Amnesty calls for reopening of 1965 case following British media revelations

Source – October 19, 2021
Amnesty International Indonesia Executive Director Usman Hamid – Undated (Detik)

Amnesty International Indonesia is calling for the reopening of the investigation into the 1965 humanitarian tragedy following the revelation of new facts reported by the British media The reports cite the involvement of the British government in the mass murders which occurred in Indonesia between 1965 and 1966.

In a press release today, Tuesday October 19, Amnesty International Indonesia Executive Director Usman Hamid said that the revelations of documents on a British black propaganda campaign is an example of just how many facts are available on the 1965 tragedy.

"These facts negate the government's argument that the tragedy cannot be investigated because of the length of time that has passed and that the evidence has disappeared", said Hamid.

According to Hamid, the facts revealed in the British media reports are very valuable for the Indonesian nation in order to understand its dark past.

If there is political will on the part of the government to resolve the case – including through a reconciliation process – then these facts will provide a huge contribution to uncovering the historical truth of Indonesia's past, particularly about the 1965-1966 tragedy.

"Unfortunately, the serious human rights violations, including extrajudicial killings, forced disappearances, torture and other arbitrary acts, rape and other sexual crimes, which occurred in 1965-1966, have yet to be adequately addressed", he said.

Not only had that, President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo, who came to office in October 2014, promised during his election campaign to improve respect for human rights. One of his promises was to address all of the past gross human rights violations through the judicial system in order to put an end to impunity.

"This includes the 1965 tragedy. We urge President Jokowi to realize his promises and reopen the investigation into the 1965 tragedy in order to guarantee accountability and a sense of justice for the survivors", said Hamid.

On October 17, the British newspaper The Observer published several articles revealing the role of the British government in producing black propaganda to incite Indonesia's leaders to exterminate the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) and its sympathisers in the 1960s.

The reports were written based on declassified British Foreign Affairs Department documents.

A three-year investigation by the National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) into the violations which took place in 1965-1966, which was completed in July 2012, concluded that their findings met the criteria for a gross human rights violation, including crimes against humanity as defined under Law Number 26/2000 a Human Rights Court.

Hamid said that to this day, there has not yet been any indication that the government will conduct a criminal investigation into the tragedy. Meanwhile efforts to establish a Truth and Reconciliation Commission (KKR) at the national level were halted due to a lack of political will.

"Amnesty International itself since 1966 has already carried out a documentation of the human rights violations during the 1965-1966 tragedy", he said.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Media Inggris Ungkap Fakta Baru Tragedi 1965, Amnesty: Buka Kembali Kasusnya".]