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Rights group urges probe over Indonesian 'mud volcano' - Jakarta (AFP) May 28, 2008
Indonesia must step up efforts to investigate serious human rights abuses surrounding the eruption of a "mud volcano" which displaced 36,000 people, the national human rights commission said Wednesday.

The commission investigator said the state body had found "serious" rights violations relating to the disaster and called on the government to punish those responsible.

"A serious human rights violation has occurred," Kabul Supriyadhie told a forum of activists and journalists.

The mud volcano, dubbed "Lusi", erupted from a well being dug by Lapindo Brantas, an oil and gas company owned by billionaire welfare minister Aburizal Bakrie, in East Java two years ago on Thursday.

Thirteen people were killed in the initial eruption and 12 villages were inundated as the stinking, methane-filled mud spewed across 640 hectares (1,580 acres) of surrounding countryside, forcing thousands to flee their homes.

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"This is a problem that we deem serious, where the state has failed to protect and guarantee basic rights of the victims of the incident and has no political will to pressure PT Lapindo Brantas to take their responsibility," Supriyadhie said.

He said the company had no legal authority to drill in the densely populated area and local residents had not been informed of its operations.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat May 31st, 2008 at 01:37:37 AM EST
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