Riky Ferdianto, Jakarta – The Palu municipal government in Central Sulawesi will issue an official apology to families of the victims of the 1965 mass killings. The move is being taken to resolve the process of reconciliation for families of victims.
“This nation needs to learn to acknowledge past mistakes”, said Palu mayor Rusdy Mastura when he attended a launch of the book “Sulawesi Bears Witness” at the Goethe Institute in Jakarta on the evening of Thursday October 3.
Mastura stated that the apology will be officially issued on October 28 through a municipal regulation. Creating such a legal basis is necessary in order to restore the rights of the families of the victims based on the authority of the regional government.
“We don’t need to wait for the central government to take a position. As mayor I think there’s nothing wrong in issuing such a regulation”, he said.
Mastura conceded that the decision will not be rather unpopular in the eyes of some sections of the community and several social groups and political parties have even made an issue over the decision.
This reaction however can be gradually resolved through a dialog which has a vision of the future. “We’ll only be marking time if there are still frictions with what occurred in the past”, he said.
The chairperson of the group Solidarity for the Victims of Human Rights Violations, Nurlaela Lamasoitudju, believes that that the decision is a step forward.
From the results of their monitoring in Palu city and the regencies of Sigi, Donggala and Parigi Moutong, there are at least 1,210 victims who to this day are still haunted by traumatic experiences.
They are the families of victims who were accused of being involved with the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI). In 1965 their property was seized and their social and political rights revoked. “The families of the victims hope for only one thing, an acknowledgement and apology”, she said.
[Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service. The original title of the report was Palu Meminta Maaf kepada Keluarga Korban 1965.]