Aceh Tamiang Disrict Field Report by rygoion

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									GAM Reintegration Needs Assessment – Aceh Tamiang

GAM REINTEGRATION NEEDS ASSESSMENT Aceh Tamiang 5 – 15 January 2006

Amri Yakob Novia Cici Anggraini Roslina Johari Saifuddin Marzuki

The views in the report are those of the authors alone and should not be attributed to the World Bank or the Government of Indonesia. For more information or permission to cite, contact Roslina Johari (roslinajohari@mac.com) and Patrick Barron (pbarron@worldbank.org)

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Table of Contents
1. INTRODUCTION AND SUMMARY ....................................................................................................1 1.1. 1.2. 2. INTRODUCTION............................................................................................................................1 SUMMARY .......................................................................................................................................1

SOCIO-ECONOMIC PROFILES...........................................................................................................2 2.1. RETURNEES....................................................................................................................................4 2.1.1 Age, Gender and Education ........................................................................................................4 2.1.2 Employment Status.......................................................................................................................4

3.

PEACE PROCESS, REINTEGRATION AND REINSERTION PROCESS ..................................5 3.1. 3.1.1 3.1.2 3.2. 3.2.1 3.2.2 3.3. 3.3.1 3.3.2 3.3.3 3.3.4 3.4. 3.4.1 3.4.2 3.4.3 3.4.4 DISARMAMENT AND BENEFITS PACKAGE .......................................................................5 GAM Combatants .........................................................................................................................5 Political Prisoners (before and after amnesty)..........................................................................5 RECONCILIATION .......................................................................................................................6 Formal Dynamics .........................................................................................................................6 Informal Dynamics ......................................................................................................................7 KNOWLEDGE OF PEACE PROCESS.......................................................................................8 Knowledge of Content of MoU....................................................................................................8 Views of MoU................................................................................................................................9 The Aceh Monitoring Mission (AMM) ....................................................................................10 Progress of Peace Process .........................................................................................................10 PROBLEMS AND OBSTACLES................................................................................................11 Problems and Obstacles within GAM ......................................................................................11 Problems and Obstacles with Militia/Preman/Bandits...........................................................11 Problems and Obstacles between Returnees and Receiving Communities ..........................12 Between Returnees and Government/TNI/Police ...................................................................13

4.

NEEDS AND ASPIRATIONS................................................................................................................14 4.1. NEEDS AND ASPIRATIONS OF RETURNEES ....................................................................14 4.1.1 Economic Opportunities and Employment..............................................................................15 4.1.2 Education and Training ............................................................................................................17 4.1.3 Shelter..........................................................................................................................................17 4.1.4 Health ..........................................................................................................................................18 4.1.5 Land .............................................................................................................................................18 4.1.6 Leadership Aspirations ..............................................................................................................19 4.2. NEEDS OF RECEIVING VILLAGES.......................................................................................19 4.2.1 Key Differences between Needs of Returnees and Receiving Communities........................20 4.2.2 Conflict Damage and Reconstruction Needs...........................................................................21 4.3. ECONOMIC POTENTIAL OF ACEH TAMIANG ................................................................22

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CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS...............................................................................24 5.1. MAIN FINDINGS ..........................................................................................................................24 5.1.1 Peace Process and Reintegration .............................................................................................24 5.1.2 Needs, Aspirations and Socio-Economic Potential.................................................................24 5.1.3 Peace Process and Reintegration .............................................................................................25

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GAM Reintegration Needs Assessment
1. Introduction and Summary 1.1. Introduction

This report forms part of the World Bank GAM Reintegration Needs Assessment. The aims of the assessment are to provide an understanding of the socio-economic background of former GAM combatants and the communities to which they are returning, as well as an understanding of the dynamics of the reintegration process and the development needs and aspirations of the returnees and communities. The study utilizes quantitative and qualitative data from a range of districts and villages in Aceh. This report is based on the findings of interviews and focus group discussions conducted in Kabupaten Aceh Tamiang (Aceh Tamiang district) between 5 and 15 January 2006. For this district report, the field team visited villages in two sub-districts of Aceh Tamiang which exhibit variation across a range of factors which might potentially have an impact on reintegration dynamics (see Table 1 below). 1.2. Summary

The findings of the assessment are broadly positive, with no immediate barriers to reintegration. Returning former combatants and amnestied prisoners have been welcomed home by family and friends and are once more living in their home villages. The peace has had a positive effect on the lives of villagers, many of whom can now return to fields and plantations that were inaccessible during the conflict. The withdrawal of TNI troops and decommissioning of arms have been welcomed by communities, as has the discontinuation of the requirement to report to military posts. The research found that the immediate and longer term needs of both returnees and receiving communities were broadly similar. The livelihoods of many people in Aceh Tamiang depend on fishing (sea fishing and fish farming) and the research found that assistance is urgently needed to assist communities to repair damaged fish farms as well as to purchase new boats and fishing nets. This will assist returnees as much as the communities since many GAM members in the area worked as fish farmers or fishermen before they joined GAM. Improvements to the availability of health facilities are also needed by communities as a whole, although many GAM members need more urgent medical attention. Improved access to schooling is a priority for many of the children in the villages studied, while short-term vocational training could benefit GAM members in some areas. In addition, it is thought that greater socialization of the MoU would benefit GAM members and receiving communities alike. This report comprises five sections, of which this Introduction and Summary is the first. The second section outlines the socio-economic profiles of returnees and receiving communities while the third section examines the dynamics of the current peace process

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and reintegration, looking at the benefits packages, at reconciliation at the local level and at the views and understanding of the peace process, including familiarity with the MoU (Memorandum of Understanding). The fourth section focuses on the needs and aspirations of those returning and how these needs fit with those needs and aspirations of receiving communities. The fifth section summarizes findings and outlines some recommendations. 2. Socio-Economic Profiles Aceh Tamiang is one of the districts formed from the district of Aceh Timur in 2002. It shares its borders with the province of North Sumatra to the south, the Strait of Malacca in the east, Langsa city in the north and the districts of Aceh Timur and Gayo Lues to the west. The population census of 2005 indicates that Aceh Tamiang has a population of 236,314, with a density of 121 inhabitants per km². It covers 1,939.72km² and is divided into eight sub-districts, 23 kemukiman (traditional groupings of villages) and 208 villages. Aceh Tamiang lies along the eastern coast of Sumatra and less than 250km from Medan, which has a significant influence on its economy. The main economic drivers of Aceh Tamiang are oil, gas, palm oil production and the fish industry. Aceh Tamiang is rich in oil and gas, although it does not possess the quantities of these resources that are found in the district of Aceh Utara. In selecting the villages for the study, a number of factors were taken into consideration. The first was the number of returnees. The research team chose villages with both high and low numbers of returnees so as to assess whether numbers of returnees had any effect on the reintegration process. The second factor was the economic backgrounds of the villages. Across Aceh Tamiang, 80% of villagers rely on fish farms and fishing as their main source of income, while 20% are rice farmers. A minority of people also work as traders and the study also looked at the effects of the conflict on livelihoods in Aceh Tamiang. In the sub-district of Manyak Payed, for example, the conflict has left local industries at a standstill while villages in the sub-district of Seruway have strong economic ties to Medan, and the research team found that during the conflict, much of Seruway’s produce was sent to Medan. A third factor taken into account was the ethnicity of the villages. Aceh Tamiang is the only area in Aceh dominated by the Malay, (or Tamiang) ethnic group. The Tamiang people speak a language of the same name (Tamiang) which is a blend of Malay and Acehnese. In the sub-district of Manyak Payed, most villages had a slight Tamiang majority, while villages in Seruway had a more evenly spread ethnicity. Although Aceh Tamiang’s history as part of Aceh Timur (which was one of GAM’s key strongholds and worst-affected conflict zones in the province) suggests that it too would have a violent history, it seems that previous violence levels, as well as numbers of returnees, are in fact much lower in Aceh Tamiang than in its neighbor. This can be attributed, at least in part, to the ethnic diversity of the area which usually produces lower

