IFJ Calls on International Committee of the Red Cross to Actively Intervene in Release of Journalist in Aceh

9 January 2004

Mr Jakob Kellenberger


International Committee of the Red Cross

19 Avenue de la Paix

Ch 1202 Geneva

Fax : 41 (22) 733 20 57

Dear Mr. Kellenberger,

The International Federation of Journalists, the global organisation of journalists representing over 500,000 journalists worldwide, is writing to request your active participation in the current negotiations taking place between the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) and Indonesian Government forces (TNI) for the release of Indonesian journalist, Fery Santoro.

The IFJ understands that a ceasefire has been declared between the rival groups for the period extending over today and tomorrow for the purpose of negotiating the safe release of hostages. We also understand the International Committee of the Red Cross has authorised the Indonesian Red Cross to act as the facilitator in the negotiations.

We ask that the Indonesian Red Cross be given the authority to act as negotiator in the discussions. At present, little progress is being made and we believe that the Red Cross’ active involvement in the negotiations will help matters to be satisfactorily resolved.

Fery Santoro, a journalist working for the private broadcaster RCTI, has been held hostage by the GAM since 29 June 2003. While GAM agreed on 19 August to release Fery, the Indonesian government has failed to remove the blocks to allow for his safe release.

These next two days provide us with an opportunity to finally see this matter resolved. We ask that you take every measure possible to actively ensure that Fery is released under safe conditions.

Your Sincerely,

Christopher Warren