UN commissioner raises gender equality issues, past rights abuses in Aceh

Aceh Kita – July 12, 2007
United Nations High Commission for Human Rights Louise Arbour (dw)
United Nations High Commission for Human Rights Louise Arbour (dw)

Udin, Banda Aceh – United Nations High Commission for Human Rights Louise Arbour is particularly interested in women’s issues in Aceh. She is asking the Aceh government under the leadership of Governor Irwandi Yusuf to pay attention to gender equality at all decision-making levels in the Aceh government.

Arbour’s statement was conveyed during a closed meeting with leaders of civil society organisations from the Joint Peace Forum (Forbes Damai) at the Ratu Safiatuddin Gardens in the provincial capital of Banda Aceh on Thursday July 12.

“Louise (Arbour) hopes that the Aceh government will ensure gender equality in all policies that it makes”, said the head of the Aceh Peace and Reintegration Agency Aceh M. Nur Djuli quoting from Arbour’s statement at the meeting.

Aside from emphasising the need for gender equality, Arbour also hopes that special attention will be given to cases of past human rights in Aceh. “Human rights issues in Aceh must be followed up stipulated in the Helsinki Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)”, quoted Djuli.

Djuli provided Arbour with large amounts of information during the meeting on post-conflict reintegration. Civil society groups also gave Arbour reports on the human rights situation in Aceh. “She wanted to see developments in dealing with human rights in Aceh post the Helsinki MoU”, said Forbes Damai Senior Program Officer Aguswandi.

Twelve local Acehnese non-government organisations also used the opportunity to meet with Arbour and report on the human rights situation in the province that has experience three decades of war. “We reported that the human rights situation has been good following the peace deal”, said the secretary general of the Banda Aceh Independent Journalist Alliance (AJI), Maimun Saleh who was also present at the closed meeting. [dzie]