Malino Declaration signed by the two warring parties to end conflict and create peace in Poso, Central Sulawesi

Report
from Government of Indonesia
Published on 21 Dec 2001
On December 19-20, 2001, the Indonesian Government, led by Coordinating Minister for People's Welfare Mr. Jusuf Kalla, convened and mediated a meeting between the two warring parties in Poso. After two days of intense heart-to-heart talks, the two parties agreed to end their conflict and work together to maintain peace in Poso, Central Sulawesi, a resolve encapsulated in their joint declaration known as the 10-point "Malino Declaration". The Declaration was signed by all those from the two sides who attended the Poso meeting, comprising of twenty-four Christian and twenty-five Muslims delegates. Several high-ranking officials of Sulawesi and Maj. Gen. Achmad Yahya, Chief of the Wirabuana Military Command, overseeing Sulawesi Province attended the meeting as observers.

Minister Jusuf Kalla read the 10 point-agreement before local religious and tribal leaders at the end of the meeting, namely that the two sides have agreed:

- To cease all conflicts and disputes

- To abide by due process of law enforcement and support the Government's efforts to impose sanctions on any wrongdoers.

- To request the state to take firm and impartial measures against any violators

- To maintain the peaceful situation, the two sides reject civil emergency status and interference from outsiders

- To respect one another in an attempt to create religious tolerance

- That Poso is an integral part of Indonesia's territory. Therefore, any Indonesians have the right to come and live peacefully in Poso by respecting the local habits and custom.

- To reinstate property to their rightful owners

- To repatriate refugees to their respective original places

- To rehabilitate, along with the Government, the economic assets and infrastructures of the area

- To respect all faith followers to implement their respective religious practices and beliefs as stipulated by the Constitution.

In addition, the two factions also agreed to establish two joint commissions. One will deal with law and order, and the other will oversee social and economic conditions.

The two parties will work with the Government to immediate disseminate the 10-point agreement to the grass root community throughout Poso. The dissemination activities will be carried out by the officials at all levels in the Poso Administration, starting with the regent, district head, village heads, other low-level bureaucrats and assisted by the military.

The violence in Poso first erupted in 1998. The violence had calmed but erupted again over the last two months. Scores of people have been killed and hundreds of houses and worships have been destroyed and burned. The Malino Declaration was the result of the fifth such peace meetings sponsored by the Indonesian Government in an effort to end conflict that brought them into a three-year feud.

Hawid Awaluddin, spokesman for the Muslim Group said that his side was prepared to make peace with their rivals. The same commitment was also expressed by the spokesman for the Christian Group. Minister Jusuf Kalla hailed the Malino Declaration and hoped that this truce will pave the way for a solid reconciliation between the two sides. South Sulawesi Governor, HZB Palaguna said that the peace deal is the right step for the Government to stop the bloody clashes. A member of the House of Representatives from Poso also praised the truce, highlighting the urgent need for establishing peace and order between the two groups. The National Police Chief, Gen. Da'i Bachtiar believed that the Declaration was the reflection of the wish of Poso people to have a peaceful life as they had before the conflict began.

The Indonesian Government have been extremely distressed by the occurrence of renewed violence in Poso, since this kind of communal conflict undermines the very principle of "Unity in Diversity" upon which the Republic is founded. When the violence broke out recently, the Government's immediate priority is to stop the violence, separate the warring communities, enforce and maintain peace and order. This was done among others by the deployment of additional 2 military battalions and 2 police battalions into the conflict area, consisting of approximately 3.156 security personnel. Equally important, the Government has conducted "sweeping operations" to disarm militiamen and fighters on both sides of the warring factions. They have also undertaken measures to expel militiamen who had come from outside area, who were believed to have provoked the new round of conflict. The Government is also providing financial assistance amounting to 100 billion Rupiah (US$ 10 million) to resettle displaced persons and for reconstruction purposes. As a result of these combined political, security, and social-economic measures, the security condition in Poso is now under control and further violence has been deterred, but the Government continues to be vigilant.

The final good news is that as a result of the truce and peace declaration, Christmas went by peacefully and safely in Poso.

Washington, D.C., 28 December 2001

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