Bronckhorst trip angers Dutch-Moluccans

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A planned visit to Indonesia by former Dutch national football squad captain Giovanni van Bronckhorst with a team of young players from the Dutch-Moluccan community has sparked a row.

The Republic of South Molucca RMS government in exile has called on the Dutch soccer star to cancel the trip which has been organised by the Indonesian government. The RMS says Mr Van Bronckhorst and his youth team are being used for propaganda purposes. The team, for example, is being called ‘Young Indonesia’, but the RMS insists the name should be ‘Young Molucca’.

When Indonesia gained independence from the Netherlands in 1949, a Republic of South Molucca was declared and attempted to secede. The attempt failed and many Moluccans moved to the Netherlands. The RMS government in exile is based in the Netherlands.

The RMS says that, if Mr Van Bronckhorst meets Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, he must bring up the issue of alleged human rights abuses in the Moluccas, now an Indonesian province.

A spokesman for Mr Van Bronckhorst, who is of Moluccan origin, says the footballer does not want to get involved in the issue. It has, however, surfaced that he will not travel to Indonesia as part of the project which is called ‘My country’s Indonesia’, but as a private individual. He is due to fly to Indonesia on Thursday.

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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