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December-22-98

Indonesian Government Acknowledges Mass Rapes

After repeatedly denying that mass rapes occurred during violent political riots last May, the Indonesian government has finally acknowledged some of the rapes of ethnic Chinese there, but continues to deny that "mass and systematic" rapes occurred.

1,200 people were killed and 168 ethnic Chinese women alleged that they were raped during the riots, which began with the killing of student political protestors by the military and led to wide-spread looting and ethnic violence.

Last month, a government-convened panel of experts released a report, finding evidence that 66 women were raped. The government argued that this estimate was too high, and claimed that only 52 women were raped, that 24 were "sexually mistreated" and that another four were harassed. State Secretariat Minister Akbar announced that the Indonesian government will provide a counseling program for the rape victims and will grant financial compensation for "material loss" during the riots.

Media Resources: AP and Reuters

   

     

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