Overview/Background and Causes of Human Rights Violation:
-Unlike British colonialists who served their term in India and then returned to England, the pre-war Dutch looked upon the East Indies as their permanent home. In order to maintain power and influence over the region, the Dutch resisted native Indonesians' attempts to enter the civil service or to acquire a higher education. Then after the war, however, Indonesians were unwilling to return to their condition of servitude under the Dutch. They therefore put together a successful guerrilla army; hoping to gain power and hopefully independence. After losing the support of the United Nations and the United States, the Dutch finally agreed to grand Indonesia its independence in 1949.
-The new Indonesia, independent and no longer under Dutch rule, became the world's fourth most populated nation. It consisted of a diverse array of languages, ethnic groups, and territories. It also contained the world's largest Islamic population. Sukarno, leader of the Indonesian independence movement, took the official title of "life-time president", and attempted to reform the region into adopting a parliamentary democracy. However, despite his efforts, the attempt failed. In 1965, a group of junior army officers attempted a coup, which was suppressed by a general named Suharto. Suharto soon seized power for himself and began a "bloodbath" in which 500,000 to 1 million Indonesians were killed. Suharto was named official president in 1967; turned Indonesia into a police state and imposed frequent periods of martial law. he was heavily criticized for his annexation of East Timor in 1976 and for human right violations he imposed there.
-Suharto was an authoritarian leader who ruled for 32 years in Indonesia. He put down rebellion at the cost of thousands of lives, and exploiting the crisis, prevailed on Indonesia's first president Sukarno, to transfer power to him. Suharto built a strong centralized government, with the help of his political party called the New Order. Suharto also formed close relations with the West and opened Indonesia to foreign investment. However, Suharto's family and friends have been said to have taken much of the profits for their own use; Suharto and his children are believed to have taken a significant portion of the International Monetary Fund; approximately $43 billion for themselves.
-Suharto and his army launched an operation, aimed at suppressing communist influence; within a matter of months, thousands of suspected communists and and leftist supporters were killed in a shocking case of genocide. Suharto's reign was characterized by extrajudicial killings, rapes, beatings, torture, disappearances, and abuses by the military and security forces. The judiciary system was weak, corrupt, and politically subservient. Although over 40 parties participated in the 2000 presidential elections, the government still imposed limits on political assembly, though most demonstrations were supposed to be able to proceed. The country today still faces ethnic and religious and territorial conflicts, but more importantly, the conflict of criminal violence. In the absence of effective government, mobs and vigilante groups have taken the law into their own hands.


Actions Taken to Improve Situation:
-In October 2004, the first directly elected president of Indonesia, former general Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, took office promising a new commitment to democracy. However, his words not completely action; few weeks later, in November, the only Indonesian jailed for human rights abuses in connection with East Timor's independence was cleared on appeal.

Current Status:
-East Timor was able to free itself form Indonesian rule in 1999. The Chinese living in Indonesia met with discrimination, but were tolerated because of their financial contributions to the state. Christians were persecuted, and bribery and corruption became common. Unrest over government actions of repression and a "crippling" economic crisis moved Suharto to step down from rule in 1998. In a sign of hope for the future, the nation elected a new leader in 1999, Abdurrahman Wahid; the first democratic leader of Indonesia. Today it is still puzzling for many Chinese Indonesians; before they were singled out for persecution and even brutal murders. However many of the Chinese minority have adopted Indonesian names and converted to Islam, and yet, much of the country still singles the Chinese minority out.

WHY is this Important:
-This is important because again, if we allow authoritarian rulers to gain complete control of all aspects of life; if the people give the ruler the power to distinguish between who is accepted and who is not, the people of the nation are ultimately condemning themselves to a period of genocide, and oppression. Suharto, leader of Indonesia at one time, was able to stop rebellion and use violence to silence the voices of people who wanted to rebel and oppose his rule. Fear of communist traitors spurred a bloodbath that the world did not foresee. Today, political unrest exists and the economy has been crippled by the abuses of power which Suharto had engaged in as well as other officials.

Picture/Cartoon:
General Suharto was able to in 1965 successfully suppress a group of junior army officers who attempted a coup. he then seized power for himself and began a bloodbath in which close to 1 million Indonesians were killed. These Indonesians were killed under suspicion of their affiliation with other communist nations.
General Suharto was able to in 1965 successfully suppress a group of junior army officers who attempted a coup. he then seized power for himself and began a bloodbath in which close to 1 million Indonesians were killed. These Indonesians were killed under suspicion of their affiliation with other communist nations.


Video/Link:

So what?

Suharto's brutal thirty-year reign and the role of the United States in supporting him; Suharto rose to power in 1965, killing up to a million Indonesians. Hundreds of thousands of more people died during the U.S.-supported Indonesian invasion and occupation of East Timor. Even so, it seems that Suharto got away with the genocide and killings of innocent Indonesians, and the U.S. Ambassador to Indonesia has said that Suharto was a great leader, despite his murderous acts. If humanity chooses to be ignorant of what is genocide and what is justified and what is not, the episode of genocide will surely repeat itself in the future; further endangering millions or thousands of innocent people.

Sources:

1) Horvitz, Leslie Alan, and Christopher Catherwood. "Suharto." Encyclopedia of War Crimes and Genocide. New York: Facts On File, Inc., 2006. Modern World History Online. Facts On File, Inc. http://www.fofweb.com/activelink2.asp?ItemID=WE53&iPin=EWCG511&SingleRecord=True (accessed May 30, 2009).
2) Horvitz, Leslie Alan, and Christopher Catherwood. "human rights violations in Indonesia ." Encyclopedia of War Crimes and Genocide. New York: Facts On File, Inc., 2006. Modern World History Online. Facts On File, Inc. http://www.fofweb.com/activelink2.asp?
ItemID=WE53&iPin=EWCG259&SingleRecord=True (accessed May 30, 2009).