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Aceh groups call for repeal of civil emergency

Tempo Interactive - October 8, 2004

Jakarta – The Acehnese Popular Democratic Resistance Front (Front Perlawanan Demokratik Rakyat Aceh, FPDRA) and the Acehnese Democratic Women’s Organisation (Organisasi Perempuan Aceh Demokrati, ORPAD) are calling on the new government to repeal the state of civil emergency and withdraw all TNI (armed forces) and police troops from Aceh.

“Aceh was one of the provinces which was won by SBY [president-elect Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono] by as much as 83 per cent of the vote. The extent of SBY’s [vote] is a consequence of [the Acehnese people’s] disappointment with the previous government which made a lot of promises but never kept them”, said FPDRA general chairperson Thamrin Ananda at the offices of the Committee for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) on Friday October 8.

According to Ananda the large number of votes given by Aceh to SBY represents a call on SBY to make the Aceh problem a important policy item in the first 100 days of his administration.

In the first 100 days of his administration it is hoped that the government will return Aceh to a situation of normality as it was before, without a state of civil emergency and by withdrawing TNI and police troops.

FPDRA and ORPAD are proposing a number of stages which can be undertaken by the SBY government in the first 100 days. The first stage would be to deescalate the conflict. “This stage represents a step which requires both parties to reduced armed engagements. Especially so since the government [claims] that it has already succeeded in reducing GAM’s [the Free Aceh Movement] forces by 90 per cent”, said Ananda. He believes that this stage is the most imprint one in order to move towards a peaceful and democratic resolution to the Aceh problem.

[Translated by James Balowski.]
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