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Note: The painting of Ambassador Andrew Young. The painting is now hung at the main lobby of Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University, Atlanta
 
 

Peace Agreement is Now on the Talk

Authors: 1. Bakhtiar Abdullah; 2. FPDRA
Category: Acheh Tsunami
Date: 01/17/05

Commentary

Dear Mr. Thamren Ananda,

hank you for your detailed proposals on how the leadership of the governments of the State of Acheh and of the Republic of Indonesia should behave post the tsunami disaster. On our part, we always welcome such inputs from Achenese NGOs, large or small alike, as they represent sections of the Achenese people whose voice must be heard. Our struggle is for nothing if we were to set aside the voice of the people, no matter how faint it might be. Rest assure, Mr. Thamren Ananda, despite your often sharp criticisms of our Movement, we always hear you with the degree of respect that you deserve.

  • On your first proposal that "GAM respond openly and welcome the offer for a peace agreement which has been made by the Indonesian government". You seem not to have known that we, the Government of the State of Acheh (PNA), was the first to make such an offer, or if you did, as usual you didn't take us very seriously. 24 hours after the tsunami disaster our Prime Minister issued the order to our armed forces, the TNA, to be on a unilateral ceasefire, and called on the GoI to do the same. Last week, Prime Minister Malik Mahmood reconfirmed this commitment and invited the Indonesian leadership to enter into a formal ceasefire agreement indefinitely, during which dialogues for peace could be conducted. We don't believe the Acheh conflict could be solved in a day or two of negotiations, but the ceasefire can be ordered immediately. Like you, we believe that we should set aside all political considerations first and end the violence immediately to allow the aid supplies to be distributed unhindered. We have indeed heard positive responses from GoI political leaders, but unfortunately, in the field, our members are still being hunted and no less than a dozen have been killed since the tsunami, most of them unarmed as they returned to their villages to look for their families, and villagers themselves are being terrorized again with at least 7 are known to have been shot dead, including a 6 year old child.
  • On the second point of your call that "the peace agreement must be proceeded by a cease-fire by both parties and a shift in the function of the Indonesian armed forces in Acheh to one of humanitarian assistance or a civil mission". We couldn't agree more with you on this point as it is a logical step. No peace agreement is possible if not preceded by a ceasefire. It is not peace if the sides are still shooting at each other. As for the Indonesian troops to perform humanitarian assistance and a civil mission, this is where we have our great doubt, knowing the reputation of the TNI. The Indonesian government has in fact brought in 30 000 fresh troops to Acheh to replace those lost in the tsunami and those who have ended their tour of duty in Acheh. Why do you need soldiers to do humanitarian work? There are tens of thousands of able bodied volunteers in Acheh who want to help if allowed. The vast amount of money the GoI has to spend for the movement of these troops could have been used to pay sustenance allowance to these now jobless Achenese to do the work, and to use the police to ensure security of the supplies from criminal elements. After all Acheh now is supposed to be under the Civil Emergency status and no longer under the martial law. We can't understand how you failed to see this when you claimed to be in Banda Acheh. Why are the tens of thousands of students of the Dayahs (religious boarding schools) not allowed to come out of their campuses to bury the dead as required by the "fardhu kifayah" - social obligation of Islam?
  • On the third point of your call that "both parties to involve all political spectrums which exist in Acheh in negations including students, political organisations, religious leaders and other public figures". Aren't you contradicting yourself here? You said we must put aside all political considerations for the timebeing and concentrate on the distribution of aid and rebuilding Acheh. But here you are insisting on including ALL POLITICAL SPECTRUMS...
  • Point 4: "We urge both parties to ensure foreign involvement in the negotiations, especially the UN, as a neutral party which has the authority to act against either party if they violate the peace agreement". This is exactly what we have been urging the world community to do for years. Today this is easier to perform as dozens of foreign nations have troops in our country. They have helicopters; the US has satellite observation capability to see clearly who's doing what. In civilized countries, looters in big natural or accidental calamities such as earthquakes, floods and fire, are shot dead on the spot! But in Acheh what we have seen so far it is "pagar makan tanaman" (the fences devouring the plants).
  • Point 5 : "As referred to above, all elements which are involve in negotiations must have the authority, post negotiations, to rebuild Acheh together for an unlimited period of time both politically or in terms of rehabilitation". We are still trying to understand what you are trying to say. We all have the RIGHT to rebuild Acheh. It is our home. We agree fully with you on this. As for the authority, how do we have dozens of authorities to make decisions on their own without making the situation impossibly chaotic? Don't we have to have a single authority that should supervise all the work to prevent chaos?; and that this authority should be the UN, as the finances to do all this will come from contributions from other nations?

