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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
Resolving the Conflict in Acheh: International Engagement Key

by: SIRA
Date: 02/09/05

resident Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono announced that Government of Indonesia policy for resolving the political conflict in Acheh would not require the participation of the international community or foreign governments. Yudhoyono declared that the conflict between Acheh and Indonesia would be resolved based on autonomy for Acheh and its integration as part of the Unitary State of Indonesia.(Kompas, February 7, 2005)
SIRA (Acheh Referendum Information Center) considers these declarations evidence of a lack of good faith on the part of the Government of Indonesia. Such an approach indicates a willingness on the part of the Government of Indonesia to keep the conflict active for a long time. Sira considers the Government of Indonesia's ambivalence towards a meaningful approach further indication of its intent to continue to take advantage of the conflict for the narrow interests of those institutions and powers which benefit from it.
We are faced with a gesture of political theatre: on the one hand, the government makes obvious but ineffective pretenses towards resolving the conflict and the other hand, it keeps sending its agents of death and destruction (the Indonesian military - TNI) to brutalize the population through military operations.

The government's policy is to put forward autonomy and integration as non-negotiable elements of its negotiating posture while ignoring  the history of Acheh: neither the Special Province of Acheh, the autonomy of the Soekarno era nor any form of autonomy through the current UU NAD has been successful. None has helped resolve the conflict, nor provided economic justice, nor an end of impunity for the Indonesian military for its crimes, nor peace  on the ground. SIRA therefore strongly rejects this theatrical gesture of autonomy offered by
Indonesia as a purported solution to the conflict in Acheh.
Based on this history, SIRA finds the Government of Indonesia unwilling or incapable of protecting the Achenese people. We therefore request the involvement of international parties to guarantee the basic human rights of Achenese. Given the brutal history of the Indonesian military's occupation of Acheh, the widespread and systematic human rights abuses that continue with impunity, the international community must not abandon our people to the mercy of the Indonesian killing machine. Acheh is a problem of the international community.
The involvement of international state parties to help resolve the conflict is rational given the aspirations of Achenese to self-determination, a life free from oppression and injustice, as well as free from human right abuses continuously committed by the Indonesian government.


Cease Fire - the Critical Issue

by: SIRA
Date: 02/04/05

Armed Parties Require Independent State Mediator

he RI government and GAM should return to the negotiating table as soon as possible, in order promptly to open the process to non-armed parties. There must be no delay. Both armed parties are urged immediately to take trust-building measures to end the armed conflict. There are still many offensive TNI patrols and operations and deployment in Achenese villages which risk unravelling hopes of a sustainable peace process.

As a first step towards such a Peace process, the Acheh Referendum Information Center (SIRA) urges the RI and the GAM to initiate a permanent cease fire. An effective cease fire with observation from the international community will not only strengthen the impetus for dialogue between the armed parties, but also enables the disaster relief effort and post-tsunami Acheh reconstruction process. SIRA has supported the cease fire policy offered by GAM since the beginning of relief efforts. SIRA has observed popular dissatisfaction with the Indonesian government's offer of special autonomy and is concerned that this offer is evidence of their inability to resolve permanently the conflict. Most Achenese are aware that no peace or justice follow largely nominal granting of special autonomy and that such status only serves to perpetuate the oppressive machinery of military control, fueling rather than resolving the conflict in Acheh.

Independent Mediator Required

SIRA calls on support from the international community to help resolve the current impasse in Acheh. The international community is hereby requested to provide a mediator who must be trusted and respected by both the RI and GAM. SIRA regretfully observes the statements of Marti Ahtisaari, suggesting that continued dialogue between the RI and GAM will be mediated by Crisis Management Initiative (CMI) in Helsinski, Finland and only in the Special Autonomy frame work. That statement is reveals bias and a lack of independence and foretells an imbalance in the dialogue process. As a mediator, Mr. Marti Ahtisaari should be communicating what the people of Acheh demand from GAM and RI. The CMI should recognize the aspirations of non-armed Achenese who have been living under RI oppression for over 50 years.

We hope that our call for truly independent mediation of this conflict within the framework of popular consultation and aspirations, will enable peace building, respect for human rights, and justice and freedom for Achenese.

For more information on this report, please contact the Acheh Referendum Information Centre (SIRA); Jln. T. Panglima Polem No. 13 A; Kp. Laksana, Banda Acheh - Sumatra; Phone/Fax: +62-651-24043; Cell: 081511698488; E-mail: Nasruddin Abubakar, Member of the Presidium Council.




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