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levels of support for GAM. Clashes between Government troops (TNI) and GAM were mostly confined to mangrove swamps and village outskirts. In spite of this, Aceh Tamiang was strategically and logistically important to GAM members, providing, among other things, an escape route to other parts of Southeast Asia. The names of the villages studied have been withheld to protect the confidentiality of those interviewed.
Table 1: Characteristics of Research Areas in Aceh Tamiang Sub-district Village Manyak Payed Village A Characteristics                     Isolated village surrounded by mangrove swamps GAM stronghold Conflict zone Mixed ethnicity, majority Aceh Tamiang Fishing (sea fishing and fishponds), farming Economically very important to Manyak Payed sub-district GAM stronghold Conflict zone Mixed ethnicity, majority Aceh Tamiang Many houses burned during conflict Fishing (sea fishing and fishponds) Not a GAM stronghold, but a conflict zone GAM supporters in the minority Mixed ethnicity, majority Malay Rivers provide escape route to the sea and to Malaysia Fishing (sea fishing and fish farms) Not a GAM stronghold, but a conflict zone Fairly even distribution of ethnic groups: Aceh Tamiang, Javanese, Malay Few GAM supporters Coastal village

Village B

Seruway Village C

Village D

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Table 2: Profile of Research Villages, Aceh Tamiang Sub-District Village No. of households No. of households with female head Total Population Male Population Female Population Young People (18-35) Ex-combatants Amnestied Prisoners Surrendered GAM Members Widows Property Damage* Destroyed Houses Destroyed Boats
(*due to conflict unless otherwise stated)

Manyak Payed Village A 236 10 1200 550 650 80 30 2 15 10 3 290 Majority Acehnese 10 Javanese families Fishing (sea fishing and fish farming) Farming Charcoal Village B 108 15 600 350 250 58 9 0 0 15 30 Majority Acehnese, Javanese, Tamiang, Banjar Fishing (sea fishing and fish farming) Farming Village C 382 3 1800 1000 800 80 10 2 3 15 10

Seruway Village D 116 5 412 200 212 50 0 5 5 100 (by flooding) 40 Fairly even proportions of Malay, Acehnese Tamiang and Javanese Fishing (sea fishing and fish farming) Farming

Ethnicity

Livelihoods

Majority Malay, Acehenese Tamiang, Javanese, Gayo Fishing (sea fishing and fish farming) Rice

2.1.

Returnees

2.1.1 Age, Gender and Education Former combatants and amnestied prisoners in Aceh Tamiang are between 22 and 45 years of age. Most of them have elementary education (SD), but few have completed junior school education (SMP). Although overall education standards in Aceh Tamiang are relatively high compared to the rest of the province, the research found that the education standards of returnees tended to be lower than that of most community members. 2.1.2 Employment Status

Many ex-combatants from this area were fish farmers before they joined GAM, and now most of them are struggling to find jobs. Fish farms suffered from neglect during the

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years of conflict and returnees can no longer rely on them as a way of making a living. In addition, the boats that they used to own are either missing or damaged as a result of the conflict. Returnees with families are trying to find as much ad-hoc work as they can so as to make ends meet. These difficulties are shared by many of the villagers in their home communities. 3. Peace Process, Reintegration and Reinsertion Process 3.1. Disarmament and Benefits Package

3.1.1 GAM Combatants Most former combatants returned to their villages approximately two months after the MoU was signed in August 2005. Returnees from Manyak Payed sub-district were apprehensive about the TNI presence in their village and decided first to meet in a village in the neighboring sub-district of Bendahara while waiting for the troops to be withdrawn. They surrendered their weapons to the GAM commander for the Aceh Tamiang area who in turn handed them over to the Aceh Monitoring Mission (AMM). Former combatants interviewed did not express any dissatisfaction with the disbursement of the initial reintegration benefit (or jadup). Although Rp1million was allocated to each registered GAM returnee by the Government, ex-combatants in Aceh Tamiang received between Rp80,000 and Rp150,000 because funds were also distributed to conflict orphans and widows. Most returnees do not object to this. Ex-combatants and villagers say that conflict orphans had not received any help from the government or from NGOs. The ex-combatants also seem to have shared the jadup payments with amnestied prisoners, despite being aware that amnestied prisoners get a separate amount.
“I know I am entitled to Rp1million, but it’s ok, we want to share any financial benefits with the widows and the orphans because they too have suffered. How can we not share with them? That money is not even enough to eat for a month! But I don’t mind, there are many children who need the money more than us.” Former combatant, Manyak Payed “Even if we have to carry a cangkul (sickle) to go and work in the fields, we would do it. For the sake of peace, we wouldn’t mind.” Former combatant, Manyak Payed

3.1.2 Political Prisoners (before and after amnesty) Amnestied prisoners have also returned to their villages after being released from prison (approximately 20 days after the MoU was signed). The amnestied prisoners are optimistic that they will receive the full amount of assistance allocated to them. This comprises Rp2million upon their release from prison followed by Rp1.5million for the second stage and Rp1.5million for the third stage. At the time of the field study, former prisoners were due to receive the stage three payment. Amnestied prisoners voiced concerns about difficulties in finding employment. In villages with mixed ethnicity, local businesses are cautious about hiring amnestied prisoners for fear that past tensions

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between GAM and Javanese peoples will permeate into the work place and have a negative impact on Javanese employees.
“While we were in prison, our wives had to borrow money to find food and pay for the children’s schooling. Some people might be jealous that we have got Rp5million, but the reality is that it is all used to pay off the debts.” Amnestied prisoner, Seruway “They said we would have no difficulty finding jobs, and that we would be given two hectares of rubber plantation. But so far, we’ve got nothing. We brought our amnesty letter to the rubber factory but the manager rejected us because he thinks we would harass the Javanese workers in the factory.” Amnestied prisoner, Seruway “After they released me from prison, I received Rp2million. Me and a few of my friends had to find our own way home, nobody took us home. I found out later that my parents had moved to (a nearby village) because they were harassed by the TNI because of my GAM membership. Now, we all live on state-owned fishpond land.” Amnestied prisoner, Seruway

3.2.

Reconciliation

The dynamics of the reconciliation process in Aceh Tamiang are generally very positive. Even in villages with little support for GAM, communities have been quick to accept the returnees. In fact many returnees (especially senior GAM) are held in high regard by the communities who value their leadership skills and the plans that they have for the rejuvenation of the local economy. However, one negative aspect is the concern voiced by a number of villagers that unemployment among returnees could hinder reconciliation. Communities fear that returnees will become frustrated by the lack of economic opportunities and that continued unemployment could jeopardize the longevity of the peace process. 3.2.1 Formal Dynamics The research team observed that fewer peusijuk ceremonies were held for returning GAM members in Aceh Tamiang than in other districts in Aceh. Although many villages with sizeable numbers of returnees held formal peusijuk ceremonies (for example in Manyak Payed sub-district), in Seruway, which has fewer returnees and less support for GAM, there was no fanfare for the returnees. Some returnees in Seruway were disappointed by the failure of their village to hold a formal welcoming ceremony, and many claimed that this was because the village leaders were ‘in the pockets of the government’ and believed in a unified Indonesian state, which returnees felt meant that they have few incentives to welcome returnees.1
“Since returning, my family and the community have both organized peusijuk ceremonies2. These have given us returnees faith that it is ok to be back in the communities. Some of us became quite emotional during the ceremony; we were treated like heroes returning from battle.”
1

Returnees used the term Periuk RI, which means “cooking pot of the Republic of Indonesia”, and NKRI, which is the abbreviation of Negara Kesatuan Republik Indonesia, denoting the ideology of a unitary state of Indonesia. 2 In Aceh Tamiang, villagers said that the peusijuk ceremony comprises the recitation of verses from the Qur’an as well as the giving of pulut (or glutenous rice) to returnees, who are also sprinkled with water from a teusijuk leaf.

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Former combatant, Manyak Payed “We performed the peusijuk ceremony for GAM members in the meunasahs right in front of the TNI soldiers. We didn’t care that they saw us. There is peace now, and we can perform the peusijuk for whomever we like. But some of us worry that the TNI will remember us for our openness should the peace process fail.” Wife of GAM returnee, Manyak Payed “There were no village ceremonies led by the Datok Penghulu (Malay term for village head) and the village elders. But my family organized a small peusijuk. Perhaps the Datok Penghulu still has not accepted us wholeheartedly as part of the village. Or perhaps he is a government accomplice.” Former combatant, Seruway

Judging by interviewees’ responses to the peusijuk ceremonies, it can be inferred that formal activities at village level can have an impact on the quality of reconciliation. More peusijuk ceremonies were held in Manyak Payed sub-district than in Seruway, where there is less support for GAM and a smaller number of returnees. Interviews held with GAM returnees in Seruway hint at the fact that they feel ignored, but while this is perhaps a sore point for a small minority of Seruway returnees, it does not seem to have a negative impact on their relationship with villagers (see 3.2.2 Informal Dynamics). Nevertheless, in these villages, the reconciliation process might be underpinned by initiatives to reconcile returnees with the communities. 3.2.2 Informal Dynamics Communities in Aceh Tamiang seem to have had no problems in accepting the returnees and interacting with them. Villagers are reassured by the fact that there are now no nonlocal GAM combatants in the villages. During the conflict, there was a steady stream of GAM from Aceh Timur and other areas through the area on their way to and from Malaysia.
“I know that all the GAM (members) returned to their own villages because my husband is a GAM returnee. He
said that the others are making their way home because there is peace now.” Wife of returnee, Manyak Payed “From our point of view, the communities accept us with ease. They are like our family and we are their family. There are no issues between us in this village.” Former combatant, Manyak Payed “We welcome them back, no problems, we interact well. Some of them have gone back to their old jobs, some are farming again, some have returned to fishing.” Javanese villager, Manyak Payed “Actually the number of GAM from this village is not that many. In the past, the GAM (members) that were here came from Sigli, Pidie and Bireuen, and they are no longer around, maybe they have gone back home.” Villager, Manyak Payed

Even government officials seem to have accepted the return of ex-combatants and former prisoners. Many of these officials drew a distinction between GAM from Aceh Timur and local GAM combatants, and were of the view that local GAM members would not have done anything to hurt the local population.

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“The Tamiang GAM have never ever done anything to hurt the local people. In fact, they are protective of them. In the past it is GAM from outside that caused problems for us. But the local GAM are ok.” Former government official, Karang Baru

Box 1: Collective Responsibility for Peace Even in villages which traditionally have low levels of support for GAM and very few returnees, the receiving communities are sympathetic to the economic plight of former combatants. Many have made voluntary donations to returnees of items such as floor mats, pots and pans, sickles and even cigarettes, not because they support GAM, but because they want to support the peace process.
“They do have problems when they return, but not with the community at large. The reintegration problems they have are of a personal nature. When they come home they have nothing, they have to live with relatives temporarily, and they have no more fishponds, so its really difficult for them.” Villager, Seruway

Villagers are concerned that returnees might get frustrated with the conditions in the village and go back into the jungle and interviewees cited a local proverb that says it is better to be a tiger in the jungle than a sheep in a city (“daripada jadi kambing di kota lebih baik jadi harimau di hutan”). They fear that some returnees might find that the reality of living in a village demeans them, and might choose their previous life of fighting in the jungle instead.
“Please help them, support them, and give them jobs. We are afraid if it continues like this that the peace agreement might fail and then we would be talking about a third peace process!” Villager, Seruway “I am afraid that if they have no jobs to fill their time and to feed their families, they will resort to other things. I give him cigarettes and some rice not because he asks for them, but because I want to help him get back on his feet. My own situation is bad, but they need more support from the community. This peace is everybody’s responsibility.” Village elder, Seruway

3.3.

Knowledge of Peace Process

3.3.1 Knowledge of Content of MoU Across Aceh Tamiang, there is a high level of awareness of the MoU but a lack of familiarity with its contents. MoU posters seem to be more visible in the district offices, store fronts, and coffee shops in Aceh Tamiang than they are elsewhere in Aceh. Excombatants are more familiar with the contents of the MoU than the villagers, and some are even concerned that the villagers have an inaccurate understanding of the MoU. Villagers generally seem to have a relatively simplified view of the contents, and in some cases their understanding is simply wrong. In spite of this, villagers seem eager to learn more about the MoU. When asked what they knew of the MoU, most villagers cited the 70:30 division of profits (clause 1.3.4 of the MoU provides that Aceh is entitled to retain 70% of all revenues from current and future natural resources in Aceh and the surrounding territorial sea).

