By John Roberts, 21 February 2013
The government is facing mounting protests by workers over moves to delay or block promised minimum wage rises.
By John Roberts, 26 January 2013
As in previous major floods, government aid has failed to reach many of the worst affected people.
By John Roberts, 23 January 2013
Within two days of the latest shootings, President Yudhoyono unveiled plans to further boost the police and military apparatus.
By John Roberts, 18 October 2012
The turnout was driven by pent-up anger over low wages and the “outsourcing” of work to contract workers, now common throughout Asia.
By Alex Lantier, 18 September 2012
Protests that began one week ago at US embassies in Egypt and Libya against an anti-Islamic YouTube video are rapidly spreading throughout the Muslim world.
By John Roberts, 18 August 2012
Scandals have emerged amid the political manoeuvring for the parliamentary and presidential elections in 2014.
By Mike Head, 4 July 2012
Following President Yudhoyono’s visit to Darwin this week, Australia will boost its US-backed military arrangements with Indonesia.
By Clara Weiss, 11 May 2012
On Wednesday, a Russian Sukhoi Superjet 100 on a demonstration flight crashed into the rock face of a volcano near the Indonesian capital of Jakarta.
By John Roberts, 19 April 2012
Plans to cut subsidies provoked widespread opposition and weeks of protests throughout the country.
By John Roberts, 15 February 2012
The anti-corruption court has heard evidence that senior officials of the ruling Democrat Party have been involved in pay-offs and bribes.
By Mark Church, 29 December 2011
The protesters were part of the Anti-Mining People’s Front, which opposes mineral exploration in the area being carried out by Australian Arc Exploration.
By Mike Head, 3 November 2011
Indonesia’s newly appointed energy and mineral resources minister met on Monday with the US ambassador to Indonesia, Scot Marciel, to discuss the two-month-old Freeport dispute.
By Mike Head, 19 October 2011
The indefinite shutdown came a week after para-military police, mobilised by the Indonesian government, opened fire on protesting workers, killing one striker and wounding a dozen more.
By Mike Head, 13 October 2011
Employed in the largest and most profitable gold and copper mine in the world, the strikers have demanded that their hourly wages, currently as low as $2, rise to a minimum of $17.50.
By John Roberts, 10 September 2011
The lack of agreement between Jakarta and Papuan organisations was quickly underscored by a spate of violence and protest rallies in Jayapura and other towns.
By John Braddock, 8 September 2011
The latest claims refute the longstanding assertions by Nike and other high-end garment and footwear manufacturers that they are improving conditions in their outsourced sweat-shop operations.
By John Roberts, 31 August 2011
The latest scandal has further damaged President Yudhoyono’s standing, particularly as it has involved younger Democrats that helped promote his anti-corruption drive.
By Oliver Campbell, 10 January 2011
Leaked US embassy cables demonstrate that Washington was well aware of ongoing human rights abuses in Papua even as it pursued closer ties with the TNI.
By John Braddock, 18 December 2010
The resumption of US ties with Kopassus was determined by the Obama administration’s steps to counter Chinese influence in Asia.
By John Roberts, 17 November 2010
Obama’s visit to Indonesia was part of an aggressive US diplomatic campaign aimed at curbing China’s rising influence in Asia.
By John Roberts, 9 November 2010
Captured on video, the Indonesian military’s torture of two Papuans in May highlights the extent of the violence and intimidation that exists throughout Papua.
By John Roberts, 3 November 2010
There is mounting criticism of the government as relief workers struggle to cope with two disasters involving tens of thousands of people—the October 25 tsunami in the Mentawai islands and the eruption of Mount Merapi in central Java.
By Peter Symonds, 28 October 2010
A tsunami off the west coast of Sumatra and a volcanic eruption in central Java have claimed more than 300 lives this week.
By John Braddock, 6 August 2010
The Obama administration is to lift a decade-long ban on US military contact with Indonesia’s notorious Kopassus special forces.
By John Braddock, 20 July 2010
The demonstration was the biggest in the province since the fall of former Indonesian dictator Suharto in 1998.
By John Braddock, 2 July 2010
Despite efforts to portray Indonesia as “democratic” following the fall of the Suharto dictatorship in 1998, a recent Human Rights Watch report demonstrates the government’s continuing abuse of basic democratic rights.
By John Braddock, 19 May 2010
Mulyani’s elevation to the World Bank is not just a career change, but is bound up with deepening conflicts within the Indonesian ruling elite.
By John Braddock, 1 March 2010
Sharp political divisions in Indonesia’s ruling coalition emerged as the representatives of political parties on a parliamentary special committee on the 2008 bailout of Bank Century presented their findings.
By John Braddock, 27 November 2009
Barely a month after his inauguration for a second term, Indonesian President Yudhoyono is embroiled in a scandal involving attempts to discredit the Corruption Eradication Commission.
By John Roberts, 25 November 2009
In the latest Indonesian ferry disaster, at least 29 people are dead and many missing after an overcrowded boat sank in bad weather off the Riau Islands province.
By Mike Head, 18 November 2009
The real face of the Rudd government’s hoped-for “Indonesian solution” for asylum seekers began to emerge last week. Indonesian police shot and seriously wounded two men trying to reach Australia aboard an Afghan asylum seekers’ boat.
By Richard Phillips, 2 November 2009
Two weeks after an Australian customs ship rescued 78 Tamil asylum seekers, the unresolved standoff over their future has focussed attention on the Labor government’s inhumane and illegal treatment of refugees.
By John Braddock, 20 October 2009
The death toll from the September 30 earthquake in West Sumatra reached 1,115 last week after officials ended the search for 300 missing people and declared them dead.
By John Braddock, 14 October 2009
A festering scandal in Indonesia over the government bailout of the mid-sized Bank Century late last year is threatening to cast a shadow over the second term of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.
By John Roberts, 3 October 2009
An earthquake measuring 7.6 on the Richter scale struck Indonesia on Wednesday, causing enormous destruction in and around the Sumatran city of Padang.
By John Roberts, 5 September 2009
At least 64 people were killed, including a number of children, as a result of the earthquake that struck off the coast of West Java on Wednesday.
By John Braddock, 21 August 2009
The Indonesian Constitutional Court last week dismissed an application for a presidential election re-vote by the two losing candidates, Megawati Sukarnoputri and Jusuf Kalla.
By John Roberts, 3 August 2009
The official declaration of incumbent President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s landslide election victory has been challenged by losing candidates.
By John Braddock, 29 July 2009
The July 17 suicide bombings in Jakarta are being exploited to justify inroads into the limited democratic rights gained in Indonesia since the end of the Suharto dictatorship.
By John Roberts, 21 July 2009
The terrorist bombings of the Jakarta JW Marriot and Ritz Carlton hotels last Friday morning in the Indonesian capital of Jakarta were a contemptible and reactionary act.
By John Braddock, 20 July 2009
An Australian mining project manager was killed earlier this month when he was fired on with military-style weapons in a premeditated attack near the Freeport McMoRan mine in Indonesian-controlled West Papua where he worked.
By John Roberts, 8 July 2009
Despite considerable alienation from all three candidates and a likely high abstention, most opinion polls predict that the incumbent, former Suharto-era general Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, will win a clear majority.
By John Braddock, 7 July 2009
The US and British governments, supported by Australia, were complicit in the murder of more than half a million alleged communist sympathisers in the wake of the 1965 Indonesian coup.
By Carol Divjak, 24 June 2009
A gas explosion at a coal mine in the Sawahlunto district of West Sumatra on June 16 killed at least 32 people. The tragedy is the outcome of the appalling safety standards that prevail in much of the Indonesian mining industry.
By John Roberts, 3 June 2009
Following Indonesia’s parliamentary election in April, three tickets have emerged for the July 8 presidential poll, with the members of each team drawn from the Suharto-era political establishment.
Lessons of the 1965 Indonesian Coup
By Terri Cavanagh, 16 May 2009
In October 1965 the international working class suffered one of its greatest defeats and betrayals in the post-World War II period.
Lessons of the 1965 Indonesian Coup
By Terri Cavanagh, 16 May 2009
In December 1957 the whole fabric of imperialist domination over the Indonesian economy was shaken by a massive eruption of the working class and peasantry. Factories, plantations, banks and ships were seized and occupied.
Lessons of the 1965 Indonesian Coup
By Terri Cavanagh, 16 May 2009
The Indonesian military coup of October 1-2, 1965 was the outcome of a carefully-orchestrated and long-planned operation by the CIA and the US-trained and backed commanders of the Indonesian armed forces.
Lessons of the 1965 Indonesian Coup
By Terri Cavanagh, 16 May 2009
In the months following the bloody CIA-organised military coup of October 1-2, 1965, every known member and supporter of the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) and all working class parties, and hundreds of thousands of other Indonesian workers and peasants, were massacred or thrown into concentration camps for torture and interrogation.
Lessons of the 1965 Indonesian Coup
By Terri Cavanagh, 16 May 2009
The crisis of working class leadership was never posed so sharply as in Indonesia between 1963 and 1965. The fate of the Indonesian workers and peasants depended entirely on overcoming and defeating the counter-revolutionary line of the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) which bound the working class hand and foot to the tottering bourgeois nationalist regime of Sukarno while the US-backed military prepared for a bloody coup.
By John Roberts, 20 April 2009
While the outcome of Indonesia’s parliamentary elections on April 9 is yet to be finalised, the preliminary results have followed predictable lines. Three of the major parties secured half the vote and only nine of the 38 parties contesting the poll will be represented in parliament.
By John Roberts and Peter Symonds, 7 April 2009
Indonesia’s 170 million voters are due to vote in national parliamentary elections on April 9. The poll is dominated by many of the same right-wing parties and political figures that operated under the Suharto dictatorship prior to 1998.
By Patrick O'Connor, 30 March 2009
A dam in Indonesia’s capital, Jakarta, burst last Friday, destroying hundreds of homes. The official death toll stands at 97; another 102 people are officially listed as missing. The number of missing persons could be higher, however, as many of the area’s residents are believed to be university students temporarily renting rooms.
By John Chan, 5 March 2009
The annual summit of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Bangkok last weekend followed what is becoming a familiar pattern at top-level international gatherings. Amid a sharp downturn in all 10 member states, ASEAN leaders pledged themselves to economic cooperation and free trade, even as they resort to protectionist measures.
By a correspondent, 22 January 2009
Millions of Indonesian workers face being laid-off this year because of the impact of the global economic breakdown.
By Dragan Stankovic, 16 January 2009
An estimated 230 passengers remain unaccounted for after the Teratai Prima, a 10-ten-year-old, 700-tonne ferry capsized in a monsoonal storm on January 11.
By John Roberts, 15 January 2009
The recent acquittal of a top general for the murder of human rights activist Munir Said Thalib highlights how the Indonesian military continues to carry out gross abuses of democratic rights with impunity.
By Patrick O'Connor, 12 November 2008
News of Indonesia’s execution early last Sunday of three men convicted of the 2002 Bali bombings has been met around the world with widespread expressions of unease, concern, and open opposition, including from many family members of the 202 people killed.
By Patrick O’Connor, 5 November 2008
The imposition of the death penalty by the Indonesian government and judicial system is an act of state-sponsored murder that serves to promote backwardness and confusion and to obscure the real political issues involved in the Bali bombings.
By Oscar Grenfell, 13 September 2008
The former deputy chief of Indonesia’s State Intelligence Agency (BIN), Major-General Muchdi Purwoprandjono, was charged last month with the premeditated murder of prominent human rights activist Munir Said Thalib.
By John Roberts, 30 December 2005
Pollycarpus Budihari Priyato, a pilot for the Indonesian state airline Garuda, was found guilty on December 20 of the murder of the internationally respected Indonesian human rights activist Munir Said Thalib and sentenced to 14 years imprisonment by the Jakarta Central District Court. The court dropped a political bomb shell, however, when it implicated members of the Indonesian State Intelligence Agency (BIN) in the murder despite neither the prosecution case nor the accused himself making such a claim.
