Letter: Carmel Budiardjo obituary

Andrew Hickman’s obituary of Carmel Budiardjo, the campaigner for human rights and justice in Indonesia, refers to the political effects of the cold war in south-east Asia. One consequence was that the west turned a blind eye to the 1965 massacre in Indonesia and to the anti-left purge under General Suharto.

Carmel’s organisation Tapol was a lonely voice in exposing the plight of tens of thousands of political prisoners and their families. She was wonderfully forthright and focused on the cause. In 1990 when I visited Indonesia for the Guardian to cover the – largely ignored – 25th anniversary of the massacre, her help with contacts included the great novelist and ex-prisoner Pramoedya Ananta Toer, and proved to be invaluable.


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