General elections in Indonesia are held every five years, the most recent one being in April 2009. But this time round, the elections in Aceh on the northern tip of Sumatra were very different.
TAPOL monitors transitional justice developments in Aceh and supports efforts to establish a truth and reconciliation process in the territory.
Through the TAPOL Bulletin and other publications, we reported for many years on the widespread human rights violations perpetrated by Indonesian security forces during the brutal conflict with the Free Aceh Movement, GAM. For decades, we have provided in-depth political analysis of the conflict at the northern tip of Sumatra. We helped to strengthen Acehnese civil society and promote its role in the peace process through networking, facilitating advocacy by Acehnese activists and organising training courses and conferences.
Following the devastating Indian Ocean tsunami in December 2004, which claimed over 150,000 Acehnese lives, a peace agreement was concluded between the Indonesian Government and GAM in September 2005. Since then, Aceh has remained relatively peaceful although there are ongoing concerns that the introduction of Sharia law in the devoutly Muslim province has been a retrograde step for human rights.