Today’s The Globe and Mail has published an article based on CAGI’s* Press Release (please refer to my posting on Jan. 6, 2005) regarding demands of demilitarization of aid in Aceh.
For convenience, I’ve posted the article here… However, you can also follow this link too to read from the source: Clashes between Indonesian troops, rebels concern rights groups. Other media coverage from Canada AFP at Yahoo News: Canada presses Indonesia on Aceh ceasefire.
The Globe and Mail
TODAY’S PAPER – International
Clashes between Indonesian troops, rebels concern rights groups
Agence France-Presse – Friday, January 7, 2005 – Page A6
MONTREAL — Canadian human-rights groups demanded the withdrawal of the Indonesian military from the tsunami relief effort in Aceh yesterday, as reports surfaced of skirmishing between troops and rebels.
The coalition accused the Indonesian armed forces of impeding the delivery of emergency aid to the Sumatran province since the Dec. 26 disaster.
“It is completely unacceptable that the military is engaged in launching attacks against the civilian population and delivering relief aid at the same time,” said Nancy Slamet of the KAIROS International Human Rights Program, outlining the coalition’s fears in a letter to government ministers.
An Indonesian military spokesman acknowledged last week that offensive operations against the Free Aceh Movement were continuing in the region, despite more than 90,000 confirmed deaths there from the deadly tsunamis.
“This prevents many tsunami victims from receiving help because they are afraid of being suspected as separatists,” said Alex Hill of Alternatives, another rights group.
“The Indonesian military is afraid to allow international aid organizations and journalists free access to the region because the military has been engaged in a dirty war there for many years,” Mr. Hill said yesterday.
Clashes were reported last week between soldiers and rebels in the Acehnese town of Lhok Nga, near a beach still littered with debris from the disaster.
The Canadian coalition includes groups active on Indonesian issues, such as Rights and Democracy, KAIROS, Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives, Alternatives, and Canadian Action for Indonesia and East Timor.
Canada AFP at Yahoo News
Canada Presses Indonesia on Aceh Ceasefire
TORONTO (AFP) – Canada pressed Indonesia to safeguard a ceasefire between its military and separatist rebels in the tsunami-striken region of Aceh, as reports surfaced of fresh fighting.
Canadian Foreign Minister Pierre Pettigrew said he had raised the fighting with Indonesian counterpart Hasan Wirayuda in Jakarta on Wednesday, becoming the latest of several western political leaders to do so.
“I made it clear that Canada wants that ceasefire to be respected by all parties including the military and the independence movement,” Pettigrew told reporters in a conference call from Phuket, Thailand.
His remarks followed a demand by human rights groups for the withdrawal of the Indonesian Armed Forces (TNI) from emergency relief efforts in the area hammered by the December 26 tragedy.
“It is completely unacceptable that the military is engaged in launching attacks against the civilian population and delivering relief aid at the same time,” says Nancy Slamet, of the Canada-based KAIROS’ International Human Rights Program.
A TNI spokesman admitted last week that despite the disaster an offensive against the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) was continuing, in the region, which saw at least 100,000 people killed in the tsunami tragedy.
But Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono Thursday repeated a call to separatist rebels in the tsunami-hit province of Aceh to end the conflict.
An AFP reporter in Aceh said Thursday that clashes broke out between soldiers and rebels in Lhok Nga, near a beach still littered with debris from the tragedy.
International human rights groups have accused the Indonesian military of widespread abuses in Aceh. The much smaller GAM force has also been accused of atrocities.
More than 10,000 people died in the province between 1976, when GAM began its independence struggle, and May, 2003, when the military began a fresh offensive against the rebels.
Since then the military says more than 1,000 rebels have died, though rights groups say many of the dead are civilians.