Indonesia 2003

Indonesia Border Map

In 2003, Indonesia was a large and diverse country located in Southeast Asia with a population of around 220 million people. It was the fourth most populous country in the world and the 15th largest in terms of land area. According to computergees, the capital city was Jakarta and the official language was Indonesian. The economy had been growing steadily since the late 1990s thanks to reforms implemented by the government which had increased foreign investment, reduced taxes on businesses, and allowed more competition in certain industries. Despite this economic success, poverty remained a major issue in Indonesia with millions of people living below the poverty line. Education levels were low compared to other countries in Asia, but healthcare access had improved due to government efforts to expand access to public health services. Crime rates were high compared to other countries in Asia, but there were no reports of political violence in 2003. The government at the time was led by President Megawati Sukarnoputri who had been in power since 2001 and had implemented several economic reforms such as reducing tariffs on imports and introducing labor reforms. Despite its vast size, Indonesia maintained strong cultural ties to its neighbors including its unique cuisine as well as its rich history of literature, music and art forms such as Hinduism and Buddhism which have been passed down for centuries.

Yearbook 2003

Indonesia. Following the terrorist attack in Bali in October 2002, which killed 202 people, including six Swedes, the investigation soon pointed to the organization Jemaa Islamiyya (JI), which was believed to have links to the al-Qaeda terror network. About thirty people were arrested and brought to trial.

According to, Indonesia Independence Day is August 17. Three of the leaders were sentenced to death: 33-year-old Abdul Aziz, known as Imam Samudra, who planned the bombing, 41-year-old Amrozi bin Nurhasyim, who led the practical preparations, and 43-year-old Ali Gufron, alias Mukhlas, described as JI: s operating manager and who approved the attack and led the financing.

Most others were sentenced to long prison terms. 65-year-old Islamic leader Abu Bakar Baasyir was sentenced to four years in prison for overthrowing activities, after a trial in which he was charged with participation in blast attacks against churches and for planning to assassinate President Megawati Sukarnoputri. Baasyir has long been designated as the spiritual leader of Jemaa Islamiyya, which, however, prosecutors could not prove. For example, Baasyir avoided a much stricter penalty for treason.

At a suicide attack in August against a luxury hotel in Jakarta, at least twelve people were killed. Jemaa Islamiyya was also suspected of this act. In the province of Aceh on Sumatra, it was clear early on that the peace agreement signed by the government with the separatist guerrilla Movement for a Free Aceh (GAM, Gerakan Aceh Merdeka) in December 2002 was about to crash. The army and guerrillas accused each other of breach of contract and the government was upset that GAM did not give up the demand for independence for the province. The agreement granted Aceh far-reaching self-government.

Since negotiations in Tokyo in May to rescue the peace agreement had been stranded, the government gave orders for a major military offensive. The government side deployed nearly 40,000 soldiers and police against the guerrilla’s approximately 5,000 men, but the offensive dragged on over time and military spokesmen said after a few months it could take several years to crush the resistance.

Human rights organizations raised alarms about the difficult situation of the civilian population in areas that the army had blocked off with a view to stripping weapons supplies and supplies to GAM.

The offensive in Aceh also led to diplomatic developments between Indonesia and Sweden, where several of GAM’s top political leaders reside. However, Indonesian attempts to get the Swedish government to intervene against the GAM leaders did not produce any results. Indonesian organizations called for a boycott of Swedish goods.

Following the unveiling in the United States in December 2014 of the CIA’s extensive torture programs, Senator Tom Udall made a proposal to Congress that all documents relating to the United States’ participation in the massacre of up to one million Indonesians in 1965-66 should be declassified and published.

Also in December, soldiers and policemen shot and killed 4 men and wounded several others in Paniai, Irian Jaya. A 5th man later died from his wounds in the hospital. The men took part in a demonstration against the military’s Special Team Battalion 753 which the night before had beaten a boy from the village of Ipakije.

