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Home » » Indonesia cannot be complacent

Indonesia cannot be complacent

Written By Voice Of Baptist Papua on September 5, 2011 | 8:09 PM

The remarkable transition to democracy by Indonesia after the fall of Suharto is showing signs of wear and tear.

Indonesia, the world's largest Muslim society, is often held up as a model for Arab reformers. When Suharto fell in 1998 after three decades of authoritarian rule, Indonesia managed to keep both Islamist extremists and the army out of government. Instead, civil society groups led Indonesia's ''spring'', pushing a panicked elite to deliver liberal democracy and an open society.

The third (and related) problem is human rights. Democratic Indonesia has a strong record of signing up to international treaties but less success in implementing them. Long-running separatism in West Papua has recently led to episodes of military torture, and 21 deaths in violence at local elections. Government responses have been mainly rhetoric and wrist-slapping, despite calls for a more concrete political solution. Indonesian legislators, however, reacted angrily to criticism by international human rights groups, in scenes reminiscent of Suharto-era defensiveness.Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/politics/indonesia
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