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“I know only of the 70:30 division of profits from our natural resources. I’m not too sure about other things in the MoU.” Villager, Manyak Payed “I have read the MoU, but I don’t really understand it. It would be better to have a socialization team come here and directly explain it to us. That is more effective than a piece of paper stuck on the wall. A direct explanation makes the information easy to digest and accept.” Villager, Manyak Payed “The best place to discuss the MoU is in the mosque. That way, all the community members can be there and participate.” Villager, Seruway “Any socialization team must be independent of GAM and the Government. If a GAM member explained the MoU, he might give the impression that it means independence, but if the Government were to explain it, they could claim it meant the opposite. As for the local elections, some villagers here think they are for a referendum! Some of them think they won’t involve national political parties, only local political parties! If this kind of confusion continues, I worry that the hopes of the people will be crushed and then who knows what will happen!” Former combatant, Manyak Payed

3.3.2 Views of MoU Villagers and returnees understand that the peace process is in its early stages and that programs are being planned for future reintegration, but in spite of this there is a sense that their patience with assistance providers is running out. In the villages visited by the research team, interviewees responded to references to the MoU by asking what it would bring them, what kind of programs will be implemented. It seems that expectations are only growing, and that consequently any disappointments will be felt more keenly should promises not be delivered. Villagers also expressed concerns about the sincerity of both sides, which for them is measured in terms of effectiveness of MoU implementation. A small number of villagers also feel that the MoU does not address their needs.
“Promises must be realized. If they said yes, we will give you jobs, then create jobs for us. It’s not that Acehnese have fewer abilities. We are capable. This MoU should not just be a piece of paper. If they are sincere, then they will carry out the points in the MoU.” Former combatant, Manyak Payed “For us, what is important is the implementation of the MoU in reality...Also, we hear about that 70:30 profit sharing and we hope in the future the Acehnese people will be prosperous...” Former combatant, Seruway “This peace agreement will satisfy both sides as long as both of them have sincere intentions. To do it for the sake of the community, and not for the satisfaction of a specific group only. The ones that suffered the most are the small communities that are totally innocent.” Javanese villager, Manyak Payed “The MoU only satisfies the GAM side, not the community’s side. GAM will get this and that, but the community? What will we get? In reality, it is the community that suffered the most during the conflict, but we get nothing.” Tamiang villager, Seruway

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In the minds of returnees and communities alike, the success of the MoU will be measured by the success of its implementation at community level. Central to most people’s views of the MoU is the delivery of promises and benefits; and in particular those which relate to economic empowerment. 3.3.3 The Aceh Monitoring Mission (AMM) All of the returnees interviewed had heard of the AMM. However, while they thought that the AMM has an important part to play in the peace process, few respondents understood their role in any depth. Most returnees want the AMM to stay in Aceh as independent observers even after the local elections have taken place. Villagers are even less familiar with the role of the AMM although most are aware of its existence. In general, their understanding is confined to having seen AMM cars drive through the villages.
“I really hope that the AMM, and the international community, will stay in Aceh to monitor the peace process. Up until now, the AMM has done its job very satisfactorily because they really are independent. Independent foreign observers must be here to monitor the local general election.” Former combatant, Manyak Payed “We are very worried that this peace agreement will fail if the AMM and the international community leave Aceh.” Former combatant, Manyak Payed “I have heard of AMM, they came to this village in their cars but I’m not sure what they do. Is it only to destroy GAM’s weapons like they show on TV? Or do they do more than that?” Villager, Manyak Payed

3.3.4 Progress of Peace Process Both returnees and receiving communities are positive about the peace progress. Returnees seem to judge the progress of the peace process by measuring the success of the implementation of the MoU. While they are satisfied by overall progress, employment issues hamper their optimism. Villagers seem to be more satisfied with the peace process than returnees because they can see a significant impact on their lives, especially in terms of village security, and they feel that they can sleep more easily at night. In spite of this, they have high expectations of what the peace process might bring them, and these hopes can overshadow their satisfaction and make them impatient with the pace of change.
“When the Government shows that it is truly committed to this peace process, then we will be 100% confident that it will work. We hope the Government will not deny the people what was promised. Don’t be like before and let new leaders forget the promises that were made!” Former combatant, Seruway

“We are afraid that if the Government is not consistent in giving aid, either to GAM or to the community that
there could be conflict again. A lot of the communities are starving, even though we no longer have our weapons.”

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Former combatant, Manyak Payed “After the MoU was signed, we finally felt some relief because we are now free, we can go to work with peace of mind, at night we are brave enough to venture out of the house. During the conflict, at nightfall, all of us were afraid for our lives.” Villager, Seruway “In general, this peace process is going at a satisfactory pace. There are no barriers or problems that have cropped up so far.” Former combatant, Seruway

3.4.

Problems and Obstacles

3.4.1 Problems and Obstacles within GAM There do not seem to be any problems within GAM in Aceh Tamiang, nor did the research find evidence of problems between ex-combatants and former prisoners in this area. While the amounts of benefit received here seem to be much lower than in the other districts, GAM members do not seem to be unhappy with the situation. Although they are aware of how much they are entitled to, and how much other combatants got in other areas, these discrepancies do not seem to be a source of tension. They seem to think that in any case the jadup will not last long and that as a result, it is important to look for other ways to achieve financial stability.
“Yes, the money is not enough…what can we buy? Only a T-shirt and a packet of cigarettes. If we continue to think small and complain that the jadup is not fair…that is not enough, we will never be on our feet.” Former combatant, Manyak Payed

As with other districts in Aceh, the GAM command structure remains strong and returnees continue to look to their commanders for instructions. Their responses to the jadup issue, for example, are heavily influenced by the instructions or views of their commanders. Many GAM members in Aceh Tamiang seem to have given careful thought to the planning of their own futures (see Box 3 on Kuala Langsar port and Box 4 on Reforestation). The relatively low numbers of returnees may also help prevent problems within what seems to be a close fraternity of former combatants in Aceh Tamiang.
“We routinely communicate with each other. We meet up and discuss our future, such as what can we do to
build up the economy for the communities.” Former combatant, Seruway

3.4.2 Problems and Obstacles with Militia/Preman/Bandits The research team were not told about any militia activities in Aceh Tamiang. Communities and returnees noted that there have been preman (or criminal thugs) and bandits in the area but they do not categorize these as militia. It seems that bandits from Medan or from coastal areas continue to enter villages where they commit acts of petty crime. However, it seems that increased cooperation between returnees, communities and local police has led to a fall in the number of these criminal activities.

