Jakarta. Chief Security Minister Wiranto on Wednesday (28/02) promised to follow-up on concerns raised by survivors of terrorist attacks at the conclusion of an inaugural reconciliation meeting between survivors and former terrorists in Jakarta.
"There was a positive dialogue that took place here … between the government, survivors of terrorist attacks and former terrorists. Full attention was given, the participants had their concerns answered right away by the ministers," Wiranto said.
More than a hundred former terrorists and around fifty survivors attended the three-day meeting, which was organized by the National Counterterrorism Agency (BNPT) and held at the Borobudur Hotel in Central Jakarta.
Social Affairs Minister Idrus Marham, Manpower Minister Hanif Dhakiri and Research, Technology and Higher Education Minister Muhammad Nasir also attended the event.
The government-led meeting was the first of its kind and aimed to specifically tackle the issue of terrorism at its roots and to offer reconciliation to those who were affected by attacks, Wiranto added.
Indonesia's efforts in tackling terrorism have been focused on a soft approach, especially through BNPT's deradicalization programs, in recent years.
The event also saw former terrorists convey their apologies to victims in an open dialogue.
Years of Struggle
The event provided an opportunity for survivors to share their struggles and voice what they viewed as a lack of balance in the the government’s support toward those affected by radicalism and terrorist attacks.
"We think it’s important for the government to offer equal support for former terrorists and also the survivors," said Chusnul Hotinah, a survivor of the 2002 Bali bombings.
Chusnul stressed that the government must facilitate health and educational services and also support survivors through training sessions or coordinated job placement.
Survivors’ testimonies at the event reveal the unfortunate reality that they have been neglected by the government and for years struggled to live a decent life.
Tony Soemarno, who survived the 2003 Marriott hotel bombing, told reporters that victims were previously fed promises that were never delivered by authorities.
"Honestly, this event is something I’ve been waiting for for a very long time. I survived the 2003 attack, but until now there has been no support – it’s been 15 years, and it’s all been false promises," Tony said.
He added that he was surprised that BNPT was able to bring in relevant ministers, and stressed that the victims merely require government support in the form of facilities, not money.
"One such example is health facilities. If we are healthy, we can find food and we can work," Tony said.
Upon hearing the concerns raised by the survivors, Idrus, Hanif and Nasir promised they will deliver on what their respective ministries can offer.
Nasir, for his part, promised to grant scholarships for children of former terrorists and survivors of terrorist attacks.
"Children of survivors and former terrorists, whether they are just starting or already going to college, we will give them scholarships," Nasir said.
Meanwhile, Idrus committed to delivering relevant social services while Hanif said his ministry will provide training for families of survivors and former terrorists to prepare them for the workforce.
"I am here to key in all the commitments made from the dialogue we had, so that it can be realized accordingly," Wiranto said.