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Tuesday, 21 July 2015

The Role of Youth in Peace Resolution; Case Study in Aceh

Aula Andika Fikrullah Albalad
Hi guys, in this section I would like to reupload one of best paper that I have read in 2015. This paper was made and published by Fachrul Razi. M.I.P in Malaysia in 15'th Malaka International Youth Dialogue.  Here, I attach those best paper;


Mr. Fachrul Razi. M.I.P is the second from right


"First of all I would like to thank you for this valuable opportunity to deliver my papers in this remarkable International conference. This conference reminds me of the event that I followed in 2009 and 2013, when I became a participant of WAY future and sat in the same seat as you have today. I hope, in the future, all of the participants in this room will be a Senator or a member of Parliament in your own respective countries.
In this paper, I would like to share with you the conditions of youth in Aceh during conflict and peace period based on my experiences as a young generation in Aceh. For your information that I have been involved in the peace process in Aceh since 1998. At that time, I was eighteen years old. Now, I am trusted as a Senator from Aceh province since 2014.
A variety of experiences shows that youth and civil society have a special role in establishing peace and resolving the conflicts, particularly for their efforts in opening political dialogue, ongoing negotiations, achievement of a peace agreement, cessation of violence, and encouraging de-escalation of conflict in society. In Aceh, for example, since the beginning of the peace, both in Geneva and Helsinki agreement, youth and civil society are actively involved in opening space for dialogue, bridging the conflicting parties, Free Aceh Movement (GAM) and the Indonesian government, which ends with a peace agreement. This paper focuses on the role of youth in Aceh in establishing peace in Aceh.
In my perspective, during the conflict, the youths in Aceh are not only the victims of conflict, but also they are the peace makers and the ones who keep the peace. I would like to share my experiences as an Acehnese youth who witnessed directly the conflict and the peace in Aceh.
Before I share my experience, I would like to give a high appreciation for the committees and participants of this conference because this event provides an important issues to understand the involvement of youth during conflict and peace. So far, post-peace, the study of the role of youth is very limited. This happens because most writers view peace from the perspective of senior public figures or actors for peace who are dominated by the old people, rather than from the perspective of youth who are involved directly in the field. This paper describes the role of the youth during the conflict, the conditions, and the role of youth in peace processes and post-peace.
Youth: Actor and victims of conflict
What is the relationship between youths and conflict? Are youths involved in the conflict? As far as I am concerned, there is closely relationship between youths and conflict. The youths involvement in the conflict is high in Aceh. This can be seen from high number of former combatants are youth post-peace. While, in many countries, youths should be given high education, not to be involved in the conflict. In Aceh we experienced being in a conflict and now in peace. Therefore, a gap in social and economic among the youths as young generations occured. Some of them are creative and outspoken generation but some of them are mentally weak and traumatic. All of these become our tasks to complete to support the youths who were born in a conflict era to become strong and creative.
I would like to inform you the beginning of conflict in Aceh. Are youths involved in a conflict in Aceh? The answer is Yes. Why? Because youths are idealist and have their own perspectives looking at reality that exist in the country today. We may have obtained many theories in our colleges, but all the theories are sometimes contradictory to the reality that we face in a society. The attitude of resistance is one of characters owned by the youth. When dissatisfaction and inequality occur in society, youth will move and fight against it. Youths can not be silent and just be a watcher to make changes. In contrary, the youth are actors of change even though, they may be victims to make a change. The youth are facing a choice to be directly involved as an actor in a conflict.
In 1970, the economic of the Acehnese is so alarming, there were high poverty and high unemployment. In fact, this province has natural gas which is explored by the central government. Unfortunately, the result of this exploration is for benefit of the central government in Jakarta, while, the Acehnese remains poor. Starvation occured anywhere in this province and disappointment appeared. Despite the central government aware of this condition, but they seemed not willing to provide justice and economic equity for Aceh province. Historically, Aceh contributes highly to free Indonesia from Dutch colonialisation. Furthermore, this province also produce high natural resources to support Indonesia, but unfortunately, the central government does not seem to give serious attention and good intention to develop this province. As a result, the disappointment appear. The system of centralistic causes Aceh left behind in many areas in Indonesia.