Throughout 2015, Indonesia executed a host of foreigners and Indonesians sentenced to death for drug trafficking. In January, a Brazilian and a Dutchman were executed. Both countries subsequently withdrew their ambassadors. In March, Australia tried to stave off the execution of 2 Australian citizens. In vain. Indonesia executed them both in April. Australia then withdrew its ambassador and halved its assistance to Indonesia in May. Amnesty International criticized the lawsuits where the execs had been sentenced and ruled that they had not received a fair trial. A former judge in the Indonesian Constitutional Court indicated that it was President Widodo who was personally pushing for the death sentences to be executed. In July, there were still 130 deaths in the country.

At the request of the IMF, in January 2015, the president removed the subsidies for gasoline. It immediately triggered demonstrations in several major cities. In March, the price of fuel was then sharply reduced. Officially, the subsidies were not implemented, so it was instead the state oil company Pertamina that had to bear the loss for the lowered prices.

Economic growth slowed through 2015, inflation rose correspondingly and the currency weakened. In August, the president then replaced his economic key ministers.

The Danish-American film director Joshua Oppenheimer’s film about the 1965 genocide, The act of Killing, was fully filled in 2014 by the movie The look of Silence. The film began showing in Indonesia in 2015 and raised considerable debate on the subject and the failure to prosecute the mass murderers who continue to roam freely. The government again responded with censorship and banned mention of the events in 1965.

Throughout 2016, the Electronic Information and Transaction (ITE) censorship legislation was used as an instrument in 2016 to close the mouth of human rights organizations and opposites. Chief Controller of the human rights organization KontraS, Haris Azhar was threatened by police, military and narcotics with defamation charges after he published an article on social media linking officers in the security forces to drug crime and corruption.

The state and spontaneous persecution of religious minorities increased during 2016. In January, the mob burned down 9 houses belonging to members of the Gafatar movement in the Menpawah district of western Kalimantan. Subsequently, authorities relocated 2,000 members of the movement. First internally at Kalimantan and then to Java, without having been consulted or asked for. In February, the Ministry of Religious Affairs and State Attorney Gafatar banned the faith of the movement. In May, three of the movement’s leaders were arrested and charged with blasphemy. Throughout 2016, members of the Ahmadiyya community were subjected to persecution by the authorities and local authorities.

Indonesia Border Map

Republic of Indonesia Brief Guide

According to AbbreviationFinder, Indonesia is a state in Southeast Asia. It consists of a total of 17,508 islands, making it the largest archipelago state in the world. Indonesia has a population of over 234 million people. It is the world’s fourth most populous state and the largest Muslim-majority country, although officially it is not an Islamic republic. The capital of the country is Jakarta. Indonesia has a land border with three states, Papua New Guinea, East Timor and Malaysia. Other states in its vicinity include Singapore, the Philippines, Australia and the Indian Andaman and Nicobar Territories.

Food and drink
Indonesian cuisine varies by region, season and social class. The food culture has been influenced by Chinese, Western, Indian and Middle Eastern cuisines. Indonesian cuisine reflects typical Asian cuisine, where the cooking methods are deep frying, steaming, woking and grilling. A lot of different spice pastes (bumbu) are used, which contain e.g. shallots and garlic, chili, turmeric, ginger, galangal, tamarind, lemongrass and shrimp paste. The paste is fried in oil for a few minutes, after which the meat is added and finally coconut milk or chicken broth. Banana leaves are also used for stewing and serving food. Rice is often the main raw material served with a variety of spicy meat and vegetarian dishes. Noodles are also used. The food can be served with “krupuje” which are crispy shrimp chips. Traditional dishes include nasi goreng, or fried rice, which combines fried rice, vegetables and fried egg. Gado-gado is an Indonesian salad with boiled or steamed vegetables combined with tofu, tempi or eggs. The most important part of the salad is the nut sauce, which combines all the flavors. The Moluccas and Sulawesi eat more sago and West Timor eat more corn than rice. Water and beverages must be industrially bottled. It is also a good idea to rinse fruits and vegetables with bottled water. Heated or tablet-purified water can be drunk. Reheated foods should be avoided.

Good to know
We ask participants to respect the customs and people of the country and also to dress accordingly. Women in particular should avoid clothes that are too tight and reveal the surface when moving around the cities. (In Bali, clothing is mostly looser, although more opaque clothing is needed when visiting temples.)