The Islah Charter Signed after the Tanjung Priok Tragedy

Special Report: Neither War nor Peace
An Example of “Reconciliation” after Government Violence in Contemporary Indonesia?
By Clotilde Riotor

Seventeen years after the “Tanjung Priok tragedy”, a bloody intervention of the Indonesian army during a demonstration of “Muslims”, which took place in the North Jakarta subdistrict of that name a charter of “ishlah” (peace) was signed inside a mosque in 2001, both by military officers and a large group of victims of the event. The charter was elaborated when the possibility loomed that the soldiers involved in these events would be put on trial for violations of human rights. The charter has divided the victims and triggered a public controversy. Far from describing a priori such an attempt of alternative conflict resolution as a form of “reconciliation” in a case of state violence, we will show in this paper that the notion of “reconciliation”, as part of the national political discourse, has been mobilized for strategic purposes by some of the signatories with a view to legitimizing the charter and to using it to bypass the court.

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