The Look of Silence

There is going to be a screening of “The Look of Silence” at Pavilion Dance, Bournemouth, next Monday the 27th July 2015 at 6.45. We are going to have a table in the foyer handing out an information leaflet from AIUK about the film, and what individuals can do to help bring perpetrators to justice. The information leaflet is largely published below. For a review of the film try IMBd

Waiting 50 Years for Justice

The Look of Silence is another vivid reminder of the continuing impunity for grave human rights violations in Indonesia from the same director as Oscar-nominated and BAFTA-winning 2013 documentary The Act of Killing.
look of silenceIn The Act of Killing, director Joshua Oppenheimer and his anonymous Indonesian co-director and crew broke the taboo around this dark period in Indonesia’s history and opened the debate on justice for crimes of the past. This year, he is back with The Look of Silence, a companion documentary that follows Adi Rukun on his journey to confronting the men who killed his brother. Both documentaries show how some of those behind grave human rights abuses in Indonesia in 1965-66 not only continue to walk free but enjoy virtual celebrity status, leaving the victims still in anguish.

About the film

The award-winning The Look of Silence follows a family of survivors as they discover how their son was killed and who killed him. The film focuses on the victim’s younger brother who, determined to break the shackles of silence and fear, finds and confronts those responsible for the murder of his brother – something unimaginable while the killers remained in power. This unprecedented film bears witness to the collapse of fifty years of silence.
The Look of Silence premiered on 10 November 2014 in Jakarta, Indonesia. It was endorsed and sponsored by the National Human Rights Commission and the Jakarta Arts Council.

The 1965 mass killings

Following a failed coup in September 1965, the Indonesian military – headed by Major General Suharto – launched a systematic attack against members of the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) and suspected sympathizers. An estimated 500,000 to one million people were killed in Indonesia. A range of other human rights violations were committed, including unlawful killings, torture, enforced disappearances, rape and other crimes of sexual violence, slavery, arbitrary arrest and detention, forced displacement and forced labour. To date, no perpetrators have been held to account.
A three-year investigation into the violations was carried out by the Indonesia National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) and completed in July 2012. The commission found evidence of the widespread human rights violations committed across the country between 1965 and 1966, which continued at a lower level into the late 1970s. In July 2012 Komnas HAM called on the Attorney General to launch an official investigation based on its findings and to bring the perpetrators to justice. Komnas HAM also called on the authorities to establish a truth and reconciliation commission and to issue a formal apology to the victims and their families. To date, there has been no indication that the Attorney General will even launch an investigation.
In October 2014, President Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo entered office with commitments to respect and protect human rights in Indonesia, including to address past human rights abuses in the country. In late May 2015, the Attorney General stated that President Joko Widodo’s administration would resolve past human rights violations, including the 1965-66 violations, through establishing a non-judicial ‘reconciliation committee’. Victims and NGOs are concerned that this process may prioritize reconciliation and undermine truth and justice.
The failure to address the 1965-66 violations points to a wider culture of impunity in Indonesia. The Indonesian government has also consistently failed to provide justice, truth and reparation for past grave human rights abuses, including those committed in Aceh, Timor-Leste (then East Timor), Papua and during the 1998 May riots.

What you can do

Write letters and direct social media messages (addresses, social media profiles and messaging below) to the Indonesia authorities to raise concerns about the ongoing impunity related to the 1965-66 violations;
Organise meetings with other activists or human rights groups to mobilise action leading up the 50th anniversary of the 1965-66 violations in September 2015;
Contact local media to raise Amnesty International’s concerns about the 1965-66 violations and our wider concerns about the impunity of past human rights violations in Indonesia.

Key Calls

Remind the Indonesian authorities that have a responsibility to investigate allegations of crimes against humanity and prosecute those responsible;
Urge the Indonesian Parliament to set up a truth and reconciliation commission;
Call on the Indonesian government to establish a national programme to provide full and effective reparations to the victims of serious human rights violations.

Government addresses to target:
President of the Republic of Indonesia
H. E. Joko Widodo
Istana Merdeka
Jakarta Pusat 10110
Fax: +62 21 386 4816 /+62 21 344 2233
Salutation: Dear President

Indonesian Ambassador to the United
Teuku Mohammad Hamzah Thayeb
38 Grosvenor Square
London W1K 2HW
United Kingdom
Fax: +44 207 491 4993
Salutation: Dear Ambassador

Twitter targets
President Joko Widodo – @jokowi_do2
Indonesian Cabinet Secretary – @setkabgoid
Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs – @MoFA_Indonesia & @Portal_Kemlu_RI
Suggested tweets:
50 years of silence: it’s time to address crimes against humanity in #Indonesia #65violations
50 years on impunity remains for crimes against humanity in #Indonesia #65violations
#Indonesia must establish truth, justice & reparation for #65violations. End impunity for mass killings, torture, rape
#65violations 500,000 to one million people killed in #Indonesia, impossible to deny – we demand justice
No justice for mass killings, torture and rape in #Indonesia. End impunity for #65violations