FOCUS: Beyond the Tsunami — Aceh’s Turmoil

Before the tsunami, the rebellious Indonesian province of Aceh was hardly a household name — and even after the world’s TV, radio and newspaper reporters descended on the region, the bulk of their coverage focused on the horrors of the giant wave. But Aceh has a rich and troubled history, endowed with extraordinary natural resources, and saddled with a legacy of colonialist violence that is still playing out today. Historical Turmoil
Separatist Origins
Brittle Peace
Feared Militia
The Military: Violence, Corruption
 – – – – – – – – – –
Historical Turmoil | top
A paradise island by any measure, Sumatra — and its northernmost Aceh province in particular — has nevertheless suffered greatly from catastrophes both natural and human in origin. Of the former class of disaster, the most notable prior to the 2004 Christmas tsunami was the 1883 eruption of Krakatoa, a volcanic island in between Java and Sumatra. Tsunamis from the explosion rose 100 feet high, claimed more than 35,000 lives, destroyed 165 coastal villages, and heaved 600-ton blocks of coral onto the shore.

Lawsuits Target Energy Giants: Indonesian conflict comes to U.S. courts

By Jennifer Huang | World Power I: Business & Law

Page 1 of 11

In March 2001, citing safety concerns, ExxonMobil suspended operations at the Arun natural gas fields in Aceh in North Sumatra — an Indonesian province torn by separatist violence. The closure lasted four months, and added up to a loss of $350 million. Production resumed that June after Indonesia increased security forces in the region. But ExxonMobil’s acceptance of government security measures has provoked a lawsuit, Doe v. ExxonMobil, filed against the company by anonymous Acehnese villagers. The suit alleges that, over the last 11 years, the company provided salaries and equipment to military forces responsible for human rights abuses in Aceh (pronounced “Ah-chay”), including sexual assault, kidnapping, murder and genocide.