Sunday, July 31, 2011



*Sunday, July 31, 2011*


-- Resolving conflict in Indonesia

-- Balancing sustainability with economic development

-- 'No vigilantism during Ramadhan'

-- Eradicating corruption? Forgive corrupters, House speaker says

-- Cikeusik verdict 'chilling' message to minorities


*Resolving conflict in Indonesia*

Michael Vatikiotis, Singapore | Sat, 07/30/2011

These days it's so easy to look back at the past decade and marvel at Indonesia's transition to democracy.

But there are lessons to be learned from the successes and the failures of the reform era. One of the stand-out successes has been the country's ability to manage and resolve


The end of the authoritarian era under President Soeharto unleashed violent centrifugal forces that resulted in the deaths of thousands in places like West Kalimantan, Maluku and Poso in Central Sulawesi, and displaced more than a million people. The reform era also resulted in the ending of a long-running separatist conflict in Aceh.

There is much to be learned from the methods used to manage these conflicts. Although the case of Aceh is much trumpeted because international mediation was employed, there were homegrown political initiatives that ended the conflicts in Poso and Maluku, as well as significant but largely unsung contributions made by civil society.

Countries plagued by violence stemming from communal or separatist causes could learn from Indonesia's experience. Equally, it is important that Indonesia reflects on its own experience in order to deal with contemporary conflict situations, such as Papua, as well as anticipating conflicts that may arise in the future.

One of the lessons is that ending the violence is only the start of a process of resolving conflict. In the case of both Poso and Maluku, successful mitigation of the conflict resulted in promises of compensation and resettlement that were not properly implemented, which has resulted in continued discontent. The proportionate and judicious use of force is a key variable that Indonesia hasn't always managed well.

To this end, the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue teamed up with Indonesian academic experts and civil society activists to examine three different conflicts with a view to distilling lessons from the approaches to their management and resolution.

One of the key lessons derived from this study is that Indonesia's homegrown approach to conflict resolution has tended to be top down. Both the Malino I and Malino II agreements that ended violence in Poso and Maluku consecutively were not participatory processes in which local communities were involved, either in the planning or the implementation of the agreements.

Instead of identifying root causes and addressing the longer-term drivers of conflict they focused on physical recovery, reconstruction and the provision of emergency aid. This left them open to criticism as top down and short-lived efforts that ended the violence but left the legacy of violence --- issues of displacement, compensation and justice --- largely unaddressed. The danger is that leaves seeds of future conflict.

Civil society, and women in particular played important roles in informal reconciliation in Poso and Maluku, but these roles have been either missed or misunderstood. As a result formal peace processes in Indonesia have tended to marginalize civil society and the role of women in particular. For example, in negotiations that led to the Helsinki Agreement on Aceh, there was only one woman, and advisor to the Free Aceh Movement, involved in the process.

The under-estimation of the role of women, and the capacity of informal community organizations, means that preventing violent conflict at an early stage is more challenging.

There's an irony here. Indonesia is proud of the resilience of its community networks and structures, grounded in cultural traditions of cooperation and tolerance, yet with something so critical to social harmony as conflict management, there is a tendency to defer to centralized imperatives and bureaucratic procedure --- and all too easily resort to the use of force.

The conflict that poses the biggest threat to peace in Indonesia today is in Papua, where the indigenous Papuan community doesn't just dream unrealistically of independence from Jakarta, but sees its own existence threatened by encroaching demographic and environmental pressures. One of the opportunities that stems from the past decade of conflict management in Indonesia is the chance to avoid repeating past mistakes.

Peace in Maluku and Poso is less secure than it could be because both the Malino I and Malino II agreements were elite arrangements made without public participation. In the case of Papua, the careful, dedicated work of Papuan Pastor Neles Tebay and researcher Muridan Widjoyo in Jakarta offer a corrective. Through intensive public consultation on the ground in Papua, they have persuaded restive Papuans to accept peaceful dialogue with Jakarta. In response, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has assented to a "constructive communication" to discuss political issues that fuel discontent in Papua.

