Local mob backed by TNI and police disband meeting of 1965 massacre victims

 

Jakarta – The Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) has slammed the disbanding of meeting of victims of human rights violations in West Sumatra on Sunday February 22. The event, which was attended by victims of the 1965/66 killings, was closed down by hundreds of residents of the Bukik Cangan Kayu Ramang village and security personnel from the TNI (Indonesian military) and the Bukittinggi district police at 10.30am.

 

Kontras coordinator Haris Azhar said that the meeting of 1965/66 victims was also commemorating the 15th anniversary of the West Sumatra branch of the Institute for the Study of the 1965-1966 Massacres (YPKP 65). However, the event had not even started before it was closed down by the mob and security personnel. This is despite the fact that it was attended by representatives from Kontras, the National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM), the National Commission on Violence Against Women (Komnas Perempuan) and the Witness and Victim Protection Agency (LPSK), who were to hold a meeting with the victims.

 

As a result, more than 200 victims of 1965/66 that were attending the event suffered
intimidation and violence in the form of threats, abuse and insults as well as being
forced out of the venue by being pushed and pulled by residents.

 

As a consequence of this action, several of the victims who are aged between 65-90 years old suffered shock and fainted at the scene”, said Azhar in a written message on Sunday evening.

 

According to Azhar, over the last year, Kontras has recorded three such incidents that were accompanied by intimidation and attacks against victims of the gross human rights violations in 1965/66. On February 16 last year a meeting of 1965/66 victims in the Central Java provincial capital of Semarang was broken up by the Anti-Communist Front (FAKI).

 

In addition to this there was the closure of screenings of the Joshua Oppenheimer film Senyap (The Look of Silence) in the East Java city of Malang and the Central Java city of Yogyakarta.

 

A screening held at the offices of the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) and the faculty of social and political sciences at the Gajah Mada University (UGM) in Yogyakarta in December was also closed down.

“These forced closures, which are being accompanied by the involvement and tacit support of police, clearly violates Articles 28E Paragraphs 3 and 28F of the 1945 Constitution on the right of citizens to gather, associate and express an opinion”, said Azhar.

 

Azhar believes that the repetition of such incidents clearly shows that the government is
failing to safeguard the rights of its citizens, in this case the victims of 1965/66 and
their families along with members of the public that have an empathy with past human
rights violations.

 

Moreover the repetition of such incidents at the beginning of the administration of President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo confirms that the state’s commitment to fully guaranteeing citizen’s rights, in this case the victims of gross human rights violations, allowing with the repeated promises to do so in Jokowi’s mission statement, has not been implemented at all.

 

“We call on the police to take firm action against the perpetrators of this forced closure”, he asserted. (Safari)

[Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service. The original title of the
report was “KontraS Kecam Pembubaran Paksa Acara Temu Korban Pelanggaran HAM,” found here.]