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Indonesia: The death toll of the massacre 1965/1966

18. March 2001

Call for Support by the Indonesian Institute for the Study of 1965/1966 Massacre

Support our Works: The death toll of the massacre 1965/1966
The death toll of the massacre 1965/1966

General Soeharto`s seize of the Indonesian President Soekarno`s power in 1965 was preceded by the so-called “September 30 Movement” and soon followed by a large-scale brutal massacre of Indonesian leftists. It has been impossible to establish realistically the death-toll resulting from the 1965-1966 massacres, as Soeharto`s military regime has firmly discourage any such efforts. A kind of state terror together with his military and hangmen was exercised to silence public opinion and independent research. The following figures speak for them selves: Encyclopaedia “Britannica” mentions the victims totalling to between 80.000 and 1.000.000 people. According to general Soedomo-former Commander of National Security and Order in the Soeharto regime-they totalled to around 2.000.000. People, whereas according to late General Sarwo Edie, who headed military actions during this period, they totalled to not less than 3.000.000 people. President Habibie mentioned to the Indonesian press, 8 October 1999, the figure of 500.000 to1.000.000 people.
The sparking of massacre by invisible military power is still going on, it may be possible at last to carry out serious research regarding the extend of the massacres, as well as the imprisonments, and flagrant abuses of power perpetrated during more than 30 years of the Soeharto`s regime: a regime which has brought Indonesia to its knees economically, morally and socially.

The founding of the Institute
Mrs Sulami, she is now 76 years old, first investigated research work on the massacres in 1994. She was a former Secretary General of Gerwani (Gerakan Wanita Indonesia, Indonesian Women Movement). She joined Gerwani in 1951 and since her release from jail in1986 Sulami has slowly begun to investigate the mass killings of 1965. This work was both very difficult and dangerous at the time. All those involved have agreed that there is a need and heed for a specialised organisation to continue the task in a serious, in-depth and objective manner. The results will an able future generation of Indonesians to have a clear view regarding these years of their history.
The “Indonesian Institute for the study of 1965/1966 Massacre” (YPKP `1965/1966) is the direct result: it was constituted by notaries act on 7th April 1999. The Institute`s activities so far have been:
– Treat and process data collected since 1994, including testimonies and other sources of evidence.
– To establish a network of YPKP `65/66 branches inside Java and to prepare its extension to other parts of Indonesia in order to collect further information.
– To cooperate with other Indonesian organisations with similar aims.
– To organise support from abroad (including the Indonesian Diaspora)

In conforming to our objective, which is to demand justice, Soeharto as person who bear full responsibility for the slaughter must be brought before the International Tribunal. We will use the United Nations forum. So the document will serve as:

-To present proofs and witnesses to the International Tribunal
-As a historical document
-Realizing of YPKP 1965/1966 project

As it is commonly known to all of us, one among the main duties of YPKP`65/66 is to carry out researches on the victims of the 1965/1966 massacres perpetrated by the regime of Orde Baru under Suharto. In this framework, the first exhumation of the graves of the victims of these massacres has taken place at Situkup Forest, Dempes village, Kaliwiro district, Wonosobo region (Central Java), which lasted from 16 to 18 November 2000, and continued on 19 January 2001.
From these two times exhumations; a forensic team has unearthed 26 skeletons of the victims of the massacres. These skeletons were then transported and deposited in the Sardjito Hospital at Yogyakarta. A process of identification of the skeletons is now going on, and it is expected that the works of identification can be completed during the month of March 2001.
One of the purposes of the exhumation of the graves is a humanitarian acts to support the wish of the victim`s families to bury again the respective skeleton according to the normal customs and ritual traditions, for instance by burying it side by side to their other dead family members. The number of families wishing to do the re-burial of the skeleton is 6. The remaining 20 skeletons, which are not taken by their respective families, will be re-buried by YPKP in a terrain located in the district of Kaloran (in Temanggung region, Central Java). A member of the Advisory Council of YPKP, Mr. Irawan Mangunkusumo, has donated freely his own terrain for this purpose. The administrative procedures (land permit etc) of the donation of terrain (about 600 square meters) are now going on. Mr. Irawan Mangunkusumo was in 1965 (before the black tragedy) the Head of the village of Kaloran and member of the House of Representatives of Temanggung. He was detained in the prison-island Nusa-Kambangan for 8 years. The YPKP is planning to realize the ceremonies of re-burial of the skeletons of the victims of the massacres on March 25th 2001.

Time Schedule
A. Date and place
Date: March 25th 2001
Place: Kaloran (Wonosobo, Central Java)

B. Ceremonies
Invitations: KOMNAS HAM Governor of Central Java
Provincial House of Representatives (provincial parliament)
Head of the Temanggung Region
Regional House of Representatives (regional parliament)
Leaders of various political parties
Leaders of mass organisations
Leaders of religious communities and local personalities
People of the surrounding areas

The task is immense, and of great importance to Indonesia and the world, as it implies no less than a restoration of justice to millions people who have suffered or died because of the events of 1965/1966, but also a true revision of history to our common efforts in unmasking the crimes against humanity committed by the Soeharto`s military regime. We do hope that your organisation will support us. On behalf of YPKP `65/66, we thank you in advance your kind attention to our work project.
SULAMI, President
HASAN RAID, Head Officer
SUHARNO, Secretary


The Anti-imperialist Camp responded:

Dear comrades,
Thank you for your message and the information on your work concerning the massacre in the 60ties by the Suhartono-regime.
We highly appreciate your efforts to bring light into this bitter experience of the Indonesian Communist and Workers` movement which is of big importance for the whole international movement. However, we have some doubts about your appeal to the UN and the International Tribunal for justice. The recent history has made clear that exactly these institutions – the UN and the International Tribunal – have sided with imperialism being nothing more than a “humanitarian” cover for direct imperialist intervention in those countries not willing to subordinate to imperialist military power and economic neo-colonialism. We thus think that all popular, social or political forces with anti-imperialist orientation should not appeal to these institutions since they will never side with the people`s interest. On the contrary, all anti-imperialist organisations should help to unmask the real role of these international institutions and help people to lose their illusions.
It is the people themselves, in your case the Indonesian people, who have to make justice over their oppressors and exploiters.

In this sense, dear comrades, we express our solidarity with your important work and wish you all the best.

In solidarity,
The Anti-imperialist Camp