4 APRIL 2019

Updated as of 5:27PM


The Government has a responsibility to expeditiously and impartially investigate Suhakam’s findings into the enforced disappearances of Raymond Koh and Amri Che Mat.

Allegations that the state, primarily through Bukit Aman, is responsible for the enforced disappearances of Raymond Koh and Amri Che Mat should not be dismissed.

Victims of enforced disappearance are people who have literally disappeared from their loved ones and their community. They go missing when state officials, or someone acting with state consent, grabs them from the street or from their homes and then deny it or refuse to say where they are. Sometimes disappearances may be committed by armed non-state actors, like armed opposition groups. And it is always a crime under international law.

Enforced disappearance is frequently used as a strategy to spread terror within society. The feeling of insecurity and fear it generates is not limited to the close relatives of the disappeared, but also affects communities and society as a whole.

This is also why the UN introduced one of the strongest human rights treaties ever adopted – the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance (ICPPED). The convention came into effect in 2010 and aims to prevent enforced disappearances, and uncover the truth when incidences like the disappearances of Raymond Koh and Amri Che Mat occur.

In the ICPPED, an enforced disappearance “is considered to be the arrest, detention, abduction or any other form of deprivation of liberty by agents of the State or by persons or groups of persons acting with the authorization, support or acquiescence of the State, followed by a refusal to acknowledge the deprivation of liberty or by concealment of the fate or whereabouts of the disappeared person, which place such a person outside the protection of the law.” The convention also outlines necessary state action in order to both prevent the occurrence of the crime and to allow for the investigation and prosecution of those who perpetrate it.

The enforced disappearances of Raymond Koh and Amri Che Mat also underscores the crucial importance for the introduction of the Independent Police Misconduct and Complaints Mechanism to investigate transgressions committed by the police. Police accountability is a major issue, and the government needs to expedite the setting up of the IPCMC in line with Pakatan Harapan’s election promise to enable an independent oversight body to investigate police misconduct.

The government should also ratify the ICPPED at the earliest opportunity in order to demonstrate a strong commitment towards preventing and investigating enforced disappearances.