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Indonesian military continues operations in Aceh

6. March 2005

“Solidarity of People Movement for Aceh” asks for cease fire

Joint Statement on

The Decision Made by the Government´s Coordination Meeting on Politics, Law, and Security to Continue the Joint Operation in Aceh

Government´s decision to continue the civil emergency status and the joint operation (security recovery operation) in Aceh is actually a part of civil emergency in Aceh. This was stated by the Coordinating Minister of Politics, Law, and Security – Widodo AS – after leaving from the coordination meeting on politics, law, and security.

Whatever ground used by the government to extend the civil emergency and/or the joint operation of which the substance is but a military operation, is a form of dualism policy by the Indonesian government. Such dualism is more apparent after the Tsunami disaster.

The continuation of joint operation in Aceh despites pressures by many local groups and international community for peaceful resolution – which is currently being strived for in Helsinki, Finland – is concrete evidence that the Indonesian government lacks the goodwill to solve Aceh conflict by democratic and peaceful means. The presence of the Indonesian government´s representatives in the negotiation with GAM in Helsinki, seems to only reflect Indonesian government´s interest to regain international credibility, instead of to work for peace in Aceh.

The international community has expressed its hope for the Indonesian government to return to negotiation table with GAM. This hope has been manifested in the Helsinki talk. However, the two meetings that have been held so far shows that the Indonesian government expected that GAM would be uncompromising and firmed on their position for independence so as the Indonesian government would have the justification to quit the talk and to return to military solution.

However, what happened in Helsinki was the opposite:
GAM was willing to make a big compromise by leaving their independence demand and focusing the talk around cease-fire, monitoring, reconstruction, as well as opening the discussion on the draft for special autonomy (self-government, GAM´s version of special autonomy).

GAM´s compromise was not responded by any positive consensus by the Indonesian government. Instead, the Indonesian government kept making provocations through military actions, routine patrol, which often ended with armed clash or hunts against GAM members. The Indonesian military even re-conducts ID check along the road from Banda Aceh to Medan.

Besides, to cover any military actions conducted by the Indonesian government, hoping that Helsinki talk would fail, the government started to restrict foreigners´ presence in Aceh, including those working for humanitarian work, by assigning them special ID cards and the deadline given to acquire it was March 6, 2005.

Therefore, SEGERA (Solidaritas Gerakan Rakyat untuk Aceh – Solidarity of People´s Movement for Aceh) and FPDRA (Front of the Acehnese People Democratic Struggle) think that the continuation of joint operation in Aceh after the Tsunami disaster reflect government´s dualistic attitude and lack of political will in resolving Aceh conflict. Based on this condition, we concluded that the Government of Indonesia basically does not wish a peaceful and democratic resolution in Aceh, but desires to make Aceh as an issue of military. The Indonesian government does not see GAM´s compromise as a progress towards resolution on Aceh, but as a retreat because the government is losing ground to launch military aggression in Aceh. Therefore, the government instigates military provocations in Aceh through its policies and political acts in order to influence GAM to withdraw from the peace talk and to lose trust on negotiation, thus to acquire another justification to continue the war.

Therefore we urge the government of Indonesia and the TNI:

1. To stop any form of military provocations in Aceh
2. To push both parties to agree on indefinite cease fire before proceeding to further talks. This is important to avoid the loss of lives and to ease the distribution of humanitarian aid for Tsunami victims in Aceh.
3. To push the government of Indonesia to revoke the civil emergency and to stop the joint operation as a show of political will to resolve Aceh problem democratically and by negotiation talk.
4. To push the government of Indonesia to give fair concessions to GAM by releasing all political prisoners in Aceh, especially GAM spokepersons, and to withdraw troops from Aceh.
5. To push the government of Indonesia to lift any restriction and deadline for foreign volunteers in Aceh because the condition still require aid, especially foreign aid.
6. To push both parties (GAM and the Government of Indonesia) to involve other political spectrum outside of GAM and the Government on the next negotiation.

Thus we made our statement in the hope of post-tsunami peace for the Acehnese.

Arie Ariyanto
Solidarity of People Movement for Aceh

Thamrin Ananda
Central Committee Organization
Front of Acehness People Democratic Struggle