The Acehnese young leaders in the era of 1970 appeared to protest and resistance against the central government. They gathered prominent youth figures from colleges and universities. This movement was pioneered by Tgk Hasan Muhammad Hasan Tiro or also called Hasan Tiro, a young man who completed his doctoral degree in the United States. This group consisted of knowledgable and well educated youths. They pursued their educations overseas. They were united after looking at bad condition in Aceh.
This movement became stronger as there was a high support from other prominent young figures in house and overseas. On 4 December 1976, this youth group declared the GAM. The central government coped this movement with violence and military. This oppression caused many victims both civil society and young leaders. This situation led to the choice of youth in Aceh to join GAM. The conflict erupted in 1976. The approach of the central government, which was very repressive leads many young prominent figures in Aceh left Aceh and being abroad, with the security and safety reasons.
In 1980, this movement recruited other young leaders to be sent to Tripoli, Libya. These young leaders were trained in military education. In the 1990s, these young leaders returned to Aceh and fire-fighted with the Indonesian military. This fire fighting caused loss of life of civil society who majority were children, youths and women.
During the conflict, many prominent youth leaders in the villages were recruited to hold a weapon and fight against the Indonesian government. The support for GAM from the Acehnese were becoming stronger. This happens because the Acehnese disappointed to the central government. The government does not provide proper welfare for the Acehnese. Interestingly, the youth groups who joined GAM was not only from men but also women. They were trained to fight using gun.
The conflict in Aceh lasted for 30 years. It started from 1976 and lasted in 2005. Many youths are victims of violence, kidnapping, murder, and lost during the conflict. This human rights violations occured in Aceh.
Youth and the establishment of Peace in Aceh
In 1998, post the fall of new order regime, President Soeharto through reformation, gave a negative impact on the situation in Aceh. This made a number of organisations begin to grow and they played important roles in social movements in 1998-1999. These organisations are FARMIDIA organization, Student Solidarity for the People (SMUR), Muslim Student Action Union Indonesia (KAMMI) and the Action Committee for Reform Mahasiswa Aceh (KARMA). These organisations carried out anti-militarism movement, advocating conflict victims and refugees (Aguswandi 2004 ). These organisations also together with the action organisations based in Java such as KM-PAN and IMAPA, which eventually established Aceh Referendum Information Center (SIRA), through the Student and Youth Congress Aceh Serantau (KOMPAS) on January 31-February 3 1999 in Banda Aceh.
SIRA did an action of Referendum in Aceh in 2000. They successfully gathered two million mass in front of the Mosque Baiturahman, Banda Aceh. At that time, "the referendum movement", which were pioneered by young leaders and student, was regarded as a final solution. This political decision was agreed by the people of Aceh and GAM. In fact, GAM welcomed the establishement of SIRA (Aceh Referendum Information Center).
SIRA is dominated by young leaders figures to struggle with peaceful movement. For example, through a variety of large-scale demonstrations asking for referendum in 1999-2004, asking for the enforcement of Human Rights (HAM) and's justice, educating the Acehnese, making a lobby nationally and internationally.
On 26 December 2004, the earthquake and tsunami hit Aceh that caused hundreds of thousands of people in Aceh victims. Due to the force of foreign countries and civil society in Aceh, the GAM and the Indonesian government accelerated the peace process in Aceh.
On August 15, 2005, the political conflict between GAM and Indonesian Government ended peacefully and democratically. The conflict that lasted for nearly 30 years, ended with signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in Helsinki, Finland which is currently known as the Helsinki MoU. This peace agreement brought an enormous impact at the development of Aceh, both infrastuctures and social politic.
Youth and development post-peace
Youths have important roles to the establishment of peace in Aceh on 15 August 2005 in Helsinki, Finland. The youth movement is not only conducting a political campaign to lead the military approach into the dialogue approach, but also they take actions which are supported by the Acehnese to conduct demonstration and political discussion to resolve the conflict in Aceh to the negotiation table. Post-peace, youth were involved in two important phases. First is decommisioning, demobilisation and reintegration and secondly is political transition.
