Stop Genocide – Push for Intervention Now

For Immediate Release
8 September 2017

Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) welcomes the decision by Khairy Jamaluddin to engage with the Myanmar embassy with regards to the persecution and killing of ethnic Rohingya in Rakhine, Myanmar.

Given the urgency and gravity of the situation faced by Rohingya and others in Rakhine state at this present moment, it is of paramount importance for all stakeholders to set aside political differences and act together and immediately to stop the genocide. Failure to act at this crucial juncture would condemn the hundreds of thousands of Rohingya and others to further forced displacement, violence, deprivation and possible death.

As a member of the cabinet, Khairy Jamaluddin must go beyond merely meeting with the United Nations office in Malaysia and the Myanmar embassy. Instead, he must be part of an immediate Malaysian Government collective cabinet decision which will result in the Government of Malaysia taking a strong lead in addressing the issue of genocide in Rakhine state and the urgent need to protect thousands of innocent civilians, including but not confined to the urgent delivery of much-needed humanitarian aid.

To this end, SUARAM calls for the Government of Malaysia to:

1) demand all sides stop the violence with immediate effect.

2) urge all fellow ASEAN members to insist the Myanmar government honours its commitments to the ASEAN Charter, the ASEAN Declaration of Human Rights, and all other ASEAN and international instruments to which Myanmar is a signatory. This will mean an immediate cessation of violence, the proactive protection of all civilians against displacement and violence, the guaranteed safe return of all those displaced by the violence and the securement of their land and help with rebuilding their communities, and the provision of basic necessities to everyone, including those in IDP Camps.

3) to call upon fellow ASEAN governments, the international community and other partners, to support the Myanmar government and the Bangladesh government in providing essential and urgent humanitarian aid to the hundreds of thousands displaced, including those who have fled into the Bangladesh and/or are at the border area with Bangladesh, as well as to Rohingya and others still in Arakan state, including in the IDP Camps.

4) to make sure that ASEAN members and the international community come together to support the Myanmar government with immediate effect in translating the recommendations of the Kofi Annan Commission Report on Rakhine state into practice. These recommendations include the guaranteeing of citizenship rights and form a ready-made roadmap for a secure and safe future for all in Rakhine state.

5) to call upon Aung Suu Kyi and her government in Myanmar to allow independent monitors into all areas, to assess humanitarian need and to assess any responsibility for any crimes committed in the course of the violence. If, as she maintains, her government and military have done nothing wrong, this should not be a problem.

In Solidarity
Sevan Doraisamy
Executive Director


Press statement by Kua Kia Soong, SUARAM Adviser 23 July 2016

After more than 50 years of  silence in the routinized world of diplomacy, the International Tribunal at the Hague has found Indonesia guilty of crimes against humanity in the 1965 genocide and the US, UK and Australia complicit in these heinous crimes. The Tribunal report estimates that over 400,000 people were murdered in 1965 anti-communist purges. The panel, presided over by head judge Zak Yacoob, a former South African Constitutional Court Justice, held a four-day hearing in the Hague in November last year.

The judges concluded that the Suharto regime had carried out “inhumane, ruthless torture, unjustifiable imprisonment and forced labor that might well have amounted to enslavement…evidence of systematic sexual violence, political persecution and exile, and disappearances of thousands who were thought not to support the Suharto dictatorship with sufficient fervor.”

The report also states that the United States of America, the United Kingdom and Australia were fully aware of what was taking place in Indonesia and were complicit to varying degrees. According to the judges, the US supported the Indonesian military “knowing well that they were embarked upon a programme of mass killings,” and the UK and Australia repeated false propaganda from the Indonesian army, even after it became “abundantly clear that killings and other crimes against humanity were taking place.”

