Indonesian gov’t bans Aceh from taking separatist attributions for provincial symbols

Jakarta — Indonesia’s central government finally takes a firm measure against a Qanun (Aceh province’s regulation) issued by Aceh province administrator that endorses the use of logo and flag attributed to the ones used by Aceh separatist movement of Aceh Independence Movement (GAM) as the province’s identities.

Senior officials at the central government said that adoption of separatist’s attributions was against the country’s existing law that regulates regions’ identity symbols.

Due to that, the central government ordered officials running the gas-rich province located in the northern tip of the country to review the issuance of their Qanun, registered as No. 3/2013, and hopefully cancel the two separatist’s symbols from being endorsed as the province’s identities.

“Let the central and Aceh regional governments settle this problem. We give them 15 days period to settle this issue,” Indonesian Defense Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro said here on Thursday, expecting that Aceh regional administration would comply with the existing law.

“Let the process proceeding. I would not make assumptions. In the mean time we should wait until the next 15 days,” the minister said, refusing to reveal measures that would possibly be taken by the central government should the process fails.

At the same time, Home Affairs Minister Gamawan Fauzi flied to Aceh to further discuss with Aceh administrators and regional parliament members regarding the issue.

Gamawan said earlier that Jakarta has assumed the adoption of flags and symbol used to be used by GAM have violated the existing law that bans adoption of separatist symbols as provincial identities.

“Article 6 verse 4 of the law says that the design of provincial logo and flag must not similar to the ones used as the flag and logo of separatist group or banned organization. The flag and logo endorsed by Aceh province was similar to the ones used by GAM,” Gamawan said.

Gamawan added that Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono had ordered his ministry to undertake intense communication with Aceh provincial government regarding this issue, and hoped that regional leaders in Aceh would accept communication approach conducted by home affairs minister.

Aceh has a long history of political instability in the past due to GAM’s insurgency efforts to make the territory seceded from Indonesia. The insurgent efforts to make mineral resource-rich province seceded from Indonesia that began in 1976 ended in 2005 through a peace accord between GAM and Indonesian government held in Helsinki, Finland in mid 2005.

Since then, Central government granted Aceh a special autonomy province that exercising its own Islamic-based Syariah law.

The Qanun that spark controversy between central government and Aceh regional government was issued last week after it was endorsed by Aceh regional parliament. The option to use the flag and logo used to be GAM’s attribution was said of correctly representing aspiration of Aceh people.[]

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