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NZ Achehnese community fear for safety of families

NZ Achehnese community fear for safety of family and friends Acheh Support Group

The Achehnese Community of New Zealand are very worried about the situation in to Acheh because of the damage caused by the earthquake and tsunami, and the high-level of corruption and state violence within the province.

A member of the Achehnese community Bakhtiar Amin said "I believe that any aid going in to Acheh risks being interfered with by the corrupt Indonesian authorities in Acheh."

"We ask the New Zealand people and government to pressure the Indonesian government to allow the international media, volunteers and NGOs access to Acheh immediately so that they can observe and assist the problems of the Achehnese people."

"Our friends and relatives are throughout the region affected and we are frustrated that we can not contact them safely through the Indonesian government because the government will probably arrest or kill them once the emergency is over."

The Achehnese in New Zealand are mostly civilian political refugees from the war in Acheh between the Free Acheh Movement and the Government of Indonesia. Like the East Timor conflict it has been characterised by cruel human rights abuses of civilians by the TNI (Indonesian army) and militia. Since the latest all-out offensive started in 2003 in Acheh, several members of their families have been murdered by the Indonesian authorities.

We ask concerned New Zealand citizens to please contact Phil Goff (Minister of Foreign Affairs) about these issues.


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