Phase of decommissioning, demobilisation and reintegration. On 15 September 2005 until December 30, 2005, in accordance with the MoU agreement stated in point 4.3 of the MoU Helsinki, GAM was obliged to cut weapons (decommissioning), ammunition and explosives held by the participants in GAM activities with the assistance of Mission of monitoring Aceh (AMM). GAM agreed to hand over 840 weapons. While, in point 4.5 of the MoU, the central government was obliged to withdraw all elements of the army (TNI) and police from Aceh. Point 4.7 MoU, the amount of organic soldiers who remain in Aceh after the relocation was about 14,700. The number of organic police forces to remain in Aceh after the relocation was about 9,100. The Indonesian government also gives amnesty to former GAM who were approximately 1.488 who were in jail throughout Indonesia. In this process, youths have high experiences in the process of decommissioning, demobilization and reintegration.
Process of political transition. On December 2006 to January 2007, the central government facilitated the formation of new law as it has been stated in point 1.1.1 of the MoU Helsinki that the new law on the Implementation of the Government of Aceh will be enacted and will be implemented as soon as possible and the implementation was no later than March 31, 2006. However, this law finally appeared in August 2006, or it is known with the Law of Aceh Government (UUPA).
At this stage, as stated at point 1.2.3 of the MoU Helsinki, Aceh can conduct local elections under UUPA. The Acehnese can vote for the governor, mayor and regent in April 2006 as well as for members legislative Aceh in 2009.
In the process of political transition, there was high number of youths involved in practical politics. They joined local and national political parties to become members of the local and national parliament as well as regional leaders. Their age is approximately 30-40 years who are considered as youths.
Post-peace, there is polarization of youth movement in Aceh due to the emergence of various political groups. There are some local and national political parties exist in Aceh. These two parties recruit young prominent figures in Aceh to become the members of their parties.
As far as I am concerned, post-peace, the Acehnese are splitted into two major groups. First, the youth involves themselves into practical politic and join either a local or a national parties. Second, the youths who are not involved in politics, but they are actively involved in Non governmental organisation (NGO) groups or civil groups in monitoring and suprvision against the government and political parties toward peace agreement.
What about the ex-combatants? They also do the same thing. They join either a local or a national party. But. Some of them do not involve in politics and return to their families.
Summary
Currently, the peaceful has been experienced by the Acehnese since the past ten years after encountering various problems. One of problems that arises is that there is high number of youths become crime actors, violence actors. If this condition is not given attention, it may create new conflicts in the future. The youths should be involved in the development process, of course, they need peace education and civil education, particularly to the youth who have been experienced living in a war (youth in war to peace transitions). I also observe that the youths need to be given proper leadership education and character building in creating their independence by infusing entrepreneurship spirit.
I would like to remind all of us that the vulnerability that youths in post-conflict areas is extremely high and this should be taken serious attention. Youths should be involved in many processes, because the youth understand very well how to find solutions to existing problems.
In my perspective as a youth, we have to take our important roles in political process. We are not able to change a system if we are not involved in the system. That means, to change the system, we must be involved directly in the system, either in determining policy or in establishing changes.
There are a number of unfinished issues still exist that become problems in ten years of peace in Aceh. As far as I am concerned, this happens due to three things. First, the reintegration process is not yet complete. Secondly, the transitional government is not able to solve the problems of ex-combatants’ economy. Thirdly, the central government's attitude and policies seem half-hearted in realizing the promise of peace as has been stated in the MoU of Helsinki.
Aceh has been in peace for ten years, but there are new conflicts and violence occur in this province. There is a new disappointment among the Acehnese, especially the Acehnese youths. This means that the peace in Aceh is not yet complete.
I would like to invite all of international youths to join us to raise problems in Aceh at international level. I also would like to invite the entire of international community to pay attention on the problems in Aceh. This is to avoid a possibility of great conflict in the future.
I would like to give a new inspiration to the youths in the world that their roles are very important to the process of peace-building, reintegration, development and peace in the entire country. Hope it is useful!"


Hopefuly, its will make us especially youth to more open minded to collaborate in development peace in Aceh, Indonesia and the world.




For more information and best news about mr Fachrul, don't hesitate to click senatorfachrulrazi.com

Aula Andika Fikrullah Albalad / Author & Editor

I thank you very much for coming to my post. Hopefully you got alots and dont forget to leave comments below

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