Not just GAM, militia must also be disarmed – Kontras

Source – September 16, 2005
Kontras investigation and documentation division head Haris Azhar (Pos Kota)
Kontras investigation and documentation division head Haris Azhar (Pos Kota)

Fedhly Averouss Bey, Jakarta – The government should not only focus on the disarmament of the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) but must also act firmly against civilian groups carrying arms in Aceh, which must be disarmed and disbanded.

This call was conveyed to journalists by the coordinator of the division for investigative documentation and research from the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras), Haris Azhar, at the Kontras’ secretariat on Jalan Borobudur in Menteng, Jakarta, on Friday September 16. Also present was the head of Kontras’ operational division, Edwin Partogi.

“The police must immediately strip the weapons from the militias’ hands because so far there has still been no collection of the illegal weapons, ammunition and explosives which are possessed by civilians”, said Azhar.

Kontras warned that armed civilian groups could become an unauthorised force that will disrupt peace in Aceh which has almost been reached following the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Indonesian government and GAM. “The government must therefore take firm action in disbanding these groups”, said Azhar.

Kontras also took the opportunity to express its disappointment with the positions being taken by a number of politicians – particularly retired TNI (Indonesian military) officers – who oppose the peace agreement in Aceh. Kontras views the recent corrective position being taken by polititicions and retired TNI officers in Jakarta as being extremely non-conducive. “This position is indeed creating questions about the existence of a hidden agenda on the part of this elite [group]”, said Azhar accusingly.

Kontras then asked all parties that are involved in the conflict in Aceh – both the government as well as GAM – to be consistent in implementing the points of the MoU. The government must also bear in mind that the rehabilitation of the victims of crime during the Aceh conflict is not just limited to fulfilling material needs but also non-material needs. (iy)

[Translated by James Balowski.]