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Yudhoyono must repeal civil emergency in Aceh within 100 days

Tempo Interactive - October 16, 2004

Jakarta – The coordinator of Indonesia’s NGO Coalition for International Human Rights Advocacy (HRWG), Rafendi Djamin, hopes that president-elect Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY) will repeal the state of civil emergency in Aceh as part of the program of the first 100 days of his administration and in such a way establish a process of development and the pre-conditions for peace in Aceh.

“A test for SBY will be if he extends the civil emergency. Meaning he isn’t serous about resolving the Aceh problem if the civil emergency is not repealed”, said Djamin during a discussion titled The Peace Process in Aceh which was held on Monday October 18 in Jakarta. The government of incumbent President Megawati Sukarnoputri was to repeal the state of civil emergency which came into force last June and return Aceh to a state of normality. Based on the guidelines setout by the Megawati administration, the state of civil emergency was to end next November.

Djamin also called on the new government to immediately provide access for human rights monitoring and humanitarian assistance in Aceh. The people of Aceh must also be given greater space to express their views and to organise as well as eliminating their feelings of fear. In this way the conditions in Aceh could be like other parts of the country. “Overall the conditions in Aceh are normal, because GAM [the Free Aceh Movement] is cornered and only remains in a number of isolated places”, he said.

He hopes that Yudhoyono will instead use an approach of dialogue to resolve the Aceh problem. The government must also differentiate between the dichotomy of GAM and the TNI (armed forces) in order to create a sense of security. But he continued, the government does not need to issue a new presidential decree in order for the civil emergency to be repealed. “The government [should] use regulations such as [those in force] in other normal areas”, he said.

Djamin said in the lead-up to the end of the civil emergency in Aceh, Yudhoyono’s administration must enforce laws which are linked with human rights as well as corruption. In his assessment, since martial law and the state of civil emergency have been in place, law enforcement has not run as it should. Moreover corruption has grown and thrived. (Sunariah)

[Translated by James Balowski.]
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