Abdullah should press for a meaningful ceasefire in the 28-year Aceh civil war at international tsunami summit in Jakarta on Thursday to ensure effective global humanitarian efforts in the Sumatra earthquake-tsunamis catastrophe which had killed over 100,000 Indonesians
Media Conference Statement
- at the “Donate relief aid to Asian tsunami victims” campaign at Bercham
by Lim Kit Siang
(Ipoh, Tuesday): The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi should press for a meaningful ceasefire in the 28-year Aceh civil war at the international tsunami summit in Jakarta on Thursday to ensure effective global humanitarian efforts in the Sumatra earthquake-tsunamis catastrophe which had killed over 100,000 Indonesians.
There had been hope that there is a new chance for a peace solution to the Aceh civil war which had claimed at least 13,000 lives, but now completely eclipsed by the catastrophe of the Sumatra earthquake-tsunamis.
With fears that the death toll in Aceh can grow exponentially with tens of thousands more deaths in the earthquake-tsunamis aftermath, Malaysia as well as all other countries and relief organizations joining the humanitarian efforts in Sumatra should make their concerns for an meaningful ceasefire to the Aceh civil war heard loud and clear by the Indonesian authorities.
There have been reports that Indonesian Chinese in Aceh have become the targets of robberies and suffered a second round of victimization in the Sumatra earthquake-tsunamis disaster, being bullied and their property looted after the disaster.
While the Asian tsunamis catastrophe had seen a worldwide humanitarian outpouring at its best, it had also shown up the ugly face of humanity, with thieves, rapists, kidnappers and hoaxers preying on tsunami survivors and families of victims in Asian refugee camps and hospitals and in the home countries of European tourists hit by the tidal wave.
Reuters today carried an item about reports and warnings from as far apart as Britain, Sweden, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Hong Kong of criminals taking advantage of the chance of the chaos to rape survivors in Sri Lanka or plunder the homes of European tourists reported missing.
Any persecution of the Indonesian Chinese in Aceh must be condemned in the strongest possible terms, when the outpouring of humanitarian aid in response to the Dec. 26 Sumatra earthquake-tsunami had completely transcended race, religion, class, nationality, gender or age.
Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono should be particularly sensitive to the need to nip in the bud any anti-Indonesian Chinese outbursts and sentiments in the tsunami-wracked Aceh and Sumatra, particularly in the light of the 1998 anti-Indonesian Chinese progroms which had been a blot in Indonesian history.
* Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman