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Last Updated: Wednesday, 6 October, 2004, 23:58 GMT 00:58 UK
Amnesty urges Aceh inquiry
By Rachel Harvey
BBC, Jakarta

Indonesian police in Aceh (archive picture)
The Indonesian military launched an offensive in Aceh in May 2003
Amnesty International has called on Indonesia's president-elect, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, to investigate human rights abuses in Aceh province.

Mr Yudhoyono, who is due to be sworn in on 20 October, has talked about adopting a new approach to Aceh's long-running separatist struggle.

Indonesia recently lifted martial law in Aceh and replaced it with a state of civil emergency.

Amnesty said it was still receiving information of widespread abuses.

Latest official figures, released by the government, state that almost 7,000 suspected rebels have been killed or captured since the operation began.

The information contained in the Amnesty report is not in itself new.

International and local human rights organisations have consistently raised concerns about alleged abuses being committed by both sides in the conflict in Aceh.

New leader's agenda

The Indonesian security forces stand accused of torture, intimidation and the indiscriminate killing of suspected rebel supporters.

The rebels are accused of taking hostages and using children as local spies.

But it is the timing of this report that is significant.

Earlier this week, Mr Yudhoyono was confirmed as the winner of Indonesia's first direct presidential election.

Even before he is sworn into office, Amnesty is trying to force the Aceh question onto Mr Yudhoyono's agenda.

The organisation is calling on him to state publicly his opposition to human rights violations and to appoint a team of experts to investigate alleged abuses in the province.

Mr Yudhoyono was the government's chief security minister when the military operation in Aceh was launched, but he has recently said he wants to adopt a new approach to the problem.




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