The wall of silence in Indonesia surrounding one of the worst atrocities of the 20th century is beginning to fall apart. A forthcoming report by Indonesia’s National Commission on Human Rights estimates that a purge of suspected communists during the mid-1960s killed between 600,000 and 1 million people.
The violence reshaped Indonesia’s political landscape and affected the course of the Cold War, just as the U.S. was escalating its fight against communism in Southeast Asia.
“We conclude that there have been gross human rights violations, which can be classified as crimes against humanity,” says Yosep Adi Prasetyo, the commission’s deputy chairman.
He says the report places the blame squarely on Indonesia’s military dictator Suharto, who died four years ago.