Dutch apologise to Indonesia for repression
15 August 2005AMSTERDAM — Two Dutch church groups have applauded the "historic decision" by Dutch Foreign Minister Ben Bot to attend celebrations of the 60th anniversary of Indonesia's Independence on Wednesday.
15 August 2005
AMSTERDAM — Two Dutch church groups have applauded the "historic decision" by Dutch Foreign Minister Ben Bot to attend celebrations of the 60th anniversary of Indonesia's Independence on Wednesday.
The Kerkinactie and ICCO groups also called on Bot to use the opportunity to apologise to the Indonesian people for the two bloody military campaigns the Dutch military carried out in a bid to regain control of the former colony following World War II.
Bot indicated at a ceremony in The Hague to mark Japan's swurrender and the end of World war II to say he would express regret for the "painful and violent parting of the ways between Indonesia and the Netherlands".
Nationalist leaders Sukarno and Mohammad Hatta declared independence two days after Japan, which occupied the region from 1942, surrendered.
The ensuing Dutch offensives — described at the time as "police actions" by The Hague — led to the deaths of 6,000 Dutch troops and at least 10,000 Indonesians.
Bot hopes the Indonesian public will see his present at the celebrations in Jakarta as as "political and moral acceptance" of 17 August 1945 as Indonesian Independence Day.
The Netherlands has until now held to 27 December 1949, the day the government in The Hague officially recognised Indonesia's independence.
The church groups said on Monday that Dutch church leaders had expressed their apologies for the four years of repression when they met with Indonesian church officials 20 years ago on Bali.
The groups sent Bot a letter asking him to do the same in the name of the government of the Netherlands.
[Copyright Expatica News and ANP 2005]
Subject: Dutch news