Indonesia ranks as the fourth most populous country, the country with the largest Muslim population.
In May 1998, after a nationwide protest movement and the massacre of several hundred people, General Suharto resigned, ending over three decades of dictatorship. This kicked off a new chapter of history featuring a series of liberal reforms involving democratization, economic liberalisation, the establishment of new institutions and the decentralisation of decision-making powers.
Despite remarkable economic growth, