The Indonesian military and counter-terrorism: new business, same old ways

5 Oct 2021

Increasing militarization for most Indonesians appears to be limited to West Papua and Poso. However, D-88 has already abused its mandate in Java in pursuit of alleged terrorists without having been properly held to account by Government Institutions (including the National Commission for Human Rights, Komnas HAM) or other civil society organisations that may fear the consequences of questioning the legality of its operations. Likewise, the military operates in plain sight in Java with a visible public role, pronouncing on political affairs and with former army officers assuming roles in Government and the civil service. In other words, security force operations against ‘terrorists’ in West Papua are not as distant as is assumed. But this also means that with coordinated effort, the public in Indonesia and beyond may yet have the potential to hold their power to account and end impunity.

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