October 17, 2017

Udall Statement on Declassification of US Files on Indonesian Massacre

WASHINGTON — U.S. Senator Tom Udall, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, released the following statement after the U.S. government declassified thousands of files related to the 1965-66 slaughter of up to 1 million people in Indonesia. Udall has introduced a resolution in the Senate urging Indonesia’s government to create a truth and reconciliation commission to address these tragic killings, and calling on the U.S. government to establish an interagency working group and to release relevant classified documents.

“The declassification of these documents is an important step as we seek to close a dark and horrific chapter of the 20th century. The massacre of up to 1 million Indonesian people in 1965 and 1966 – just over 50 years ago – was a crime against humanity. The victims of this campaign of mass murder deserve justice and recognition, and the Indonesian people – and the world community – deserve the truth. I commend all those who have fought for decades to shed light on this atrocity, and I am especially grateful to Joshua Oppenheimer for his work to bring this moral outrage into the public view.

“These documents will provide greater transparency about the United States’ support for the Indonesian government during the same period that these horrible crimes were committed. I intend to request a full briefing for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on the release of these documents and on the findings contained within them.

“Today represents real progress. But in Indonesia, many of the individuals behind these murders continue to live with impunity, and the victims and their descendants continue to be marginalized and unrecognized. These injustices are holding back Indonesia from achieving reconciliation and realizing its democratic potential. Here in the United States, we must encourage the continued democratic progress of a vital ally, and we must confront our own role in these terrible acts. Only by acknowledging the truth about our own history will the United States be able to speak out forcibly and credibly to defend human rights in the future.”