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TNI asked to comply with government policy on Aceh

AcehKita.com - June 3, 2005

Jakarta – The Human Rights Working Group (HRWG), a coalition of non-government organisations who are active in the field of human rights monitoring, are calling on the TNI (armed forces) so submit to and comply with policies issued by the civilian government, particularly policies seeking a peaceful or negotiated settlement to the Aceh conflict.

According to HRWG, throughout the negotiations between Jakarta and the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) in Helsinki, the TNI has given the impression of ignoring the government’s efforts, particularly in terms of a cease fire. "The TNI's attitude to date has been to choose the option of war and be unwilling to comply with the civilian authorities who have begun to discussing a cease fire", wrote HRWG in a press release received by AcehKita.com on Friday June 3.

The position being taken by the TNI said HRGW, could create a precedent for the Aceh peace process as well as the democratic climate in Indonesia. "This attitude is a signal that violence will continue in Aceh and that the peace process the Acehnese people are hoping for won’t become a reality", asserted HRWG.

If the TNI continues not to comply with the civilian administration, there is a concern that the negotiations will fail again. As an example, HRGW noted that there were 57 armed clashes and a number violations committed during the period of the Humanitarian Pause and Cessation of Hostilities (CoHA)1.

HRWG is therefore asking TNI chief Endriartono Sutarto to comply with the policy decisions of the civilian government and reminded Sutarto that the military should be used to implement policy decisions by the civilian government.

"The TNI commander only implements a policy [decision], so in the Aceh peace process, the TNI should not take any kind of political position", warned the human rights foundation which is headquartered in Jakarta. "There can be absolutely no grounds or justification [not to do so], the TNI cannot make it's own policies”.

HRWG is also asking both sides (Jakarta and GAM) to prioritise a cease fire as a first step in implementing the Aceh peace process. [dzie]


1. On December 9, 2003, Indonesia and GAM signed the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement (COHA) which required both sides to begin demilitarisation within two months and a Joint Security Committee (JSC) was tasked with monitoring the peace process. Although there were numerous violations, the first two months saw a dramatic decline in violence. Jakarta however complained that GAM was taking advantage of the cease-fire and following a series of attacks by TNI backed militia on the JSC offices peace monitors were forced to withdraw from Aceh.

[Translated by James Balowski.]
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