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Acheh: A Case Of Unfinished Decolonisation

Moderator Note: 1. No information about with whom the meeting was made 2. The Statement actually the same as in Hasan di Tiro writings in early 1980s.


Statement by Tengku Hasan M. di Tiro President of Acheh, Sumatra, National Liberation Front In the meeting in Washington, D.C. October 19, 2000

Acheh: A Case Of Unfinished Decolonisation

The State of Acheh was independent sovereign state from 1500 onwards, and from the seventeenth century, it was recognised by Britain, the USA, Portugal, France, the Netherlands, and Turkey. A treaty was made between King James 1 of Britain and the Sultan of Acheh in 1603, and in 1819 a new Treaty was made administrator in the region, providing that.

"there shall be a perpetual peace, friendship an defensive Alliance between the States dominions and subjects of the High Contracting Parties, neither of whom shall give any aid or assistance to the enemies of other".

When the Dutch invaded Acheh on March 26, 1878, they informed the Government of the USA and asked for American endorsement of their aggression. President Ulysses S Grant refused this appear, declaring US neutrality and sending the following message to the congress.

"Official information being received from the Dutch government of state of war between the King of Netherlands and the Sultan of Acheen. The officers of the USA who where near the seat of the war were instructed to observe impartial neutrality. It is believed that they have done so" .

The war between the Netherlands and Acheh never came to a formal end, but the Dutch withdraw in March 1942, as a consequence of the war in the Pacific. They never tried to regain possession of Acheh after 1945, and they had no right or power to hand the State over to the newly created state of Indonesia, as they purported to do, on December 27, 1949, Following the withdrawal of the illegally occupying power, Acheh should have reverted to its former sovereign status. The transfer the power to a government in Jakarta without any consultation process, violated Articles 2 and 55 of the UN Charter, as well as Article 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and international customary law, later to be embodied in the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries an Peoples.

When Ottoman rule ended in Europe, the separate gained their independence, after centuries of occupation. At the end of World War 1, the peoples of the Austro-Hungarian empire gained their individual freedoms, and the Arab peoples of the Middle East set out along the path of self-determination. After the fall of the Soviet Union, the subject Republics reverted to their former soverignity.

The International community should therefore acknowledge that handing over the people of Acheh to colonial and alien rule from Jakarta was a denial of the right which has been enjoyed by other peoples formerly under colonial and alien domination by neighbouring powers since the early 19th century, and by the victims of 'salt sea' imperialism since World War II.

Every colonial territory a separate legal status from all other colonial territories, and each has a separate right to self- determination. This separate legal status cannot be annulled by an imperialist by an imperialist decision to unify the administration of a number of territories, as the Dutch did in Indonesia. The principle was upheld by the Security Council in the came of Namibia, which could not be integrated into South Africa when the mandate exercised by South Africa came to an end. Ironically, it was the Dutch Presidency of the Security Council which made a statement to the Socurity Council on February 3, 1985, that "The Namibian people have a right to self-determination ….." and the same right applies pari passu to the Achehnese.

The 1970 Declaration on Friendly Relation declared that nothing should impair the territorial integrity of sovereign and independent States, provided they were 'possessed of a government representing the whole people belonging to the territory without distinction at to race, creed or colour'. This implies that there is a right of secession where the condition is not satisfied, where there is a denial of the basic right occur, and the possibility of peaceful political solutions within the existing State structure are excluded . Therefore the international community has a duty to consider whether these tests are satisfied in the in the case of Acheh, over and above the duty to restore the soverignty of a conquered state, exercised only recently in the case of Kuwait.

The forced integration of Eritrea with Ethiopia led to a thirty-five year war, and to animosities between the leadership of the two countries which have not yet been assuaged by the passage of time. The United Nations did not recognize that it had made a mistake until the people of Eritrea gained their freedom by an armed struggle which caused immense loss of life and suffering on both sides. Yet the lesson was not learned, that mechanism ought to be established within the United Nations, for claimants to self-determination to put their case, and to have it judged by an independent tribunal in accordance with international law. The time has now come to act on the injuction of President Woodrow Wilson:

"National aspirations must be respected, peoples may be dominate and government only by their consent. Self-determination is not a more phrase. It is an imperative principle of action, which statesmen will henceforth ignore at their peril".

According to all these rules and procedure which are being relentlessly executed in all ex-colonials territories except in the Dutch East Indies, so-called "Indonesia". And that colonialism is considered an International Crime - UN Resolution 2621-XXV.

Footnote: +Massages and Papers of the President, Publishers, Year and place of Publication, 4192 +UN General Assembly Resolution 1514 0f 1960 +Declaration of Principles of International Law Concerning Friendly Relations and Co-operation among States in +Accordance with the Charier of the UN, GA Resolution 2625(XXV), October 24, 1970 +Antonio Cassese, Self Determination of Peoples: A Legal Reappraisal Cambridge University Press, 1995, 120

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