Acehnese activists must also be granted amnesty: YLBHI

Source – August 16, 2005
Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation chairperson Munarman (Liputan 6)
Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation chairperson Munarman (Liputan 6)

M. Rizal Maslan, Jakarta – If former Free Aceh Movement (GAM) members are granted amnesty, then what about the fate of convicted activists and political prisoners jailed as a result of the Aceh conflict?

“If it is only for former GAM members, I believe, it was indeed civil society which greatly assisted [finding a solution to] the Aceh question and who have been the casualties. So activists should also become the subjects to obtain amnesty”, Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation (YLBHI) chairperson Munarman explained to at his office on Jalan Diponegoro in Jakarta on Tuesday August 16.

He is also asking that the Indonesian government and the Aceh Monitoring Mission team (AMM) pay attention to the issue. Moreover this represents one part of the third point in the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Indonesia and GAM.

These activist Munarman explained, are human rights, non-government organisation and student activists who were arrested and charged with subversion during the Aceh conflict. “The AMM must note this and it be a priority for [them] to obtain amnesty, including unofficial prisoners, or those disappeared in the forests, or disappeared at the hands of security forces”, he said.

MoU Indonesia-GAM

With regard to the MoU which was signed in Helsinki, Munarman believes that although it is still in the framework of the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia, it also represents a foundation to build peace in Aceh and Indonesia as a whole.

He also believes that in political and social terms, the MoU is indeed a step forward but the problem will be on the commitment by the two sides to implement the points of the MoU. “So I believe, the MoU still needs a more operational agreements, to [ensure] commitment to the implementation of the MoU can be carried out on the ground”, said Munarman.

From an economic perspective, such as the regional and central balance, Munarman believes that there is actually no problem and there is no need to make a fuss about Aceh getting a larger share. He believes that there has been misinformation about this issue and it needs to be cleared up.

“[On the] question of concerns over foreign intervention, there is also much misinterpretation. There are parties that fundamentally and ideologically oppose the MoU. But in fact they were silent before when Indonesia was disrupted or interfered with”, explained Munarman. (sss)

[Translated by James Balowski.]