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3.4.3 Problems and Obstacles between Returnees and Receiving Communities There do not seem to be any problems between returnees and receiving communities. In Manyak Payed where there are greater numbers of returnees, there is a high level of acceptance. However, in Seruway sub-district, returnees are self-conscious about their behavior within the community because they are worried about how they will be perceived by the communities. Although they do interact, returnees prefer to maintain a distance from the communities so as to avoid any misunderstandings.
“I don’t want to ask for help from the community. I am worried that if I ask them they will think of it as extortion. Right now, ex-GAM must be careful about how they behave among the communities. If not, they will think we are disturbing the peace. This is why I choose to work by myself, even though I get very little money.” Amnestied prisoner, Seruway

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Box 2: Changing Attitudes: The Javanese of Aceh Tamiang Javanese communities in Aceh Tamiang are now second or even third generation migrants. They no longer identify closely with their Javanese roots and few of them speak fluent Javanese or know of their ancestry. Acehnese Tamiang villagers do not distinguish them from other villagers and returnees also see them as being naturalized Acehnese. Many have married local villagers. The largest Javanese community in Aceh Tamiang is found in Seruway sub-district and stretches across four villages.
“We no longer see them as Javanese. They are all Acehnese now. We never draw any distinction between them and us. They have been here so long, they also suffered during the conflict, and they are still here now. This is their home too. We don’t single them out at all.” Former combatant, Manyak Payed “I came here with my parents in the early days of Indonesian independence. All my children were born in Aceh and almost all of my in-laws are Acehnese, only one of them is Javanese. I speak Javanese with my grandchildren, but they reply in bahasa Indonesia.” Javanese villager, Manyak Payed

Nevertheless, it seems that some Javanese villagers chose to leave the area during the conflict, although these departures were not the result of expulsions as was the case in other parts of the province. In one village in Manyak Payed, for example, the population of Javanese dropped from 70% pre-conflict to 30% post-conflict. In another village in Seruway sub-district, the only Javanese who stayed in the village are those married to local women. In these areas, GAM seems to have expected the same level of support from the Javanese as they did from other inhabitants of the area although they did not target the Javanese in particular.
“There has never been a history of expulsions of the Javanese in Aceh Tamiang! This I can say with confidence. In the past, I assembled Javanese villagers and told them, there is conflict in Aceh now, as villagers in Aceh, you are expected to support this cause, if you do not, then with a sincere heart, you may leave if it pleases you. But that was in the past. Now, we are thinking about the future.” Senior GAM former combatant, Seruway

The example of Javanese people living in Aceh Tamiang demonstrates how different ethnic groups can live together peacefully. Some villagers attribute this to greater interaction with communities from outside the area, in particular with influences from Medan, as well as to higher education levels. Attitudes towards Javanese settlers have changed: the old feelings of jealousy and intolerance have been replaced by more acceptance and appreciation.
“In the past, most people were jealous of the Javanese successes here in Aceh. But now, there is a realization that they are successful because of hard work. We Acehnese are also willing to work hard, so we too can be successful.” Factory owner, Manyak Payed

3.4.4 Between Returnees and Government/TNI/Police

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Returnees did not highlight any significant problems with the Government, TNI or the police. However, in Seruway, there is some dissatisfaction with the conduct of organic troops, as the first quote below indicates.
“There are still troops who gamble and drink alcohol and commit other sinful activities. We do not condone such behavior. If they continue such things, it will cause new problems in the future.” Former combatant, Manyak Payed “Since we came back to the village, we have not faced discrimination from the militia, TNI, or the police.” Former combatant, Seruway

Some returnees are wary of outsiders who come into their village. They claim that intelligence personnel have been coming to the area to collect information, and that they have even committed acts of petty crime so as to encourage the police to carry out investigations. Villagers interviewed expressed similar concerns about intelligence operatives (Satuan Gabungan Intel or SGI).
“We are aware that SGI elements are in the villages, and we are worried that something might happen because of their presence here, something that could hamper the MoU.” Former combatant, Manyak Payed

4. Needs and Aspirations Across Aceh Tamiang, most discussions on the needs of the communities and of returning GAM revolve around their economic situation. Table 3 below summarizes the immediate and longer-term needs of both groups as identified by the research.
“All that we do is for the Acehnese people. What is important for us is upholding justice and economic success for the people.” Senior GAM former combatant, Seruway “The way to go for a better future is to increase the economic welfare of these ex-TNA (GAM combatants) as well as the communities. What we want is economic empowerment.” Javanese villager, Manyak Payed

4.1.

Needs and Aspirations of Returnees

The most urgent needs of returnees are for economic opportunities and access to healthcare. In addition, the overwhelming message from returnees was that they had little confidence in state mechanisms for the delivery of aid, and that any aid should therefore be channeled directly to target groups.
“If there is to be any form of aid for returnees or for the communities, it should be given directly to us only and not to other government bodies.” Former combatant, Seruway

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Table 3: Returnee and Community Immediate and Longer-Term Needs A Returnee immediate      Capital Employment Rehabilitating farmland and fish farms Healthcare Fishing boats, equipment C Community immediate      Clean water Irrigation (to prevent flooding) Employment Heath Fishing boats, equipment         B Returnee longer term Seeds for planting Housing Schools Infrastructure

D Community longer term Health Roads Seeds for planting Schools (particularly nursery schools)

4.1.1 Economic Opportunities and Employment Although many returnees in Aceh Tamiang have been able to find work, most are doing poorly paid jobs which cannot adequately sustain them and their families. This is also true of communities as a whole (see Box 5 Economic Plight). To counteract some of these difficulties, senior GAM members are leading initiatives to secure the financial future of their men. Some are considering seeking investors to open palm oil factories in their villages. The proposed construction of an international shipping port in Kuala Langsar, which could revitalize the economy of Aceh Tamiang, has caused excitement about possibilities for investment in local industries.

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Box 3: Kuala Langsar Port Communities in Aceh Tamiang have high hopes that the new port of Kuala Langsar will enable them to export local produce and that as a result, the local economy will be revitalized. Current exports from Aceh Tamiang pass through the port of Belawan. Belawan is a sub-district of Medan, which lies south of Aceh Tamiang. The port handles regional, national and international trade and is the economic life of the North Sumatran economy. Tamiang communities are working hard to draw up proposals and attract foreign investors to the area once Kuala Langsar port is built (due to be ready by 2010). However, local investors are finding it difficult to open new business ventures because many of them have been blacklisted by local banks for having a poor credit history (usually as a result of the conflict). Villagers realize that this is a good opportunity for them, especially since the MoU entitles Aceh to receive external loans (clause 1.3.1 of MoU). “All the fish produce that you buy from Medan actually comes from Tamiang. For example, squid and baby
anchovies (ikan teri nasi) come from here. If we could have a fish factory to package and market these goods, I’m sure we would be successful.” Fisherman, Seruway

One of Tamiang’s economic drivers is palm oil but the raw material is currently processed in Belawan. Communities in Seruway would like to have their own processing factory and to be able to take more control of their produce. This would increase the economic opportunities for the villagers.

