Aceh conflict resolution lessons learned and the future of Aceh
Putranto, Joko P.
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The Aceh conflict has been one of the longest running in Asia. When the memorandum of understanding between the Government of Indonesia (GoI) and GAM (Free Aceh Movement) was finally signed on August 15, 2005, in Helsinki, Finland. The agreement brought an end to the nearly thirty years of bloody armed conflict that claimed 15,000 lives, displaced tens of thousands and impacted the whole country economically, as well as politically. In the early process, many expressed their skepticism with the government in handling this conflict, due to the failure of previous two peace settlements. Many believed that GAM had to be eliminated by employing military operations. The military options, however, proved ineffective to eliminate rebellion. Instead, the military abuses and resource exploitation have only increased the GAM's public support. The Helsinki peace agreement appears to have a better chance to put an end to the separatist conflict in Aceh. This win-win solution settlement has so far worked well. However, lessons learned from this conflict will be beneficial for any government, and the military, in handling conflicts that might take us into the future. Indeed, instead of military options, Helsinki's peace agreement has always been the best solution for the future of Aceh.
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