We thank you again for your proposals and we assure you we are very attentive to all inputs from Achenese NGOs including yours,

Bakhtiar Abdullah, Spokesman, ASNLF, Stockholm 17, January 2005. For more infomation on this report, please contact Ministry of Information; P.O.BOX 130, S-145 01 NORSBORG, SWEDEN; TEL : +46 8 531 83833 FAX: +46 8 531 91275.

 

FPDRA welcomes government's offer for peace agreement with GAM

Statement by Achenese People's Democratic Resistance Front (FPDRA)

he desire by the government of Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to create an opportunity for a peace agreement and end the armed conflict with the Free Acheh Movement (GAM) should be welcomed all elements of society. This positive signal should also be welcomed by GAM

In a situation in Acheh post the tsunami disaster the offer made by the president it very timely although in truth late if compared with the offer made by the Sri Lankan government to the Tamil Tiger rebels. The offer does however provide a positive signal for improvements in the channeling of humanitarian aid as well as its efforts to rebuild Acheh.

In this regard we are of the view that neither the government or GAM should assert political preconditions on the peace agreement but instead focus on the facilitation of humanitarian aid, recovery and rebuilding Acheh. This is order that the agreement is not overshadowed beforehand by the political obsessions of the two parties - either GAM's obsession with independence or the government's obsession with special autonomy. With regard to aid, the two parties must therefore agree to a cease-fire for an unlimited period of time. A precondition for such a cease-fire to occur and to facilitate the flow of domestic and international aid is to halt all military operation in Acheh (regardless of its form and status).

Historically, peace agreements have invariably failed mid-way because there has been no involvement of other forces outside of the government and GAM. In a future agreement it is absolutely imperative that the government involve all existing political spectrums including students, political organisations, civil society, religious leaders and other public figures. As well as the involvement of these elements, international involvement is also needed in the form of the United Nations. The involvement of the UN is extremely beneficial and necessary in all peace negotiations, especially under the present conditions in Acheh. This can be seen from past negotiations which failed because there was no neutral foreign party which had the authority to act against the parties which violated the agreement. This is even more so in view of the post disaster situation in Acheh at the moment. Foreign involvement is absolutely necessary bearing in mind the rebuilding of Acheh which needs assistance from a number of parties, particularly international organisations. Thus the presence of the UN will be extremely important to monitor the rebuilding of Acheh as well as monitoring the development of the peace agreement.

The desire of both parties to discuss their political obsessions should be first put aside bearing in mind the psychological condition of the Achenese people who are yet to recover from or are still experiencing the trauma of this horrific disaster. So trauma recovery, rebuilding infrastructure and the destroyed Achenese people's economy must be the first priority of this peace agreement.

In addition to this, in order to broaden the peace agreement with GAM as envisioned by the government, it must also first be preceded with a shift in the military operation in Acheh to a humanitarian operation by no longer carrying arms during operations, because carrying arms only adds to the trauma and fear of the Achenese people. Military involvement in Acheh should be limited to humanitarian assistance and disaster relief or a civil mission. Furthermore the government must also release all GAM political prisoners as a way to initiate the peace agreement.

The Achenese Popular Democratic Resistance Front (FPDRA) therefore calls for the following:

we urge GAM to respond openly and welcome the offer for a peace agreement which has been made by the Indonesian government;

the peace agreement must be proceeded by a cease-fire by both parties and a shift in the function of the Indonesian armed forces in Acheh to one of humanitarian assistance or a civil mission;

we urge both parties to involve all political spectrums which exist in Acheh in negations including students, political organisations, religious leaders and other public figures;

we urge both parties to ensure foreign involvement in the negotiations, especially the UN, as a neutral party which has the authority to act against either party if they violate the peace agreement;

as referred to above, all elements which are involve in negotiations must have the authority, post negotiations, to rebuild Acheh together for an unlimited period of time both politically or in terms of rehabilitation.

In making this joint statement, our hope is for a single will to rebuild a just and democratic society in Acheh.

Central Organisational Committee of the Achenese Popular Democratic Resistance Front (Front Perlawanan Demokratik Rakyat Acheh, FPDRA); Thamrin Ananda, chairperson.

 

 

 

 

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