Politics & democracy

Down to Earth No. 46, August 2000

In a recent article outlining the history of decentralisation in Indonesia, Trevor Buising states that the changes to be introduced by Law 22 "are not as great as imagined".

Down to Earth No. 45, May 2000

West Papua is facing an explosive political situation: Papuan independence leaders have been given more freedom to meet and express their demands than ever before during Indonesian rule, but this is happening against a background of continued political oppression and Jakarta's outright refusal to discuss independence.

Down to Earth No. 45, May 2000

Environment minister Sonny Keraf says the fate of PT Indorayon's North Sumatra pulp mill will be decided by June at the latest. The long dispute has become another test case. How far is the Indonesian government willing to ignore community opposition to damaging projects in order to reassure foreign investors?

Down to Earth No. 45, May 2000

Indigenous communities whose forests have been plundered by logging companies are demanding compensation for the damage. Deprived of the protection they enjoyed under former President Suharto, the companies are having to take them seriously.

Down to Earth No. 45, May 2000

Coastal communities are being impoverished by large-scale illegal fishing operations; the country's coral reefs are badly damaged and its mangroves are rapidly disappearing. Indonesia's coastal resources are facing a grave crisis. The question now is whether the government of President Wahid has the political commitment to stop the devastation.

Down to Earth No. 44, February 2000

Companies which have profited from Indonesia's iron-fisted rule in West Papua, may be starting to feel jittery as calls for independence grow more insistent.

On December 1st last year celebrations took place in towns all over West Papua to mark the 38th anniversary of independence, declared when the territory was still under Dutch rule.

Down to Earth No. 43, November 1999

East Timor has gained its freedom at a terrible cost. Now a traumatised population must start to rebuild their country. Substantial amounts of overseas aid may be needed, but East Timor's government-in-waiting should keep a cautious distance from some of those who are eager to offer funds.