Death penalty retentionist
Population 230 million
Life expectancy 70.5 years
Under-5 mortality (m/f) 37/27 per 1,000
Adult literacy 92 per cent
There were violent clashes throughout the year in Papua and its population continued to face severe restrictions of their rights to freedom of expression and assembly. Members of the police reportedly used torture and other ill-treatment, and unnecessary or excessive force sometimes leading to unlawful killings throughout the archipelago. The criminal justice system remained unable to address ongoing impunity for current and past human rights violations. No one was executed during the year; however, a new by-law in Aceh provided for stoning to death. Attacks on human rights defenders continued and there were at least 114 prisoners of conscience. A new Health Law contained provisions hampering equal access to maternal health.
Parliamentary elections were conducted in April. Presidential elections took place in July. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono was elected for a second five-year term after the first election round. The elections were conducted without any major violent incidents, except in Papua.
In July, at least nine people were killed in Jakarta in two bomb attacks.
Freedom of expression
At least 114 people were detained for peacefully expressing their views. The overwhelming majority were peaceful political activists who were sentenced to terms of imprisonment for raising prohibited pro independence flags in Maluku or Papua.
- In March, Buce Nahumury was sentenced to four years' imprisonment for having participated in a peaceful Cakalele dance in Ambon Maluku province in June 2007. During the dance, the "Benang Raja" flag, a symbol of the South Maluku independence movement, was unfurled in front of the President. All 22 other Cakalele dancers were serving jail sentences of between seven and 20 years.
Human rights defenders (HRDs) continued to be intimidated and harassed. At least seven HRDs faced criminal defamation charges, which carried a maximum sentence of just over five years' imprisonment under the Criminal Code. Most past human rights violations against HRDs, including torture, murder and enforced disappearances, remained unsolved and those responsible had not been brought to justice.
Although two people have been convicted of involvement in the murder of prominent HRD Munir Said Thalib (known as Munir), credible allegations were made that those responsible for his murder at the highest levels of command were still at large. Munir Said Thalib was poisoned on 7 September 2004.
Freedom of religion
Minority religious groups remained vulnerable to violent attacks by non-state actors, and were subjected to discrimination.
Students from the Christian STT Setia College continued to study and live in substandard temporary sites. They were evacuated from their school premises in Pulo, Pinang Ranti village, Makassar sub-district in East Jakarta following a violent attack by sections of the Islamic Defenders Front in July 2008. In October, at least 17 students went on hunger strike because they were at risk of forced eviction to premises which they believed were even more inadequate for people to live and study. By the end of the year, the STT Setia students continued to live and study in temporary sites in Jakarta.