Six years on, past human rights violations in Aceh still neglected

Kompas – August 15, 2011
Students demand resolution to human rights violations in Aceh (Actual)
Students demand resolution to human rights violations in Aceh (Actual)

Jakarta – Cases of human rights violations during the conflict in Indonesia’s northern-most province of Aceh must be investigated and resolved in accordance with the Helsinki peace agreement and the Law on Aceh Governance (UU PA). This is extremely important in order to provide justice to the victims and to ensure future peach in Aceh.

The call was made by Indonesian Human Rights Watch (Imparsial) during a press conference in Jakarta on Sunday August 14. Present at the event were Imparsial executive director Poengky Indarti, senior researcher Otto Syamsuddin Ishak, researcher Swandaru and Imparsial program director Al Araf.

According to a study by Imparsial, the Helsinki agreement (MoU) between the Indonesian government and the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) in August 2005 has now been in place for six years. The Helsinki MoU and the Law on Aceh Governance mandate that past human rights violations must be resolved. To this day however, cases of human rights violations have been neglected or worse, just forgotten.

Yet the number of victims that died as a result of human rights violations in Aceh was massive. According to Imparsial’s records, between 1989 and 2005 a total of around 19,000 people were killed. The largest number of victims occurred during military operations in Aceh (DOM, Military Operational Area). The families of the victims, who are still suffering to the day, have failed to obtain justice.

Indarti called on the central government, the regional government in Aceh and the National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) to immediately and fully investigate past case of human rights violations in Aceh. One of the ways to do this would be enact a law on a commission for through and reconciliation tasked with digging up on human rights violations, along with establishing a human rights court in Aceh. In addition to this, a special body needs to be formed to address the rights of conflict victims.

“Komnas HAM must be more proactive in investigating and studying past human rights violations and publicising them to the public. In addition to this, the results must also be handed over the Attorney General’s Office for investigation and then submitted to a human rights court”, she said.

Al Araf believes that a full resolution of past human rights violations is extremely important for the Acehnese people. This will also reveal the truth about what actually happened and provide a sense of justice to the victims.

According to Ishak, up until now a full resolution of human rights violations in Aceh has been obstructed by the parties that potentially (sic) violated human rights in the past. (IAM)

Source: 6 Tahun Perdamaian Aceh: Kasus Pelanggaran HAM Masih Terabaikan – Kompas. Senin, 15 Agustus 2011

 [Translated by James Balowski.]