Sunday, November 1, 2015

1) Regional comments about Papua should be fact-based, says Joku

 2) Indonesia writers fear censors over the 1965 communist purges
3) Indonesia Urged to Stop Silencing Discussion on ‘1965’

1) Regional comments about Papua should be fact-based, says Joku
Updated at 7:21 am today
An Indonesian government consultant on West Papua-related issues says regional dialogue about Papua is welcome but should be based on facts.
Franz Albert Joku represents the Indonesian region abroad, particularly around the Melanesian Spearhead Group, which recently granted observer status 
to the United Liberation Movement for West Papua.
Leaders of some MSG member states have recently raised concerns about West Papuan human rights and self-determination issues.
Mr Joku says the regional discourse is healthy.
“I only hope that leaders of the Pacific nations take their positions and make their remarks based on facts, rather than basing their comments or opinion on propaganda material. 
With the advancement of technology, there’s a lot of it circulating too."
 2) Indonesia writers fear censors over the 1965 communist purges
  • NOVEMBER 02, 2015 12:00AM

  • When The Jakarta Post’s senior editor spoke at the Ubud Readers and Writers festival in Bali, a policeman emerged from the audience to photograph him.
    Endy Bayuni was one of four panellists whose identities were overtly recorded last Thursday. Attendees were also photographed, and other events on Indonesia’s 1965 communist purges were cancelled.
    “It’s like the old days — during the Suharto era,’’ Endy said.
    Indonesian authors, human rights activists and journalists are concerned freedom of expression secured over the past 17 years since the fall of the Suharto regime is being wound back.
    The cancellations were highlighted over the four-day festival, which ended yesterday, and would have caused some embarrassment in Washington where Indonesian President Joko Widodo was visiting the White House.
    Indonesians fear Mr Joko — vulnerable over his minority government and perceived leadership weakness — is bowing to pressure from military and security forces.
    On the 50th anniversary of the purges, Mr Joko has also refused to apologise to victims. The 1965 purges saw more than half a million people slaughtered.
    Author Eka Kurniawan, whose panel on the communist purges was banned by authorities, said all writers were being watched.
    Blaming the censorship on the military, he said: “They are in every political party. Civil society is still fighting for freedom of speech … the old power is still there.
    “In the Suharto era everyone kept silent. But we still have to fight for freedom of speech.
    “This censorship is not a new development. “
    His was among a series of cancelled events, including Joshua Oppenheimer’s film The Look of Silence, a book launch, translations, and an art exhibition.
    Gianyar Regency police chief Farman warned a week ago that the festival’s permit, which was issued by Jakarta police, would be revoked if the 1965-themed events proceeded.
    He cited a 1966 regulation banning communism and Marxism-Leninism.
    Despite regional autonomy, it is understood Jakarta was behind the restrictions.
    Victims from Papua, East Timor and Java and their relatives had travelled to the festival to discuss the “public secret’’. Many have not spoken openly before and they are reportedly fearful again.
    In a hastily prepared censorship panel on Saturday, participants discussed a nervous government unwilling to face reality as books, media and film on the atrocities flood the market.
    “They are not ready to confront the reality that something horrible happened in 1965,” said Endy.
    “They want to erase (the massacres) from the collective memory. There is a backlash against the demand for the government to apologise to victims. The President was subject to pressures.”
    Of additional concern is the “brainwashing of youth’’ — the absence of any reference to the massacres in the school curriculum — to suppress Indonesia’s dark history. Not that young people haven’t watched Oppenheimer’s graphic films, including last year’s shocking The Act of Killing, on YouTube or private screenings.
    Festival founder and director Janet De Neefe told The Australian that critics had admonished her for lacking the courage to proceed with the banned events. She had been pushing awareness of the 1965 atrocities on the 50th anniversary.
    Despite the controversy, the festival attracted a record crowd of 27000, up about 10 per cent on last year.
    Ms De Neefe said she planned to hire a lawyer for next year’s festival. “I don’t know if authorities need to sign a contract but at least we would have some sort of legal document to ultimately protect us,’’ she said.
    “It’s extremely difficult to deal with this sort of dilemma in the 11th hour when the team needs to focus on the delivery of the festival.”
    3) Indonesia Urged to Stop Silencing Discussion on ‘1965’
    By : Jakarta Globe | on 2:08 PM October 31, 2015

    Jakarta. Amnesty International is calling on the Indonesian government to stop restricting the rights to freedom of expression and assembly with its attempts to silence public discussion about the bloody anti-communist purges of the mid-1960s.
    In a press statement, Amnesty expressed its concern about "continued attempts by the Indonesian authorities to silence public discussions, and disband events, related to serious human rights violations that occurred 50 years ago, the most recent at a writers festival in Bali."
    "These actions are a clear restriction of the rights to freedom of expression and assembly and must end immediately," the organization said.
    The Ubud Writers and Readers Festival, which runs until tomorrow, was forced to cancel a number of planned events after "scrutiny" from authorities.
    "Three panel sessions dedicated to discussing the 1965 Communist repression and an art exhibition and book launch The Act of Living will no longer be taking place across the Festival period. In addition the film screening of Joshua Oppenheimer’s The Look of Silence has also been cancelled," organizers said in a statement.
    "The Festival has been involved in extensive negotiations with local authorities, but ultimately was advised that should certain sessions proceed, it would run the risk of the entire Festival being cancelled."
    Amnesty noted in its statement: "Although Indonesia has seen a marked increase in the space for freedom of speech and expression following the fall of Suharto in 1998, a culture of silence has prevailed in discussing the 1965 mass human rights violations."

    It explained: "Victims and survivors of serious human rights abuses have a right to exercise their freedom of expression and discuss the past. In the absence of genuine measures by the government to date to establish the truth, Amnesty International believes that public events and discussions on the 1965 violations such the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival Indonesia play an important role in providing such spaces. These events can help victims and their families understand what happened to them, counter misinformation and highlight factors – such as discrimination – that led to the abuses. Such spaces, allow societies to understand why abuses were committed so that they are not repeated."
    The human rights organization also called on President Joko Widodo's administration to "face the past and take long overdue measures required to provide the 1965 victims with truth, justice and full reparation," and urged Joko to "make a public call to end to all forms of restrictions against public discussions on 1965 and ensure that the government starts listening to victims and others, instead of suppressing their voices."
    Earlier this month, a campus magazine writing about the 1965 massacres had to destroy all printed copies, while authorities in West Sumatra deported a survivor of the 1965 anti-communist purge after he tried to locate his father's mass grave.

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