Support from the Asian Studies Association of Australia was critical in the holding of the conference, New Perspectives on the 1965 Violence in Indonesia at the Australian National University, Canberra from Monday 11th to Wednesday 13th February 2013. Given the topical nature of the 1965-66 violence, there was very strong interest in the conference both in Indonesia and in Australia. Last year the Indonesian Human Rights Commission released a report, which argued that the Indonesian military was responsible for crimes against humanity in connection with the 1965-66 violence.
Around 100 people attended the conference in Canberra, with two days of presentations by primarily Australian-based and Indonesian academics, community researchers and activists. Presentations dealt with the role of the state in the violence, patterns of the violence, ethnic and religious factors, the effects on women and children and ways of addressing the violence and its legacies in many different parts of Indonesia. Presenters from Indonesia included Professor Asvi Warman Adam from the Indonesian
Institute of Sciences (LIPI) and Mr Nurkholis, commissioner from the National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) and head of the taskforce, which investigated the 1965-66 violence. Dr Mery Kolimon from
Eastern Indonesian Women’s Network (Jaringan Perempuan Indonesia Timur, JPIT) and Nurlaela Lamasitudju from the human rights organization SKP-HAM Palu in Central Sulawesi discussed the kinds of advocacy work done in Eastern Indonesia on this issue. Considerable advances have been made in Palu, where the local mayor Rusdi Mastura apologized personally and on behalf of the city of Palu to the victims of the 1965-66 violence.
The last day was a workshop reserved for researchers who had data collections or access to such data on this violence. Participants agreed to create a joint catalogue showing the kinds of 1965-66 related research
materials connected to each organization and participant, led by Ms Sri Lestari Wahyuningroem. A volume of conference proceedings will be edited by Professor Robert Cribb from the Australian National University.
Dr Annie Pohlman of the University of Queensland will edit a journal special edition containing some of the papers presented at the conference. Ms Vannessa Hearman will initiate forming a research network, drawing its membership from the conference participants as a start, to further
consolidate links formed at the conference.
Lecturer, Indonesian Studies, The University of Sydney