Solidarity Message on the 12th Anniversary of IKOHI from Gabriella Citroni
I am honoured to have the opportunity to express my solidarity and appreciation to the outstanding work carried out over the past 12 years by the Indonesian Association of Families of the Disappeared (IKOHI).
On the occasion of your anniversary, you will have the chance to celebrate the many successes accomplished in your struggle so far: sometime, they may seem little, but I am deeply convinced that they are a great contribution to the realization of the right to justice, to know the truth and to obtain integral reparation of the relatives of the disappeared in Indonesia and, ultimately, all over the world.
The very existence of your association is of capital importance to hundreds of relatives of disappeared: you represent a venue they can turn to in search of support and understanding. Your tireless and brave work is the best possible answer to those who would pretend to make simply “disappear” someone from the earth, to erase someone’s existence and then to enjoy impunity for such a tremendous crime, and to finally sweep under the carpet this “shameful” past. The existence of IKOHI and its struggle concretely avoid oblivion and injustice. This is why you shall be proud of the goals already reached and to be positive when looking at the challenges ahead.
In fact, Indonesian authorities shall take concrete steps to fulfil their international obligations and to show a genuine commitment towards human rights: first, it is of the utmost importance that all cases of enforced disappearance occurred are thoroughly investigated without any further delay and that those responsible for these crimes are identified, judged and sanctioned. Second, relatives of disappeared people throughout Indonesia shall be guaranteed their right to know the truth, as well as to obtain adequate and fair compensation for the harm suffered and integral reparation. Third, it is crucial to take all necessary steps to prevent potential new cases of enforced disappearance and grave human rights violations. In this sense, a concrete sign of good will be the prompt signature and ratification by Indonesia of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, as well as the recognition of the competence of the Committee on Enforced Disappearance thereby established.
I am positive that IKOHI will be there to call on the Indonesian government to take these steps and, as it has done over the past 12 years, it will cautiously monitor the respect of human rights in the country, acting as a powerful bulwark against impunity and as a source of hope and inspiration for relatives of disappeared people. Be reassured that you will not be alone in carrying out this difficult and extremely important task: your example goes beyond the boundaries of Indonesia and worldwide you have friends and colleagues ready to support you when you have to face obstacles and to share with you the joy of the goals accomplished.
Researcher in International Law and Professor of International Human Rights Law – University of Milano-Bicocca (Italy)
International Legal Consultant of the Latin American Federation of Associations of Relatives of Disappeared People (FEDEFAM)