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100 women have been raped in Aceh

Kompas - August 29, 2003

Jakarta – The accusation that particular members of TNI [Indonesian armed forces] have committed rapes has surfaced again. This time it was raised by seven non-government organisation (NGOs) in making an evaluation of 100 days of the military emergency in Aceh which was presented to the National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) on Thursday (28/8).

According to the seven NGOs calling themselves the Friends of Aceh (Sahabat Aceh), more than 100 Acehnese women have been raped. What is saddening [they said], is that this continued after Aceh had celebrated the 58th anniversary of Indonesian Independence [on August 17]. In one case a woman was gang raped by five TNI members. "These incidents occurred in two locations, Kandang in North Aceh and Kampung Keramat in Lokseumawe. In Keramat, following independence day celebrations, a woman was stopped by five TNI members and taken to a Koramil [sub-district military] post. When they reported it to the local Koramil, the family of the victim were intimidated and asked not to pursue case", revealed Aceh Muhammad from the Friends of Aceh.

The Friends of Aceh is made up of the Legal Aid and Human Rights Association (PBHI), Solidarity Without Borders (Solidamor), the Kotaraja Forum, the Daughters of Aceh for Justice, the Purple Institute and National Solidarity for Papua. They were received by the chairperson of the Aceh Ad Hoc Team, M.M. Billah and Komnas HAM member Hasballah M Saad.

Friend of Aceh spokesperson, Bonar Tigor Naipospos, presented their evaluation report on three months of the military emergency in Aceh. In the report it revealed that the number of civilian casualties in Aceh has already reached 308 people.

The majority of victims, as many as 80 people, are victims of abductions, followed by victims of intimidation totaling 55 people. "Only 21 victims of rape and sexual harassment have been brave enough to openly take legal action accompanied by witnesses", [he said].

In its report, the Friends of Aceh said that since the military operation was launched, [in its statements] the TNI never mentions the number of civilian victims. This is different to the police who in their first monthly report revealed that the number of civilian casualties was as high as 123 people. The TNI is intentionally covering up information on civilian casualties. The Friends of Aceh admitted [however], that it is still difficult for them to verify all of the data. (win)

[Translated by James Balowski.]