Dutch to Pay Children of Indonesia Colonial Killings

Indonesian President Joko Widodo, dressed in traditional dress and wearing a face mask as a precaution against the new coronavirus outbreak, salutes as his wife Iriana, left, looks on, during a flag-hoisting ceremony commemorating the country’s 75th Independence Day at Merdeka Palace in Jakarta, Indonesia, on Aug. 17. 2020. Indonesia gained its independence from the Dutch colonial rule in 1945. (Agus Suparto, Presidential Palace via AP)

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AFP) — The Dutch government said Monday it will pay a lump sum of 5,000 euros to children of all men executed by colonial troops during Indonesia’s independence war in the late 1940s.

The announcement follows a court ruling earlier this year which ordered the state to compensate widows and children of 11 men killed in Indonesia’s southern Sulawesi between 1946 and 1947.

Dutch judges previously also slapped down arguments by the state claiming the violence committed during Indonesia’s independence struggle from its former colonial master were bound by a statute of limitations.

“Children who can prove that their father was a victim of summary execution as described… are eligible for compensation,” Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok and Defence Minister Ank Bijleveld said.

The compensation amounted to 5,000 euro ($5,900), the two ministers said in a letter to parliament.

However, those claiming compensation needed to conform to a set of criteria including proof that the parent had indeed been killed in a documented execution and proof of paternity through identity papers.

Dutch courts are hearing several other cases of relatives asking for compensation for atrocities committed by Dutch colonial troops during so-called cleansing actions to root out Indonesian freedom fighters.

At least 860 men were killed by firing squads, mostly between December 1946 and April 1947 in Sulawesi, then called Celebes.

The Dutch government apologized in 2013 for the killings carried out by its colonial army and announced compensation to the widows of those who died.

Early this year Dutch King Willem-Alexander also apologized — the first by a Dutch monarch — for “excessive violence” during the former colony’s fight for independence.

Indonesia declared independence on August 17, 1945, following a brief wartime occupation by the Japanese and several hundred years as a Dutch colony.

© Agence France-Presse

%d bloggers like this: