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1. Aceh & Sumatera : ACTIVIST URGES WORLD TO REMEMBER ACEH
投稿者: NINDJA 投稿日時: 2007-5-9 20:21:00 (2696 ヒット)

Activist urges world to remember Aceh

Kakuya Ishida / Daily Yomiuri Staff Writer

Daily Yomiuri, 9 Mei 2007

http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/world/20070509TDY03002.htm

The international community should keep its eyes on Aceh, the Indonesian province on Sumatra Island, to see whether the ongoing peace process is really completed, an Acehnese human rights activist said in a recent lecture in Tokyo.

"Aceh was devastated by the 2004 tsunami and it was really a tragedy for local people. But ironically, the natural disaster attracted world attention to the fighting that's been going on for 30 years between the Indonesian government and separatist rebels in a province rich in natural resources," Aguswandi, 29, said. "As a result, the world attention prompted the two parties to reach a peace agreement in 2005."

"But just as the world's memory of the tsunami is fading away, it also seems to be losing interest in the Aceh problem. The involvement of the international community is vital for a successful peace process," he added.

Aguswandi gave a lecture in Tokyo in late April that was organized by a Japanese nongovernmental organization supporting Indonesian democracy.

The fighting has claimed more than 10,000 lives since 1976, most of them civilians. One of the most difficult tasks of the peace process is how to deal with the Indonesian military's responsibility for alleged human rights violations such as killings, rapes and torture. After the peace agreement, the rebels gave up their weapons and their demands for independence, agreeing to remain part of the country as a self-governing province.

Aguswandi became involved in human rights activism in Aceh when he was attending university in the provincial capital of Banda Aceh. From 2001, he tackled human rights issues in Indonesia and East Timor while living in Britain. Now back in Aceh, he acts as a leader of the Aceh People's Party, preparing for the 2009 election for the province's assembly members.

"There are many problems to overcome to achieve eternal peace, such as social reintegration of former rebels without any professional expertise, compensation for victims of human rights violations, and the potential collapse of the current bubble economy, which is based on international assistance materials," he said. "But what's most important is how to create a mechanism by ourselves to directly get past human rights violations."

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