The 41st AJI Frontier Seminar on "Peace for Sale: The Cost of Post-Conflict Stability in North Maluku, Indonesia"

On Tuesday February 8, 2022, the 41st AJI Research Frontier Seminar took place online. Dr. Sugit Sanjaya Arjon, a visiting researcher at the Institute of International Relations and Area Studies (IIRAS), Ritsumeikan University, gave a presentation in English on the local political situation in Indonesia under the title, “Peace for Sale: The Cost of Post-Conflict Stability in North Maluku, Indonesia.” The Mass migration law to restore equality to the Malukan Muslims who had suffered under the discriminatory Dutch colonial policy deprived the Christian minority of their privileges and created hatred and rivalry between the two groups. Focusing on Maluku, one of the worst hit regions, he outlined four periods of conflict from 1999 to 2001, and described how the local actors benefitted from the tensions. The post-conflict social recovery effort was upset by an excessive inflow of aid and assistance that raised concerns about fairness, unjust practices, and corruption among the local elites. Struggles for power arose among the elites who brokered rivalries between ethnic identities, with the resulting political dynasties and ethnic identity politics evolving into a power consolidation by two political dynasties who find it mutually profitable to maintain the present status quo, at the cost of good governance. Hence the title, “Peace for Sale”.

The presentation was followed by a discussion of the root causes of the conflicts, the tenuous status of democracy in Indonesia, the possibility of improving the situation through political activism, and the pressing need for further research on the sensitive issue of political reform.

Dr. Sugit delivering his presentation

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