By John Roberts, 18 November 2005
A surge in prices and interest rates has followed the Indonesian government’s October 1 reduction in the fuel price subsidy. The sharp rise in the costs of essential goods and services constitutes a severe attack on the living standards of the archipelago’s impoverished urban and rural poor.
By John Roberts, 6 October 2005
Widespread but relatively small demonstrations followed the announcement last Friday by the government of Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of sharp rises in the price of petrol, diesel and kerosene.
By Dragan Stankovic, 16 September 2005
On September 5, a Mandala Airlines’ Boeing 737-200 crashed just after take-off into a crowded residential neighbourhood of the north Sumatran port city of Medan, Indonesia’s third largest city. At least 102 crew and passengers were killed, as well as 47 local residents.
By John Roberts, 12 September 2005
Just a year after former general Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono won the Indonesian presidential election, skyrocketting global oil prices are compounding the country’s economic difficulties and placing his administration under serious political strain.
By John Roberts, 20 August 2005
On August 15, the exiled leaders of the separatist Free Aceh Movement (GAM) signed a pact with the Indonesian government in the Finnish capital Helsinki to end their 29-year struggle for independence. The terms were worked out in five negotiating sessions held in Helsinki since January, under the auspices of the Crisis Management Initiative Organisation headed by former Finland President Martii Ahtisaari.
By John Roberts, 25 July 2005
An Indonesian government fact-finding commission handed down its final report late last month on the murder of prominent human rights activist Munir Said Thalib on September 7, 2004. While the report itself has not been released, statements from leading commission members have clearly pointed the finger at senior officials in the State Intelligence Agency (BIN).
By John Roberts, 15 June 2005
Talks in the Finnish capital Helsinki between the Indonesian government and the exiled leadership of the separatist Free Aceh Movement (GAM) ended on May 31. The outcome of the meeting, the fourth since the devastating Boxing Day tsunami, has been praised by spokesmen from both sides and the Finnish mediators as a major step forward.
By John Roberts, 23 May 2005
A draft for a new Indonesian criminal code (KUHP) is currently on the desk of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. Purported to be an update of existing legislation, the new bill revives or reasserts many of the anti-democratic measures that prevailed under the Suharto military-backed dictatorship.
By John Roberts, 28 April 2005
Talks in the Finnish capital of Helsinki between Indonesian officials and representatives of the separatist Free Aceh Movement (GAM) broke up on April 17 without any agreement on the central issue: the future status of Aceh. Despite claims of progress in the negotiations, the conflict in the war-torn province is continuing.
By John Roberts, 12 April 2005
Even as Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono postures as a “democrat”, his government has given the go-ahead for the dispatch of an additional 15,000 troops from the military’s Strategic Reserve Forces (Kostrad) to the province of Papua. Like the huge operation launched in Aceh in mid-2003, the build up of Indonesian Armed Forces (TNI) units in Papua is aimed at intimidating the local population and crushing separatist groups.
By John Roberts, 2 April 2005
Despite its limited character, the official investigation into the murder of Indonesian human rights activist Munir Said Thalib last year has exposed evidence indicating a high-level conspiracy in what has all the hallmarks of a politically-motivated assassination.
By John Roberts, 1 April 2005
The Indonesian government’s decision to slash fuel subsidies in early March and raise prices by 29 percent has provoked weeks of street protests and led to stormy scenes in the country’s parliament during the debate over the issue.
By Peter Symonds, 30 March 2005
A massive earthquake off the west coast of the Indonesian island of Sumatra has left hundreds of people confirmed dead and thousands homeless. News of the quake late on Monday night (local time) and fears of a repetition of the December 26 tsunami triggered a mass exodus from coastal areas in Indian Ocean countries.
By John Roberts, 18 March 2005
Under considerable international pressure, an Indonesian court convicted Islamic extremist cleric Abu Bakar Bashir on March 3 of the charge of conspiracy over the 2002 Bali bombings. Bashir was sentenced to 30 months imprisonment, but acquitted of the more serious charges of ordering the bombings in Bali and on the JW Marriott Hotel in Jakarta in August 2003.
