News & Updates 1 September 2015

Remembering Marabia in Timor-Leste & Indonesia

On June 10 2015, survivors and community members of Marabia marked 35 years since the violence, mass arrests and disappearances that took place in their community, a village in the outskirts of Dili.

Timor-Leste’s truth commission (CAVR) found that in response to a surprise attack by the resistance army (Falintil) on military targets around Dili, on June 10 1980, the Indonesian military launched an indiscriminate assault against civilians. At least 121 persons were disappeared, executed or died due to severe torture. Women were also detained and tortured, experiencing rape and sexual slavery. Hundreds of women and children were eventually brought to the prison island of Atauro, where many perished from hunger and disease.

For the past few years, Commite 10 Juñu, a survivors’ organization, together with AJAR’s sister organization, ACbit, have organized an annual event to remember what took place. Past commemorations have been a modest affair with little official engagement. However, this year President Taur Matan Ruak attended the event, laying the foundation for a community-initiated monument.

The Marabia incident is one of the case studies included in a civil society led truth-seeking process in Indonesia, facilitated by the Coalition for Justice and Truth (KKPK). Two survivors from Marabia testified at a public hearing held in Jakarta, in November 2013. Their testimonies are part of KKPK’s final report, entitled “Reclaiming Indonesia: Understanding Forty Years of Violence, Breaking the Chains of Impunity” (2014).

As part of a people to people initiative to reconcile with a shared past, AJAR is facilitating an initiative to bring educators from Indonesia and Timor-Leste to jointly develop teaching materials for young people.