Aceh: an appeal

January 19, 2005

Immediately after the devastating tsunami hit Asia, Indonesian worker-farmer, human rights, information technology, journalists rights', anti-violence, environment and women's groups also set up depots to collect aid and began to organise for volunteers to go to Aceh. Many of these had partner organisations or branches in Aceh whose members had been killed or were missing.

In militarised Aceh, the role of activist volunteers is magnified. The Indonesian government has decided on a policy of concentrating the tsunami survivors in 24 refugee camps. According to the activist volunteers from one group in Aceh, SEGERA, most of the survivors are avoiding these refugee camps and are seeking refuge instead with friends and relatives. Impoverished Acehnese families are taking in up to three other families.

The burden of dealing with this majority has now fallen on the activist volunteers. In addition to organising things such as food drops, alternative teaching schemes, play groups, trauma counselling and the establishment of clinics in all the areas where survivors have sought refuge with families, there is the constant need to fight off the harassment of the military and revive the spirits of people who have lost family and home and still face constant harassment.

We make an appeal here to readers of Green Left Weekly and political and social activists in Australia to continue to donate money to the activist volunteer effort in Aceh. There are many groups active and we are urging people to donate to the operations organised by SEGERA.

SEGERA is a member of the Civil Society Coalition for Victims of the Earthquake and Tsunami, an alliance of Indonesian based non-government organisations. Green Left Weekly has a long connection with these activists. SEGERA itself is a coalition which comprises student, worker peasant, cultural, women and political groups, including the Peoples Democratic Party (PRD) and the Indonesian National Front for Labor Struggles (FNBI). It also comprises several Acehnese based groups. In Aceh, Raihan Diani, chairperson of the Acehnese Women for Democracy is helping coordinate current field activities. And in Jakarta, Zelly Ariane, another Acehnese, is coordinating the aid and volunteer mobilisation. Thamrin Ananda, another Acehnese, has been coordinating the departure of volunteers to Aceh for the Civil Society Coalition.

They need everything: from the food and medicines that they need to distribute among the people, to the essentials of transportation, communication and even accommodation. Almost all of the SEGERA Acehnese have lost their own homes — some have lost their whole families. Almost all the surviving families have lost their livelihoods, At least six SEGERA activists are still missing, feared dead. For updates on SEGERA activities, follow <>

Bank account details for donations within Australia
Account Name: Peoples Power Fighting Fund
Bank: Commonwealth Bank of Australia
BSB: 062 026
ACCOUNT NO: 1006 0743

Bank account donations from outside Australia
Account name:: Yulia Evina Bhara
Account number: 10005966325
Commonwealth Bank Jakarta — 12920 — Indonesia
Branch: Jl;. Jenderal Sudirman, Jakarta.
Clearing Code/SWIFT: 9500307.

We ask our readers to email <> after making donations, so that we can identify where the money has come from. This is a time of desperate need, please think about whether you can help.

From Green Left Weekly, January 19, 2005.
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