INDONESIA: No mass killings can ever be justified 

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) is disturbed with the recent rejection of the Indonesian government to the findings by the National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) claiming the 1965 massacre constituted a gross human rights violation. As reported by national media, the Coordinator Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Djoko Suyanto insisted that the mass killing was justified as it was aimed at saving the country from communism. The Minister further claimed that Indonesia “would not be what it is today if it did not happen”.

Previously in July this year, Komnas HAM concluded its four year investigation on the 1965 massacre. It found that gross human rights violations had been perpetrated by the state during 1965-1966 against individuals allegedly to be communists. Komnas HAM noted that systematic and widespread killings, torture, enforced disappearances, rape, arbitrary detention as well as other human rights abuses had taken place during the particular period. Despite these findings, Djoko Suyanto suggested President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono not to make an official apology for the abuses.

The AHRC wishes to emphasise that gross human rights violations such as crimes against humanity cannot be justified in any circumstances. Denial on the occurrence of such abuses is hurtful and disrespectful to the victims and their families who in fact should be provided with adequate reparation such as acknowledgement of the facts and acceptance of responsibility and other forms of satisfaction from the state. Under widely accepted international human rights principles, the states have the duty to investigate any allegation on gross violations of human rights as well as to prosecute and punish those who are responsible for it.

The AHRC is also concerned by the Minister’s statement which has reaffirmed the stigmatisation against communism and those who share the ideology. Discrimination towards people who are alleged to be ex-supporter of the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) is still ongoing to date and an inconsiderate, lack of human rights understanding statement such as one just delivered by the Minister will only preserve, if not aggravate, it. As a country who claimed itself to be a supporter of freedom of opinion, Indonesia should treat communism as any other ideology instead of taking it as a threat that those who subscribe to such view can enjoy their rights without any fear of persecution or discrimination.

Given above, the AHRC is calling the Coordinator Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Djoko Suyanto to take back his statement and apologise to the 1965 massacre victims for his disrespectful comment. In line with the Indonesian Law No. 26 Year 2000 on the Human Rights Court, the AHRC urges the Attorney General Office to take up the findings concluded by Komnas HAM and to conduct further investigation on the matter at stake. With the recommendation of the Parliament, the President shall issue a Presidential Decree ordering the establishment of an ad hoc human rights court to try those who are responsible for the massacre.

Document Type : Statement
Document ID : AHRC-STM-190-2012
Countries : Indonesia,
Issues : Extrajudicial killings,