Jalan Kalibesar Timur no.3, Jakarta Barat 11110, Indonesia
PO BOX 4923 JKTF 11049, Jakarta . Indonesia
Tel (62-21) 6930324 and 5483800
Bank: BNI Capem Cimone Tangerang No. Rek. 001027 495001
-- AHRC UA email@example.com wrote:
Date: Wed, 13 Dec 2000 17:30:43 +0800
To: (Recipient list suppressed)
From: AHRC UA firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: PRESS RELEASE-Ibu Salami of Indonesia selected
for the 4th Tji Hak-soon Justice & Peace Award
OF THE THE ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION
Dec. 13, 2000
A Campaigner against Disappearances Honoured
Ibu Sulami of Indonesia
Selected for the Fourth Tji Hak-soon Justice and Peace Award
Notification of Award
Ibu Sulami, 74, received the following note from the Tji Hak-Soon awards committee.
Dear Ms. Sulami,
First of all, I would like to show my respect to you for your lifetime dedication for justice and peace.
The Tji Hak-soon Justice and Peace Award has been established to encourage and be of help to individuals or organisations who, at great personal risk, stand up to any difficult conditions in the pursuit of justice, peace and respect for human rights and is presented annually on the day of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as you may be aware.
In view of the foregoing aims, the award
adjudicating committee has selected you as this year's award laureate from the recommended candidates all over the world, including Korea. Your meritorious deeds, as well as other candidates for justice and peace, gave us great hope and courage.
Again, I would like to pay my respects to you and pray for your recovery. I hope the Tji Hak-Soon Justice and Peace Award will be of help to you, pursuing your will and activities in the forthcoming future too.
Ibu Sulami is due to receive her award for her research work into the 19651966 massacre in Indonesia. Ibu Sulami was nominated for this award by the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC).
The following is an interview by Wiecher Hulst of Amnesty International (AI) in the Netherlands with Ibu Sulami in March 2000 entitled "To Kill ONE Person Is Bad Enough."
"We have an obsession: How can we keep silent about the terrible cruelties committed in 19651966? I have always said that I do not want to die while Suharto is still in power. That kept me alive in prison."
Suharto has fallen from power, already 2 years ago, and Ibu Sulami is still alive. At 74, she appears frail, but she has a mission to fulfil with great perseverance: to document the massacres and to prosecute the perpetrators.
Sulami was born in Sragen in Central Java. After school, she worked in the local sugar factory; and beginning in 1947, she was active in the sugar workers' union in Jogjakarta, then the capital of the Republic of Indonesia. In December 1948, the Dutch attacked Jogjakarta in what is called the "Second Aggression" in Indonesia but still called the "Second Police Action" in the Netherlands.
Sulami: "Then I joined the army or TNI. Women could do that then. In 1951,
I left the army because there was, after all, no more war. I went to Surabaya, back to the SWU, but soon I transferred to the women's union Gerwani. My motivation was the programme of the union: the equality of men and women, the improvement of education opportunities for women, the protection of children and support to the struggle of worker and peasant womenall that appealed to me enormously."
Gerwani was a leftist women's movement that became increasingly associated with the Communist Party or PKI. At the beginning of the 1960s, the PKI had 20 million members and was, after China, the largest in the world. Gerwani also grew until there were three million members. Ibu Sulami became the second secretary-general of Gerwani.
The tensions in Indonesia increased; and on Sept. 30, 1965, the bomb exploded. A group of leftist officers staged a coup, allegedly to protect President Sukarno against an internal coup of generals. The coup was clumsily organised and was suppressed by troops under the adership of Maj. Gen. Suharto. Military units loyal to Suharto began a massive attack on everything "leftist' and "communist," helped by gangs of orthodox Muslims. Within six months, between one to three million people had died.
Hundreds of thousands were imprisoned, among them many Gerwani members.
The coup of Sept. 30, 1965, was known in Indonesia as "Gestapu" (the Movement of Sept. 30).
Ibu Sulami was at the headquarters of Gerwani in Jakarta during the Gestapu, busy preparing for their congress in December. Nothing happened for three days, and then a mob, instigated by the military, attacked the building. Ibu Sulami escaped. She was on the run for one year, during which time she never slept more than one night in any place.
Finally she was caught and, during a show trial, sentenced to 20 years in prison. "For calumny," she says, with a bitter laugh, "that was, of course, nonsense".
The first years"they were the worst"she was in military detention. Later the conditions improved. In prison, she wrote a novella, a bundle of short stories and poems which will be published shortly in Indonesia, as well as a book about her experiences in prison.
In 1985, she was released; but for many years, she had to report regularly to the military authorities. She was not broken though. In 1994, together with a number of friends, she began to collect information about the mass murders through interviewing survivors and looking for mass graves.
Since Suharto's fall, her work has accelerated. In September 1998, Ibu Sulami went to the killing fields of Central Java with an Australian TV team to make a documentary.
"Suharto was replaced by Habibie, but the regions were still under Orde Baru (New Order) so it was still very risky. We went to the woods in the surroundings of Blora with help from people from the Forestry Department who had been fired because they had joined the SOPBSI [communist trade union]. We searched to a depth of about one meter. Then we found the evidence: rubber sandals, utensils from the prison, cups, etc. When we dug urther, we found skulls, broken teeth, feet and hands. Out of fear for the police we stopped, but we took bones and utensils as evidence."
Ibu Sulami's work led to the founding of YPKP, the Foundation for the Study of the Massacre of 1965/1966.
One of the founding members is the internationally renowned writer Pramoedya Ananta Toer, who himself had been locked up in the prison camp in Buru. arious wealthy Indonesians supported the YPKP anonymously because the massacre is still a sensitive subject. The National Human Rights Commission (Komnasham), however, refused to support the YPKP with the curious argument that it was not yet in existence at the time of the mass murders.
Ibu Sulami smiles at this argument. She continues with her struggle, with or without support from Komnasham. Already many mass graves have been found, and hundreds of survivors have been interviewed.
In the course of this year, a report will be presented to the government of Gus Dur, the nickname of President Abdurrahman Wahid.
"It may not be possible to determine how many millions were killed then, but that is not necessary. A few thousand are enough.
We work together with forensic experts so that we can present admissible evidence in a court of evidence in a court of law, not an Indonesian Courtthat would not be suitablebut an international tribunal. That would meet with many obstacles, but it must happen".
Ø Ibu Sulami smiles, bitter but immovable. "We cannot accept that so many of our comrades have been murdered without doing anything. To kill ONE person is bad enough; but in 1965, so many were killed that one could compare it with the Holocaust of the Jews. The perpetrators must be brought to justice."