Building on valuable lessons from the management of past conflicts, hopefully the conflict in Papua will be addressed through peaceful dialogue leading to a political solution that doesn't need the glare of international publicity. As a maturing democratic country, Indonesia should be able to settle its own conflicts --- and help others to resolve theirs.

/The writer is the Asia Regional Director of the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue. The report on the conflicts in Maluku, Poso and Papua can be downloaded at /


Balancing sustainability with economic developmentifshitz, Jakarta | Fri,

Natural resources have historically been responsible for growing economies. Much of the developed world has long ago been through the cycle of utilizing natural resources to bring people out of poverty.

By contrast, developing countries are relatively new to this process. Yet despite their newcomer status, some emerging economies have been quick to learn from both the successes and failures of developed nations in the quest to build their economies, while simultaneously conserving their natural heritage. Indonesia is one of these countries.

Revered as the world's largest archipelago, Indonesia is spread over thousands of islands spanning from Asia to Australia and contains some of the most diverse flora and fauna populations on earth. Indonesia is home to the world's third largest tropical forest, which is considered not only a national asset and global public good, but also an important contributor to the country's GDP.

World Bank figures show that forestry, agriculture, and mining together contribute approximately 25 percent of Indonesia's GDP and nearly 30 percent to overall government budget revenue. Importantly, the forest also remains central to the livelihoods of nearly 35 percent of Indonesians who live in rural areas, below the poverty line, according to the Central Bureau of Statistics (BPS).

In recent years, Indonesia has suffered an unprecedented number of setbacks that have impacted its economy, including the tsunami of December 2004, earthquakes in 2005 and 2006, a global spike in rice and other food and energy commodity prices, along with random terrorist attacks. Against this backdrop, Indonesia has established priorities to ensure sustainable development occurs.

These priorities are economic development to alleviate poverty, social welfare and environmental protection, which includes protection of high conservation value forests, biodiversity, endangered species and actions to tackle climate change. As in the developed world, it requires the government, NGOs, consumers and the private sector to work together to take action on these priorities and ensure success.

Multinational corporations, NGOs and governments around the world each play a critical role in helping solve the challenges of effecting societal improvements with natural resource preservation. This begins of course with job creation.

In Indonesia, we know that the income multiplier effect for non-food agriculture, such as forestry is estimated at 2.30. For every US$1 increase in non-food agriculture production, Indonesian incomes are estimated to rise by $2.30 (Bautista, R.M. Robinson, S. and El-Said, 1999). Indonesians employed by the forestry industry and those in ancillary industries enjoy a better quality of life, often preventing a slide into poverty when basic living costs outpace standard incomes.

Corporations can also provide direct private investment in country programs that support education, skills-training, some provision of medical care, entrepreneurial community enterprises and disaster relief, which often make a dramatic and immediate impact in the lives of the people who need it most.

Clearly, it's important that the corporation evaluates where these investments are earmarked, but the fact remains that many organizations in the developing world are the true drivers of change and positive growth for populations who are otherwise underserved.

While corporations making these and other economic development investments are critical drivers of growth in developing countries, their focus must also be rooted in drivers that in turn enhance sustainability. Irrespective of geography, the focus of a company's sustainability program most readily ties to the company's core business.

Climate change is an increasingly pressing and critical global issue, which can only be addressed through a strong commitment to sustainability. Whether at the international, national or sub-national level, sustainability is everybody's business. The global paper industry, like others, is in the process of making significant changes, which in turn opens the opportunity to reduce its environmental impact.

Some forest companies operating in the Asia-Pacific region are deploying more efficient paper making technology, which allows them to produce on average, lower carbon emissions than most Northern European or American paper makers. What's more, regional pulpwood plantations sequester 30 times more carbon than those found in other major paper-making geographies.

Unlike other industries such as fossil fuel and mining, pulp and paper making is a 100 percent renewable, recyclable resource. Taking reforestation efforts one step further, in addition to supporting government and NGO-backed conservation reserves, corporations can also develop their own land conservation programs to protect and manage areas of significant biodiversity and/or cultural significance.

