Moluccans mark would-be independence

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Moluccans in exile in the Netherlands are celebrating the 61st anniversary since the proclamation of independence for the South Moluccan Islands.

The Moluccan Islands are part of Indonesia, a former Dutch colony, and are located in the east of the archipelago. The Moluccans fought alongside the Dutch in the Dutch colonial army, the KNIL, after World War II against Indonesian rebels, who wanted to get rid of the Dutch colonists. The Dutch had wanted to return to colonial rule following the Japanese occupation during the war. When the Indonesians gained independence in 1949, over 12,000 Moluccans KNIL members and their families were allowed to come to the Netherlands as they feared reprisals.

Around 2000 people are expected to attend political speeches and cultural performances and workshops at a congress centre in Apeldoorn. Attention will also be paid to the human rights situation in the Moluccan Islands.

A state visit to the Netherlands by Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono last October was postponed after Moluccan exiles filed a law suit against him for human rights violations.  

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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