Sat, 23 Aug 2003

Stop military operation?

A very interesting article appeared in The Jakarta Post on Aug. 13, page 2, reporting the call from experts to the government to halt the Aceh military operation. The call was the result of their observation that the operation had resulted in rampant violations of the Geneva Convention by the government. But nothing was mentioned about the role of Free Aceh Movement (GAM).

It should be clearly pointed out that GAM, an Indonesian rebel organization, violated the constitution by proclaiming the independence of the Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam province and the government is forced by law to act against this violation.

Laode Ida, Chairman of the Center for Regional Development Studies, in Jakarta wrote that military operations prolong the violation of human rights by the Indonesian Military and Police, while until now the government has never asked for the forgiveness of the Aceh people. If the military operation in Aceh is conducted with the aim of creating peace, forcing GAM to surrender, then this operation will surely fail. Thus, this is like planned and legalized violence carried out by the government (Suara Pembaruan, March 12, 2003).

I understand that the call to stop operations is directed to the government only, and not to GAM. If GAM was included in the call then they would probably not obey it anyhow, because they believe that they are not under the jurisdiction of the government. This call, if accepted by the government, will negate all that has been achieved and the situation will return to pre "comprehensive operation" conditions. Gam will be given a free hand to do what they like, and without any accusation from the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) that they are violating the Geneva Convention. Is this what the experts want?

If the government stops this operation halfway, while it is going in the right direction, only GAM will benefit. They are not under the jurisdiction of the government and as such are not bound by the decisions of the government.

In a press conference Dr. Husaini Hassan, who resides in Sweden and is the leader of the second splinter group of GAM, explained that the freedom struggle will continue even when Indonesia is already prosperous. You, Sweden, cannot let a thief live permanently in your house.