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Victim protection agency to give aid to Priok riot victims

Sumber: THEJAKARTAPOST.COM | Tgl terbit: Kamis, 15 September 2011

After 27 years of tribulations in seeking justice, the victims of the 1984 Tanjung Priok riot have glimpsed a dim light of hope that their struggle may succeed.

The Witness and Victims Protection Agency (LPSK) said on Wednesday that it would provide medical aid and psychological assistance to a number of victims of the bloody 1984 Tanjung Priok riot that killed dozens of civilians.

LPSK Chief Abdul Haris Semendawai was speaking during a meeting with activists from the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) who asked the agency to help rehabilitate the victims as mandated by the law.

â??But this help will only be given to victims who were really afflicted by the tragedy, and we need recommendations from Kontras to know their identification details,â? Haris said on Wednesday.

He added that the LPSK might be able to give victims compensation money, but only if the government granted the LPSK the authority to do so.

â??For example, the President could make a presidential decree, but the question is whether the President has the will to do that,â? he said.

Haris said that he had spoken with the President several times on the matter, but that the President had told him that it was being discussed by the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) and the Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Ministry.

Kontrasâ?? impunity and victimsâ?? rights fulfillment division Chief Yati Andriyani said, â??We come today exactly on the 27th year commemoration of the tragedy to discuss possible aid for the victims in order to fulfill their rightsâ?.

On Sep. 12, 1984, in Tanjung Priok, security forces fired on Muslim protesters demonstrating against a new regulation requiring all organizations to adopt the Pancasila in their ideologies.

The number of people killed remains a point of contention.

Official reports showed that 24 were killed and 54 injured in the 1984 tragedy, but the victimsâ?? families claim the death toll was more than 100.

Community leader Amir Biki was also killed in the tragedy.

In 2003, an ad-hoc human rights court acquitted all 14 military officers accused of the killings and torture during the incident.

The following year, the Supreme Court rejected an appeal against the acquittal, and the alleged perpetrators remained free.

During its initial stage, the court stated that the victims deserved just over Rp 1 billion (US$116,000) in compensation, but in ensuing sessions, the Supreme Court ruled only that the state had categorized the incident as a severe human rights violation, but did not mention compensation.

A 2008 government regulation on compensation, restitution and aid for witnesses and victims prevented the Priok tragedy victims from receiving compensation, because it stipulated that they could not accept compensation if the perpetrators had been acquitted. (rpt)

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