The newly released US government documents on mass killings in Indonesia in 1965 has provided a new momentum for Indonesia to rewrite its gloomy history on the atrocities that have, for decades, been ignored by the authorities.
On October 17, 2017, the US government made public 39 declassified US embassy in Jakarta documents, 30,000 pages in total, under the request of the National Security Archive at The George Washington University.
These documents show how crucial it is for the Indonesian authorities to seek ways to ensure truth, justice and adequate and effective reparations, in accordance with Indonesia’s international obligations following the release of the declassified documents, Amnesty International Indonesia director Usman Hamid said.
Amnesty International Indonesia calls on authorities in Indonesia to renew efforts to reveal the truth about the tragedy to ensure accountability and provide justice for survivors and their families.
The secret documents are diplomatic cables sent by the US Embassy in Jakarta to the US Foreign Ministry, highlighting systematic human rights abuses during the 1965 atrocities.
For example, a telegram dated 28 December 1965, recorded that people accused to be part of the now-defunct Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) were brought to an unknown location where they were slaughtered and buried.
In addition, another cable on December 1965 stated that the Indonesian Army handed over 10-15 prisoners to be executed by civilians.
It remains unclear how authorities in Indonesia will use these reports to shien further light on the facts of the mass killings of 1965, or to provide justice and reparations for survivors.
We urge state institutions, including the Indonesian Military [TNI], which is mentioned many times in the archives, to respect the right to freedom of information and reveal their own records publicly. They must also respect the right to freedom of expression so that survivors, their families, academics and civil society can openly discuss what happened in 1965 “, Usman Hamid said.
“We also call the National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) to proactively use this momentum to continue the investigation into the 1965 human rights violations”.
A three-year investigation into the human rights violations committed in 1965 was carried out by Komnas HAM and completed in July 2012, concluded that the abuses meet the criteria of gross human rights violations, including crimes against humanity, as defined by the Indonesian Law No. 26/2000 on Human Rights Courts. To date, however, there has been no indication that the government will even launch a criminal investigation. Meanwhile, attempts to establish a truth commission on the national level have stalled due to a lack of political will.
Amnesty International has since 1966 documented human rights violations around the events of 1965. An archive of the organisation research can be accessed here: www.indonesia1965.org