Friday, February 22, 2008

Petition to urge the Netherlands Government

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To: The Netherlands Government
Petition to urge the Netherlands Government
to recognize Indonesian Independence Day was on August 17th 1945,
and to apologize for the colonialization, slavery, violation of human rights and horrific crimes against humanity

In the opinion of Dutch Government, the independence of the Republic of Indonesia was on December 27th 1949, and not August 17th 1945.

The fact is, the Dutch had lost its rights over the colony, the Netherlands-Indies, after Lieutenant General Hein ter Poorten, in the capacity as Supreme Commander of the Netherlands Indies Forces, and also on behalf of the Gouverneur General Jonkheer Tjarda van Starkenborgh Stachouwer, has signed the document of unconditional surrender to the Japanese Imperial Forces under the command of Lieutenant General Hitoshi Imamura, on 9th March 1942 at the airfield Kalijati, West Java. In other words, the Dutch had handed over its colony – Indonesia – to Japan.

On August 15th 1945, the Japanese Emperor Hirohito declared the unconditional surrender to the Allied Forces, but the document was signed on September 2nd 1945, on the USS Missouri at the Tokyo Bay.

So, between August 15th and September 2nd, 1945, there was a vacuum of power. In line with the Atlantic Charter declared by US President Franklin D. Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill on August 14th 1941 regarding “the rights of self determination of people”, Indonesian leaders proclaimed the independence of the Indonesian Nation on August 17th 1945. The following day, on August 18th 1945, they elected Sukarno as President of Republic Indonesia, and Mohammad Hatta as Vice President of Republic of Indonesia. These marked an establishment of Government of Indonesian, which occurred before September 2nd 1945. The mandatory conditions to establish a state have been fulfilled, which include:
1. Territory,
2. Population, and
3. Government.

It is stated in the memorandum of the delegation of Republic of Indonesia to Security Council of The United nations on January 22nd 1949, that after the second Dutch military aggression, the head of the delegation, Mr. Lambertus Nicodemus Palar declared :

“The Republic of Indonesian was not born as a result of a revolution against the Dutch, but it was born, after the Dutch had handed over Indonesia to the Japanese. The Dutch made no efforts to protect its citizens, they even obstructed Indonesian people to obtain military training to defend themselves from Japanese aggression.

In the process to reassert control over its colony, some special units of the Dutch military were responsible of what official records refer to ‘excesses'. In facts, these ‘excesses' were nothing less than war crimes.

After the Dutch had tried and ultimately failed to re-impose their colonial power on the nation after World War II, at the official ceremony on December 27th 1949, Queen Juliana made a reference to ‘transfer the sovereignty' to The United States of Republic of Indonesia. But The United States the Republic of Indonesia have been existed less than a year, because the States have been dissolved one by one, and on August 16th 1950, The United States of the Republic of Indonesia was officially dissolved. On August 17th 1950, President Sukarno declared the reestablishment of The Republic of Indonesia, and on July 1957, he put the constitution of 1945 into effect.

Today, The Netherlands have maintained diplomatic relations with Republic of Indonesia, which independence and constitutions was on 1945.

After nearly 60 years, the Dutch as a nation are still in the ‘state of denial' about history. It is high time for the Dutch to acknowledge their past. To the present day, official accounts of the period, as well as school textbooks in the Dutch education system, do not mention the term of war crimes or atrocities. Oppositely, the past wrongdoings are referred as ‘excesses' committed by the Dutch troops. And no Dutch veteran of the colonial war has ever been tried for war crimes. The state of denial persists largely because many of those involved are still alive. On Indonesian side, many more of the victims of war crimes are also alive.

The refusal of the Dutch to recognize Indonesian independence after nearly 60 years, is an offense to the sovereignty and dignity of the Indonesia as a nation.

Through this petition, we urge the Dutch Government, to acknowledge the Independence of Republic of Indonesia was on August 17th 1945, and to apologize for the colonialization, slavery, violation of human rights and horrific crimes against humanity.

To people who agree with this petition addressed to the Netherlands Government, please inscribe your respective name and address on the list.

Jakarta, April 22nd 2005

Batara R. Hutagalung
Chairman of the
National Committee for the Defense of the Dignity of the Indonesian Nation

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