Gwangju 5·18 Movement Torch to Lead the New World Respecting Human Rights and Democracy – Bedjo Untung YPKP 1965 *Acceptance Speech of the 2020 GPHR Winner

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Gwangju 5·18 Movement Torch to Lead the New World Respecting Human Rights and Democracy

Bedjo Untung
Chairman of YPKP 65
Winner of 2020 Gwangju 5·18 Prize for Human Rights

When I heard the announcement of the 2020 Gwangju Award Committee for Human Rights and I was chosen as the winner, it was as if I didn’t believe, as if in a dream world, I had never imagined this would happen.

My memory drifted back to the tragedy where it happened in 1965/1966 and continued into the years that followed. No less than 500,000 – 3,000,000 people were killed where previously they were arrested, tortured, imprisoned, forced to work like slavery, women became victims of sexual harassment.

For myself, as a young student who was 17 years old could not continue my study because I was chased by the army, had to hide in the bush, slept in the city parks, pedestrian, became a newspaper seller, move from one place to another, then finally I was arrested, tortured, got an electric shock, detained for 9 years in a very worse conditions, not enough food and I had to eat whatever animals I found in the camps.

This tragedy was not only happened to me but by thousands and even millions of other victims. They were insulted, got negative stigma, discredited. Those Victims end up living in prisons, concentration camps of torture and forced labor for 9-14 years without due process of law.

Although in 1979 political detainees had been released – due to International pressure – they were still required to report to the military office. Their ID card was given an ET (Ex-Tapol) sign. They looked like still in prison without barbed wire because their life is restricted, controlled by security forces. Victims still experience persecution, intimidation, terrorize from the intolerant. Meeting of victims is prohibited and disbanded by the security.

2020 Gwangju 5.8 Prize for Human Rights

This is a great honor not only for me personally but a tribute to all the victims of gross human rights violations especially the victims of the 1965/1966 tragedy throughout Indonesia and even abroad – the Exile Victims, whose passports were revoked by the Suharto regime – which to this day has not received justice, truth and reparation.

In particular, I have to thank to the Founders of YPKP 65: Pramoedya A Toer (famous writer), Sulami (women activist), Hasan Raid (politician), Sumini (women activist), Kusalah S Toer (writer), Suharno (student activist) and Tjiptaning (politician).

Also to Nominator Andreas Harsono (human rights activist, journalist) and Referee Mugiyanto (activist and victim of disappearance).

And no less important to all YPKP 65 volunteers who have worked up and down hills, down the path through the bushes to conduct research, collect testimony of survivors, recorded places of torture, identified mass graves from Sumatra, Java, Bali, Kalimantan and other places throughout Indonesia and victims of forced labor on Buru Island, Nusa Kambangan, Tangerang Prison, Tanjung Kaso, Moncong Lue, Argo Sari East Kalimantan, Plantungan Prison, Surabaya, etc. The great work of research to reveal the truth and uphold justice for victims will be unsuccessful without the support of the victims.

Therefore, this award is a form of recognition and respect for the hard work of the victims in carrying out truth telling and justice for Victims of gross human rights violations especially Victims of 1965.

The Award of Gwangju 5.8 Memorial Foundation inspires and motivates Victims to continue to fight for the realization of truth, justice, reparations, recovery and democracy for the victims of the 1965 genocide, while the State and Government of the Republic of Indonesia to this day deny and not account for crimes against humanity of Genocide 1965/1966. Although, the National Commission on Human Rights of the Republic of Indonesia and the International People’s Tribunal The Hague has recommended that the Indonesian government should take responsibility for its crimes, by establishing an Ad Hoc Human Rights Court to punish the perpetrators and ensure justice for victims.

The Victims learned a lot from the experience of the people of Gwangju who were bravely, full of heroism that ultimately ended the dictatorship of Chun Doo- hwan. YPKP 65 together with the civil society movement in Indonesia, students, workers, farmers, youth, women will continue to work together to increase solidity and cooperation to fight for the enforcement of human rights and democracy.

YPKP 65 will continue to work on truth-telling and promoting the spirit of the Gwangju Pro-Democracy Movement. In fact, the spirit of Gwangju is in line with the spirit of the Indonesian people against the dictatorship to strengthen Human Rights and Democracy.

May the spirit of the Gwangju 5·18 Movement continue to spread to various countries in the world including here in Indonesia. Presumably, Mr. Jokowi our president can learn from Korea to express his regret over the mass murder in 1965/1966, uphold justice and recovery for the Victims.

The world has changed. Stop violence, strengthen friendship between nations on the basis of a fair and civilized humanity, stop conflicts based on differences in political views in the name of ideology. The People of Korea and Indonesia have same experience as a result of the Cold War – massacre, detention, torture, rape, hate speech propaganda, forced labor / slavery on a massive scale.

Gwangju May 18 Movements are torches which illuminate the world towards a New World order that respects Human Rights and Democracy.

simak pula Bedjo Untung (Ketua YPKP 65) Penerima ‘Gwangju Prize for Human Rights Award 2020’ [Dok. Upacara Pemberian Penghargaan] 

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Bedjo Untung (Ketua YPKP 65) Penerima ‘Gwangju Prize for Human Rights Award 2020’ [Dok. Upacara Pemberian Penghargaan]

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