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Aceh: Commission releases €4 million for peace

Aceh: Commission releases €4 million to support the peace process

The European Commission will provide €4 million, under its Rapid Reaction Mechanism, to help re-integrate into civilian life former political prisoners and fighters in the long-running conflict in Aceh. The move follows the signature on 15 August 2005 of a peace agreement, in the form of a Memorandum of Understanding, between the Government of Indonesia and the Free Aceh Movement (GAM), which it is hoped signals the end of this 30-year conflict. The Commission support will cover the immediate basic needs of GAM returnees and their families, establishing a solid framework for the longer-term reintegration process.

Benita Ferrero-Waldner, Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy said: “ After thirty years of bloody conflict, proper implementation of the peace agreement will now pave the way for the return of peace and prosperity in the province. I fervently hope that all parties will respect the commitments taken during the negotiations.” She added: “A successful demobilisation and reintegration of the GAM members will be a key factor to achieve a lasting peace. Reintegrating former combatants in their communities is our priority today. To this end, we will provide basic subsistence and medical care for some 25,000 people and will help them to find places in employment and retraining schemes.

The first political prisoners have already been released and GAM fighters will begin decommissioning their arms and demobilising from 15 September 2005.

The aims of the assistance are:

• To provide immediate assistance to the 2000 detainees and 3000 GAM fighters in the field at the point of release/demobilisation. This will take the form of medical screening, a subsistence package and in the case of prisoners held in Java, the cost of transport to Aceh.

• To provide a minimal subsistence allowance to former GAM and their families returning to their villages (total approximately 25,000 beneficiaries) for up to six months. The level of assistance will be benchmarked against the level of assistance provided to victims of the tsunami.

• To launch a communications and outreach programme to explain the peace and reintegration process and to encourage reconciliation and acceptance of the returnees by their communities.

The assistance will be implemented by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).

For further background, see

MEMO/05/310: Aceh: Commission’s contribution to the peace process and post-tsunami reconstruction.

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