Amnesty’s documents containing information about the human rights violations related to the 1965 tragedy, cover a wide range of topics. It may be a problem to find the information that you are specifically looking for. Therefore we give a few suggestions on how to search, and how to find.
This website contains more than 200 documents that have been posted as .pdf documents. Under each document there is a toolbar which allows you to scroll through the document and zoom in and out. We have linked a number of categories and sub-categories to each document. All relevant tags are specified underneath each document. If you click on one of these tags you will see the complete selection on that search item. The documents have been structured in a way that the most recent one is appearing first. Scrolling down shows the older documents.

Because of our effort not to violate people’s privacy – even after fifty years – more than necessary we have decided not to facilitate a search on an individual’s name. So there is no category “persons”, and no victims’  names have been included in a document’s title (which is a key in the search process). On the other hand, the documents we uploaded, have been public documents from the moment of publication, so the prisoners’ names have not been made invisible.


The main search facility is offered by a number of categories at the right hand side, which you can open by clicking on the icon. Then the menu of sub-categories will unfold where you can choose. This opens up the list of documents that have been tagged by the search term. When you click on the document title you open up the whole document.

We regret that it is not easy to narrow down in different follow-up search-steps. A broader issue of human rights violations in Indonesia since 1965 can best be searched by the most specific search key first in the list of issues at the right hand side. Click first on the icon next to the category (for instance: time) and the menu of sub-categories will unfold. Then click on the sub-category you are aiming at (for instance:  1973). The search key of “time” includes two different meanings of the year: the year a violation took place as well as the year that the document was published.

This website is a work in progress. We will try to improve the search opportunities as well as upload more documents. Comments are welcome at:

Some important documents

There are a few documents that are worth mentioning here because they offer information that in our opinion has historical significance. We list them here with the reason why they are significant. By mentioning the title we facilitate searching with the “search-window” so that you don’t have to scroll through dozens of documents with the same search keys:

  • Survey of political imprisonment – 1972: a first and excellent overview of the human rights violations in the period 1965-1972.
  • Indonesia Special – 1973: a complete magazine highlighting different aspects of the human rights violations at that time, with testimonies and photographs.
  • The 1977 report – offers an overview (in three parts) of the human rights violations at that moment and underlines the problems Amnesty International encountered in the lack of reliable data on the numbers of prisoners and the release policies that were announced at the time. Strikingly, violations like enforced disappearances and impunity seemed not to exist as they had not yet been codified.
  •  Collection of material related to political imprisonment – 1980: prisoners’ experiences in their own words on several themes: arrests, prison conditions, food rations, reprisals after prisoners escaped, etc. Information published after the release program of 1976-1979, the prisoners are very much aware of the ongoing violations: “If I raise the problem of the difficulties of former tapols [political prisoners] in searching for a livelihood, this does not mean that I am asking the Government to give former tapols first priority in obtaining work and [to give] second and third priority to the millions of unemployed who are not former tapols. What I am challenging is the Government discrimination against former tapols.”
  •  Death penalty special action – 1981: the first of a long series of actions to try and prevent death sentences and executions of political prisoners, mostly after an unfair trial. Verdicts were laid down during the whole period of 1965 till 1977. Peaks in executions – beyond any rationale – occurred in 1985-86 and 1990.
  •  The application of the death penalty – 1987 : this documents offers an analysis of the legislation used, the working of the Special Military Courts (Mahmillub), including the lack of a right to appeal, and the slow appeal procedures in other court procedures (up till 18 years!). Includes the list of names of all prisoners on death row plus those already executed.
  •  Subversion trials in Yogyakarta – 1989: Referring to the cases of three students who had been arrested because of their role in a study group that discussed the novels by ex-political prisoner and renowned author Pramoedya Ananta Tur, this document contains an in-depth analysis of the Anti-Subversion Law (UU 11/1963) which has been the basis of many trials and verdicts of political prisoners since 1965, resulting in death sentences and long prison sentences. It also contains an overview of banned literature and journals (in 1989: ten years after most tapols, including Pramoedya Ananta Tur, had been released!).
  •  Statement of Amnesty International’s concerns – 1980: this document includes Amnesty’s comments on the releases that have taken place between 1976 and 1979, and the still existing discrimination, forced resettlement and harassment of ex-political prisoners and their relatives. Mention is made of an unknown number of people who have disappeared (a human rights violation of which the concept that it ìs a human rights violation, came up in the 70s in Latin America).
  •  Recent developments in Indonesia – 1974: An update on the occasion of the meeting of the InterGovernmental Group on Indonesia (IGGI, to be searched under “international organizations”) including the 1973 Berufsverbot for all ex-C-Category prisoners resulting in a purge of civil servants, and including comments on an interview by general Sumitro (then commander of the Command for Restoration of Security and Order, Kopkamtib) on his visit to Buru, announcing the government’s intention to “socially reintegrated ex-prisoners on the island”. Also information on the recent 1974 arrests of critical students (Malari-affair).


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