16 organisations including Walhi declared illegal in Aceh

Aceh Kita – July 17, 2006
Environmental activists protest in Banda Aceh (JKMA Aceh)
Environmental activists protest in Banda Aceh (JKMA Aceh)

Radzie, Banda Aceh – The Aceh chapter of the Indonesian Environmental Forum (Walhi) has been included in a list of illegal or banned organisations that was issued by the governor of Aceh through Decree Number 235/13246 dated June 21, 2006.

Walhi activists believed that the governor’s decision has no legal grounds, moreover Walhi is already registered nationally with the Department of Justice and Human Rights. “We regret that the presence of the name Walhi in the governor’s decree”, said Aceh Walhi executive director Cut Hindon at a press conference in Banda Aceh on Monday July 17.

The decree, which was signed by Aceh governor Mustafa Abubakar has been submitted to the senior Indonesian government representative on the Aceh Monitoring Mission. The decree states that the Aceh provincial government (through a verification team) conducted a verification of a number of social organisations in Aceh on June 9. It also said that the verification team made persuasive approaches by inviting the directors of the illegal organisations and groups to provide an explanation about their organisation.

Based on the meeting on June 9, the verification team concluded that there are 16 illegal organisations in Aceh. Ranked number one as a banned organisation in the Aceh Referendum Information Center (SIRA). SIRA is followed by the Functional Youth Association (IPK), the Indonesian Islamic Institute for Proselytization (LDII), Student Solidarity for the People (SMUR), the Action Coalition of Acehnese Students (Karma), the Aceh Humanitarian Volunteer Association (Pemraka), Rajawali Cipta, Cardova and the All Indonesia Association of Street Vendors (APKLSI).

Also included in the list is the Mission Foundation for the Reclasseering (purification/cleansing) of the Republic (located in East Aceh and Gayo Lues), the Independent Peoples Forum (FRI), the Front for the Struggle Against GAM (FPSG), the Anti Separatist Bulls Peoples Front (FBRAS), the Red and White Garuda Peoples Struggle Front (FPRGMP) and the Front for the Defense of the Fatherland (FPTA).

Hindon said that Walhi was never invited to straighten out the regional government’s erroneous views – in this case the Inter Community National Unity and Social Protection Agency (Kesbang Linmas) – about their organisation. Because of this therefore, on July 24 Walhi will be sending letter of protest to the regional government and Kesbang Linmas. “We will be seek clarification from the governor, what legal grounds and criteria was that it that resulted in including Walhi as an illegal organisation”, said Hindon.

In addition to seeking a clarification, Walhi is also demanding that the governor revoke the decree and present a public apology to Walhi though the mass media. If this demand is not heeded, Walhi intends to resolve the case through the courts. “We will give [the governor] a deadline of three days”, said Hindon. “If there is no response, Walhi will take legal action at the national level”.

Hindon asserted that decree issued by the governor has damaged Walhi. “When meeting with government agencies, for example, they say what is the point of having discussions with an illegal organisation”, explained Hindon.

According to Hindon, Walhi has been registered with the Department of Justice and Human Rights since 1988 through Certificate of Registration Number 11/1983. Then in May 2005 they renewed the certificate and were recorded under Certificate Number 1/2005. The corporate body Walhi is not a social organisation (ormas) under the guidelines of Law Number 8/1986. “Walhi is a foundation, so it follows the guidelines of the law on foundations”, explained Hindon.

Walhi has been present in Aceh since before the tsunami. Hindon noted they had already reported Walhi’s presence to the courts, the regional offices of the Department of Justice and Human Rights and the national police. [dzie]

[Translated by James Balowski.]