Jakarta – For the first time, on Thursday February 3, a Kamisan (Thursday) action has been held in Thailand. The action was held in front of the Indonesian Embassy in Bangkok.
Kamisan activist and Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) member Ahmad Sajali said that the action was part of the Milk Tea Alliance movement – a youth based pro-democracy alliance in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand, Myanmar, Indonesia and several other countries.
"One issue which continues, which in the end, with the existence of the alliance or the Milk Tea movement, which in the end became a spirit in the South-East Asia region which at least, there were similar concerns about the coup d'etat in Myanmar and also the deteriorating democratic situation in Thailand as well as Reform Corrupted and the Omnibus Law in Indonesia over at least the last two to three years", said Sajali.
"So, it is this spirit that in the end gave birth to the Milk Tea [movement] and in the end it was also felt that there was a need, there was a linkage with issues of gross human rights violations and other socio-political concerns in Indonesia, to be voiced by Indonesian nationals who are in Thailand", he added.
Sajali said that there were at least five issues taken up by the first Kamisan action in Bangkok including rejecting the recently enacted law on moving the capital city to East Kalimantan, the case of torture and modern slavery in Langkat, North Sumatra, and demands to resolve cases of past gross human rights violations.
Then the demand for the immediate ratification of the Draft Law on Sexual Violence Crimes and demanding that the Indonesian government and other governments in South-East Asia resolve the human rights violations which have occurred in Myanmar.
"We are hoping for collectivity and sustainability from these initiatives", said Sajali.
Kamisan actions were initiated by the Solidarity Network for Victims and Families of Victims (JSKKK) – a group which included the families of victims of human rights violations. The first Kamisan action was held on January 18, 2007.
In Jakarta, they hold actions in front of the State Palace in Central Jakarta every Thursday afternoon. Now however, the action which is symbolised by people wearing all black and holding black umbrellas, has spread to several other regions including the West Java provincial capital of Bandung, the Central Java city of Yogyakarta, and even Kalimantan.
After 15 years of actions, hope continues to be maintained even though justice has yet to come. (ryn/agn)[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Aksi Kamisan Debut di Bangkok, Jadi Bagian Milk Tea Alliance".]