February 5, 2023


Singapore/Jakarta: President Joko Widodo says he deeply regrets past serious human rights violations in Indonesia, including an anti-communist purge in 1965 and 1966 in which 500,000 people were killed, signaling that his government will compensate families to achieve the reconciliation.

Beginning his last full year in office, Widodo, known as Jokowi, addressed the darkest chapter in his country’s history on Wednesday, listing 12 atrocities between the 1960s and 2003, including enforced disappearances of anti-government protesters. of Suharto and the shooting of civilians by the military in incidents in Aceh and Papua.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo speaks during the 50th anniversary event of the Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) in Jakarta on Tuesday. Behind him the word “struggle”.Credit:Bloomberg

“With a clear mind and a sincere heart, I, as the head of state of Indonesia, admit that in many cases serious human rights violations occurred, and I deeply regret these human rights abuses,” he said.

“I have deep sympathy and empathy for the victims and the families of the victims. Therefore, first of all, the government and I are trying to restore the rights of the victims fairly and wisely without denying the court agreement. Second, the government and I hope that serious human rights will no longer occur in Indonesia in the future.”

Indonesia has long been grappling with the brutality of its past, most notably the 1965-1966 mass murders and the circumstances in which they took place.

It is estimated that more than half a million people were massacred in a matter of months and another million imprisoned in a campaign sparked by the kidnapping and execution of six army officers that was wrongly blamed on the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) and branded as a Coup attempt.

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Australia, the United States and Britain were declared complicit in the attacks by a civilian court in The Hague in 2016 for repeating false propaganda by the Indonesian military. The army was led by Suharto at the time. He would continue to rule for 32 years.

An Indonesian soldier convicted of murder, center, leaves court in 2000, after a landmark human rights court convicted 24 soldiers and one civilian for massacring 57 villagers during an anti-rebel operation in Banda Aceh the previous year.

An Indonesian soldier convicted of murder, center, leaves court in 2000, after a landmark human rights court convicted 24 soldiers and one civilian for massacring 57 villagers during an anti-rebel operation in Banda Aceh the previous year.Credit:access point

Widodo spoke after receiving a report from a government-run task force on human rights abuses that he commissioned last year.