By John Roberts, 11 March 2005
In a significant step towards the resumption of full military ties with Indonesia, the US State Department announced on February 26 that the Pentagon would restart the training of Indonesian officers under its International Military Education and Training program (IMET). The decision overturns a Congressional ban on Indonesian participation in IMET in place for more than a decade.
By John Roberts, 19 February 2005
Poor coordination, disorganised logistics and the militarisation of resettlement camps have created a potentially dangerous situation for the survivors of the December 26 earthquake and tsunami in Indonesia’s Sumatran province of Aceh.
By John Roberts, 26 January 2005
In the aftermath of the tsunami disaster, divisions have opened up in Indonesian ruling circles over the policy to be pursued in the hard-hit province of Aceh in northern Sumatra. As of yesterday, officials lifted the death toll to a staggering 228,000. At least 500,000 people are homeless, the province’s limited infrastructure has been shattered and the threat of widespread disease remains.
In the wake of tsunami calamity
By John Roberts, 5 January 2005
There are growing signs that the Indonesian military (TNI) is exploiting the current catastrophe in northern Sumatra to crush the separatist Free Aceh Movement (GAM) and establish its unchallenged control over the resource-rich province of Aceh.
By John Roberts, 31 December 2004
Catastrophic is the only word that comes close to describing the impact of Sunday’s earthquake and tsunami on the impoverished Indonesian regions in northern Sumatra. As of yesterday, the official death toll had risen to more than 50,000. But government officials are warning that the figure will rise to at least 100,000 as relief teams reach more remote areas, particularly on the west coast.
By John Roberts, 1 December 2004
A well-known Indonesian civil rights activist, Munir, died an agonising death on an Air Garuda flight to Amsterdam on September 7. While there were suspicions of foul play from the start, it was only in early November, when a Dutch autopsy showed Munir had died of arsenic poisoning, that his death became a major public issue.
By John Roberts, 12 November 2004
Islamic fundamentalist cleric Abu Bakar Bashir has been brought to trial on new charges of involvement in two terrorist attacks: the bombing of the JW Marriott Hotel in Jakarta on August 5, 2003, in which 12 people died, and the Bali bombings on October 12, 2002, which killed 202 people. Bashir is claiming that the charges have been laid because of pressure on the new government of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono by the United States and Australia.
By John Roberts, 1 November 2004
Indonesia’s new 34-member cabinet was sworn in on October 21, the day after the inauguration of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. The announcement of the cabinet’s composition was made by Yudhoyono and his vice-president Jusuf Kalla from Jakarta’s presidential palace just before midnight, some four hours behind schedule. The delay was caused, according to the Indonesian press, by infighting among the country’s political elite over the allocation of the powerful economic portfolios.
By John Roberts, 19 October 2004
In the lead up to his inauguration as Indonesian president tomorrow, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has remained tight-lipped about the make-up of his cabinet, and, as throughout the election campaign, any policy details. However, representatives of big business, inside Indonesia and overseas, have made clear that they expect his administration to impose tough new economic measures.
By John Roberts, 6 October 2004
In a case that has serious implications for democratic rights in Indonesia, the Central Jakarta District Court sentenced Bambang Harymurti, editor of the weekly newsmagazine Tempo, on September 16 to one year’s jail for defaming a well-known business tycoon. The alleged victim was Tomy Winata, who has business interests in banking and real estate and is widely known to be well connected to country’s political elite as well as having friends in the police and military.
By John Roberts and Peter Symonds, 28 September 2004
Retired general Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono won the second round of the Indonesian presidential election in September, defeating incumbent President Megawati Sukarnoputri in a landslide. While the official result will not be declared until October 5, Yudhoyono, also known as “SYB”, had received 60.9 percent of the more than 109 million votes counted as of last weekend, as against 39.1 percent for Megawati.
By the Socialist Equality Party (Australia), 10 September 2004
The reactionary character of Islamist terrorist groups has once again been demonstrated in Thursday’s huge bomb blast outside the heavily fortified Australian embassy in Jakarta, indiscriminately killing and injuring innocent people.
