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IFA condemns the Perpetrators of the Julok Massacre

August 13, 2001 (THE ACHEH TIMES) —— The Australian branch of the Communications Department of the International Forum for Acheh (IFA) today calls on Prime Minister Howard to exercise caution and awareness when courting ‘mateship’ with President Megawati and the ROI government. Prime Minister Howard paid a fleeting visit to the new ROI President over the weekend.
  By IFA, Australian Division



'We appeal to the Australian government to pressure the international community and the United Nations to carry out human rights, security, and political interventions in Acheh.'






HE PRIME MINESTER HAS recognised the steps being taken to move Indonesia towards democracy, acknowledges differences of the past but has stated that Australia will support its struggling neighbour. After all ‘That’s what a good regional mate should do.’

The Australian branch of the IFA would like to remind Prime Minister Howard and the Australian government that the personalities surrounding Megawati are little changed from the previous regime, which Australia viewed with much scepticism. Moreover, and perhaps more importantly, the ROI state security apparatus which Australia was openly hostile to during the East Timor affair, is the same military which is now acting with impunity around the archipelago.

The IFA draws attention to the actions of the ROI armed forces on the morning of 9 August 2001. According to eye witness accounts as reported by SIRA (the respected Acheh Referendum Information Centre, whose chairman, Muhammad Nazar has been jailed for holding a peaceful demonstration in support of a referendum demand), military forces entered the barracks of a plantation area in East Acheh, ordered workers outside, forced them to hand over money then opened fire. The numbers of confirmed dead is 31 (including women and children) with 8 in hospital. The majority of those killed were under 30 years old and included two children under 5years.

IFA's Coverage
More words on Julok massacre




The breakdown of peace talks in Acheh and the subsequent arrest and detention of Achenese negotiators whose safety the Indonesian government has officially pledged in Geneva, and the coming to power of President Megawati are bad news for Acheh. The new President has always favoured a security solution in the province and has continually made statements to the effect that the integrity of the ROI is of paramount importance. A question to Prime Minister Howard. At what cost are the Australian government and people prepared to support the continued violations of human rights in its nearest neighbour? For how much longer will economic and security concerns take precedence over the right of people to live free from the fear that at any time their lives may be endangered by a military who has the freedom to roam and instil terror over the province of Acheh and its peoples?

The Australian branch of the IFA request that the Howard government uses its links with the ROI to secure a commitment from President Megawati and her new government to initiate an independent inquiry into the massacre and to prosecute those suspected of involvement. Furthermore, we appeal to the Australian government to pressure the international community and the United Nations to carry out human rights, security, and political interventions in Acheh. And to stop all forms of political, economic and military assistance to the Indonesian government until such time as there is a cessation of the gross violation of human rights which have been a feature of the ROI since independence.

The International Forum for Acheha New York based Achenese NGO dedicated to the struggle for Human Rights and Justice in Acheh. For more information contact Lesley McCulloch (03) 6226 2343.

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