IFJ Calls on International Organisations to Support Release of Journalists in Aceh, Indonesia

18 December 2003



Koïchiro Matsuura

Director General UNESCO

7, Place de Fontenoy,

75352 Paris 07 SP

France


Tel. +33 1 45 68 10 00

Fax. +33 1 45 67 16 90



Dear Mr. Matsurra,


The International Federation of Journalists, the global organisation of journalists representing over 500,000 journalists worldwide, is writing to you again about the situation of the Indonesian journalists Ersa Siregar and Fery Santoro who are being held hostage in Aceh by the GAM.


The journalists disappeared on 29 June while on assignment in Langsa, Aceh. They had been covering the military operation in Aceh since 19 May. They are now being held by the Free Aceh Movement (GAM).


We first wrote to you about this in late July and unfortunately, almost six months after their capture, the journalists are still not free.


The situation for the journalists is dire: they have been held captive for half a year and we are extremely concerned for their welfare.


The IFJ gained agreement from the GAM to hand over the journalists on 19 August 2003. However the journalists are still being held captive because the Indonesian military, the TNI, will not allow the free movement of human rights organisations in the province to secure the release of the two journalists.


The IFJ is anxious that the journalists should be released swiftly and with no threat of victimisation from either side. In particular, the IFJ wants to have assurances that upon their release these journalists will not be subject to detention or coercive forms of interrogation by the Indonesian authorities.


We are again calling on you to support the efforts to have the journalists safely released and intervene with both parties of the conflict so as to guarantee the safety of these journalists.


Yours sincerely




Christopher Warren

President, IFJ





18 December 2003



UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan

United Nations

UN Plaza

New York, NY 10017


Tel. 212-963-7162

Fax. 212-963-7055




The International Federation of Journalists, the global organisation of journalists representing over 500,000 journalists worldwide, is writing to you again about the situation of the Indonesian journalists Ersa Siregar and Fery Santoro who are being held hostage in Aceh by the GAM.


The journalists disappeared on 29 June while on assignment in Langsa, Aceh. They had been covering the military operation in Aceh since 19 May. They are now being held by the Free Aceh Movement (GAM).


We first wrote to you about this in late July and unfortunately, almost six months after their capture, the journalists are still not free.


The situation for the journalists is dire: they have been held captive for half a year and we are extremely concerned for their welfare.


The IFJ gained agreement from the GAM to hand over the journalists on 19 August 2003. However the journalists are still being held captive because the Indonesian military, the TNI, will not allow the free movement of human rights organisations in the province to secure the release of the two journalists.


The IFJ is anxious that the journalists should be released swiftly and with no threat of victimisation from either side. In particular, the IFJ wants to have assurances that upon their release these journalists will not be subject to detention or coercive forms of interrogation by the Indonesian authorities.


We are again calling on you to support the efforts to have the journalists safely released and intervene with both parties of the conflict so as to guarantee the safety of these journalists.


Yours sincerely




Christopher Warren

President, IFJ






18 December 2003


Mr Teungku M. Hasan di Tiro

President

Acheh Sumatra National Liberation Front

P.O. BOX 130, S-145

01 NORSBORG

SWEDEN


Fax/Phone: +46853191275

Fax/Phone: +46853183833



Dear Mr Hasan di Tiro


The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), the global organisation of journalists representing over 500,000 journalists worldwide, is calling on the GAM to immediately release RCTI journalist Ersa Siregar and cameraman Fery Santoro.


According to our information, Ersa Siregar and Fery Santoro went missing at about 4 p.m on Sunday 29 June while on assignment in Langsa, Aceh. The two journalists had been covering the military operation in Aceh since 19 May. We understand that they are being held by your organisation in Aceh.


It is imperative that these journalists are released as a matter of absolute priority and we have today written to the President of Indonesia to demand that she remove all blocks to allow this to happen.


We have delivered copies of the letter to the President of Indonesia to the Indonesian embassies in Jakarta, Canberra, Manila, Brussels, Washington, the Hague and London to send the message that the Government of Indonesia must do all that is necessary to ensure the release of the journalists.


The IFJ reminds GAM that journalists are independent citizens and cannot be held responsible for the policies and actions of any group involved in the conflict in Aceh. While the IFJ expresses grave concern about the restrictions on reporting in Aceh, it is an indefensible response to use journalists and the media as pawns in this conflict.


The IFJ calls upon the GAM to immediately release the two journalists and to immediately cease any attacks on or threats against journalists and media in Aceh.


Yours sincerely



Christopher Warren

President, IFJ




18 December 2003



Mr Jakob Kellenberger

President

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 you about the situation of the Indonesian journalists Ersa Siregar and Fery Santoro who are being held hostage in Aceh by the GAM.


The journalists disappeared on 29 June while on assignment in Langsa, Aceh. They had been covering the military operation in Aceh since 19 May. They are now being held by the Free Aceh Movement (GAM).


Unfortunately, almost six months after their capture, the journalists are still not free.


The situation for the journalists is dire: they have been held captive for half a year and we are extremely concerned for their welfare.


The IFJ gained agreement from the GAM to hand over the journalists on 19 August 2003. However the journalists are still being held captive because the Indonesian military, the TNI, will not allow the free movement of human rights organisations in the province to secure the release of the two journalists.


The IFJ is anxious that the journalists should be released swiftly and with no threat of victimisation from either side. In particular, the IFJ wants to have assurances that upon their release these journalists will not be subject to detention or coercive forms of interrogation by the Indonesian authorities.


We are again calling on you to support the efforts to have the journalists safely released and intervene with both parties of the conflict so as to guarantee the safety of these journalists.


Yours sincerely




Christopher Warren

President