Since Suharto seized power in Indonesia in October 1965, impunity has been deeply entrenched in Indonesia. Although the fall of the dictator in May 1998 led to the introduction of the basic mechanisms of democracy, it has done nothing to end the scourge of impunity.
In 2009, TAPOL produced a series of election updates ahead of and during Indonesia's legislative and presidential elections. The updates, available in English and Indonesian, provided political analysis of the election process and featured a number of key issues, including women in parliament, impunity, the impact of elections in Aceh and West Papua, and the national human rights defenders' perspective.
As the 2014 elections approach, TAPOL hopes to provide similar coverage, during what promises to be a pivotal year for human rights, peace and democracy in Indonesia.
General elections in Indonesia are held every five years, the most recent one being in April 2009. But this time round, the elections in Aceh on the northern tip of Sumatra were very different.
Organising elections in huge countries like India and Indonesia is a logistical nightmare. Both countries held general elections in April, which proceeded relatively peacefully despite the many flaws.
In essence, Special Autonomy (Otonomi Khusus, OTSUS) is simple: its introduction to Papua clearly meant siding with, protecting and empowering the rights of the indigenous Papuan people.
This year’s elections raise a number of questions about the future for human rights in Indonesia. Chief among them are what are the parties’ and candidates’ policies on human rights.
Elections in Indonesia are now often regarded as genuine ‘festivals of democracy’, events to be celebrated after more than the three decades of dictatorship when elections were rigged and the outcome was always predictable.
With less than two months to go before Indonesians go to the polls in April 2009 for the third time since the restoration of democracy in 1998, campaigning has been underway for months.
2009 will be an important year for reformasi in Indonesia, which began in 1998 after the downfall of the dictatorial Suharto regime.
Elections are an indication of several things: the popularity or otherwise of the government as well as other political trends. In a complex country like Indonesia, they also involve efforts by groups within the power elite to secure victory or by those how have lost out to make a comeback.