Unfortunately their voice did not resonate for long, and when the conflict parties engaged in peace talks, women were once again excluded. Despite a record of advocating for peace and fostering reconciliation, women were barely involved in the stop-start dialogue processes spanning over five years that finally culminated in the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the government and GAM in August 2005. The kind of gender-aware conflict resolution mandated by Security Council resolution 1325 was not achieved.
This was mirrored in other political processes as well: when Islamic Shari'ah law was introduced to Aceh, women's representatives were once again not involved. Women were considered only as objects of political processes, not active subjects.
Without underestimating the great importance of the MoU and the hard work, skill and patience of its architects, it ignores the contribution of civil society, including women's groups, to peacemaking. The peace process was simplified into an issue between the government and GAM, negating other dimensions of conflict that had lasted for nearly 30 years, wherein numerous and complex issues intertwined and impacted upon the life of all Aceh's people. As a result of women's exclusion from the peace processes, their interests are poorly covered by the agreements.
Peace is not realised simply at the negotiating table: sustainable peace can only be achieved if it involves women and men equally in processes of reconciliation, rights-based development, the rule of law and the dignified fulfilment of justice for victims. Signing the peace agreement is only the beginning; the next great task for all of Aceh's people is to undertake reconciliation, reconstruction and rehabilitation. Various institutions have been established to facilitate this, but women's voices are still not receiving the attention they should. Of the 43 members of the Aceh Reintegration Board (BRA), only three are women. The Aceh Transition Committee (KPA), the organisation for ex-GAM members, does not have a single woman in a strategic position in its decision-making and policy group. In the first-stage list of compensation receivers for former GAM combatants, there was not a single woman among the 3000 names listed, despite the fact that since 2000 photos and information about troops from GAM's women's wing (Inong Balee) have frequently been used in media campaigns to show women's role in GAM's struggle.