Moluccans living in exile in the Netherlands are celebrating the 61st anniversary of the unilateral proclamation of independence for the South Moluccan Islands.
The Moluccan Islands are part of Indonesia, a former Dutch colony, and are located in the east of the archipelago. After World War Two, Moluccans fought alongside the Dutch in the Dutch colonial army, the KNIL, against the Indonesians who wanted an end to colonialism. The Dutch were fighting for a return to colonial rule following the Japanese occupation during the war. When Indonesia gained its independence in 1949, over 12,000 Moluccans (KNIL members and their families) sailed to the Netherlands - temporarily, they thought - as they feared reprisals.
Around 2,000 people are expected to attend political speeches and cultural performances and workshops at a congress centre in Apeldoorn. The day will also focus on the human rights situation in the Moluccan Islands.
A state visit to the Netherlands by Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono last October was postponed after Moluccan exiles filed a law suit against him for human rights violations.
© Radio Netherlands Worldwide