Canada’s Foreign Minister calls on Indonesia to release findings of Munir inquest

MONTREALJune 22, 2007 Rights & Democracy welcomes Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay’s commitment to seeing the Government of Indonesia make public its presidential fact-finding mission’s report into the assassination of human rights leader, Munir Said Thalib.

In a recent letter to Rights & Democracy, Minister MacKay expressed the Canadian government’s belief that a thorough investigation of Munir’s poisoning on a Garuda Airways flight from Jakarta to the Netherlands in September 2004 is “an important opportunity to prove that (the Indonesian government) is serious about dealing with human rights abuses.”

“If there is no effective response, the progress that Indonesia has made in human rights matters over the past years will be undermined,” Minister MacKay wrote.

Minister MacKay’s response came on the heels of a visit to Canada by Munir’s wife, Suciwati, who was seeking Canadian support for her efforts to see those responsible for her husband’s murder identified and prosecuted.

At the time of his death, Munir was Indonesia’s most prominent human rights defender and an especially vocal critic of human rights abuses committed by Indonesia‘s military throughout the country, including East Timor, Papua and Aceh. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Indonesia’s President, established an independent fact-finding team to investigate Munir’s death in December 2004. The team’s report and its recommendations were submitted on June 23, 2005, but to this date they have not been made public.

In his letter, Minister MacKay said Canada “insists that the report of the presidential fact-finding team be released” and called for every effort to be made “to ensure that those responsible for this crime are brought to justice.”

Rights & Democracy encourages the Government of Canada to continue its efforts to see those responsible for Munir’s death brought to justice.