Human rights NGO finds 482 cases of rights violations in Aceh

Aceh Kita – July 30, 2005
TNI troops look at bodies and tied prisoner in Aceh (achehcybermilitary)
TNI troops look at bodies and tied prisoner in Aceh (achehcybermilitary)

AK-9, Banda Aceh – The Aceh Human Rights Coalition has found 482 cases of human rights violations over the last 14 months. The period investigated by the coalition was between May 2004 to June 2005.

According to the head of the coalition’s data and information division, M. Isa, the data represents the results of an investigation by six human rights and legal aid posts (PB-HAM) in six regencies. Broken down the coalition secretariat found 29 cases of violations, PB-HAM East Aceh 102 cases, PB-HAM North Aceh 97 cases, Pidie PB-HAM 107 cases, PB-HAM Central Aceh 6 cases, PB-HAM West Aceh 64 cases and PB-HAM South Aceh 77 cases.

Isa said that they would continue the investigation into human rights violations that occur in Aceh. In addition to this, they will also provide assistance to victims of violence. “Violence continues to occur, although the intensity has declined slightly”, said Isa on Saturday July 30.

According to Isa, although the state of emergency which Aceh was under for two years has been changed to a state of civil authority, in substantial terms the type of operations being conducted by the TNI (armed forces) and the Indonesian police in the field are the same as during the period of martial law. Isa said that on the grounds of pursuing members of the Free Aceh Movement (GAM), many civilians have become causalities of violence.

From the coalition’s investigation said Isa, the level of violence has declined if compared with the period of martial law. But the government is still prioritising security operations as part of the law enforcement operation. In concert with the large number of cases of wrongful arrests by the TNI and police, the coalition said it would continue to provide assistance to the victims. “Through making approaches to the party concerned”, he said.

The coalition has also experienced various obstacles in its investigation including a lack of investigators on the ground because many human rights workers are reluctant to conduct investigations in the field. “They are afraid because there are no security guarantees”, said Isa while noting the difficulty in coordinating with security forces when civilians are arrested.

The coalition hopes that with the peace agreement between the Indonesian government and GAM being reached in Helsinki, the TNI and police as well as GAM can make peace and there will be no more causalities in Aceh. “The conflict will also end”, he said hopefully. [dzie].

[Translated by James Balowski.]