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India, Indonesia reject tsunami relief rights abuse report

[JURIST] Both and Indonesia have rejected a report [PDF text] released Wednesday by groups claiming that relief efforts for the devastating 2004 tsunami [JURIST news archive] were marred by numerous violations [JURIST report] of the rights of survivors. Both governments denied that women and minority groups such as the Dalits, the lowest Hindu class, and the Mokens were being turned away from aid or ignored by government agencies. Ashim Khurana, Joint Secretary of India's National Disaster Management department, said the conclusions of the report, issued by ActionAid International, the People's Movement for Human Rights Education and Habitat International Coalition [advocacy websites], were based on "generalized statements." He declined to respond without specific examples of abuses. In , Aburizal Bakrie, chief social welfare minister, said, "The report sounds weird" to anyone who had witnessed the extent of the destruction. Kuntoro Mangjusubroto, head of Indonesia's reconstruction agency in Aceh province, an area where the left about 170,000 people dead or missing, acknowledged some "holes here and there" in the relief distribution, but emphasized that there had been no human rights abuses against the displaced [Reuters report]. Responding to complaints of women's groups in Aceh that the rights abuses against female survivors in Aceh were being ignored, Kuntoro said the building of female-only bathrooms and rest areas for the displaced was high on his agenda. AFP has more.

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