200 students in Yogyakarta demand an end to the war in Aceh

Detik.com – June 16, 2003
Police operation in Greater Aceh (Tempo)
Police operation in Greater Aceh (Tempo)

Bagus Kurniawan, Yogyakarta -- Resolving the conflict in Aceh through war will only increase the number of civilian casualties. For this reason, around 200 students from the Peace Committee for Humanity (Komite Perdamian untuk Kemanusiaan, KPK) held a demonstration calling for the war between the Indonesian armed forces (TNI) and the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) to be stopped.

This call was presented by students during an action at the regional parliament on Jl Malioboro in Yogyakarta [Central Java] on Monday. The action began at 10am with a long march from the Yogyakarta Monument to the parliament. From the parliament the demonstrators then went to the Gedung Agung Palace on Jl Ahmad Yani.

The students called on the government to restart the dialog to resolve the Aceh conflict. For students [they said], violence and war is not a solution, but rather it will only add to the Acehnese people’s burden of suffering.

“Immediately end the war between the TNI and GAM in Aceh. Resolve the problems of the Acehnese people peacefully and through a democratic national dialogue which involves civil society”, said the coordinator of the action, Nur Hambalis.

KPK also called for an immediate trial for [those who have committed] crimes against humanity in Aceh. They also called on the government to provide protection to civilians. Finally, the students called for access to objective information for civil society though proportional reporting.

During the action, the students also carried posters which among other things read “War No, Dialog Yes”, “Continue the Aceh dialog and protect the rights of civilians”.

As of going to print, the action was continuing peacefully and had not created any traffic congestion. (iy)

[Translated by James Balowski.]