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Indonesia: Update to IDN43387.E of 10 February 2005 on the impact of the 26 December 2004 earthquake and tsunami, particularly in the province of Aceh

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada
Publication Date 24 February 2005
Citation / Document Symbol IDN43423.E
Reference 7
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Indonesia: Update to IDN43387.E of 10 February 2005 on the impact of the 26 December 2004 earthquake and tsunami, particularly in the province of Aceh, 24 February 2005, IDN43423.E, available at: [accessed 30 May 2016]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

The Security Situation in Aceh

The second round of talks since the 26 December 2004 earthquake and tsunami between representatives of the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) and the Indonesian government concluded on 23 February 2005 with an agreement to hold another set of meetings in April 2005 (BBC 23 Feb. 2005; DPA 23 Feb. 2005). According to former Finnish president Martti Ahtisaari, who chaired the talks held outside Helsinki, the two parties discussed the Indonesian government's offer of "special autonomy," the possibility of an amnesty for members of the GAM, and monitoring of the implementation of any agreement (DPA 23 Feb. 2005). BBC reported that sources close to the talks said that the GAM had put aside its initial demand for independence and proposed "self-government," rather than "special autonomy," which, in the GAM's opinion, represented the status quo (BBC 23 Feb. 2005). The Indonesian information minister remarked that there had been some progress made (ibid.), and a GAM spokesperson noted that the talks were held in a "'cordial atmosphere'" (DPA 23 Feb. 2005).

A firefight between members of the GAM and the Indonesian Armed Forces (TNI), which resulted in the death of a government soldier, reportedly occurred in Harapan village in western Aceh on 20 February 2005, a day prior to the start of the talks (Globe and Mail 21 Feb. 2005; see also BBC 21 Feb. 2005). Further information on the incident could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.

The Distribution of Aid in Aceh

According to a 21 February 2005 Globe and Mail article, on 19 February 2005, GAM rebels exchanged gunfire with the TNI, which was escorting an aid convoy from the International Organization for Migration (IOM). One Indonesian soldier was injured but the IOM commented that the organization had not been the target of the gunfire and relief efforts would continue (Globe and Mail 21 Feb. 2005). On the same day, the Australian foreign minister warned that, according to "'new information'" received by the Australian government, "'Islamic extremists'" might be planning an attack on foreign aid workers in Aceh (CNN 19 Feb. 2005). The Indonesian president, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, commented on the threat by saying that, while his government remained responsible for ensuring the security of aid workers, the police and military had not received any evidence of an imminent attack against the workers (ibid.).

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


BBC. 23 February 2005. "Aceh Talks End on Optimistic Note." [Accessed 23 Feb. 2005]
_____. 21 February 2005. "Second Step in Aceh Rebel Talks." [Accessed 21 Feb. 2005] 19 February 2005. "Warning for Aceh Aid Workers." [Accessed 21 Feb. 2005]

Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA). 23 February 2005. "Indonesia and Aceh Rebels End Meeting, Agree to Meet Again." Relief Web. [Accessed 23 Feb. 2005]

Globe and Mail. 21 February 2005. "Aid Workers Unscathed in Indonesian Clash." [Accessed 21 Feb. 2005]

Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

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