Public intellectuals vindicated

This has finally vindicated what public intellectuals such as Noam Chomsky, E.S. Herman, Peter Dale Scott, John Pilger and others have written about since the genocide occurred. The CIA itself has called this genocide “one of the worst mass murders of the twentieth century,” (Peter Dale Scott, Pacific Affairs, 58, Summer 1985, pages 239-264.) U.S. officials, journalists and scholars, some with rather prominent CIA connections, are perhaps principally responsible for the myth that the bloodbath was a spontaneous, popular revulsion to what U.S. Ambassador Jones later called PKI (Partai Komunis Indonesia) “carnage.”

Among other CIA tactics, Chomsky and Herman had written:

“Army-inspired anti-Chinese programs that took place in West Java in 1959 were financed by U.S. contributions to the local army commander”; apparently CIA funds were used by Colonel Kosasih to pay local thugs in “the army’s (and probably the Americans’) campaign to rupture relations with China.” (Noam Chomsky and E.S. Herman, ‘The Washington Connection and Third World Fascism’ (Boston, Massachusetts: South End Press, 1979), p. 206)

The 1965 bloodbath in Indonesia was sparked by a failed coup and the murder of a number of generals in the military. General Suharto blamed the coup on communists and the ousted President Sukarno, the country’s first post-independence leader, and the genocide ensued. Suharto assumed the presidency in 1967 and ruled Indonesia until 1998. Military death squads targeted not only communists but ethnic Chinese, or anyone with left wing views.

Indonesians exhilarated over May 13 Incident in Malaysia

In my 2007 title, ‘May 13: Declassified Documents on the Malaysian Riots of 1969’, I noted the racist views by the Counsellor of the Indonesian Embassy imparted to the New Zealand High Commissioner, when the former was revelling in the imposition of “Malay domination” after the “slaughter on May 13” and the fact that “the Chinese would be held firmly down”. We also discover from the British High Commission documents that the only foreign leader to have sent a congratulatory note to the new Malaysian regime under Tun Razak after May 13 was General Suharto:

Moerdani’s (Counsellor, Indonesian Embassy) views on the Chinese were, as one might expect, pretty basic…It was essential Malaysia should put the Chinese in their place…Indonesia had been able to deal with its Chinese fairly easily because they were so much in the minority. This was not the case in Malaysia. He said he did not think there would be a Chinese backlash as a result of the slaughter on 13 May – they were practical people and they knew who had the guns. Nor did he think Chinese political pressures would build up in the face of a new Malay Malaysia – once they realized who was master they would turn docilely to their primary interest in making money.” (Confidential memo from British HC to Foreign and Colonial Office, 27 June 1969, quoted in Kua Kia Soong, 2007:106)

Indonesian government must apologise and compensate survivors

The judges in the Tribunal have recommended the Indonesian government apologize to victims and their families, investigate the crimes against humanity, and ensure any survivors receive appropriate compensation. The US bears responsibility for paying reparations to the families of victims of the 1965 genocide. In one of its recommendations, the panel of judges of the IPT has also called upon the Indonesian government to probe and prosecute all of the perpetrators.

Since 1965, Indonesia’s security forces have also committed atrocities in Timor Leste and continue to do so in West Papua against West Papuans who have been demonstrating for their right to self-determination. Last October, security officials forced the cancellation of sessions addressing the 1965 massacres at an international writers’ festival in Bali. The U.S. and Indonesia must release all their classified records concerning the crimes committed in 1965 and all those responsible for the atrocities must be held accountable for these serious crimes.

ASEAN Human Rights Commission must address genocide

The ASEAN Human Rights Commission must respond to these findings by the International Tribunal on the 1965 genocide in Indonesia and make recommendations. And in the light of the occurrence of the 1965 genocide in Indonesia, the 1969 pogrom in Malaysia and the atrocities committed by the military juntas in Burma and Thailand, the ASEAN Human Rights Commission also needs to ensure that adequate human rights safeguards and sanctions are in place in ASEAN to ensure that such atrocities are never allowed to happen in any of the ASEAN countries ever again.