ASEAN-IPR Discussion Series 2021 Session 3: 20 Years of Aceh Peace Process, 15 Years After Helsinki: a Reflection

ASEAN-IPR Discussion Series 2021 Session 3: 20 Years of Aceh Peace Process, 15 Years After Helsinki: a Reflection





Wednesday, 25 August 2021

ASEAN-IPR YouTube Channel

The ASEAN Institute for Peace and Reconciliation (ASEAN-IPR) convened the third session of the ASEAN-IPR Discussion Series 2021 on Wednesday, 25 August 2021, taking on the theme 20 Years of Aceh Peace Process, 15 Years after Helsinki: A Reflection. The Webinar brought together more than ninety (90) participants from the ASEAN Member States, ASEAN bodies/sectoral bodies/entities (e.g., ASEAN Secretariat, ASEAN Foundation, etc.), ASEAN partners, scholars, and other stakeholders?whether through the Webinar platform or its live streaming on YouTube Channel. The ASEAN-IPR Discussion Series 2021 is supported by the Embassies of Finland and Ireland in Jakarta.

The main objective of the Discussion Series is to serve as a platform to discuss peace-related trends, engage with relevant stakeholders, as well as to enhance dialogue with like-minded institutions through the exchange of views on contemporary issues that may have an impact on peace in the region in the future. For the third part of the series, the Webinar aims to reflect on the mediation process in Aceh, and discuss the implementation of the Helsinki Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) as the peace agreement between parties, more than fifteen years after it was signed.

The discussion was moderated by Prof. Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, Professor for the Department of Political Science at the University of the Philippines Diliman. Three speakers shared their experience and expertise on the topic, namely: Dr. Rizal Sukma, Senior Research Fellow of Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) Indonesia, Ms. Minna Kukkonen-Karlander, Senior Manager in Asia Programme of Crisis Management Initiative (CMI) Martti Ahtisaari Peace Foundation, and Ms. Shienny Angelita, Indonesia Country Representative of the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue (HD Centre).

The speakers exchanged views on the achievements and challenges of the Aceh peace agreement, including the shortcomings of the implementation of the Helsinki MoU. The peace initiative in Aceh was successful due to the political willingness and commitment from both the Indonesian Government and the Free Aceh Movement (Gerakan Aceh Merdeka or GAM), assisted with a credible third-party mediator that resulted in a comprehensive agreement known as the Helsinki MoU. However, in order to ensure sustainable peace in Aceh and a successful implementation process, there needs to be a continuous discussion on the best practices to exercise the various aspects of the agreement. To do so, the active involvement from regional and international organisations, as well as local and national governments, and civil society is essential. Additionally, the speakers also highlighted the importance of gender mainstreaming and womens representation in peace processes, as well as politics, to ensure an inclusive result that addresses the needs of all stakeholders.

In his closing remarks, Mr. I Gusti Agung Wesaka Puja, Executive Director of the ASEAN-IPR, emphasised that peace is not merely the absence of conflict, but it is a process to handle conflict by peaceful means. Therefore, peace processes should be comprehensive, innovative, and credible. A peace agreement is not solely about signing the paper, but more on the ways to nurture it afterwards to ensure long-lasting peace.

The fourth session of the Discussion Series 2021 is scheduled to be held on Wednesday, 22 September 2021, with the theme COVID-19 and Peace in the Region. Be sure to subscribe to the ASEAN-IPRs YouTube Channel, and follow our social media for latest information and/or updates on our activities.

Skip to content