09 November 2008

Indonesian NGOs: When will the findings of the Commission of Truth and Friendship be publicised?

The government has yet to respond to the final report of the Commission of Truth and Friendship which was submitted to it on 15 July this year despite the latter having spent about USD4.5 million of the public's money for its operating expenses.

Below is a press statement issued by several civil society organisations in Indonesia on 16 October:

On 9 October, President Jose Ramos Horta has submitted the report to Timor Leste's Parliament in Dili, and it was received by Parliament head Fernando de Araujo (Lasama).

Horta had complimented the Commission on its efforts to produce the report, and urged Parliament to debate the contents of the document, including the report by the Commission of Truth and Reconciliation (CAVR).

The latter was submitted to Parliament by President Xanana in November 2005.
Horta requested Parliament to consider the recommendations in the two reports and implement them accordingly.

He added that the report was submitted to Parliament formally as part of a joint commitment with the Indonesian government, while saying that he wanted to promote the findings as a basis for a national debate.

A coordinated and systematic discussion based on the recommendations of the two commissions was also very important, he stressed.

On the other hand, the Indonesian government has been mum on the findings and recommendations of the Commission. If this situation persists, the relationship between Timor Leste and Indonesia is bound to suffer, which was the point of departure for the setting up of the Commission in the first place.

Furthermore, it is noticeable that the momentum of the 2009 general and presidential elections seems to have become a practical platform for the authorities.

Delaying the submission of the final report to Timor Leste and postponing the findings of the Commission indicates that the government in power wants to prevent criticisms from its political opponents come next year's elections.

Based on the above, Indonesian NGOs such as Imparsial, KOntras, Human Rights Working Group, Peoples Empowerment Consortium, Suara Hak Asasi Manusia Indonesia, and International Centre for Transitional Justice, Indonesia:

1. Urge the government to submit the final report of the Commission to Parliament and announce the findings in the report

2. Urge the government to take further actions on the recommendations in the Commission

3. Prioritise the fulfillment of the victims rights by setting up the Commission of the Disappeared, building memorial parks, victims information center, and a commitment to improve the Indonesia army and police

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