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NGOs slam govt over mudflow

Nongovernmental organizations on Thursday threw their support behind mudflow victims from Sidoarjo, East Java, by urging the government to compensate them before the post-Ramadan holiday of Idul Fitri at the latest.

As many as 24 Jakarta-based NGOs, grouped under the Coalition of Justice for Lapindo Mudflow Victims, criticized the government for “neglecting” the fate of those displaced by the sludge that has devastated the area since May 2006.

Some 25 representatives of the victims met with the coalition at the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) headquarters in Jakarta to seek the NGOs’ backing for their demands.

“We ask President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to take stern measures to resolve the fate of Sidoarjo mudflow victims,” coalition coordinator Usman Hamid told the meeting.

“The President must also be brave and ask all relevant parties, including his minister responsible for this matter, to complete payment of compensation before Idul Fitri.”

The representatives, from 10 villages in Sidoarjo, arrived in Jakarta on Friday to push for a clear response over compensation payments, which have yet to be completed two years after the disaster struck.

During their stay in Jakarta, they met with Public Works Minister Djoko Kirmanto and representatives from the Social Services Ministry and the National Land Agency.

The representatives also met with politicians and legislators from several parties, including the National Awakening Party (PKB), the Indonesian Democratic Party for Struggle (PDI-P) and the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS).

“The Democratic Party and the Golkar Party rejected our request for separate meetings,” said Sep Muhammad, one of the representatives.

The mudflow victims will return to Sidoarjo on Friday after the President turned down their appeal for a dialog.

© Jakarta Post

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