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Activists seek justice on 1998 rape of Chinese

Updated: May 14, 2010 05:46 AM GMT
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Arya Wirawan (extreme right) during the discussion to remember the riots
Arya Wirawan (extreme right) during the discussion to remember the riots
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JAKARTA (UCAN) -- Activists from a Catholic university and several NGOs recently highlighted the rape of Chinese Indonesian girls during riots in Jakarta 12 years ago. In May 1998, thousands of people rallied to oust former president Soeharto. The unrest spiraled out of control and mobs began targeting properties and business owned by Indonesian Chinese. More than 1,500 people were reportedly killed during the rioting. There were also dozens of documented accounts of Chinese Indonesian girls being raped. “We are very disappointed that the rape cases are still undisclosed. In fact, there are documents [on] the massive rape,” said Arya Wirawan from Homeland Solidarity, an NGO working toward a democratic society. Wirawan was speaking at a May 12 discussion session organized by the Catholic University of Atma Jaya in Jakarta, Homeland Solidarity, the National Commission on Violence against Women and the Chinese Indonesian Association. About 40 activists attended the program aimed at remembering the riots. Wirawan also quoted a report from a fact-finding team, saying 85 Chinese Indonesian girls were raped. The government had planned to give compensation to the families of those killed, “but what about the rape victims?” he asked. He added that the rape victims are still traumatized. Andi Yentriani from the national commission told the gathering that “many victims of rape … did not report to the police” for fear of harming their families’ reputation. Speaking with UCA News, Rita Purnama from the Catholic university said people must find a way to prevent such tragedies from recurring. Meanwhile, a press release issued on the same day by the national commission said that the rape victims and their families are still reluctant to speak up. The commission urged the government and all people not to stigmatize such victims. Instead, society should help them obtain their rights. IJ09709/1601 May 14, 2010 32 EM-lines (300 words) Protesters demand justice over 1998 riots

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