INDONESIA: Human Rights Activists Abducted and Killed

Dear Friends

The two cases below are viewed in the larger context of the deterioration of the situation for human rights activists, humanitarian workers and civil society at large. PBI (Peace Brigades International) is an international non partisan volunteer organisation dedicated to making space for peace in various conflict areas, and is particularly concerned about the increase of these incidents which coincide with the possible withdrawal of both sides from the current peace negotiations. We firmly believe that all efforts should be made to facilitate continued negotiations, and for the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement to be upheld.

Thank you.

Urgent Appeals Desk

Asian Human Rights Commission



1 Abdussalam Muhamad Deli:

Abdussalam Muhamad Deli, a 23 year old male, and a volunteer of the PB-HAM East Aceh (Pos Bantuan Hukum dan HAM, Human Rights and Legal Aid Post) has reportedly been missing since Sunday 11 May 2003. On Sunday 11 May 2003 at 11.00, Abdussalam was traveling from Central Langsa by a small public bus to visit his family’s village. The bus in which Abdussalam was traveling was stopped by unknown men in civilian clothing, in front of high school Sungai Leung on the main road between Banda Aceh and Medan, 2 kilometres east of Langsa in Langsa Lama village. They forced him out of the bus into a Kijang car with dark windows and drove away in the direction of the city of Langsa.

Enquiries thus far regarding Abdussalam’s abduction:

Volunteers from PB-HAM East Aceh have asked about Abdussalam’s whereabouts at Polres (Polisi Resort, District Police) East Aceh and Kodim (Komando Distrik Militer, Military District Command) East Aceh.

PB-HAM has also sent a fax reporting Abdussalam missing to the following authorities: Kapolres (Kepala Polisi Resort, Head of District Police) East Aceh; Bupati (Mayor) East Aceh; DPRD (Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat Daerah), People’s Provincial Representative Council, East Aceh; and Dandim (Komandan Distrik Militer, Military District Commander) East Aceh. They have contacted Koalisi NGO HAM (Aceh NGO Coalition for Human Rights) Banda Aceh and PBI in Banda Aceh and Lhokseumawe to inform them of these events.

Two PBI volunteers are currently in Langsa providing protective accompaniment to PB-HAM members and have made enquiries to the Wakapolres (Wakil Kepala Polisi Resort, Deputy District Police Commander) East Aceh regarding this case. At the time of writing, the whereabouts of Abdussalam were still unknown.

2 Raja Ismail (from a PBI client organisation) killed:

On Sunday 11 May 2003, Raja Ismail, a 50 year old male working in Aceh Tamiang district as a volunteer of PB-HAM East Aceh, was reportedly abducted outside Langsa.

On Sunday 11 May 2003 at 09.00 Raja Ismail left his house in Kuala Simpang, Aceh Tamiang district to bring some data on victims of violence to the office of PB-HAM in Langsa. On the night of 11 May 2003 he had still not returned to his house as expected. On Tuesday 13 May a body was found in the Titi Kembar River in Langsa Lama village, East Aceh district. The body showed signs of strangling, had knife wounds, and bruises. The corpse was brought to the public hospital in Langsa. On Wednesday 14 May 2003 the family of Raja Ismail, accompanied by volunteers from PB-HAM, identified the corpse as the body of Raja Ismail.

Action Requested

The PBI requests that the international community:

Make enquiries to police authorities in Langsa and Banda Aceh as to the whereabouts of Abdussalam Muhamad Deli, volunteer of PB-HAM East Aceh, a PBI client organiation working for human rights.
Enquire about what concrete steps are being taken to investigate Abdussalam’s reported abduction.
Make enquiries to the police authorities in Langsa and Banda Aceh about the killing of Raja Ismail, a volunteer of PB-HAM East Aceh, a PBI client organisation working for human rights.
Enquire as to what investigation will be made into the circumstances of the killing of Raja Ismail.
Express the expectation that in all cases of killing, steps will be taken to hold the perpetrators accountable in accordance with internationally recognised human rights law and practice, and that killings must stop in Aceh.
Advocate to the authorities for the protection and enforcement of human rights in Aceh.
Raise concerns about the deterioration of the security situation and over the possible consequences of a renewed military operation in Aceh.

Please contact the following and your own networks:

Kapolda NAD Irjen Pol Drs Bachrumsyah Kasman Sentral,

Mapolda Jl Cut Meutia No. 25 Banda Aceh,

NAD Indonesia

Tel: +62 651 29556 / 21631

Fax: +62 651 22488

Kapolres Langsa Bapak Hapriono Polres Aceh Timur Jl.

