Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Open Letter to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands


Open Letter
To The Honorable Drs. Maxime J.M. Verhagen
Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of the Netherlands

Jakarta, December 30, 2008

The Hon. Drs. Maxime J.M. Verhagen
Minister of Foreign Affairs
The Netherlands

Via: Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands
Jl. H.R. Rasuna Said Kav. S-3
Kuningan, Jakarta 12950

Dear Minister Maxime Verhagen,

First and foremost, we would like to express our gratitude on the presence of the Ambassador of the Netherlands, Dr. Nikolaos van Dam, on the Commemoration of Rawagede tragedy, which was held in Rawagede Monument on December 9, 2008.

In conjunction to the statement of the Speaker of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Netherlands, Mr. Aad Meijer, on November 24, 2008 as reported by The Associated Press on November 25, 2008; that the Government of Netherlands offered to discuss the case with the widows and a survivor of Rawagede massacre in order ‘’to help them with their grieving’’; we would like to find out further the context of this statement.

In Rawagede, we have discussed this statement with families of the victims; and in his welcome speech during the commemoration of Rawagede incident, the Chairman of the Committee of Dutch Honorary Debts (KUKB) has made the same inquiry to Ambassador Van Dam, which unfortunately yet to be replied.

But for Mrs. Kesah, 85 years, one of the widows of the Rawagede victims, your offer for a discussion is too late. She died yesterday on December 29, 2008 at 09.00 (local time). Mr. Sa’ih, 86 years, the last survivor of the Massacre of Rawagede, is also seriously ill.

In Mr. Aad Meijer’ response to claims from families of Rawagede victims, the reasons of the rejection to the claims are the tragedy has been ‘’too old’’ and ‘’unacceptable’’, as quoted from the text from the Associated Press’ news ‘’Dutch government lawyer says no massacre compensation’’, that : “…the case can no longer be heard because it is too old…”. In conjunction to this statement, we would like to remind you that in International Criminal Court which based in The Hague, the capital of the Netherlands, there are 3 (three) main classes of offense that do not expire, which are: Genocide, Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes.

These have also been mentioned by the Chairman of Dutch Honorary Debts Committee (KUKB) in his speech. As example, the genocide of Armenians by the Turks in 1915, is still much discussed in Europe today.

The German war criminals who committed war crimes during the World War II (1939 – 1945) and believed are still alive today, are still searched and investigated. The same applied to Dutch victims who abducted and imprisoned by Japan in ‘internment camps’ during Japan occupation in Indonesia (1942-1945), Dutch people are still demanding the Government of Japan to apologize and providing compensation on the atrocities they experienced in the ‘interment camps’.

The inquiries made by Indonesian people are on the War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity which committed by Dutch military personnel in Indonesia aftermath of the World War II in 1945, during the period of Dutch military aggression after Indonesia declared its Independence on August 17, 1945. By a simple justification, this inquiry is more recent than, and as relevant as, the war crimes of German and Japan that pursued by the ex-internees.

The Committee of Dutch Honorary Debts (KUKB) assesses that the relationship between the Republic of Indonesia and the Kingdom of the Netherlands is still not normal, due to the absence of equal standings between the two nations.

This is in conjunction of the refusal of the Government of Netherlands to de iure acknowledgment of the Independence Day of the Republic of Indonesia, August 17, 1945. Your predecessor, Mr. Ben Bot and Ambassador of Netherlands Mr. Van Dam, have issued statement that de iure acknowledgment of Indonesian independence is given on late 1949, in the event of sovereign hand over (soevereniteitsoverdracht) from the Government of Netherlands to the Goverment of the United States of Republic Indonesia (RIS or Republik Indonesia Serikat) on December 27, 1949.

It is important to be brought to your attention, that the nation which being de iure acknowledged by the Government of Netherlands, which was the United States of Republic Indonesia (RIS), had been dissolved on August 16, 1950, and on August 17, 1950, the Unitarian Republic of Indonesia (Negara Kesatuan Republik Indonesia - NKRI) have been re-established. The Nation to which the acknowledgement designated to – the United States of Republic Indonesia – has no longer exist, and today the Government of Netherlands has relationship and deal with the Unitarian Republic of Indonesia which Independence was declared on August 17, 1945.

The ‘Visa on Arrival’ policy which enjoyed by citizens of the Netherlands on their visits to Indonesia is not ‘reciprocal’. It is effortless for Dutch citizens to obtain Indonesian visa, while on the other hand it is very difficult for Indonesian citizens to visit Netherlands, since they have to fulfill many requirements and go through red tapes that time consuming, with possibility not being able to obtain the visa. The reason that the Netherlands is bond by Schengen Agreement is hardly acceptable. ‘Visa on Arrival’ policy which applied on one party and not vice-versa does not qualify as mutual agreement of two nations with equal standings. This is example of unfairness and proof of the absence of equal standings between the Republic of Indonesia and the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

The Committee of Dutch Honorary Debts (KUKB) shall generate this matter to Indonesian Parliament; in order to inquire the Government of Indonesia to review the diplomatic relationship between the Government of Indonesia and the Government of Netherlands, in the basis that the Government of Netherlands still refuse to accept Republic of Indonesia as a nation equal to the Netherlands. If two nations are engaged in a diplomatic relationship, there should be mutual respects and mutual acknowledgment of each nation’ sovereignty and Independence Day – instead of one nation dictating what and when the other’ independence is. All the agreements between the two nations shall be in mutual basis and reciprocal.

We do appreciate efforts and responses shown by the Netherlands’ Parliament and the people of Netherlands since the start of our struggle and quest for justice for the victims of Dutch atrocities in Indonesia, especially the Rawagede victims.

We believe that the Government of Netherlands is able to do much more for the victims and Indonesian people in general, compared to what have been done until present, which is good, but sadly – still in-adequate.

Thank you for your attention.

Yours sincerely,

The Committee of Dutch Honorary Debts

Batara R Hutagalung

Dian Purwanto

Copy to :
1. President of Republic of Indonesia
2. Parliament of Republic of Indonesia
3. Tweede Kamer of the Netherlands
4. Mass Media

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