Koenders expresses sympathy in Rawagede

Minister of Foreign Affairs Bert Koenders spoke on Friday with relatives of victims of the summary executions carried out by Dutch military personnel in the Indonesian village of Rawagede in 1947. He expressed his personal condolences at the meeting.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Bert Koenders spoke on Friday with relatives of victims of the summary executions carried out by Dutch military personnel in the Indonesian village of Rawagede in 1947. He expressed his personal condolences at the meeting.

‘It was a moving and memorable meeting,’ said Mr Koenders afterwards. This is the first time a Dutch minister has visited Rawagede since 2011 when the Dutch ambassador apologised on behalf of the Dutch government for the executions carried out there.

‘The tragedy that unfolded in 1947 is a black spot in our history. We have acknowledged that mistakes were made and terrible things happened. The government of the Netherlands has apologised for this and I repeated that apology today. I sincerely hope that this will contribute to the process of reconciliation,’ said Mr Koenders.

In Rawagede, now called Balongsari, Mr Koenders visited the commemorative monument. As is customary in Indonesia, he scattered flower petals on the graves near the monument. He also visited the local market and was shown a hospital and a school built with Dutch funding.

The visit to Rawagede was the final stop on Mr Koenders’ four-day visit to Indonesia.

Ministry responsible