Given the size of the challenge though, reforestation is a concern that can only be properly addressed when governments, NGOs, indigenous people and the private sector work together to ensure sustainable forest management. In Indonesia, like many developing nations, poverty is the root cause of illegal logging. Eliminate poverty and you eliminate the root cause of unsanctioned forest management.

The twin needs of economic development and sustainability make effective program development and implementation in developing countries a particular challenge. In the end, the same drive, dedication and collaboration evidenced in the private sector will also lead the effort to innovate lasting improvements for developing countries. Together, we have much to gain for the generations to come.

/The writer is the sustainability and public outreach manager for Asia Pulp and Paper in North America. The opinions expressed are his.



'No vigilantism during Ramadhan'

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Sun, 07/31/2011

Regional authorities have warned people against carrying out vigilante street raids as the Islamic fasting month approaches.

The Yogyakarta administration has banned the sale of alcohol during the period and encouraged the public to report any violations to the authorities.

"We will act [against the violators]. People do not need to take action themselves, as this could possibly be a contravention of public order," Yogyakarta Mayor Herry Zudianto said Friday at an event to destroy thousands of bottles of alcoholic beverages.

"The destruction of the alcoholic drinks sends a message that we will be tough against those creating disorder, so that people can fast in comfort and security," he said.

Authorities destroyed drinks seized from 31 unlicensed vendors.

"We have been conducted raids for the past three months," Yogyakarta Police chief Sr. Comr. Mustaqim said.

Police also had the vendors sign a declaration vowing to no longer sell alcohol.

"If they are found to be selling alcohol, they will go to jail," Mustaqim was quoted as saying by Antara news agency.

Red light districts are also being targeted by authorities.

Police in Gunung Kidul in Yogyakarta and in Klaten, Central Java, also warned mass organizations against carrying out vigilante acts.

"Raids by mass organizations could trigger potential conflict," Adj. Sr. Comr. Asep Nalaludin said Saturday in Wonosari, Gunung Kidul.

Last year, 250 members of the hard-line Islam Defenders Front (FPI) reportedly raided several hotels and entertainment centers in Medan, North Sumatra.

Klaten Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Kalingga Rendra Raharja said police were prepared for such illegal raids and the chaos they would create.

Ramadhan is likely to begin on Monday. Non-mainstream Muslims may observe Ramadhan a few days earlier, although there have been no reports of this so far.

The religious affairs agency in Kupang, East Nusa Tenggara, a predominantly Catholic province, called on Muslims to wait for the official announcement of the start of the holy month.

"All Muslims are advised to wait for the government announcement," agency official Muhammad Moa said.

Demand for basic goods usually increases during the fasting month, as is occurring in Bengkulu.

"Most residents enough basic good for the following week. This has led to a 20 percent increase in demand," Asril, a seller at Bengkulu's Panorama Market, said.

--- /Slamet Susanto contributed to the report from Yogyakarta


Eradicating corruption? Forgive corrupters, House speaker says

Adianto P. Simamora, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Sat, 07/30/2011

As his party struggles to cope with a wave of graft allegations, House speaker and Democratic Party politician Marzuki Alie suggested that the country pardon corrupters as a means of eradicating corruption.

The ever-controversial politician said that it was one of the potential solutions to ending corruption in Indonesia, besides enacting a law on a reverse burden of proof mechanism.

"We forgive all [corruptors]. We ask them to bring their money from abroad, but we tax it," he said, adding that he felt the country had wasted too much time to settle past corruption cases. "We are tired of dealing with the past [corruption cases]."

The other solution, according to Marzuki, is to require all transactions valued over Rp 1 million (US$117) be done via banking rather than cash. "There should be no more cash purchases of land, motorcycles or cars --- all should be through banks," he said.

His call comes as criticism mounted against the Democratic Party for failing to clear allegations on graft cases made by its former treasurer and fugitive graft suspect Muhammad Nazaruddin.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's Democratic Party has been at the center of debate over the previous two months after Nazaruddin accused a number of politicians from the party of also being involved in cases tainted by graft.

