Malaysia should propose that Aceh tops the agenda of the ASEAN Ministerial Meeting in Phnom Penh next month to seek a peaceful solution to the conflict
by Lim Kit Siang
(Petaling Jaya, Thursday): Malaysia should propose that Aceh tops the agenda of the ASEAN Ministerial Meeting in Phnom Penh next month to seek a peaceful solution to the conflict.
This is one of the initiatives Malaysia should take on the Aceh issue. Its second initiative arises from its position as Chair of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) after the NAM Summit in Kuala Lumpur in February.
Since Malaysia’s take-over of the NAM leadership three months ago, the NAM troika (the past, present and future NAM chairs i.e. South Africa, Malaysia and Cuba) had issued only one statement, which denounced the US unilateral-led attack on Iraq without United Nations sanctions as "an illegitimate act of aggression" and violation of the principles of international law and the UN Charter.
The time has come for Malaysia to initiate a second statement by the NAM troika to express its dismay at the resumption of fighting in Aceh, calling on Indonesian President Megawati Sukarnoputri to revoke the declaration of war and martial law in Aceh for both the Indonesian government and the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) to return to the negotiating table to seek a peaceful resolution to their conflict.
Thirdly, if the Aceh conflict remain unresolved in the next few months, Malaysia should propose at the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) Summit which Malaysia will be playing host in Kuala Lumpur in October the establishment of a mediation team to end the violence and the warfare in Aceh
Malaysia, ASEAN, NAM and even OIC cannot be blind to the history of the Aceh conflict and the notorious record of abuses and serious human rights violations, including extra-judicial killings, torture, rape and arbitrary detention, committed by the Indonesian military, from East Timor to Papua to Java itself, as well as the military repression in Aceh for a quarter of a century, where more than 12,000 people had died. Malaysia and the regional and international organizations of which it is a member will be abdicating their international responsibilities if they justify inaction on the ground of non-interference in the legitimate internal affairs of another country, as in the modern age of the 21st century, national sovereignty is no more acceptable excuse or justification for gross human rights violations including genocide.
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman