Dutch state apologises for Rawagede massacre

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The Dutch ambassador to Indonesia will offer his apologies on behalf of the Dutch government for the 1947 massacre in the village of Rawagede in which hundreds of people were killed.

From July 1947 until January 1949, Dutch troops tried to regain control of the former Dutch colony of Indonesia. The Netherlands eventually recognised Indonesian independence as a result of strong international pressure.

Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal said the apologies were a fitting gesture. “These apologies do justice to the seriousness of the events in Rawagede. I hope they will help the next of kin find closure for this difficult period in their lives and enable them to look to the future.”

In mid-September a Dutch court ruled that the Netherlands is liable for damages suffered by the next of kin and that compensation must be paid to seven elderly widows of Rawagede victims.

Mr Rosenthal recently indicated that he wanted to reach agreement with the next of kin about damages ahead of the annual commemoration of the Rawagede massacre on 9 December. In parliament, the Green Left Party and the Socialist Party asked the government to offer formal apologies.

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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