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Students demonstrate against omissions in draft law on Aceh
Detik.com - February 1, 2006
Nur Raihan, Banda Aceh – The Acehnese Alliance of Private College Student Executive Councils (BEM PTS) believes that the Draft Law on a Government for Aceh that was submitted to the to the House of Representatives by the Home Affairs Department has disappointed the Acehnese people.
How is it that a number of extremely important points have been omitted such as the removal of the opportunity for independent candidates to participate in the coming election of regional heads.
In order to protest this, the alliance even organised a demonstration. The action was held in front of the Baiturrahman Grand Mosque in the Simpang Lima area and at the offices of the Aceh Regional House of Representatives (DPRD) on Wednesday February 1. Demonstrators called on the central government not to destroy and emasculate the rights and aspirations of the Acehnese people.
The other article they say has been tinkered with by the Home Affairs Department is the one that specifies the demarcation of Aceh's boarders in accordance with the July 1, 1956 agreement. In addition to this they are urging that the sharing of economic benefits also refer to the Helsinki Memorandum of Understanding and that Aceh’s entire regional revenue be managed by the Acehnese government.
The deputy speaker of the DPRD, Raihan Iskandar – who met with students in the grounds of the DPRD building – said that there are indeed several issues that need to be straightened out in the draft law. For example on the demarcation of boarders, after it was checked with the central government, there is no state gazette that refers to this matter. We have also looked in the Syiah Kuala University Faculty of Law [archives], it’s also not there. But what is important, is that Aceh essentially remains as it is now. We will continue the struggle", he said.
Meanwhile the head of the special commission that drafted the law, Azhari Basar, explained that they would continue to struggle so that the law is in accordance with the hopes of the Acehnese people. “There are several issues that we still see as tied to sectoral laws. But we will struggle for the draft law [not to be amended]”, he said.
Basar along with other members of the DPRD will also be meeting with a number of leaders of political parities and public figures. “So that that they support the draft that we submitted”, explained Basar – who is also the head of the Golkar Party fraction in the DPRD – when speaking to journalists after meeting with the students.
Basar explained that in his meeting with the vice president not long ago, independent candidates were to be accommodated in the draft law however they will only be given one chance to participate in the election of regional heads. “We do not want our rights to be predicated by the central [government] whereas there had already been prior discussion [on the matter]. Don’t let the peace process be destroyed again by the central government”, he asserted. (nrl)
[Translated by James Balowski.]
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