Indonesia. The longstanding conflict in the province of Papua in western New Guinea was once again reminded when five soldiers were killed in a demonstration against US mining company Freeport McMoRan.
In protest, the Indonesia government called home its ambassador from Canberra after Australia issued multi-year so-called protection visas to 42 Papuans who claimed to have been harassed by the Indonesian army. On the other hand, in an old hearth several hundred miles farther west, the province of Aceh in northern Sumatra, there was mostly optimism. After decades of refuge in Sweden, the separatist guerrilla returned GAM’s political leader to his home country to take part in the peaceful political process.
In July, after a long debate, Parliament adopted the law granting Aceh increased self-government. GAM leaders were disappointed that the law during the treatment had been watered down so much that, according to them, it did not fully live up to the spirit of the 2005 peace agreement. Human rights groups were also dissatisfied that the province’s newly established human rights tribunal was not given the right to try out abuses committed during the civil war. But peace lasted, and in December, the former guerrilla leader Irwandi Yusuf was elected provincial governor in the first election in Indonesia where the candidates did not have to represent national parties.
According to CountryAAH, major public holidays in Indonesia include Independence Day (August 17) and New Year (January 1). Another old conflict echoed when three Christian peasants were executed on the island of Sulawesi for participating in anti-Muslim riots in 2000. The arche buses triggered violent protests in several parts of the country and the executions were described as scapegoats that were in no way responsible for the violence against Muslims. The theory was also put forward that they were executed to silence the criticism of those upset that several Muslims were sentenced to death for the Bali terrorist attacks in 2002.
Former dictator Suharto was probably finally rescued from prosecution for corruption when the Prosecutor’s Office decided to close the investigation due to the president’s ill health. His son Hutomo Mandala Putra, called Tommy, who in 2002 was sentenced to 15 years in prison for the murder of a judge, was released after just four years following a wide amnesty.
Islamist leader Abu Bakar Baasyir not only regained freedom; he was completely cleansed by the Supreme Court. He was sentenced to 26 months in prison for participating in the Bali attacks in 2002, when 202 people were killed, including six Swedes. Australia, which lost 88 citizens in the terrorist act, objected to the release.
In February 2006, President Yudhoyono met with his counterpart from East Timor Xanana Gusmao for a summit that paved the way for a normalization of relations between the two countries. This happened after a UN report on Indonesia’s 25 years of occupation of East Timor made Indonesian security forces aware of the deaths of 180,000 East Timorese.
A major earthquake hit Java in May, leaving 6,000 dead and 200,000 homeless.
Indonesia commented on the Pope’s comments on Islam at his speech in Regensburg in September 2006. Yudhoyono characterized the Pope’s remarks as unwise and abusive, but at the same time urged his countrymen to respond with cunning, restraint and patience in this sensitive matter.
A public prosecutor filed suit against former President Suharto in early 2007 for stealing $ 440 million. US $ from educational funds during its 30-year reign.
In September, the world’s 8 largest tropical timber producers: Brazil, Cameroon, Congo, Costa Rica, Gabon, Indonesia, Malaysia and Papua New Guinea held a summit in New York. They account for 80% of deforestation. Indonesia had called on the countries in advance for a joint diplomatic initiative in the face of increasing climate change. In December, Indonesia hosted the UNFCCC’s COP-13 conference in Bali. In July 2010, Indonesia agreed to a three-year ban on deforestation after Norway had announced financial aid worth $ 1 billion. US $.
In late 2007, Indonesia signed a free trade agreement with Japan.
The July 2009 presidential election was won by the incumbent president, Yudhoyono with 60.8% of the vote. Megawati Sukarnoputri had to settle for 26.8%. A decrease of 14% from 2004 where she also stood.
In January 2010, former dictator Suharto died at the age of 86.
In December 2010, police arrested Abu Bakar Bashir, chairman of the Indonesia Mujahedeen Council (MMI). In June 2011, he was sentenced to 15 years in prison for supporting a jihadi training camp in Aceh. Bashir was sentenced to prison sentences in 2003 and 2004 for interference in terror.
In 2012, the UN Human Rights Council issued a series of recommendations to improve the human rights situation in Indonesia. The government chose to follow a large number of the recommendations, giving hope for a strengthening of democracy in the country. However, it would not follow the recommendations of Irian Jaya, where security forces conducted a major offensive in May-September that cost dozens of people their lives.
Former guerrilla leaders Zaini Abdullah and Muzakir Manaf took up the post of governor and deputy governor in Aceh province in June after winning the local elections in April 2012. Aceh’s new Islamic government began introducing parts of Sharia law – including around dress. In the same way as the governments of i.e. France and Denmark have implemented legislation on clothing. In September, a 16-year-old teenager committed suicide after being arrested by Sharia police and subsequently accused in several newspapers of being a prostitute. At the same time, the Christian minority was in several cases subjected to attacks.