World Bank Assesses Reintegration Needs in Aceh

In order to facilitate the reintegration of Free Aceh Movement (GAM) members into Aceh’s civil society and economy, the World Bank conducted a qualitative and quantitative assessment from October 2005 to March 2006. The report relies on surveys of released political prisoners and GAM members, as well as fieldwork in ten districts.

Key findings include:

  • There is considerable overlap between GAM returnees’ home areas and areas that are tsunami-affected, reinforcing the argument that post-conflict and post-disaster assistance need to go hand in hand. A quarter of surveyed active GAM claimed that their family house was damaged or destroyed by the tsunami.
  • Six months after the peace agreement, almost 75 percent of GAM members remain unemployed. The vast majority of GAM are from rural areas and have returned to their villages. Most of those who have found work returned to farm their own land.
  • In almost all cases, there has been a high level of acceptance of GAM returnees, although there are isolated cases of open tensions between returnees and members of anti-GAM militias in central Aceh (Aceh Besar and Aceh Utara).
  • The Government made available a reinsertion package for political prisoners of 5 million Rupiah (about $5,000) in cash and kind. GAM members were to receive a living allowance (3 rounds of Rp. 1 million each to 3,000 individuals). However, the actual amounts have been smaller because GAM leaders distributed part of the money to orphans, widows, and other conflict victims, as well.
  • Critical reintegration needs include the provision of capital, job training and job creation, shelter (the houses of half of those active in GAM were either damaged or destroyed by the conflict), and health services (conflict-related injuries, malaria and respiratory diseases, mental health).
  • A large number of villages visited have pressing infrastructure needs, since the conflict damaged or destroyed roads, electricity, and irrigation systems.
  • The presence of international monitors (AMM) has increased Acehnese confidence in the peace process. Most believe an on-going presence, at least for the short-to-medium term, is required. Serious consideration also needs to be given to developing impartial monitoring after AMM departs.

Related Links:

World Bank, GAM Reintegration Needs Assessment: Enhancing Peace through Community-Level Development Planning, March 2006.