The government will form a joint team to verify mass graves believed to contain the bodies of victims of the 1965 mass killings. The team will follow up on a report from activists on the locations of the mass graves.
Chairman of the 1965 Murder Victim’s Research Foundation ( YPKP 65 ) Bejo Untung has handed a report on several mass graves in Central Java to the government.
“We will prepare a team to inspect firsthand several mass graves, such as those reported in Pati and Wonosobo,” Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan said on Monday.
He declined to give details on when the team would start the verification process. The team, consisting of officials from Luhut’s office and the National Commission on Human Rights ( Komnas HAM ), will first take several mass graves as random samples, Luhut said.
Several activists and survivors of the 1965 tragedy came to Luhut’s office to meet and share a dialogue as well as report their findings related to 122 mass graves across Java and Sumatra. The mass graves are believed to contain bodies of at least 13,999 victims of the 1965 communist purge, the groups said.
The group attending the meeting consisted of YPKP 65, the Struggle for Rehabilitation of New Order Regime Victims Association ( LPR-KROB ), the International People’s Tribunal 1965, the Jakarta Legal Aid Institute ( LBH Jakarta ) and the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence ( KontraS ).
Bejo said that in the meeting the activists asked for the government’s guarantee for the preservation of the mass graves and their protection from being destroyed or tampered with by hard-line groups.
Moreover, the number of mass graves will still increase, he said, as the latest report did not include countless mass graves in Bali, Kalimantan, Sulawesi, East Nusa Tenggara and West Nusa Tenggara.
“The report does not include a number of victims which were murdered and thrown into the seas and rivers during the tragedy, including some thrown into the Ular River and the Asahan River [in Sumatra] and the Brantas River and Bengawan Solo River [both in Java],” Bedjo told journalists after the meeting. ( vps/rin )