By John Roberts, 3 September 2004
In a decision that provoked sharp criticism from the Australian government, the South Jakarta District Court has dismissed charges against Johni Hendrawan, also known as Idris, over his role in the October 2002 Bali terrorist bombings. The court ruled on August 24 that the retrospective use of draconian anti-terrorism laws enacted after the Bali attack violated the Indonesian constitution.
By John Roberts, 30 August 2004
Recently declassified documents from the archives of the US State Department have shed a little more light on one of the many grubby chapters of US foreign policy in the Cold War period: how Washington worked with the UN and Indonesia’s Suharto dictatorship to stage a phoney “Act of Free Choice” in West Papua in 1969.
By John Roberts, 26 August 2004
With the second round of the Indonesian presidential elections just a month away, the incumbent Megawati Sukarnoputri last week signed a formal coalition agreement with Golkar, the United Development Party (PPP) and several smaller parties.
By Carol Divjak, 16 August 2004
The plight of Indonesian maids in Malaysia was graphically highlighted in May when 19-year-old Nirmala Bonat from West Timor was discovered by neighbours in the hallway of her employer’s apartment suffering from severe burns to her chest, back and legs. She told them she had been branded with an iron and scalded with boiling water by her employer Yim Pek Ha.
By John Roberts, 5 August 2004
US Attorney General John Ashcroft announced in late June that the Justice Department and FBI had indicted Anthonius Wamang over the August 2002 ambush of employees of the giant US-operated Freeport mine in West Papua that resulted in three deaths—two US teachers and an Indonesian colleague.
By John Roberts, 20 July 2004
With more than three quarters of the vote counted in the first round of the Indonesian presidential elections, no candidate has achieved an absolute majority. A run off on September 20 is now all but certain between the two leading candidates—Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, a retired army general, and the incumbent president Megawati Sukarnoputri.
By John Roberts, 3 July 2004
Campaigning by the five candidates contesting the politically powerful post of president of the Indonesian Republic officially ended on Wednesday. Voting in the country’s first-ever direct presidential election is due to take place on Monday.
By John Roberts, 22 June 2004
Earlier this month the Indonesian government expelled the staff of the International Crisis Group (ICG), a Brussels-based thinktank that has been critical of the repressive activities of the Indonesian armed forces (TNI), in Papua and Aceh in particular. This anti-democratic move was aimed not just at the ICG but at intimidating critics as the election campaign for the Indonesian presidency commenced.
By John Roberts, 15 June 2004
Communal violence in Ambon, the capital of Indonesia’s Maluku province (previously known as Molucca), over the past month has sparked fears of a return to fighting between Christian and Muslim militias that claimed up to 6,000 lives before a peace deal in February 2002.
By John Roberts and Peter Symonds, 2 June 2004
The campaign for the July 5 Indonesian presidential elections officially began this week with five candidates vying for the country’s most powerful post. The poll is the first-ever direct election for Indonesia’s head of state and is generally presented in the media as a further step towards democratic reform following the collapse of the Suharto dictatorship in 1998. In reality, all five contenders are based on similar right-wing programs and have close connections to the military and bureaucratic apparatus of the Suharto era.
By Peter Symonds, 22 April 2004
Just a fortnight before he was due to be released from jail, Indonesian police last Friday declared Islamic fundamentalist cleric Abu Bakar Bashir to be a “suspect” and thus subject to interrogation over new terrorism charges. Under the country’s anti-democratic laws, Bashir can be detained for up to six months without trial while the police investigation proceeds.
By John Roberts, 21 April 2004
Only six years after widespread protests forced military strongman Suharto from power, the main beneficiaries of the April 5 vote for Indonesia’s House of Representatives (DPR) are individuals and parties closely associated with the former US-backed dictatorship.
By Dragan Stankovic, 19 April 2004
At least 634 people have died so far this year in Indonesia from an outbreak of dengue fever that is the worst in years. As of April 13, the number of cases stood at 54,176, surpassing the total for the whole of 2003 and affecting 30 of the country’s 32 provinces. The number of deaths is twice the figure at the same time last year. In all, 743 people died from the disease in 2003.