Milano II Treaty: Maintaining Religion Peace in Moluccas

The point is, being a Christian does not mean hating or belittling the non-Christians. Being a Muslim does not mean hating or belittling the non-Muslims. Being an Atheist does not mean hating or belittling the religious people. In a civilized society, diversity in religious orientation should be the reason for celebration, not the cause for hatred and differentiation.

Introduction

            Indonesia is an archipelagic country with many different races, tribes, languages and religions. In Indonesia itself there are more than 300 ethnic groups and more than 200 regional languages which become a distinguishing identity between one tribe and the others. In Indonesia, there are also various religions and because of that, Indonesia is called a pluralistic society[1]. Due to the plurality, Indonesian people are susceptible to occurrence of conflict, because every ethnic or religion has different perspectives, principles, goals and beliefs.

            Conflict may occur between different groups or between individuals who interact with each other. If in the interaction, there is the same purpose then there would be cooperation but if one individual or group wants to exceed individual or group with other individual or group then there would be competition. And if two individuals or two groups have different  interests or contradictory to one another, then it can be trigger a conflict. Because of that, difficult for Indonesians to avoid ethnic, religious or customary conflicts (Susan, 2010).

The Root of Moluccas Conflict

            Moluccas conflict occurred in 1999 until 2002. As we know, this conflict was a religious conflict but this conflict was also caused by the injustice and marginalization[2] of society due to government policy in the colonial period. In the colonial period, they often appointed Moluccan Christians to become bureaucrats as well as the military, because they thought that Moluccan Christians could cooperate with the colonial government. They were also educated by the government. But all that changed after Indonesia became independent. Christians are labeled as separatists by the central government because many of them were members of RMS[3]. Because of this, Moluccan Muslims were benefited because during the colonial goverment they were discriminated and marginalized but afterwards they could control the bureaucracy that was once dominated by the Christians. In addition to Islamization in the bureaucrats, the Moluccan Christians were also confronted by newcomers who were traders from Buton, Bugis, and Makassar who controlled inter-island trade in Moluccas. Feeling oppressed by Islamization in the bureaucracy and the economy, then there was this Conflict which as the impingement Moluccan Christians to Moluccan Muslims (Waileruny, 2010).

Chronology of Moluccas Conflict

            The Moluccas conflict was divided into four stages. The first stage occurred on January 19, 1999 which started with a dispute between an angkot[4] driver and a thug in Batu Merah bus terminal. The next day there was a wildfire in various corners of Ambon city. In this incident, traders suffered the most because their place of business in the market was damaged and burned. The situation heated up in March 1999 precisely on March 1 after the incident at the Ahuru Mosque where several members of the Police were accused of murdering an Muslims who was praying. The second stage occurred on July 24, 1999, this second conflict began from the riots that occured in Poka Municipality of Ambon which then spread to the city of Ambon. They burned all of China’s economic centers so they fled from Ambon.  In this second stage they also used home-made firearms.The third stage occurred on December 26, 1999, this third conflict began with the burning of houses of worship of both Christians and Muslims, namely Silo church and An-Nur Mosque. In this conflict, rioters used the organic weapons like the weapons that security apparatus had. This was probably due to the presence of non-Indonesians assisting the conflict in terms of weaponery. The fourth stage occurred since Laskar Jihad’s entry in Ambon which caused an imbalance of power between Muslims and Christians. They were a deliberately formed troop, prepared with armed training provided, equipped with more modern weapons and had strong financial backing. Since then the conflict become more fierce and spread out of Ambon. This prompted interfaith leaders to hold a peace meeting that resulted in the Malino II treaty (Waileruny, 2010).

How To Resolve The Conflict

            The attempt to resolve this conflict was with the existence of the Moluccas peace treaty in Milano called the Milano II Treaty. This treaty was signed on February 12, 2002. The contents of the Malino II treaty were as following:

  1. To end all conflicts and disputes.
  2. To abide by due process of law enforcement fairly, faithfully, honestly and impartially, supported by the communities. Therefore, the existing security officers are obliged to be professional in exercising their mission.
  3. To reject and oppose all kinds of separatist movements, among others the Republic of South Moluccas, that threaten the unity and sovereignty of the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia.
  4. That as part of the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia, the people of the Moluccas have the rights to stay and work legally and fairly in the Republic of Indonesia nationwide and vice versa, by respecting the local culture, law and order.
  5. To ban and disarm illegal armed organizations, groups, or militias, in accordance with the existing law. Outsider parties that disturbs the peace in the Moluccas will be expelled from the Moluccas.
  6. To establish a national independent investigation team to investigate among others, the tragic incident on January 19, 1999, the Moluccas Sovereign Front (FKM), Republic of South Moluccas (RMS), Christian Republic of South Moluccas (Kristen RMS), laskar jihad, laskar kristus, coercive conversion, and human rights violation.
  7. To call for the voluntarily return of refugees to their homes, and the return of properties.
  8. To rehabilitate mental, social, economic and public infrastructures, particularly educational, health, religious, and housing facilities, supported by the Indonesian Government.
  9. To preserve law and order for the people in the area, it is absolutely necessary for the military and the police to maintain coordination and firmness in executing their function and mission. In line with this, a number of military and police facilities must be rebuild and re-equipped to enable them to function properly.
  10. To uphold good relationship and the harmony among all elements of believers in the Moluccas, all efforts of evangelism must highly honor the diversity and acknowledge local culture.
  11. To support the rehabilitation of Pattimura University for common progress, as such, the recruitment system and other policies will be transparently implemented based on the principle of fairness while upholding the necessary standard (United Nations Peacemaker, 2002).

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