Veteran 60 Langsa,

NAD Indonesia

Tel: +62 641 21779

Fax: + 62 641 21779 / 21778

Please contact PBI if you need more information or wish to speak with our teams. Background Information:

Koalisi NGO HAM (Aceh NGO Coalition for Human Rights) is a network of human rights NGOs that carry out advocacy through data collection, campaigning and legal assistance. The organisation coordinates PB-HAM (Pos Bantuan Hukum dan

HAM Aceh, (the Human Rights and Legal Aid Post) has branches in six districts of Aceh. The PBI accepted Koalisi NGO HAM Aceh as a client for protective accompaniment in late April 2001. The request came following the killing of a Koalisi lawyer in South Aceh. Since then, PBI has provided regular accompaniment at their office in the capital, Banda Aceh, and for PB HAM branch offices in North Aceh and East Aceh.

PBI (Peace Brigades International) is an international non partisan volunteer organization dedicated to making space for peace in various conflict areas. PBI established itself in West Timor, Indonesia in November 1999, and opened an office in Jakarta in September 2000. PBI established a permanent team in Aceh in December 2000. Our West Timor desk officially closed in May 2002. The Aceh team was based solely in Banda Aceh until December 2002, when we established a second office in Lhokseumawe. PBI provides Protective Accompaniment for the following local NGOs in Aceh: RATA, Flower Aceh, Koalisi NGO-HAM including PB HAM Aceh, SPKP-HAM, RPuK, LBH Banda Aceh, and LBH Apik.


Between 1989 and 1998, Indonesia’s north western most province Aceh was designated as a Military Operational Area (Daerah Operasi Militer, DOM). In the context of counter-insurgency operations against the pro-independence armed opposition group, the Free Aceh Movement (Gerakan Aceh Merdeka, GAM), widespread human rights violations and abuses including unlawful killings, arbitrary arrests, torture and ill-treatment, and disappearances were perpetrated by both sides. The DOM was officially ended in August 1998. The fall of the authoritarian regime of former President Soeharto in May of that year had provided hope for improving the human rights situation in Aceh. However, in response to attacks on military and police in December 1998, allegedly carried out by GAM forces, the Indonesian security forces launched renewed operations in January 1999. This led to a marked deterioration in the human rights situation as civilians once again became victims of the conflict.

Human rights and humanitarian workers themselves became targets, with those carrying out investigations into human rights violations and abuses particularly at risk. Cases of unlawful killings and disappearances of human rights activists led to reduced activities of both international and local NGOs operating in Aceh, in particular in the districts outside of Banda Aceh. In May 2000, GAM and the Republic of Indonesia began a dialogue to attempt to end the violence in Aceh, resulting in the Joint Understanding on Humanitarian Pause for Aceh; (commonly known as the humanitarian pause) in June 2000.

The humanitarian pause ended in January 2001 and a month long moratorium on violence was put in place. In spite of ongoing peace talks, however, human rights violations and abuses by both sides continued unabated. The Henry Dunant Centre facilitated a dialogue between the two sides, culminating in the signing of a Cessation of Hostilities Agreement (COHA) on 9 December 2002. This move signalled a significant breakthrough in finding a peaceful solution to the conflict in Aceh.

The Government of Indonesia and GAM agreed to an immediate ceasefire and a gradual demilitarization of Aceh. Small monitoring teams were deployed in Aceh, each team comprising of representatives from the Government of Indonesia, GAM and international observers from Thailand and the Philippines. Levels of violence throughout the districts dropped dramatically following the signing of the agreement.

The COHA is now on the brink of collapse as both parties have failed to respect the agreement. The Government has reportedly given GAM an ultimatum to give up its struggle for independence and to commit to a disarmament process.

The Government is considering the introduction of a military operation or martial law in Aceh and there has been an increase in the number of troops throughout the province, reportedly in readiness for such an operation. Most of PBIs client organizations have expressed an increased sense of pessimism about the worsening security situation and concern over the possible consequences of renewed military operations in Aceh. According to PBI clients, there is an increase in the number of armed clashes, sweepings, and cases of kidnappings since the JSC (Joint Security Committee) monitors were withdrawn from their field offices in April 2003. Most human rights and humanitarian organizations have now reduced their activities in the field, as they do not feel safe enough to travel.

Professor David T. Hill Chair of Southeast

Asian Studies School of Asian Studies Division of Arts

Room 2.11 Education & Humanities Building



Tel (+61-8) 9360 2412 /9360 2848

Fax (+61-8) 9360 6575

Dr Vivienne Wee

Associate Professor,

Department of Applied Social Studies & Associate Director,

Southeast Asia Research Centre (SEARC)

City University of Hong Kong

Tat Chee Avenue,


Hong Kong SAR

Tel. +852-27888766 [office] / +852-92447670 [mobile]



Web site:

Thank you.

Urgent Appeals Desk

Asian Human Rights Commission

Document Type : Forwarded Urgent Appeal
Document ID : FA-16-2003
Countries : Indonesia,
Issues : Enforced disappearances and abductions,