Jayapura – Indonesian police late Friday lowered the separatist Morning Star flag in the capital of rebellious Irian Jaya province, to comply with a government-mandated midnight deadline.
Indonesia & East Timor Digest
December 2, 2000
Marianne Kearney – Indonesian police moved against separatist forces in the restive province of Irian Jaya, detaining four pro-independence civilian guards for insulting the Indonesian flag, as the territory marked the 39th anniversary of its independence.
Vaudine England, Jakarta – The indigenous Papuans of Irian Jaya celebrated their claimed independence day yesterday with prayers, peaceful ceremonies and a welcoming speech from the police chief.
Lindsay Murdoch, Jayapura – Indonesian police with riot shields, padded uniforms and automatic weapons stare grimly at barely clothed men from the remote mountains of West Papua in a surreal stand-off that will inevitably lead to bloodshed.
R. Senthilnathan, Geneva – Canada's trade ties with its largest Asean partner Indonesia have suffered a blow as Ottawa has asked local companies to think twice before buying up assets of their troubled business partners in Indonesia.
Marianne Kearney, Jakarta – Indonesian Islamic groups, which attacked several nightspots this week, have threatened to close down nightclubs, karaoke bars and other entertainment outlets. The threat comes after the government failed to impose a blanket ban on them during the Muslim fasting month.
Jakarta – The Chinese Indonesian community is still being discriminated against by the authorities despite the move by President Abdurrahman Wahid to allow them to openly practise their religion and perform traditional Chinese ceremonies, said a local sociologist.
December 1, 2000
The Indonesian justice system is in crisis as former President Suharto's son, Tommy, is on the run from an 18-month jail term for corruption and notorious militia leader, Eurico Guterres, implicated in crimes against humanity in East Timor, is feted as a national hero. A new law on human rights courts has been passed, but may not be effective in dealing with past crimes.
Jakarta – Indonesian share prices, which dropped 1.54 percent over the week, were likely to remain static in the coming week amid ongoing political tension and a holiday-shortened trading month, analysts said Friday.
Rizal Maslan/Fitri & BI, Jakarta – Indonesian Forum for the Environment (WALHI) blamed excessive exploitation on natural resources as well as environment degradation as on of the significant factors that cause spate of floods in Java and Sumatra recently.
Jakarta – At 53 years of age, Murad is about to start a new life. After almost two decades of living and working in Aceh, Murad has been forced to return to his hometown in Java, with just the clothes on his back and the few items he and his family could carry.
Jakarta – Muslim activists condemned on Thursday the raids on various entertainment centers conducted by the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI), saying that the group did not represent the whole Muslim community.
Jakarta – The South Jakarta District Court cleared on Thursday Indonesian Democratic Union Party (PUDI) chairman Sri Bintang Pamungkas of subversion charges and ordered the government to publicly rehabilitate his name.
Michael Richardson, Tembagapura – Nestled in a small valley 1,850 meters above sea level with cliffs and forest-clad mountains towering above, this company mining town with its subsidized canteen, store, clubs and bars is aptly called Tembagapura, or Copper City, in the Indonesian language.
Banda Aceh – The Free Aceh Movement (GAM) is seeking to delay further talks with the government of Indonesia scheduled to be held in Geneva, Switzerland on December 5 and December 6.
Spokesman for GAM at the Geneva talks, Sofyan Ibrahim Diba, told reporters here on Thursday that when GAM agreed to the dates, no one remembered that December 4 was the anniversary of GAM.
Banda Aceh – Indonesian police opened fire and killed five people in the restive province of Aceh, just four days prior to the 25th anniversary of the separatist Free Aceh Movement (GAM), residents said Friday.
Jakarta – Former forestry ministers Hasjrul Harahap and Djamaludin Suryohadikusumo shifted the blame for two allegedly fraudulent mapping projects involving defendant Mohamad "Bob" Hasan to former president Soeharto on Thursday.
Jakarta – Police on Friday fired teargas to disperse some 300 students from Indonesia's rebellious province of Irian Jaya who staged a pro-independence rally outside the US embassy here.
At least three students were injured as the police moved in and started beating up students who had been waving the separatist Morning Star flag, an AFP reporter said.
Jayapura – This Irian Jaya capital erupted in euphoria late Friday as police gave in to fierce popular demand and let the banned Morning Star separatist flag continue flying.
November 30, 2000
Jakarta – Key dates in the history of the Indonesian province of Irian Jaya, otherwise known as West Papua, where separatists Friday will mark the 39th anniversary of their declaration of independence.
1824: An Anglo-Dutch treaty gives Irian Jaya to the Netherlands.
Vaudine England, Jakarta – Fighting between Christian and Muslim villages has flared again in the provinces of Maluku and North Maluku, as experts forecast an eventual partition of the islands with communities of displaced persons.
Jakarta – An Indonesian Christian activist claimed Thursday that 46 people had been slaughtered on a small island of the Malukus chain for refusing to convert to Islam.
Jakarta – One hundred and fifty one members of Indonesia's 500- member lower house of parliament have issued a petition calling for the censure of President Abdurrahman Wahid, whom they accuse of constitutional violations. The petition, which urges the house to issue a memorandum censuring Wahid, was handed to house speaker Akbar Tanjung late Wednesday.
Jakarta – Some 134,000 East Timor refugees residing in East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) province will have to decide whether to stay or leave the country in a one-day registration slated for December 13, officials said on Wednesday.
Jakarta – Irian Jaya Police arrested on Wednesday proindependence figure Theys Hiyo Eluay for alleged treason as people in the province were bracing for a rally to commemorate the unrecognized 1961 declaration of independence on Friday.