“We want to work! We are not lazy! But we don’t know what work to do. Previously we had our fishponds and our fishing boats; but now they are all either damaged or burned.” Former combatant, Seruway “I hope to be a fisherman again, all I need is some capital to buy a proper boat and some good fishing nets.” Former combatant, Manyak Payed “We thought that if we (GAM) could get a donation to buy one or two ships, we could rent them to the community who could use them for exporting their goods. This would break the monopoly of the taokes and would benefit us at the same time. Right now, villagers use wooden boats for any exporting or importing that they do.” Senior GAM former combatant, Seruway

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Box 4: Returnees and Reforestation Aceh Tamiang returnees are concerned about the environmental damage that has been done to marine life and mangrove swamps. Mangrove trees have been indiscriminately cut down and used to produce charcoal and marine life has dwindled as a result. There are fewer breeding places for fish, prawns, and crabs. In addition, pesticides from the palm plantations seep into the rivers making fish unsuitable for consumption. In Tamiang, over 80% of villagers rely on some form of fishing as their main livelihood.
“The catch is not good. The seashore is too damaged now. The mangroves have been cut down for charcoal, and those mangroves that are left are dying. There are not many places for the crabs or the fish to live and breed." Former combatant, Seruway

In one village, GAM members organized a meeting with the villagers and decided to set aside some of their own funds to begin planting mangrove seedlings as a way of rehabilitating the mangrove swamps. Villagers were asked to help with nurturing the mangrove seedlings and with the replanting process. This illustrates one of the ways in which GAM returnees seem to be using initiative and ideas to contribute to the communities and to rebuild productive post-conflict lives.

4.1.2 Education and Training Returnees in Aceh Tamiang were not enthusiastic about returning to conventional education although they indicated that they would like to attend vocational training sessions if these did not interfere with their jobs. Entrepreneurialism seems to be strong among returnees to this area, perhaps because of the proximity and influence of Medan, and many returnees would like to open small businesses. Some have even identified areas where there is demand for specific services, but they either lack the financial skills (such as accounting or financial management), or the know-how and experience to provide such services.
“Of course I want to go to school, but I can’t just enroll like that. I have to follow orders. I still have responsibilities. I have to ask permission from my commander.” Former combatant, Manyak Payed “Because there are a lot of fishermen, I think there must be a need for someone to repair their boats or open a shop selling boat parts. I want to do that. If only I knew how.” Former combatant, Manyak Payed

4.1.3 Shelter Shelter is not an urgent need for returnees in Aceh Tamiang because most have returned to their family home. However, housing conditions can be a problem and many people live in houses with leaking roofs and dirt floors, often in areas prone to flooding. Nevertheless, returnees say they would prefer to receive capital rather than a new house. They believe that new shelter would only solve one small part of their overall predicament, while capital would empower them to find a sustainable solution.

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“Don’t give us a house! What good will that do? It would only mean that we have a roof over our heads, but what about food and our future? Give us capital so we can build on it and save and make it grow for our future.” GAM Sub-district Commander, Manyak Payed “Almost all the houses in this village have leaking roofs, and are not fit for living in.” Village elder, Manyak Payed

4.1.4 Health GAM members injured during the conflict do not know where to get treatment for their wounds. In Village B, for example, there are at least 15 returnees and prisoners with serious wounds. The high number of wounded GAM in Aceh Tamiang hints at the intensity of the clashes between GAM and TNI. During the conflict, TNI launched offensives by using ground forces in the mangrove swamps as well as helicopters to launch aerial attacks. This might explain why relatively few GAM members returned. Many were killed during the conflict, and at the time, GAM leadership in Aceh Timur admitted that many of their comrades had died and that they no longer had a stronghold in Aceh Tamiang. Many returnees said that they had gone to clinics and hospitals with letters from AMM (in the case of amnestied prisoners) or from their commanders or local officials (in the case of ex-combatants), but they were not happy with the standard of care provided by the hospital. They equate poor medical treatment and lack of funds with a failure on the part of the Government to properly implement the MoU.
“I was shot in the foot and in my stomach, but I have not received any aid whatsoever, either logistical or financial. I have to support five children. My wife is the breadwinner now.” Former combatant, Manyak Payed “I was questioned and tortured daily. Sometimes I would pass out from the beatings, which was good because then I could not longer feel the pain. Even now, I still have a terrible cough which has not healed. I don’t know what kind of cough this is.” Amnestied prisoner, Seruway “To get healthcare, we have to pay for transport and for accommodation. AMM should take care of our health needs directly, there should also be money to pay for transport and accommodation costs while we are receiving treatment at the hospital.” Former combatant, Manyak Payed “I see the lack of attention that the Government is giving to us returnees. Those who have tried to seek medical treatment at the hospitals did not receive any help from the doctors. It’s as if they did not want to help us because we were not going to pay them. We are entitled to free treatment. All we want is to be treated like a normal patient is treated, with dignity and compassion.” Senior GAM former combatant, Manyak Payed

4.1.5 Land No problems with land were highlighted to the research team. Most returnees’ agricultural land was tended by relatives while they were away, and as a result, they have been able to return to it without any difficulties.

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4.1.6 Leadership Aspirations Returnees in Aceh Tamiang told the research team that they do not have any desire to become village leaders. Senior GAM returnees who seem to have the potential to be future village leaders did not aspire to leadership roles, saying that they are happy with the current village leadership. However, it seems clear that returnees would prefer a GAM leader to be in charge of Aceh’s governing body in the future. Some interviewees cited the corruption case involving the former governor of Aceh (Abdullah Puteh) to illustrate their fears of what could happen if a civilian Acehnese (or non-GAM) were to come into political power. To illustrate the qualities that a good Acehnese leader must possess, one senior GAM member used an Acehnese saying: “We give him education so others won’t cheat him, we give him religious education so he will not cheat others,” or (“Tajoek anu’k bak sikula bekjipeunguet le gop. Tajoek anu’k bak buet bek jipeunguet gop.”)
“Personally, I would like to see someone from GAM lead Aceh. If he is from GAM, I would be very optimistic that the Acehnese government will carry out their duties truthfully. A good leader must have two types of education to make him complete: a religious education and a secular education.” Senior GAM former combatant, Manyak Payed

“In this village we (GAM) have no aspirations to be village leaders because in our view the leadership in this village is very good.”
Former combatantr, Manyak Payed

4.2.

Needs of Receiving Villages

Overall, the needs of the receiving communities are very similar to the needs of excombatants and political prisoners. Returnees emphasize that, if aid is given, no differences should be made between themselves and the receiving communities. Each of the villages had specific community-based development needs but any efforts to address these needs would also benefit returnees.
“If you really want to improve levels of reintegration, you must not allow external parties to show that we are different from the communities. We are one and the same!” Former combatant, Seruway

Local Infrastructure: Roads, Clean Water, Healthcare Facilities Assistance is needed to improve irrigation and flood control in some areas. In Village D, for example, annual flooding affects the village each year and ruins much of the harvest.
“Every year there is at least one flood. All our crops are destroyed by it, as well as our belongings. We have about 70 hectares of land but we can only use 20 of them. The other 50 hectares cannot be used because the area is prone to flooding.” Village head, Seruway

Improved road conditions are also a pressing need in all the villages visited, as the quote from a villager in Seruway indicates. 19

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“The roads leading up to our village are terrible. In the rainy season, it is impossible for cars to pass through. The public bus doesn’t come here anymore because the roads are so bad. Villagers without motorbikes or bicycles have to walk to the town to go to the market.” Villager, Seruway

