Indonesia: Joint statement - Stop the violence in Aceh; return to the negotiating table

We, the undersigned non-governmental organisations, are deeply concerned about the escalation of violence, conflict and human rights violations in Aceh.
On 19 May 2003, the Indonesian Government declared Martial Law in Aceh for a period of six months, to be prolonged as necessary.

The ongoing military offensive, the country's largest since the invasion of East Timor in 1975, is causing civilian loss of life and the destruction of Aceh's public infrastructure. The aim is to crush the Free Aceh Movement (GAM), but already the targets have also included civil society organizations, students, NGOs and human rights activists, many of whom have been arrested, killed or gone into hiding.

Numerous reports of extra-judicial killings and torture have emerged from Aceh since martial law was declared. More than 25,000 villagers have fled their homes to escape the violence or to avoid arrest.

Public transport and the local economy have been badly hit, further hurting the ordinary people. There is a looming humanitarian crisis as food supplies run low.

We call for the immediate lifting of martial law in the province Both sides must protect the civilian population, and stop the arrest and harassment of human rights activists.

We also call for an end to the arrests and detentions of civil society members in Aceh.

The Indonesian media have been curbed from reporting honestly and critically especially news about GAM. Restrictions imposed on Indonesian journalists in their coverage of Aceh must be immediately lifted. Humanitarian organizations and journalists - both foreign and local - should be allowed free and unfettered access in Aceh.

Both sides must call for an immediate ceasefire and resume negotiations to find a peaceful solution to the conflict, no matter how long and protracted they are.


Suaram, Penang
Save Ourselves (SOS, Penang)
Malaysian Local Democracy Initiative (MALODI)
Women and Workers Independent Training Center (WIMTEC)
Penang Anti-ISA Network (PAIN)
DAP Socialist Youth
International Movement for a Just World (JUST)
Women's Candidacy Initiative (WCI)
Women's Development Collective (WDC)
Kumpulan Kemajuan Masyarakat (KKM)
Malaysian Youth and Student Democratic Movement (DEMA)
Sisters-in-Islam (SIS)