Civil unrest broke out

In mainland Indonesia, corruption complaints increased as land disputes were likewise amplified. Strikes soon exhibited the mass discontent of Indonesians protesting against low wages and compulsory overtime which catapulted Suharto’s oppressive rule. The military were then recruited to intervene and strike leaders were taken into custody and submit letters of resignation. Continuing strikes also saw disgruntled employees being intimidated or beaten. Organizations working for the people rights were not permitted to expand nor recognized and the independent unions were actively suppressed.

In July 1996, increasing tensions in Inodnesia was caused by political tensions as a “greater share of the economic pie continued to be met with repression”. Civil unrest broke out in “Jakarta while riots in Irian Jaya simultaneously occurred in March, July and September; and June in East Timor”. The problems in 1991 continued as freedom of expression was suppressed this time with the inclusion of other non-government agencies and election monitoring groups. The government’s engineered ouster of Megawati Sukarnoputri faced resurging threats of communism and military abuses continued to rise.

Bloody riots took place and a repeat of the 1991 occurrence was staged when protesters were taken into custody, tortured and forced to confessed instigations of violence. Many Megawati supporters were denied access to legal defense while students and their affiliate groups stood to face blame. Government accountability with regards to persecutions remained low while the populace incessantly called for the government’s accountability. East Timor met a wide range of violations as civilian volunteers were trained to join the paramilitary forces.

Religious and ethnic violence became common as Indonesia felt compromised to encourage peace their way. East Timor saw religious strife which increased as civilians were apparently provoked by the newly trained paramilitary. Riots broke out “after an Indonesian guards posted derogatory captions on the picture of the Virgin Mary”. Violence broke out during protest marches and increasing “extrajudicial executions and torture continued in East Timor”. Suspicion of resistance activities faced heavy punishment and some were forcibly shot to death.

In Irian Jaya, tensions resulting from the army killing of civilians in the Timika area remained elevated. The involvement of Louisiana-based Freeport Mining as beneficiaries of the hold and copper mines in the area proffered an investigation . The military court soon “sentenced four soldiers to prison for killing three Timika villagers”. With the new-found vindication, demonstrations soon racked Irian Jaya as “rioters stormed and attacked security posts and mining company property”.

NGO’s were also accused of instigating and supporting the Papua Merdeka movement in the wake of 26 employees of Freeport being held as hostages for negotiations. In another region near the West Kalimantan, demonstrations were held in support of a local who was tortured for driving too fast near a security area. The demonstrators were withheld with force by the military resulting in the death of one villager. As the limelight was focused on the region, 14 military soldiers were sentenced.

Random riots also occurred in protest by students protesting fare hikes that resulted to a turmoil and death of five students who drowned after jumping in a nearby river to evade pursuing military soldiers. Twelve soldiers were indicted slowly taught a lesson to the controlling powers. 2005-2006 The implementation of the Aceh peace accord gave way to legal improvements in the justice system. Disappearances were minimized as the world trained its eye in Aceh after the Tsunami.

Unlawful killings declined in Aceh and Papua as soldiers were “made to answer the incidents on January 20 when they opened fire on a crowd in Panjai that led to the death of one Papuan and wounding two other”. No charges were ever filed by the end of the year however. In May, two persons were also killed in Papua as they tried to block the arrest of a local official accused of corruption. In neighboring Maluku, “the death of Deny Lewol was reported after police beat him in custody”.

Disappearances continued as 44 civilians and Human Rights NGO’s were killed in 2005 as the government made no further advances to settle the problems encountered in the 2004 abuse of East Java residents by police authorities. Indonesian law felt it wise to “overturn the murder conviction of Priyanto who was accused of poisoning human rights activist, Munir Thalib”. Despite apparent charges and evidence against him, “Priyanto was released after serving 21 months in prison bringing to attention a conspiracy that involved Indonesian authorities in silencing forever a human rights leader”.

Killings committed on demonstrators needed to be classified as gross human rights violations before they can even be fully tried in court or even subjected to massive investigation. Aceh however seemingly faced peace after the world trained its watchful eye on the province after the Tsunami disasters and no known killings were further committed after 2005. However, the 2004 and 2005 crimes in Aceh that left a few civilians dead remained unresolved as investigation process remains stalled. “Central Sulawesi in 2005 had faced increasing religious and ethnic problems” somewhat abated in 2006.

The religious attacks were at first part of a campaign to subdue Christianity similar to problems encountered in Malaku where “4 murders were only reported in the province in 2005”. Bombings and random murders were committed by Muslim extremists against Protestants that soon saw four men charged with the crime. Random acts of revenge were also committed by the minorities who sought revenge for the marked wrong-doings of the past. Such attacks however provoked violent replies that included murders and beatings of civilians in the aftermath of riots.