In its 1977 report on the human rights situation in Indonesia, Amnesty International estimated that between 55,000 and 70,000 leftist prisoners were still being held in that country, some twelve years after the army unleashed an anti-communist suppression campaign against members and sympathisers of the Indonesian Communist Party (Partai Komunis Indonesia, PKI) in 1965. During the Sukarno era, Indonesians had travelled to Eastern Europe and China and participated in international organisations, meetings and conferences. Through the lens of the campaign to free Indonesia’s political prisoners in the 1970s and 80s, this paper examines the decline of Indonesia’s relationship with the Eastern Bloc and China in the post-Sukarno era and the formation of new activist relationships. Connections were made or strengthened between Indonesian leftists in and outside of Indonesia with activists in the Netherlands and Great Britain through political parties and organisations such as TAPOL Indonesian Human Rights Campaign, the Religious Society of Friends, and Amnesty International. Drawing on personal letters and documents, activist publications, and media reports, the paper examines grassroots connections made in prisoner advocacy campaigns between leftist prisoners, their supporters and activists in the West.
|Published - 2 Jul 2019
|AAS-in-Asia 2019 - Royal Orchid Sheraton, Bangkok, Thailand
Duration: 1 Jul 2019 → 3 Jul 2019
|1/07/19 → 3/07/19