Saturday, May 14, 2011

Families of May ‘98 victims gather in solidarity

Organized by the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras), which has been involved in efforts to seek justice in relation to the riots that caused the deaths of thousands of innocent civilians.

“We are not here to cry or mourn, but to pray for our loved ones and to strengthen our fight for justice," Kontras program coordinator Daud said.

Around 30 people sat in front of the graves, each holding up a black umbrella with the words “demand justice” written on them.

Before sowing flowers on graves, the families of victims took turns to speak and express their feelings.

“We don't ask for much, just listen to us,” one mother said, addressing the government.

Kontras says that after 13 years the government has not made any serious attempt to resolve the riots, which came about after the killing of four students in a demonstration against Soeharto's authoritarian regime.

Earlier, the government formed a fact-finding team to investigate the riots, and the team found that the riots had been carefully masterminded by members of the political elite.

The National Commission for Human Rights (Komnas HAM) has on several occasions taken the case to the Attorney General's Office (AGO) for prosecution, but each time it has been rejected.

“We have been fighting for so long and we are tired, but the government is still ignoring this case," said Ibu Darwin, who lost her son Eten in the riots.

“Our demand is that the culprits confess.” (awd)

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