Urgent Interventions

Indonesia: Extra judicial killing


IDN 002 / 0009 / OBS 087.01
Extra judicial killing
11th September 2000

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a programme of FIDH and OMCT, requests your URGENT intervention in the following situation in Indonesia.

New Information

The Observatory has been informed by Human Rights Watch (HRW) that the body of Jafar Siddiq Hamzah, head of the International Forum for Aceh, based in New York was found with four others, some 83km west of Medan on 3rd September 2000.

The Observatory believes that his death is linked to his work as a human rights defender. The Observatory is appalled by this news and calls on the Indonesian government to ensure an effective and independent investigation into his death in order to identify those responsible.

It was noted by HRW that an investigation by police in Medan has failed to produce any leads yet. Furthermore, that “Jafar now becomes the latest in a growing toll of activists killed or disappeared in Medan and Aceh”, and that no arrests have been made in connection with these incidents.

Brief description of the situation :

The Observatory has received information from Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the "Association Démocratie Indonésie Libertés" (ADIL) regarding the reported disappearance of Jafar Siddiq Hamzah, head of the International Forum for Aceh, based in New York, on the evening of Saturday 5th August 2000 when he failed to turn up for an appointment in Medan, North Sumatra, Indonesia.

According to reports, he failed to return to the house where he was staying in Medan that night and his family, whom he normally telephoned every few hours as a safety precaution, has had no contact with him since this date. Furthermore, no record of him has been found in local hospitals. It has been noted that when he returned to Aceh this summer, he was immediately aware that he was being followed. He did not want to be outdoors late at night and made sure that friends and family knew where he was at all times.

Jafar had planned to spend the summer in Aceh setting up a network to document human rights violations and to work for a resolution of the political conflict. He was also hoping to open an office there of the International Forum on Aceh

Action requested :

Please write to the authorities urging them to:

i. order an immediate and independent investigation into the death of Jafar Siddiq Hamzah in order to identify those responsible, bring them before a civil competent and impartial tribunal and apply the penal, civil and/or administrative sanctions provided by law;

ii. abide by the provisions of the Declaration on the Protection of Human Rights Defenders adopted on the 9th of December 1998, by the U.N. General Assembly (“Declaration on the right and responsibility of individuals, groups and organs of society to promote and protect universally recognized human rights and fundamental freedoms”), particularly, Article 1 (see above) and Article 6.c which mandates that « everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, 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 ».

iii. more generally abide by the Universal declaration on Human Rights and Covenants and international Conventions ratified by Indonesia.


Mr. Abdurrahman Wahid, President of Indonesia, Presidential Palace, Jakarta, Istana Negara, Indonesia. Fax: 62-21- 345 7782

Mr. Marzuki Durusman, National Human Rights Commission, Kartika Chandra Office Tower, R. 201-202, Jl Gatot Subroto, Jakarta, 1206 Indonesia, Fax: 62-21-392 5227

Geneva - Paris, 11th September 2000

Kindly inform the Observatory of any action undertaken, quoting the code number of this appeal in your reply.

The Observatory, a joint FIDH and OMCT venture, is dedicated to the protection of Human Rights Defenders and aims to offer them concrete support in their time of need.

To contact the Observatory, call the Emergency Line: Fax : 33 (0) 1 55 80 83 92
Tel. : FIDH 33 (0) 1 43 55 20 11 OMCT : + 41 22 809 49 39