Saturday, May 14, 2005

Black May 1998: 7th Commemoration (3 of 3)

CCEVI and Past Events

CCEVI and Its Mission
Canadians Concerned about Ethnic Violence in Indonesia (CCEVI) is a registered, non-profit organization. The members consist of concerned individuals, local and national groups, committed to end the ethno-racial and faith-motivated persecution and discrimination in Indonesia.

Indonesians of Chinese descent, in particular, have endured systemic discrimination for more than 40 years. They are subjected to having distinct identification codes, restricted admittance to state universities and civil service jobs. They are forced to abandon their Chinese names, the use of Chinese language and the practice of Chinese cultural activities. With their choices limited, many Chinese Indonesian end up in trade which further fules ethnic resentments. Social, economic and political unrest inevitably turn into violence against the Chinese minority.

Formed in June 1998 ~ in the wake of the May 1998 tragedy ~ CCEVI seeks to:

  • assist and support persecuted minority groups across all ethnicity and religions, in particular those without credible government protection;

  • promote human rights and social justice for all in Indonesia

  • demand equal rights before and under tje law and equal protection and benefit of the law, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability;

  • advocate to have the perpetrators of crimes against humanity brought to justice;

  • raise social awareness of the plight of ethnic/religious minorities in Indonesia, through continuous dialogue with the Canadian government and the United States;

  • lessen the suffering of people in Indonesia as a result of poverty, natural disasters and ethnic conflicts.

Freedom from Persecution...
... is a fundamental human right for everyone. In Indonesia, however, many people have been killed and many more are living in fear simply because of who they are and because of the ethnic or faith group they belong to. Some of recent "incidents" are:
  • May 1998 - The Rape of Jakarta
    Considered the worst riot in Indonesia, it resulted in 2,244 deaths, 91 injured and 31 missing. This tragedy is distinctive in its blatant and systematic attacks against Chinese Indonesian; looting and burning of their property and even targeted murders. Even worse were reports that as many as 152 women and children were gang-raped, 20 of whom died.

  • January 1999 - Maluku
    Forces interested in destabilizing the government, exploited the latent pre-existing tensions between the Muslim and Christian population which erupted intoviolent conflicts that spiraled out of control. These conflicts were further fueled by the arrival of the military-trained and supported 'Laskar Jihad' from Java.

  • June 2000 - Poso (Sulawesi)
    In Poso, vicious fighting between the newly arrived Muslim migrants and members of Christian communities started in June of 2000 and continued throughout 2001. Hundreds of people were killed and massacred because of this faith based violence. As happened in Maluku, the government's security forces came too late and were ineffective.

  • February 2001 - Sampit (Borneo)
    The ongoing feud between the native "Dayak" and the immigrant "Madurese" groups has sparked one of the worst ethnic clashes in Indonesia's history. Almost 200 people were reported dead and many more injured; about 20,000 people, msotly women and childre, fled their homes in fear for their lvies.

Our Activities to date
Raising Public Awareness

  • organised annual memorial services for victims of the May 1998 riots and all victims of ethnic and religious based violence;

  • participated in demonstrations against violence in East Timor

  • organised fundraising events to help victims in Maluku and Sampit

  • arranged educational tours of prominent Indonesian human right activists such as:
    • Pramoedya Ananta Toer (May 1999)
      An author and outspoken critic of the government, Pramoedya is an advocate for freedom of expression. During President Soeharto's regime, he was jailed because of his writings which were deemed critical of the government; his books were banned in Indonesia.

    • Father Sandyawan (May 2001)
      Father Sandyawan and his "Team of Volunteers for Humanitarian Causes" had been instrumental in assisting the victims of the 'May 1998' tragedy, Aceh, maluku and Sampit. He reported and testified before various human rights commissions including the Congress of the United States.

    • Dr. Siauw Tiong Djin (May 2002)
      Dr. Siauw is Chairman of the Australian based Committee Against Racism in Indonesia (CARI) founded after the May 1998 riots. He authored a biography of his late father, Siauw Giok Tjhan, the founder of Trisakti University in Jakarta and BAPERKI, a socio-political party for the representation of Chinese Indonesians in the 1950s.

    • Dr. Frans Tshai (June 2003)
      Dr. Tshai is chairman of "The Struggling Unity in Diversity Party." In the past 3 years he and his friends have been fighting for the abolishment of discriminatory laws against the Chinese Indonesians.

Advocacy and Lobbying
  • continued participation in DFAIT (DEpartment of Foreign Affairs and International Trade) Human Rights Consultations since 1999;

  • participated in Canadian government's special task force in 1998 on the crisis in Indonesia in 1998;

  • submitted findings to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and to the International Trade sub-committee on Human Rights in 1998;

  • met with officials from the United Nations and Canadian government to advocate for assistance to the victims in Indonesian since 1998:
    • United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
    • United nations High Commissioner for Refugees
    • Minister of Immigration, Canada
    • Secretary of Sate for Asia Pacific, Canada

Support and Resettlement
  • helped fund the provision of a Canadian-trained trauma counsellor to work with female victims in Indonesia, immediately following the May 1998 riot;

  • advised the Canadian government of the need to rpovide refuge for victims of violence in Indonesia;

  • provided documentary evidence and expert witness testimony in the determination of refugee claims from Indonesia;

  • provided settlement and integration assistant to Indonesian families seeking refuge in Canada.

Supporters of CCEVI include:
  • Burman Chinese Canadian Assocaition
  • Canada Hong Kong Link
  • Chinese Canadians Association of Scarborough
  • Chinese Canadian Integration Society
  • Chinese Canadian National Council
  • Chinese Community Centre of Ontario
  • Karuna Community Services
  • Metro Toronto Chinese & Southeast Asian Legal Clinic
  • Mississauga Board of Chinese Professionals & Business
  • Ontario Indonesian Chinese Association

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