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How many deaths? Problems in the statistics of massacre in Indonesia (1965-1966) and East Timor (1975-1980)

Robert Cribb, The Australian National University

Abstract

The chapter critically examines the scanty evidence for the number of people to die in the massacres carried out by the Indonesian army in Indonesia during the suppression of the Indonesian Communist Party in 1965-66 and in East Timor duting the first five years after the indonesian invasion and occupation (1975-80). The chapter concludes that the death toll in Indonesia lay between 200,000 and 800,000, with a figure of 500,000 the current most plausible estimate. It concludes that the common estmate of 200,000 deaths by violence in East Timor is likely to be a significant exaggeration and that the likely figure for killings is closer to 80,000. It points out that there were many deaths -- perhaps just as many -- as a result of poor conditions, especially in detention camps, and that children were the group with the highest death rate.

Suggested Citation

Robert Cribb. "How many deaths? Problems in the statistics of massacre in Indonesia (1965-1966) and East Timor (1975-1980)" Violence in Indonesia. Ed. Ingrid Wessel and Georgia Wimhöfer. Hamburg: Abera, 2001. 82-98.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/robert_cribb/2