The Jakarta Post
Members of the National Commission on Violence against Women (Komnas Perempuan) made a devotional visit to a mass grave of the victims of the May 1998 riots at public cemetery TPU Purwoloyo in Surakarta, Central Java, on Tuesday.
The bodies of 23 people killed in the incident were buried in one grave as their identities were unknown.
Komnas Perempuan member Mariana Amiruddin said the visit was part of the commission’s efforts to reveal the truth behind the May 1998 tragedy.
“Until today, families of hundreds of rape victims during the May 1998 riots have not yet known their whereabouts. Ironically, the government has never acknowledged the tragic incident,” said Mariana. Together with several other rights activists, the commissioner arrived at TPU Purwoloyo at 2 p.m. local time on Tuesday.
Mariana said the mass grave of the victims was a piece of evidence that the May 1998 tragedy truly happened. However, this was not enough to reveal the truth because there had never been acknowledgement by the government of the tragedy.
“The 1965 mass killings and the May 1998 tragedy should become a priority for President Jokowi [Joko Widodo] to discover,” Mariana said.
“We came here as part of our efforts to memorialize the 1998 violence victims. Twenty-three bodies were buried in this grave and we have never known who they were. There should be a common awareness that there was a tragic May 1998 incident in this country.”
Mariana said Komnas Perempuan would urge the government to immediately place a plaque on the grave to commemorate the 23 people killed in the 1998 tragedy. (ebf)
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