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Indonesia: Atrocities conducted under Suharto should not be forgotten, says Amnesty

Death of former president should not allow those guilty of human rights violations to escape justice

Amnesty International today warned that the death of General Suharto should not be used as an excuse to ignore the atrocities that were conducted in his name during his 33-year reign.

Suharto took control of Indonesia in 1965 and officially became president in 1968. He ruled the country until his resignation in 1998.

Some of the human rights violations conducted during his reign included all political candidates being approved by military intelligence; media was effectively censored and criticism of the government was prohibited by law.

In the year after President Suharto took control, between 500,000 and one million alleged members of the Indonesian Communist party were killed in the year; 500,000 of his political opponents were arrested, only one thousand of whom were ever brought to trial. While between 1989 and 1993, two thousand civilians in Aceh including Children's rights and the elderly were unlawfully killed.

In May 1998, several hundred people were killed by the security forces as police clamped down on protestors. The ethnic-Chinese were targeted and an unknown number of ethnic-Chinese Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights were raped.

Kate Allen, Director of Amnesty International UK, said:

“Today, the reported death of General Suharto should act as a reminder that despite Indonesia's progress towards democracy, many of the human rights violations which were committed under his presidency have gone unpunished.

“This situation of impunity risks undermining the rule of law and human rights in Indonesia today. All those who have committed serious crimes in the country during Suharto's reign should be brought to justice, and victims should receive due compensation and reparations as a matter of priority.

“There are still deep-rooted problems in Indonesia. Peaceful demonstrators have been killed by the security forces. Discrimination remains widespread, and individuals continue to be persecuted for expressing their desire for independence in the Indonesian regions of Moluku and Papua.

“Amnesty International hopes that Indonesia can now deliver justice for the millions that suffered under Suharto, while breaking with the past and improving human rights for present and future generations.”

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