Military emergency must be revoked before holding elections

Detikcom – December 18, 2003
Cetro founding board head Todung Mulya Lubis (nawacita)
Cetro founding board head Todung Mulya Lubis (nawacita)

Fedhly Averouss Bey, Jakarta – The Centre for Electoral Reform (Cetro) and Indonesian Human Rights Watch (Imparsial) have stated that they reject holding the 2004 general elections in Aceh while it is under the status of a military emergency. At the very least there needs to be a break in the military emergency if [the government] still wishes to organise elections in Aceh.

This statement was issued jointly by the head of Cetro’s founding board, Todung Mulya Lubis, and Imparsial’s executive director Munir at a press conference at the Imparsial offices on Jalan Diponegoro in Central Jakarta on Thursday December 18.

Todung explain that the results of a limited survey which was conducted by Cetro in Aceh between December 12 and 14 indicated that a majority of the Acehnese do not feel free to participate in an election if it is held under the status of a military emergency.

According to Todung, the Acehnese people’s understanding of the elections is very minimal. This is because the representatives at the majority of meeting [on the elections] which have been held by the government and non-government organisations in Aceh are always bureaucrats and nominated by the emergency military command.

“So although these bureaucrats who represent the Acehnese people state their agreement with holding the elections under the status of a military emergency, the fact is that most Acehnese reject this”, said the senior advocate.

Because of this, Todung suggested that in the lead up to the 2004 elections the status of a military emergency in Aceh for areas which have already been declared secure be revoked. Meanwhile for areas which are not yet secure the military emergency can remain in place but the elections be held at a later date.

Meanwhile Munir explained that they had not participated in a recent meeting [on the elections] in Aceh because they had still not obtained information from the offices of the Coordinating Minister for Politics and Security with regard to the organisation of the elections in Aceh.

“Based on this we from Imparsial, we did not go to this event. Because it is still not known if the elections which are to be held will be luber (direct, open, free and secret), jurdil (honest and fair) and democratic”, said Munir. (gtp)

[Translated by James Balowski.]