.

In her acceptance speech, she recalled the adversity faced by those who fought for the rights of the victims of enforced disappearances. “AFAD’s own former Chairperson from Indonesia, Munir, who worked tirelessly for the cause of the disappeared, was poisoned by a lethal dose of arsenic in a flight from Jakarta to Amsterdam via Singapore.” “Our colleagues in Kashmir are persecuted in more ways than one, including non-issuance of passports to restrict their movement and block them from forging solidarity with sister organizations in other countries. “Our leaders in Bangladesh were recently arrested, their office raided and files and pieces of equipment stolen in a desperate attempt to silence them. “In Laos, almost a year ago, development worker Sombath Somphone was taken by the police in broad daylight as evidenced from the CCTV camera footage, yet despite the obvious proof, the Laos government denies knowledge of the victim’s whereabouts. His wife has gone from pillar to post and has knocked on doors of national and international bodies yet her husband is nowhere to be found.” “In the Asian region with a huge number of cases and where defenders face the danger of being disappeared themselves, this award, representing the support of the Argentinian government, is a strong protection to our work in our region,” Bacalso said.

for more information on the Mignone award go to the Digest of awards on: 



Filipina wins internationa™l rights award for advocacy against enforced disappearances –

Indonesia and HRDs: some progress but still problems concludes Human Rights First

December 6, 2011

Human Rights First recently returned from an assessment trip to Jakarta where they met with activists to learn from them whether the Indonesian government has prioritized human rights through its treatment of human rights defenders. They had the following to say, which will be included in an alternative report to the Universal Periodic Review of Indonesia slated for next summer before the UN Human Rights Council:

  • Impunity for past human rights abusers, particularly those involved at the highest levels in the 2004 assassination of leading human rights defender Munir, continues to be a central concern for human rights defenders and adds to an environment where defenders feel unprotected in their work.
  • Human rights defenders acknowledge that outright violence against them has declined in recent years, but attacks and other forms of intimidation and harassment continue especially  in conflict areas such as Papua and West Papua. Tactics used include surveillance and threats of violence and arrest that increase around the release of reports, trainings and before and after visits by international human rights groups.
  • Human rights defenders in conflict areas are also subject to excessive use of force by police when exercising their freedoms of assembly and expression. Most recently, in October 2011 police, backed by a military detachment, fired assault rifles over a demonstration in Jayapura, Papua, killing at least three. Over 300 protesters were arrested and witnesses report the use of torture.
  • The work of human rights defenders, particularly those working on exposing corruption and past human rights abuses, has been impeded by criminal and civil defamation cases brought against them.

President Yudhoyono should make clear that past and future attacks against human rights defenders will not go unpunished and publicly support a renewed independent investigation into Munir’s death that would lead to recommendations for prosecution and a case review of past criminal proceedings. The Government should repeal or amend legislation that criminalizes the work of human rights defenders, including journalists.

for more info see: Indonesia on the Right Path, But Still Has a Long Way To Go | Human Rights First.