Jakarta (ANTARA) - President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) has offered to restore citizenship to two persons who have been forced to live in exile since the 30 September Movement, which was marked by political upheaval and mass killings.

The offer was extended to two exiles, Sudaryanto and Jaroni Soerjomartono, who are currently in their 80s, at the launch of the Human Rights Violation Non-Judicial Resolution Recommendations Implementation Program in Pidie, Aceh, on Tuesday.

"Do Mr. Daryanto and Mr. Soerjo want to be Indonesian nationals again?" the President asked the two exiles, as observed on the Presidential Secretariat’s YouTube channel here.

Sudaryanto, 81, answered that though he is planning to get his Indonesian nationality back, he needs to convince his family in Russia, including his three grandchildren.

"I am not sure, but if convinced, I think I will," he said.

Meanwhile, Soerjomartono, also 81, said he had no plans to get his Indonesian citizenship back. He further informed that he did not expect to receive such an offer during his lifetime.

"This kind of situation is a surprise for me. I had never expected that this kind of measure would occur while I am still alive," he stated.

The restoration of rights of gross human rights violation victims would be a historic step, primarily for the younger generation, to heal the wounds of past violations, Soejomartono added.

"It is historic not only for me, who is now nobody, but for the younger generation to move forward," he stressed.

Before asking the question, the President asked the two to recount their story of being forced to live in exile and barred from returning to Indonesia in the aftermath of the 1965–1966 political upheaval.

Soerjomartono recalled that he was studying in Czechoslovakia on a government scholarship when his passport was revoked following his refusal to sign written support for the New Order regime after the 30 September Movement.

Meanwhile, Sudaryanto, who was studying in Moscow on a Soviet scholarship at the time, had his passport and Indonesian nationality revoked after refusing to denounce Sukarno.

Responding to the two exiles, the President affirmed that the government would assist them if they accept the Indonesian citizenship offer.

"If you want to be an Indonesian national again, I and all of us would be glad. It also proves that this country protects its people," Widodo said.

As a first step, Soerjomartono and Sudaryanto were declared eligible to apply for their Indonesian stay permit gratis.

Under the same agenda, the President also affirmed that open wounds from past human rights violations should be healed so that Indonesia can forge ahead into the future.

"It is to heal our nation's wounds due to past grave human rights violations that burdened the victims and their families. The wounds should be healed to ensure we can move forward," he remarked.

Translator: Gilang Galiartha, Nabil Ihsan
Editor: Yuni Arisandy Sinaga
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