Lack of access to clean water is another problem in villages in Aceh Tamiang. Many villagers bathe and do their washing in the river, and have to buy clean water for drinking and cooking. There is a reprieve from this routine during the rainy season when villagers can collect rainwater, but in general, village leaders say that there is a higher incidence of cholera in Tamiang as a result of dirty water.
“We have to buy water for drinking and cooking. It costs about Rp6,000 per water canister. For bathing and washing, we use the water from the river but it’s too dirty for consumption. Every day I am thankful that the children are not ill, because the water here is truly dirty.” Villager, Seruway

Poor access to healthcare facilities is another problem in villages in Aceh Tamiang. Returnees and villagers must travel to Langsar or to Kuala Simpang to get to hospitals. For non-surgical treatment, villagers must travel to nearby villages to obtain medicines (usually 4-8km).
“There are no polindes (women’s clinics) and we must use the (neighboring village’s) polindes. The nearest district health centre (puskesmas) is in the district capital (Tualang Cut) which is 8km away. Transport to and from the town costs Rp12,000. How can we afford that?” Villager, Manyak Payed

4.2.1 Key Differences between Needs of Returnees and Receiving Communities Education Communities as a whole have educational priorities and needs which are not shared by returning combatants. Villagers in Aceh Tamiang hold education in very high regard and the research team were given many examples of villagers selling off their assets, and sometimes even their homes, so that they could continue to send their children to school. Some elementary schools, in particular the better ones, require that children must have completed nursery school education (Taman Kanak-kanak or TK school), and while this rule does not apply to all villages, parents in Aceh Tamiang are very concerned that their children might be at a disadvantage because there is no TK school in the area. Older children are often forced to combine school with work to earn money to pay for transport to school. In some cases, children have become the main breadwinners in their families because their parents can no longer take on physically demanding work.
“There is no TK school for the children. There is a new rule which says children enrolling in elementary school must have a TK certificate. How are we supposed to get this certificate when there is no TK here? We are not rich parents who can afford to send their little children to Seruway, which is 7kms away. If we build a TK in this village, children from (the neighboring villages) can share it. There are about 100 children who are expected to enter TK this year.” Villager, Seruway

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“I am at senior high school, but kids my age should be in university. I go to school only three times a week because I have to work to support my family. My father is handicapped because he was shot. It costs Rp8.000 a day to pay for transportation just to go to school. I just want to have a normal life, like other young men my age.” Son of amnestied prisoner, Manyak Payed

Information Villagers are disappointed by the lack of communication between the district government and the village leaders. They say that on many occasions they have been unaware of community projects because district level officials neglect the coastal remote villages.
“Sometimes we don’t even know that a program is being carried out because nobody comes here to give us any information.” Villager, Seruway

4.2.2 Conflict Damage and Reconstruction Needs Rehabilitation of Fishponds Villages in Aceh Tamiang rely on fishponds and fishing as their main source of income but the conflict has destroyed their means of making a living. Fishermen no longer have boats and nets to go to sea. Some were burned, while others were stolen or damaged by years of neglect. Fishponds have been neglected for so long that they can no longer be used and heavy machinery is needed to excavate them. In the area studied for this report, only about 10% of fishponds and farming areas are still being used. In Village C for example, 90% of the 500 hectares of fishponds have been damaged by being abandoned during the conflict. Village A has approximately 2,000 hectares of fish farms, many of which require rehabilitation. The cost of rehabilitating these areas is too great a burden for villagers, and several returnees and community leaders have organized informal meetings to draw up proposals for funding to rehabilitate fishponds.
“The most urgent thing is to help the fishermen and fishpond farmers get back on their feet because they are the breadwinners in our village.” Former village head, Manyak Payed “We estimated that it will cost Rp15million to rehabilitate 2.5 hectares of shrimp and fishponds. If we use an excavator, it would take four days of work. After two weeks, we can begin to put in the breeding prawns for example. After three months, if there are 15,000-20,000 prawns, we can begin to harvest and the harvest can fetch about Rp10-15million. So you see, in a short time frame we can recover the initial Rp15million and it will benefit us in the long term.” Village leader, Manyak Payed “Farmland and fishponds owned by the villagers are all not suitable for farming anymore. They have been neglected for so long that it will take a lot of capital to rehabilitate the land. We don’t have enough to feed ourselves let alone have money to fix our fishponds. We really hope for some help so that we can restart our local economy.” Villager, Manyak Payed

Housing People have already received government help to rebuild houses damaged by conflict, although this appears to have been carried out rather haphazardly, with some villagers

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who had moved away permanently being allocated new housing in the village. In general, relatively few houses were damaged as a result of the conflict. There were a handful of cases in Village A where it seems that TNI took wooden planks from people’s homes in order to build their military post. Affected villagers are currently living with neighbors or relatives. Of the villages studied, Village B saw the highest number of conflict house burnings (see table 2 above).
“There is help from the government, but I don’t know how they allocated it to the people. Some people received help for housing but some were people that have moved away and are not planning to move back anytime soon. About 25 households received housing aid. Some of these houses are complete, some are not.” Javanese villager, Manyak Payed “Two of the houses here are badly damaged. TNI took all the wood and used it to build a military post. TNI then burned down the walls and the rest of the house. Right now, he (the owner) is living with his neighbors. He still owns the land, but it’s just an empty plot.” Former combatant, Manyak Payed

4.3.

Economic Potential of Aceh Tamiang

There are some serious obstacles to economic growth in Aceh Tamiang, in particular in relation to the fish farm industry. As outlined in 4.2.2 above, villagers face a shortage of capital for rehabilitating their fish farms which have been damaged by neglect during years of conflict. In addition, villagers in Aceh Tamiang still use traditional methods to manage their fish farms. They lack the skills and know-how to manage the fish farms efficiently, and further problems are being caused by the contamination of fish farms by fertilizers used in nearby palm plantations, particularly in Seruway. Sea fishermen are also facing difficulties. They use traditional boats and nets which cannot be used on larger catches of fish, and they face strong competition from illegal fishermen from Thailand who fish Tamiang waters using trawling nets. Many local fishermen are at the mercy of taokes who provide them with boats but demand a large percentage of the daily earnings in repayment.
“We don’t have our own boats. We work for the taokes, and every week after deducting our debts we bring home between Rp50,000 and Rp100,000. This is not enough for the needs of my family and for my children’s schooling.” Fisherman, Seruway “We have huge areas of fishpond but they have been damaged by neglect during the conflict. We need capital to rehabilitate them. Also, we don’t know how to manage them to get maximum results.” Javanese villager, Meuradeh “We collect about 40 tons of palm oil per month. We don’t have enough money for fertilizer. We should harvest three times a year but we can only do it once a year. PT (a state-owned company), can expect up to 40kg of palm oil (per tree), but our palm trees can only yield 15-20kg.” Village head, Seruway