Nazaruddin accused Democratic Party chairman Anas Urbaningrum of amassing illegal money from several projects funded by the state budget, some of which reportedly may have contributed to his winning bid for the party's chairmanship in 2010.

Nazaruddin continues to spread his allegations, saying he had colluded with Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) deputy for enforcement Insp. Gen Ade Rahardja to discuss the graft cases linked to Democratic Party politicians Bandung Mayor Dada Rosada and Kutai Timur Regent Isran Noor. During some of his meetings with the KPK, Nazaruddin admitted he was accompanied by Democratic Party lawmakers, including Saan Mustopa and Benny Kabur Harman.

Marzuki also suggested on Friday that the KPK be disbanded if there were no credible candidates to lead the KPK as an hoc body to wipe out corruption in the country.

"The KPK is an ad hoc body. If we no longer trust it, why do we have it? It has yet to bring change. It tends to carry out political maneuvering rather than eradicate corruption," he said as quoted by


Cikeusik verdict 'chilling' message to minorities

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Fri, 07/29/2011

In a verdict that was blasted by human rights advocates and the global community as a blow to religious freedom, a Banten court gave a slap on the wrist to 12 people involved in killing three Ahmadis in Cikeusik the Feb. 6.

The Serang District Court sentenced the 12 defendants on Thursday to between three and six months in jail for "inciting hatred" against the minority Ahmadis.

The 10 defendants, including cleric Ujang Muhammad Arif, who allegedly incited the attack on the Ahmadis, were sentenced to six months in jail. One defendant, Idis bin Mahdani, was sentenced to five months and 15 days in prison, while juvenile defendant Dani bin Misra was sentenced to three months in prison.

They were cleared of all other charges, which included illegal possession of sharp weapons, destruction of property, mistreatment of others, participating in an assault, involvement in an attack and attacking others and causing serious injury or death.

Presiding judge Cipta Sinuraya was quoted by as saying that the deadly attack was actually provoked by the Ahmadis. He said that the 12 defendants deserved light sentences because they showed deep regret for their actions.

The controversial verdict, which is slightly lighter than the prosecutors' demands, has triggered a storm of criticism from human rights defenders and the international community including the United States and the European Union.

Human Rights Watch says the light sentences "reflect the authorities' weak efforts to prosecute the case".

Elaine Pearson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch, says the trial sends "the chilling message that attacks on minorities like the Ahmadiyah will be treated lightly by the legal system".

The US said in a statement that it was disappointed by "the disproportionately light sentences" and called on Indonesia to "defend its tradition of tolerance for all religions".

The EU also joined the criticism, saying that it shared the concerns "voiced by many Indonesians that sentences imposed for violent crimes against religious or other minorities should always be commensurate with the gravity of the crimes committed".

The Institute for Policy Research and Advocacy (Elsam) focused its criticism on the weak charges brought against the defendants. Elsam director Indriaswati Dyah Saptaningrum said the killing was no ordinary crime. "Three people were killed during the riot. We should not charge the defendants only with public incitement."

This is not the first time that radicals committing religious violence were found guilty of only public incitement.

In June, Syihabuddin was sentenced to one year in prison for inciting a riot in Temanggung that led to the burning of three churches. In 2008, Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) leader Rizieq Shihab was sentenced to 18 months in prison by the Central Jakarta District Court for inciting hatred and instigating violence against participants of a peace rally at the National Monument (Monas).

Unlike the Cikeusik riot, there were no fatalities in the Temanggung and Monas incidents.

Dyah said the Ciekusik trial should be seen as a warning to minorities that the judiciary might not save them from persecution. "The judiciary is powerless to punish radical groups that assault minorities."

The defendants' lawyer from the Muslim Defense Team (TPM), Mahendradatta, said his clients cannot be blamed for the attack on the Ahmadis. "The Ahmadis started the riot. That's clear," he said.

"So many people get [the defendants] wrong. I think this is another form of human rights violation against my clients," he added.

He said his team agreed that the investigation should find the people behind the riot, but he refused to say his clients were responsible for killing the three Ahmadis. "I agree that we should find the masterminds, but who are they?"

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