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Excerpts from Indonesia chapter of the State of Conflict and Violence in Asia

October 20, 2017



The State of Conflict and Violence in Asia


* Rankings are based on the last 15 years and are relative to other Asian countries.

p 67

At a glance

National civil war Absent
National political conflict Low
Transnational terrorism Medium
Separatism and autonomy Shifted from high to low
Communal/ideological conflict Shifted from high to medium low
Local political and electoral conflict Medium low
Local resource conflict Medium
Urban crime and violence Low


Indonesia is regarded as a rare Asian example of a successful and enduring multicultural democracy. Yet today’s relatively peaceful Indonesia is the product of a history of periodic violence. Following independence from the Dutch, political forces engaged in a struggle to define Indonesia’s political and national identity, leading to the anticommunist massacres of 1965–66. The 1998 collapse of the New Order regime led to another period of violence, including large-scale ethnoreligious conflicts in several provinces and a surge in the civil war with separatist insurgents in Aceh. Democratization, decentralization, and a dynamic economy helped Indonesia overcome these challenges. Large-scale conflict has largely disappeared since 2005, but sporadic and localized forms of violence betray persistent issues with justice and governance, land, and natural resources management. The country’s tradition of religious pluralism is also under stress, as fringe Islamic groups and ideas have gained a growing influence over mainstream politics.

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