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Evidence of Human Rights Violations at Rumoh Geudong

Monday, April 15, 2024

The human remains at Rumoh Geudong are strong evidence of human rights violations. The government has an obligation to uncover the truth and bring justice.

arsip tempo : 172092044070.

Evidence of Human Rights Violations at Rumoh Geudong. tempo : 172092044070.

THE discovery of human bones at the construction site of the Rumoh Geudong Living Park Memorial in Pidie Regency, Aceh, shows the grim history of the former conflict area. With this discovery, the indications of extrajudicial killings by the security forces are becoming clearer.

The discovery of the remains received widespread attention after the events of March 3 this year, when while the construction was underway amid the noise of heavy machinery, people were seen forming what appeared to be a funeral procession. These people wrapped the bones in shrouds and said prayers for those buried there.

These bones were actually discovered by project workers between the end of October and November last year. At that time, these construction workers found a number of skeletal fragments while excavating a former ditch on the left side of Rumoh Geudong. These bones are strongly suspected to have been the remains of victims of during the Aceh conflict from 1976 to 2005, especially during the implementation of military operations from 1989 to 1998.

According to the families of the victims, Rumoh Geudong was a horrifying place of slaughter: a place where soldiers detained, tortured and killed. But since the outset, the government has been wrong in its handling of these gross human rights abuses. Instead of uncovering the facts and revealing the truth, the government chose to build a monument on the ruins of this slaughterhouse.

On June 27, 2023, President Joko Widodo stated that the aim behind the construction of the Rumoh Geudong monument was to commemorate the human rights violations and prevent them from reoccurring. But is constructing a monument enough to prevent similar atrocities occurring in the future? Of course not.

In this context, the comparison between the Rumoh Geudong Living Park Memorial and the Holocaust Memorial in Germany is relevant. In Germany, the Holocaust Memorial serves not only as a commemoration but also as a symbol of commitment to justice and truth enforcement. Meanwhile, the construction of the Rumoh Geudong Memorial is more like a cosmetic action to cover up the failure of law enforcement.

In almost a decade in office, Jokowi has been more interested in non-judicial reconciliation than in a legal resolution of gross human rights abuses. The government has chosen reconciliation without first uncovering the truth. It is as if the rights of the victims and their families can be met simply by providing handouts.

In the almost 10 years of his administration, Jokowi has decided to perpetuate immunity, rather than punish those responsible for the gross human rights abuses at Rumoh Geudong. Instead of being justly punished, the human rights violators enjoy political privileges and occupy a number of public positions.

As a result, to this day, Rumoh Geudong still represents deep wounds and unanswered questions from a dark past. Survivors and the families of victims clearly long for truth more than grand monuments. Therefore, the government should prioritize the pursuit of justice as the focus, rather than just empty promises or mere political commodities.

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