Victims of Aceh conflict call on government resolve past rights abuses

Aceh Kita – July 23, 2007
SPKP HAM protest at Aceh Regional House of Representatives (Antara)
SPKP HAM protest at Aceh Regional House of Representatives (Antara)

Udin – At least 200 victims of the Aceh conflict from the Fraternal Solidarity for Victims of Human Rights Violations (SPKP HAM) demonstrated at the Aceh Regional House of Representatives (DPRD) on the afternoon of Monday July 23. They were calling on the government to immediately form a Truth and Reconciliation Commission (KKR) to resolve past humanitarian crimes.

Most of the participants in the demonstration were women, some of whom were in tears. Two of the protesters even fainted because they were so stricken with sadness. A light drizzle that had been falling on Banda Aceh since morning did not however lessen the protesters’ determination to voice their demands. During the action they also brought banners and posters with messages demanding that the resolution of human rights violations Aceh in be accelerated.

In a speech Banda Aceh SPKP HAM chairperson Ali Zamzami demanded that the government be serious about resolving cases of human rights violations that occurred when the government declared the Military Operational Zone [1989-1998] and the state of martial law and civil emergency [May 2003 to April 2005]. “Aceh’s dark history must be revealed now through a KKR”, said Zamzami.

Nirwan voiced similar demands. In a speech he said he hoped that legislators would be able to cooperate with them to fight for the creation of a Truth and Justice Commission to solve past humanitarian crimes. He also asked the government not to keep making promised to victims of the conflict then failing to keep them.

“In Law No. 11/2006 on Aceh Governance it states that human rights violations are to be investigated. But where is the commitment? It has been almost a year and the KKR has yet to be formed”, challenged Nirwan.

After giving speeches for almost an hour, the demonstrators met with members of the Aceh DPRD including Bachrum M. Rasyid, Samsul Bahri and Jamaluddin T. Muku. The respected members of the assembly however did not present a statement to the demonstrators, only making an offer for representatives from the protesters to hold a dialogue with leaders of the assembly. The protesters agreed to the proposal.

During the meeting that took place in the Aceh DPRD meeting room, the victims of the conflict explained about the formation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the process of reintegration following the conflict. They also handed over a 16-page resolution arising out of SPKP HAM’s second congress.

Commission A member Waisul Qarani promised to convey their demands to the Aceh governor and President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. Rasyid said that the delays in the formation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission were because it was being obstructed by various regulations issued by the central government. In addition to this the Constitutional Court had also revoked Law No. 27/2004 on the formation of a national Truth and Reconciliation Commission which had therefore obstructed the formation of the Aceh commission. [dzie]