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Jesuit Refugee Service fears martial law in Aceh

The regional office of Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) in Bangkok has reported that a number of its sources have sounded an alert about an impending state of military emergency - or martial law - in the northern Sumatran province of Aceh.

The JRS sources have requested members of the international community protest against the implementation of this action.

Spokesperson Cynthia Buiza said the most appropriate action is to alert human rights groups and other organisations to the fact that emergency military rule would be the worst of two evils, and that they should encourage the Indonesian government to re-think its resolves to push ahead with the action.

"Because GAM (Free Aceh Movement) has been declared a terrorist organisation," she said, "We cannot count on a galvanised international public opinion that backs the civilian Acehnese population instead of diluting their welfare to the fight between the Indonesian government and the so called GAM 'terrorists.'"

Ms Buiza said the Indonesian military has already asked human rights organisations not to to be too harsh in judging them if they incur civilian casualties as they will be collateral damage to this war. She commented that it's a poor excuse for an all out military strategy that makes no distinctions and follows no rules except its own.

JRS International
JRS Australia

JRS (Asia Pacific)

9 Jul 2002