October 01, 2015

Udall Introduces Resolution to Promote Reconciliation on 50th Anniversary of Indonesian Massacres

Resolution urges Indonesia to create a truth and reconciliation commission to address the crimes and for U.S. to release related classified documents

WASHINGTON - Today, on the 50th anniversary of the beginning of one of the worst mass atrocities of the 20th century, U.S. Senator Tom Udall reintroduced a resolution in the U.S. Senate to bring attention to the 1965-66 slaughter of up to 1 million people in Indonesia.

On Oct. 1, 1965, six Indonesian Army generals were killed by Indonesian military personnel, but their deaths were blamed on Indonesia's Communist Party. It is believed that the Suharto-led Indonesian government used this event to justify mass killings of anyone alleged to be associated with the Communist Party and this alleged coup. Thousands of intellectuals, teachers, union members, members of the women's movement and other civilians from all walks of life were harrased and killed as a result.

Udall's resolution, which he first introduced last year, urges Indonesia's new government to create a truth and reconciliation commission to address these crimes. It also calls on the U.S. government to establish an interagency working group and to release relevant classified documents.

Udall, a member of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, released the following statement:

"Beginning on Oct. 1, 1965, in Indonesia, between 500,000 and 1,000,000 individuals -- many of them civilians -- were killed by and with the support of the Indonesian government. Many more were imprisoned without due process of law, making this one of the worst mass atrocities in the history of Indonesia.

"During this same era, our government continued military and financial support for Indonesia. As we mark the anniversary of this horrific period just 50 years ago, the United States and Indonesia must work to close this terrible chapter by declassifying information and officially recognizing the atrocities that occurred. Many of the killers are still alive and free, and their impunity prevents Indonesia from truly realizing its democratic potential. Victims and their descendants continue to be marginalized.

"The United States should stand in favor of continued democratic progress for our vital ally Indonesia and allow these historical documents to be disclosed. Only by recognizing the past can we continue to work to improve human rights across the globe."

Udall first introduced the resolution last year on International Human Rights Day. Text of the resolution is available here.