Vaudine England, Jakarta – Confusion in Indonesia surrounding the whereabouts of Hutomo "Tommy" Mandala Putra has reached new levels with the naming of his father-in-law as a possible conspirator in his disappearance, and persistent rumours of a deal with the President to allow his escape.
Agencies in Jakarta and Jayapura – Police in Irian Jaya yesterday arrested Papuan independence leader Theys Hiyo Eluay for allegedly fomenting rebellion as the troubled province geared up to commemorate the 39th anniversary of its failed effort to win independence.
November 29, 2000
Max Lane – Since August, a new left-wing theoretical magazine, Jurnal Kiri (Left Journal), has been published in Indonesia.
Three editions of the 160-page magazine have appeared. Its general editor is Marlin, who is also member of the editorial board of Links, an Australian-based Marxist journal.
Tim Dodd – Like the two frayed ends of a rope, the provinces at either end of the 5,000km-long Indonesian archipelago are the weak points which look ready to unravel the country.
They are like two opposite poles which are pulling at Indonesia's fragile unity – Aceh, the Muslim province at the extreme west and Irian Jaya, the mainly Christian province in the extreme east.
Budi Sugiharto/Hendra & GB, Surabaya – Around 60 private school teachers from the Private School Teachers Communication Forum (FKGS) staged a demonstration at the Surabaya City Legislative Council in East Java. They urged the Council to clarify legal protection and private school teachers' rights.
Jon Land – On November 21, some 400 East Timorese refugees were repatriated from West Timor. This was the first coordinated return of refugees since the murder of UN workers in the West Timor town of Atambua on September 6.
Vanja Tanaja, Dili – Five women considered to be "indecently" dressed were chased by a mob of mainly young men near the Mercado Lama (Central Market) here on November 10. Four managed to hide in an NGO-run clinic which was then stoned by the mob. Another was dragged by the mob to UN Civilian Police Headquarters.
Max Lane, Jakarta – Demonstrations and protests are a daily feature of life in Indonesia today. "Traffic jam, pak, two demos today" is a common refrain from taxi drivers.
The TV news and newspapers are also peppered with reports of different "showings of feelings" from all around the country.
Vaudine England – Jakarta is working on faulty information and might be "stupid" for its plans to stifle independence sentiment in Irian Jaya, a leading Papuan human rights advocate says.
James Balowski – For the first time since the overthrow of former President Suharto, the Indonesian government has arrested and charged a human rights activist under the notorious "sowing hatred" articles of the Indonesian Criminal Code. The maximum sentence is six year's jail.
November 28, 2000
Vaudine England, Jakarta – Ramadan in Indonesia is a time for heightened tempers on the subject of sin, and this year it could mean a month of unemployment for everyone in the entertainment industry.
Heather Paterson, Dili – Thousands of people rallied in Dili on Tuesday to mark the 25th anniversary of East Timor's initial declaration of independence, giving a hero's welcome to the territory's first president, Fransisco Xavier do Amaral.
Robert Go, Jakarta – Potential investors seeking bargains from the restructuring agency, Ibra, might have to keep their wallets buttoned up, if two of the country's biggest tycoon-debtors succeed in pushing the government to revise debt-repayment deals signed two years ago.
Singapore – Singapore on Tuesday broke its silence on a tirade by Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid but avoided commenting on his threat to cut off the island-state's water supply.
Budi Sugiharto/Fitri & BI, Jakarta – A massive but peaceful rally staged factory workers had turned into a riot, when a group angry demonstrators started to destroy and loot a total of nine vehicles parked at the government's buildings, in Surabaya, East Java on Tuesday.
Don Greenlees, Jakarta – It is easy to see what has gone wrong for Indonesia in Irian Jaya. On the Jayapura airport road, a Buginese taxi driver who has lived in the city for 30 years refers to indigenous Papuans as "orang hutan" (orang-outang) and in case his passengers don't get the point he adds "monyet" (monkey).
November 27, 2000
Reuters in Jakarta – Indonesia is running a secret campaign to stop the rich and restive province of Irian Jaya breaking away, using a combination of bullying, clandestine operations and persuasion, internal documents show.
Jakarta – Indonesia's Parliament maintained a "soft" approach to the separatist movements in Aceh yesterday by rejecting civil-emergency status and promising better law enforcement for the troubled province. But it underlined that Jakarta would not tolerate further questioning of its sovereignty.
Jakarta – Refugee repatriation agencies hailed the return to East Timor of a group of demobilised soldiers as a success, but refugee leaders in West Timor said Monday reported attacks on returning soldiers were setting back further repatriation efforts.
Mark Dodd, Kupang – Francisco Soares is finally going home. After drawn out negotiations the Indonesian Army has finally settled his salary arrears and paid his pension. The United Nations has promised that he and his family will be protected. So he and his family will go back to his old home in Los Palos, on the eastern tip of East Timor, and start a new life as a rice farmer.
Jakarta – Armed with long wooden sticks and attired in their green and white outfits, dozens of members of the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) perpetrated more acts of vandalism on Sunday by attacking several restaurants, cafes and small street kiosks, which they labeled immoral places.
Warren Caragata – Only a year ago, Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid seemed determined to patch up relations with Singapore, home of billions of dollars in Indonesian capital controlled by ethnic Chinese business who fled after the 1998 Jakarta riots. Singapore was Wahid's first foreign stop after his election last year, and his overtures to a country that predecessor B.J.
A Dipta Anindita/Hendra & GB, Jakarta – A Special Committee (Pansus) has been formed by the House to investigate the Trisakti and Semanggi I and II incidents when innocent protesters were shot during the final days of the New Order regime of presidents Suharto and Habibie.
Hong Kong – The humanitarian situation in Indonesia's embattled Maluku islands is worsening as a result of the influx of Islamic Jihad or holy war warriors aided by rogue external elements, a rights group said Monday.