Activists pose with the photos of victims of the May 1998 riots in Jakarta. (Antara Photo/Hafidz Mubarak)

Komnas Perempuan Urges Gov't to Recognize Rights of Victims of May 1998 Riots


MAY 07, 2017

Jakarta. The National Commission on Violence Against Women, or Komnas Perempuan, has urged the government on Saturday (06/05) to continue with efforts to recognize the rights of victims of human rights abuses that occurred during the May 1998 riots.

"We urge the Jokowi-JK administration to continue all efforts to offer opportunities to the victims of human rights abuses in Indonesia's past by guaranteeing their right to the truth, justice, healing and assurances that those crimes will not be repeated," Komnas Perempuan said in a press release, referring to President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo and Vice President Jusuf Kalla.

For years, Komnas Perempuan has organized remembrance events on the anniversary of the May 1998 riots. The tragedy, which claimed 1,190 lives, has served as a continuing reminder for Indonesia and its people to prevent such atrocities from ever happening again.

According to Komnas Perempuan's data, there are 85 cases where women of Chinese descent were gang raped during the May 1998 riots. This does not include unreported cases.

The Jakarta provincial government has been involved in remembrance events since 2013.

Komnas Perempuan said there has been a systemic denial of gang-rape incidents, which resulted in similar crimes being committed against Indonesian women and girls today.

The commission has invited Indonesians to commemorate the tragedy together this year and reflect on the journey to eradicate violence against women in the archipelago.

"[We need to continue] protecting Indonesia's diversity, and uphold the values of Pancasila [...] and fight against all forms of the politicization of religion and identity that are used to divide the nation," the statement said.

Former President B.J. Habibie will participate in the opening event of the weeklong commemoration, which has been scheduled to take place at the Pondok Ranggon public cemetery in East Jakarta on Monday.