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Indonesia passage of Aceh self-governance bill sets off general strike

[JURIST] Indonesia's House of Representatives [official website, in Bahasa Indonesian] has passed a bill giving more autonomy to Aceh province [JURIST news archive] and writing into law the terms of last year's peace agreement with rebels [JURIST report]. But former rebels have criticized the law as not going far enough, and transportation workers in Aceh - which was devastated by the 2004 tsunami [CSM report] - protested the legislation Tuesday by staging a general strike [Jakarta Post report]. Proposed early this year [JURIST report], the law gives provincial officials control of more than 70 percent of Aceh's mineral resources, which include oil and natural gas, and allows members of the rebel Free Aceh Movement (GAM) [BBC backgrounder] to run for office in elections this year. The legislation also permits the local government to adopt Islamic sharia law [JURIST report] with oversight from Indonesia's Supreme Court.

A GAM spokesman said the former rebels said they would take their complaints about the law to the EU's Aceh Monitoring Mission [official website]. The chairman of the legislative committee that handled the bill, conceding that it was not "perfect," said amendments were still possible. AP has more. The Jakarta Post has local coverage.

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