Acehnese demonstrators demand UN support Helsinki peace negotiations

Aceh Kita – July 4, 2005
Acehnese demonstrate in Jakarta in support of Helsinki peace process (Dita Alangkara)
Acehnese demonstrate in Jakarta in support of Helsinki peace process (Dita Alangkara)

AK-38, Jakarta – Hundreds of Acehnese residing in Jakarta, Bogor, Tangerang and Bekasi, who support of the Helsinki peace negotiations between the Indonesian government and the Free Aceh Movement, demonstrated at the United Nations in Central Jakarta demanding that the UN support a peaceful resolution to the Aceh conflict. As well as calling for support from the UN, the demonstrators also demanded self-government and local parties in Aceh.

During the 30 minute demonstration at the UN, three representatives were received by UN staff. One of the representatives, Faisal Saifuddin, said that they conveyed to the UN their support for resolving the Aceh question peacefully and through negotiations. Because said Saifuddin, the Acehnese people need tranquility and peace to rebuild their province which was devastated by the tsunami tidal wave.

The demonstrators also called on the UN and foreign countries to review developments taking place in Aceh. Saifuddin said that is necessary because if peace is not achieved in Aceh, foreign countries should stop assisting the process of reconstruction and rehabilitation. This is because development will not be able to be enjoyed by the Acehnese people if there are continued rights violations and violence.

The chairperson of the Acehnese Popular Democratic Resistance Front (FPDRA), Thamrin Ananda, said Aceh is a issue for all nations so there is absolutely no reason for the internationalisation of the Aceh question to frighten certain groups. “What has made the Aceh question become an international issue is [the presence] of [Indonesian] troops. Because it is the troops themselves who are committing human rights violations”, said Ananda.

After protesting at the UN, the demonstrators then went to the US Embassy. During the 15 minute demonstration at the embassy, they gave speeches and sang Acehnese songs. Not one embassy staff member was prepared to met with the demonstrators. As of going to print they were protesting at the offices of the Minister for Politics, Security and Legal Affairs. [dzie]

[Translated by James Balowski.]