Apr 01, 2016

Acheh: The Hague Hosts ASNLF General Assembly

Achehnese representatives from all over the world met in The Hague between 25-27 March 2016, on the occasion of the Acheh-Sumatra National Liberation Front (ASNLF) General Assembly. During the three-day encounter, the ASNLF Presidium held the elections for the next 4 year-term; discussed its action planning and presented the accountability report for the 2012-2016 period. The choice of the GA host country was not accidental; it served to emphasize the long history of Acheh’s struggle for independence against the The Kingdom of The Netherlands. 

Below is a press released published by the ASNLF

In connection with the expiration of the Acheh-Sumatra National Liberation Front (ASNLF) Presidium term of 2012- 2016, a General Assembly will be held on March 25-27 in The Hague, Netherlands.

In this general assembly, the ASNLF Presidium will submit an accountability report for the 2012-2016 term. As is stipulated in the Constitution, elections will also take place for the next four-year term. Planning for the next term has also become one of the more important items on the agenda. On the closing day, there will be an educational visit to the Colonial Museum of the Dutch East Indies in the city of Arnhem, in which the historical relics of our archipelago are exhibited.

It is estimated that the general assembly will be attended by Achehnese delegations from across the world which are all involved in the movement for independence. The selection of the Netherlands as the venue for this meeting of the Achehnese struggle for independence does not dismiss the long history between the two would-be-present governments: The Kingdom of the Netherlands and the Sultanate of Acheh.

In the 16th century, Sultan Alauddin Riayat Syah sent the first diplomatic mission to Europe which was led by Lord Abdul Hamid. He and his entourage arrived in Middleburg, the capital city of Zeeland (a province in the Netherlands), in August 1602 and was greeted by Prince Maurits (Maurice of Orange). However, not long after their arrival, Lord Abdul Hamid died of illness and was buried in a churchyard in Middleburg.

Unfortunately, on March 26th, 1873, the Dutch government issued a Declaration of War against the Sultanate of Acheh, which until this very day, has killed thousands of Achehnese people. Statements of this war have still not been revoked by the government of the Netherlands. In fact, under international law, the Dutch Government illegally transferred sovereignty of Achehnese land to the newly-formed Dutch East Indies, better known as “Indonesia.”

In addition to this, the Netherlands houses a large number of books on the Nation of Acheh. More than 1200 titles of books on Acheh have been stored in digital format and can be accessed by the public through the Internet. The books were published in Achehnese, Indonesian, English, Dutch, and various other European languages and span from the 17th century until the present time. This digitization project was initiated by The Royal Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies (Koninklijk Instituut voor Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde: KITLV) in Leiden with financial support from The Ministry of Education and the Dutch Royal Library in The Hague.

Since rejoining the UNPO (which is based in The Hague) in 2014, the ASNLF also often sends delegations to The Netherlands in order to increase its members’ abilities in the fight for their rights to self-determination.