Urgent Appeal Case: UA000602



AHRC UA Index:000602 2 June 2000 
UA 26/00: Sectarian Conflict 


AHRC recently sent out the Urgent Appeal \”INDONESIA: Stop the war in Maluku!\”, UA 25/00. We are renewing this appeal, as we have received some more detailed and disturbing information from reliable, local sources. The 
situation is quite disastrous and requires urgent intervention. 


Galele District, Province of North Maluccas: waves of ¡°rioters¡± have made a series of surprise attacks on the villages of Mamuya, Makete, Duma and Dokulamo. In Mamuya alone, on May 25, 26 people were killed and 51 wounded (including non-Christians). The victims of the other three villages on May 29 numbered 44, and around 300 houses as well as at least one church in these villages have been burned down. Security officers have been seen taking side with the rioters, shooting at Christian survivors and doing nothing to obtruct the attacks of the rioters. 

The people are traumatised. Some mothers have threatened to commit mass suicide if Christians are not protected and no assistance is provided by security officers. 


One battalion of the TNI (Indonesian Armed Forces) has been sent to Galela after the requests of the local church and community leaders, but they were driven away by the ‘rioters’. Far greater numbers of effective security 
forces (government-controlled security forces, UN Human Rights Monitors, etc.) are needed to repel the rioters, many of whom are well-armed and openly committed to a Jihad, or Holy War, against the (largely defenceless) Christians of Moluku. 

The Indonesian Defense Minister has now blamed the attacks on supporters of former President Suharto attempting to destablise the current President Wahid [BBC report, 2/6/00] which would also indicate a need for the UN to intervene. We are sending the original appeal below, together with this 
brief update. If you have not done so, please send your letters to the relevant authorities, as indicated at the end of the appeal. 


UA 25/00 

AHRC has been receiving increasingly alarming and desperate calls for attention for the rising violent situation throughout the Moluccan Islands, East Indonesia. The fighting between the Christian and Muslim populations, which began about 2 years ago through a seemingly inocuous conflict between a Muslim migrant and Christian taxi driver has grown into a sectarian war, fuelled by religious prejudices as well as political and economic interests. 

In the last week, the fighting, already spreading throughout the 
archipelago, has escalated with the arrival in Ambon of an estimated 2000 Muslim ¡°jihad(holy war) warriors¡± and prompted those who have been trying to hold out within the beleaguered areas to once more call for international help to end the violence. An appeal for protection of which 
they sent to the UN in February this year appears to have fallen on deaf ears. 

In Ambon, an AFP report on May 19 quotes Marnatha Protestant Church officials as saying: ¡°We have to request UN intervention because the government¡¯s security troops can no longer stand up to and top clashes in this province¡¦ has long ago been abandoned in Ambon and its surroundings¡±¡¦¡¦ : ¡°We are very intimidated by the presence of the Jihad force¡¦they have dominated most parts of Buru Island, and the whole area of Banda and Seram islands¡±. 

The Jesuit Refugees Service (JRS) quotes their source: ¡°Ambon is in extreme danger. The Jihad fighters coming from Java are launching fierce attacks, and the army and police are doing nothing. Only a small number of young 
Christians are trying to defend themselves without any weapons¡±¡¦.. 

JRS estimates that there are at present 80,000 refugees and displaced persons needing humanitarian assistance. 

Although the causes of the conflict in the North and South of Maluku are different, since the clashes started more than 3000 people have been killed and women have been systematically raped and tortured and hundreds of 
thousands of people forced to flee to other islands and provinces. Much has been destroyed, both materially and socially, as distress, pain, suspicion and fear drive the communities further apart and hopes of reconciliation 
fade away. 

The arrival of the ¡°jihad warriors¡± has also put the regional military command into a more difficult position, and they vent their anger at the Indonesian authorities for not stopping thethe fighters from leaving Java. With local commanders determined to stop the fighting also becoming more 
nervous about having to face the high powered weapons of the warriors and issuing orders to shoot on sight anybody with weapons, the cycle of violence will only rise. 

AHRC joins in with all the voices calling for an end to the killing, raping and destruction, and calls on the Indonesian government as well as the international community to heed the cries of the people and to take action to stop the violence immediately. 


Please write letters to the President of Indonesia, Mr. Wahid, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mrs. Robinson and the National Human Rights Commission in Indonesia. Your letters should alert them to the scale of the problem and the urgent need for their intervention. A sample letter follows; the addresses are printed at the end. 

To support this case, please click here: SEND APPEAL LETTER


Mr. President, Mdm High Commissioner, 

I respectfully draw your attention to the cries for help of the people of Maluku. I am writing to both of you at once, in order to stress the fact that it is necessary for you, each from your own position, to work together to stop the killing of innocent people and to relieve the suffering and fear which is now rampant. 

Whatever the causes of the present conflicts, many Christians and Muslims have lived harmoniously side by side on the islands for centuries and wish to continue to do so. They have no defense against those who exploit the 
situation for religious, political or economic reasons. 

Already hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced and more than 3000 killed in the last 2 years of intermittent strive. Now thousands of self-proclaimed ¡°jihad¡± warriors with high powered weapons are pouring into Maluku and causing an escalation of terror, suffering and death. 

I implore you, on behalf of the peace-loving peoples of Maluku to do all in your power to stop the violence and destruction in this once paradise-like land. 

Trusting that you will not ignore the pleas of the people, 

Yours respectfully, 


1. Mr. Abdurrahman Wahid, 
President of Indonesia, 
Presidential Palace, Jakarta 
Istana Negara, Indonesia. 
Fax: 62-21- 345 7782 

2. Mrs.Mary Robinson 
High Commissioner for Human Rights 
Palais des Nations 
1211 Geneva 10 
Fax: 41-22-917 9012 

3. Mr. Marzuki Durusman 
National Human Rights Commission 
Kartika Chandra Office Tower 
R. 201-202, Jl Gatot Subroto 
Jakarta, 1206 Indonesia 
Fax: 62-21-392 5227 

4. Please also send a copy of your letter to AHRC. 

Document Type : Urgent Appeal Case
Document ID : UA000602
Countries : Indonesia,