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The Tragedy of the Boxing Day Earthquake

The Tragedy of the Boxing Day Earthquake

The tragedy of the Boxing Day earthquake and tsunami in 2004 created a humanitarian and economic disaster in the province of Aceh. In addition Aceh was under martial law at the time, after more than three decades of armed conflict between government troops and the Free Aceh Movement known as GAM.

There has been four years of reconstruction and rehabilitation process after the tsunami in the province; the Australian public was overwhelmingly generous with humanitarian aid. In addition the Indonesian government and GAM signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in August 2005 in Helsinki to resolve the conflict.

Peace in Aceh continues to hold, yet there is some concern that armed criminal activities has increased. In addition a reintegration program for former members of GAM has been marred by lack of goals and accountability. Although in the MoU has guaranteed that human rights abusers will be brought to justice, some victims of conflict and their family members are uncertain, because the government has not taken any serious step to address this issue. The commitment of the Australian government to continue their peace building program in Aceh is encouraging but also has ignored this issue.

Mr Afridal Darmi, a leading human rights lawyer from the Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation (LBH) will be in Canberra from 1st -2nd December, Sydney from 3rd - 5th December, Brisbane from 6th- 8th December and Melbourne on 9th December 2008. Mr Darmi will meet members of parliament from difference political parties, and government officials. He will speak from 12pm at Sydney University, room S223 in the Quadrangle after midday.

LBH Aceh is one of the leading human rights organisations in the province of Aceh and had a key play role to provide legal assistance to the community during the conflict when the central government deemed Aceh to be a military operation area in 1990s and imposed martial law in 2003. In addition post-tsunami, LBH Aceh also provided some legal assistance to the victims of the tsunami.

Mr Darmi received a law degree from Syah Kuala University in Banda Aceh and Master in Law from Northwestern University School of Law, Chicago, USA, in May2005. He started work with LBH Aceh in 1996 and became director of LBH Aceh in 2003 until now.

He has wide experience in facilitating and consulting on program democratisation, peace building and reintegration with civil society organisations in Aceh and international organisations. Mr Darmi was appointed by the local government in Aceh as a team leader of the truth and reconciliation commission (TRC).

To interview Mr Darmi please contact Eko Waluyo at suroboyo45@hotmail.com or 0416 809 107 and John Rawson at john.rawson@tafensw.edu.au or 9217 3874

ENDS

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