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Box 5: The Economic Plight of Village A Village A was a prosperous village in the past, but its economy was debilitated by years of conflict. The village used to be seen as the economic key to the entire sub-district, with a strong charcoal industry bringing prosperity to the area, but this is no longer the case. Now the inhabitants of the village must try and hold down two or three jobs at a time in order to survive. The cost of rice per bamboo measurement is Rp6,000 3 and it is virtually impossible for villagers to afford this. During the conflict, and even for some time after the MoU, many villagers had to ration food and many became malnourished as a result. Aceh Tamiang villagers often use the word nol’ (nothing). They use it to refer to having to start from nothing since the peace process. During the conflict many villagers had to sell their assets, such as their cars, motorbikes, televisions and so on in order to survive and to pay for their children’s education.
“We have nothing left. All our animals are gone, our homes are damaged, we are back to nol…and TNI did not allow us to go back to work…even now that there is peace, most of us eat just one meal a day, if we are lucky.” Villager, Manyak Payed

Villagers harvest their rice fields once a year and after planting they take on other jobs such as logging, shrimp or crab-catching, oyster collecting, motorbike taxi (ojek), driving or laboring. Most villagers earn between Rp5,000 and Rp20,000 a day. Oysters Women villagers group together to collect oysters which they sell to the taoke in Langsar. On an average day, each woman earns Rp5,000. Prawns In the past, breeding prawns could be sold for between Rp500,000 and Rp600,000 but now Rp50,000 is the maximum price. During the conflict, traders did not come to the village and so the prices fell dramatically. In the past, a fishing boat could catch up to one ton of prawns every day, but stocks have fallen and a catch is now between 100 and 500kg. Charcoal Industry In the 1970s and 1980s, an average of 1500 tons of charcoal was exported to Malaysia and Singapore each month. However, the conflict brought charcoal production to a virtual standstill, affecting over 70% of households in the village. The indiscriminate cutting down of mangrove trees has depleted the swamps. Now villagers only produce charcoal for household cooking which brings them about Rp2,000 a day.

Table 4: Economic Potential Village Village A Village B Village C Economic Potential Charcoal, fish farms, oysters, prawns, chili, rice Fish farms, sea fishing, rice Fish, prawns, crabs Impediment Deforestation of mangroves Damaged fishponds Lack of boats and fishing equipment Lack of boats and fishing equipment Poor irrigation Illegal Thai fishermen Lack of boats and fishing equipment

3

One bamboo is approximately 2.5 liters in volume

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Village Village D

Economic Potential Palm plantations, fish farms, rice

Impediment Poor irrigation Flooding Lack of boats and fishing equipment

5. Conclusions and Recommendations 5.1. Main Findings

5.1.1 Peace Process and Reintegration The jadup received by returnees in Aceh Tamiang is generally lower than in other parts of Aceh, but the returnees prefer to look beyond the jadup and to focus on finding a sustainable income. GAM members have voiced dissatisfaction about the implementation of the MoU, but this does not relate to the distribution of the jadup. This dissatisfaction mostly relates to lack of employment opportunities and lack of healthcare. Most villagers overall have a low level of understanding of the MoU, but they tend to be more optimistic about the peace process than the returnees. Returnees believe that there is a lack of consistency and good faith in the implementation of the MoU by the Government. Lastly, returnees and villagers alike felt that the division of revenues between Aceh and the Government of Indonesia was the point in the MoU that would have the greatest impact for them. The reconciliation process has been smooth with no significant problems. However, there are slight levels of friction between returnees and village leaders in areas where there has been low levels of support for GAM in the past. In spite of this, GAM commanders tend to have strong relationships with villagers on a personal level, and this mitigates the effect of any tensions with village leaders. Ethnicity does not seem to produce any differences of opinion on these subjects in Aceh Tamiang. Javanese villagers seem to have assimilated well, no longer identifying themselves as uniquely Javanese. Returnees do not single them out as outsiders and in fact there is a strong consensus that it is everyone’s responsibility to help the returnees reintegrate and find jobs. 5.1.2 Needs, Aspirations and Socio-Economic Potential The three most pressing needs for returnees is (1) capital to rehabilitate fish farms, (2) employment opportunities and (3) better access to healthcare. Returnees and villagers have high expectations that their economic difficulties will take a turn for the better once the construction of the international shipping port of Kuala Langsar is completed. Villagers and returnees have seen what a strong business idea can bring to one’s livelihood and a number of them are considering proposals to encourage foreign investors to build factories and open up businesses in Aceh Tamiang. A number of GAM commanders have already initiated projects and they have sought the collaboration of villagers to help with rehabilitating fishponds and mangrove swamps. Although the local economy has been devastated by the conflict, there is much optimism 24

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and returnees and villagers seem confident that they are capable of implementing their business proposals. The biggest barrier to all of these projects is lack of capital, but lack of financial literacy is also a problem. While Aceh Tamiang is strategically located and poised for economic boom once the Kuala Langsar port is built, villagers could benefit from better financial skills. Financial training would help them to develop business proposals and even to work more efficiently together. Agricultural expertise might also help to improve the productivity and sustainability of palm plantations, fishpond farming, and sea fishing. Villagers continue to use traditional methods of farming instead of the more intensive farming methods utilized by stateowned companies. Returnees and villagers also suffer from a lack of equipment such as boats and nets for fishing, and as described above, fishponds in the area have been decimated by years of conflict. A large-scale rehabilitation of fishponds and of neglected plantations would benefit over 80% of households in Aceh Tamiang. Villagers seem to be aware of the damage that these industries can cause to their environment, but they would benefit from a greater understanding of biodiversity, ecology and safe practices for farming. Environmental damage is being caused by the deforestation of mangrove swamps, by an indiscriminate use of trawling nets for sea fishing, and by toxins draining from palm plantations into mangrove swamps and other areas. Returnees and villagers also highlighted that they felt that the distribution of aid through government institutions was ineffective and that more direct channels should be identified for the provision of assistance. 5.1.3 Peace Process and Reintegration Better access to healthcare Returnees, and injured ex-combatants in particular, need more healthcare support. The research team found that there was a lot of frustration among returnees who have sought medical attention but who feel that they have received inadequate care. Some GAM commanders suggested that an NGO specializing in health services should carry out an assessment of their health needs. Socialization and implementation of MoU Villagers in Aceh Tamiang seem eager to participate in a socialization program in their villages. One possibility to improve awareness of the MoU and its contents might be to arrange for independent socialization teams to hold seminars at the local mosque or meunasah. Returnees perceived a lack of consistency and sincerity in the implementation of the MoU. It is difficult to ascertain the extent to which this opinion reflects reality, but better and more widespread communication with all sections of society about the progress of MoU implementation might help to eliminate this perception. Very little, if any, information reaches remoter villagers in Aceh Tamiang, and coastal villages are

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GAM Reintegration Needs Assessment – Aceh Tamiang

particularly isolated. There are no newspapers, and outsiders rarely visit these villages. This lack of information allows communities to develop their own interpretations of the MoU and many returnees fear that this leaves room for misconceptions to become established in the minds of villagers. Reconciliation In villages with low levels of support for GAM, reconciliation might be improved by facilitating trust building measures. Community activities such as village meals (kenduris) or seminars to discuss village development projects might encourage interaction between all villagers.

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