Following months of sectarian protests and tensions, President “Jokowi” Widodo 10 July signed decree allowing authorities to disband organisations considered to pose threat to national unity, by amending existing law regulating mass organisations and allowing govt to circumvent lengthy court processes to implement bans. Moderate Islamic groups supported move, however human rights groups criticised amendments. Using new decree, govt 19 July revoked legal status of Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia, which advocates establishment of Islamic caliphate and Sharia law in Indonesia. Govt 14 July blocked web versions of encrypted Telegram instant messaging app, said it would ban app completely if it continues to be forum for propaganda and calls for violence.
A dispute over a flag in Aceh is testing the limits of autonomy, irritating Indonesia’s central government, heightening ethnic tensions, reviving a campaign for the division of the province and raising fears of violence as the 2014 national elections approach.
Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono needs to act more firmly against institutions and officials that defy national court rulings or his inaction risks prolonging local conflicts.
The only measure likely to halt violence in Indonesia’s Papua province in the short term is a major overhaul of security policy.
Almost ten years after the 2002 Bali bombing, Indonesian extremists are weak and divided but still finding partners for new operations.
Election monitors should begin deployment to Aceh long before the 9 April election to deter intimidation.
Despite years of investment in community policing, the Indonesian police remain deeply distrusted by the people they are supposed to serve.
Lecture by Sidney Jones at International Policy Studies program of Stanford University, 5 December 2012.
Originally published in The Interpreter
Originally published in The Jakarta Globe
Originally published in Myanmar Times