Level of human rights violations in Aceh declines in 2005

Aceh Kita – January 4, 2006
Koalisi NGO HAM rally in Banda Aceh (hiveminer)
Koalisi NGO HAM rally in Banda Aceh (hiveminer)

Radzie, Banda Aceh – The earthquake and tsunami at the end of 2004 and the signing of the peace agreement between the Indonesian government and the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) in August 2005 has resulted in a drastic decline in the number of human rights violations in Aceh.

According to Mashudi, from the research and policy analysis division of the Aceh Coalition of Non-Government Human Rights Organisations (Koalisi NGO HAM), the tsunami and the Helsinki memorandum of understanding (MoU) were the two principle factors in this decline. In 2005 there were only 311 cases of violence in Aceh, far lower that 2004 when there were as many as 779 cases. “The decline was more than 50 percent”, Mashudi told Aceh Kita at his office on Wednesday January 4.

In 2005, out of a total of 311 cases of human rights violations, the majority of victims were civilians, totaling 217 people. Meanwhile 41 victims were from the Indonesian Military (TNI) or police and 53 from GAM. The most prominent cases were the mistreatment of civilians, which was as high as 136 cases. Meanwhile there were 25 cases of mistreatment of TNI/police officers and only nine against GAM.

Also this year, there were only 101 cases of killings while in 2004 the figure was as high as 373. “These represent the cases that have declined most in 2005”, said Kurdinar, the head of the coalition’s campaign division.

Although in terms of quantity, the number violations declined rapidly, the type of violations however were the same in 2005 and the years proceeding it. “The quality was the same, such as killings and arrests”, said Kurdinar.

Koalisi NGO HAM said it regretted that there have been no investigations into human rights violations since 2005. Conversely, the opportunities to solve human rights cases are extremely good, in concert with the signing of the peace agreement between the two parties that have fought for 30 years. “There has not been one case that has been brought to trial by the state”, said Mashudi.

Mashudi said that impression of neglect over human rights violations has also been worsened by the natural disaster, where it has been as if it has legitimised the state in avoiding its responsibility to respect, protect and fulfil human rights.

The peace agreement said Mashudi, also does not yet give guarantees on resolving the various cases of rights violations prior to and after the MoU was signed. “Post the MoU (August 16 to December 31 2005), we recorded 46 cases of rights violations as taking place”, said Mashudi.

In order to address this, the coalition is calling on the government to solve the human rights violations that have taken place during the Aceh conflict, which has been going on since 1976. In addition to this, the coalition is also calling on the government to not distinguish between victims of the conflict and the tsunami. [dzie]