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Jakarta Post

NU calls on govt. to reveal truth behind 1965 tragedy

  • Marguerite Afra Sapiie
    Marguerite Afra Sapiie

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Tue, April 19, 2016   /  11:31 pm
NU calls on govt. to reveal truth behind 1965 tragedy Then Maj.Gen.Soeharto (right) leads an operation to remove the bodies of military generals killed and dumped into a well on 30 September, 1965, (Tempo/-)

Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), the largest Islamic outfit in Indonesia, has called on the government to uncover the truth behind the violence and repression that wracked the nation in 1965-1966.

 According to NU executive Imam Aziz, the government needs to continue to promote dialogue and shed light on the tragedy, which saw the deaths of around 500,000 people and unjust imprisonment of millions accused of  links to the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI).

"The most important thing is to reveal all the facts, and then determine how to continue," Imam told thejakartapost.com on Tuesday, adding that revealing the truth would put an end to the “glorification” of the perpetrators, who regarded themselves as victors and heroes.

NU itself is alleged to have been implicated in the 1965-1966 communist purge, frequently clashing with PKI sympathizers across Java around that period.

In 2000, then president Abdurrahman "Gus Dur" Wahid  publicly apologized to the victims on behalf of Pemuda Ansor, NU's youth wing, for helping the military commit its atrocities; the apology remains controversial today.

While some of the organization's members maintain an uncompromising stance on the what they see as the necessity of the killings, a number of NU representatives have apologized on behalf of their predecessors in forums held in cities across Java, Imam said.

The apologies were a good step forward for NU, he added.

According to Imam, NU has yet to decide on a firm position in regard to the latest government efforts to settle past human rights abuses and reconcile with the victims, but the ulemas are expected to decide one soon.

"I hope NU will take a positive position , instead of further hampering [the reconciliation process]," Imam said.

The  government for the first time in history organized an official event to openly discuss the 1965 massacre, involving the survivors, the government, the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM), academics, and human rights groups.

The two-day event, entitled "Dissecting the 1965 tragedy", comprised discussions among stakeholders and aimed to provide recommendations for the government on the efforts to settle the past atrocities. (bbn)

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