In 1999, HD initiated the first-ever dialogue process between the Government of the Republic of Indonesia (GOI) and the leadership of the Free Aceh Movement (GAM). From 2000 to 2003, HD was officially responsible for facilitating the peace process between representatives from both sides.
The Free Aceh Movement (GAM) had been fighting for an independent state in Aceh, Indonesia. The conflict raged on and off during this time and more than 12,000 people were killed, thousands displaced, and homes, schools and public facilities destroyed. In 2005 a memorandum of understanding was signed in Helsinki that resulted in a formal end to the conflict.
HD ‘s objective in Aceh was contribute to the development of a sustainable solution to the conflict between the Government of the Republic of Indonesia and the Free Aceh Movement, through a mediated solution.
On 9 December 2002, HD facilitated the signing of a Cessation of Hostilities Agreement (COHA) between the two sides in Geneva. In the months following its signing, substantial progress was made in the implementation of the COHA, including the establishment of a tripartite monitoring mission to oversee its implementation. This period saw a dramatic reduction in armed clashes and fatalities in Aceh.
After disagreements between the GOI and GAM emerged over demilitarization and other issues, a Joint Council was convened in Tokyo on 17-18 May 2003 to find ways forward. The two sides were, however, unable to find middle ground and the Joint Council concluded on 18 May, closely followed a few hours later by the declaration of martial law in Aceh.
In the immediate aftermath of the 26 December 2004 tsunami, representatives of HD operating in Aceh, Jakarta and Stockholm, met regularly with officials from the GOI and GAM to encourage and prepare them to engage in talks. Shortly thereafter, the two sides resumed negotiations under the auspices of the Finland-based Crisis Management Initiative. On 15 August 2005, after five rounds of negotiations, the GOI and the GAM signed a peace agreement in Helsinki.