The armed conflict in Aceh must be brought to an end - by whatever means. And women must be included in that peaceprocess. This is not only because women constitute 53% of Aceh's population. It is because women have suffered grievously throughout this conflict. As citizens, they have suffered at the hands of the state, having been raped and abused by the Indonesian army. Culturally, they have been repressed by patriarchy and through the wrong interpretations of Islamic law (such as the forcible imposition of dress codes). Even at home, they have faced domestic violence, being beaten and raped by their husbands. Women must be included in any decision making process. Data from the provincial government shows there are no fewer than 460,000 female heads of households, of whom 377,000 are widows.
Women are organising for peace. They are praying, marching in the streets, distributing flowers and the message 'stop violence against women'. Women have held discussions with President Gus Dur and even with the army. They have also proposed to the commander of the Aceh Freedom Movement army that a special zone of peace for women should be set up. They have taken their campaign to the United Nations.