Jakarta – East Java Governor Khofifah Indar Parawansa has laid the first stone for the Munir Human Rights Museum in Batu, East Java, marking the start of construction of a museum dedicated to slain human rights defender Munir Said Thalib.
"I hope this museum will be a tourist destination, so that people can also receive quality insight when they visit Batu," Khofifah said at the groundbreaking ceremony on Sunday, as quoted by news agency Antara.
She added that the museum was part of the province's commitment to create togetherness and protect the human rights of Indonesians. "This is part of the universal principles of humanity that we continually disseminate," she said.
Sunday also marked the birthday of the prominent human rights activist, who was assassinated in 2004 while traveling to the Netherlands. Born on Dec. 8, 1965, Munir would have turned 54 years old.
Similarly, Batu Deputy Mayor Punjul Santoso said the Munir Human Rights Museum was expected to become a place "to teach the public, tourists who visit Batu and students about human rights".
The East Java administration has allocated Rp 10 billion (US$713,663) for the museum, which will cover 2,200 square meters, but the museum will be run by the Omah Munir Human Rights Foundation.
"The groundbreaking of the construction of the human rights museum is not only a milestone that marks the physical presence of a museum highlighting human rights issues in Indonesia, but also marks the starting point confirming our commitment to making human rights the governing values of our common life in Indonesia now and in the future," foundation head Andi Achdian told kompas.com.
Munir died of poisoning on a Jakarta-Amsterdam Garuda Indonesia flight in September 2004 after being poisoned. He was travelling to the Netherlands to begin studies in international law at Utrecht University.
Garuda Indonesia pilot Pollycarpus Budihari Priyanto and former Garuda president Indra Setiawan were the only individuals found guilty of Munir's murder, but the fact-finding team formed by then-president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono claimed there were indications that then-State Intelligence Agency (BIN) head Hendropriyono played a role in the murder. Hendropriyono has repeatedly denied any involvement in the case. (kmt)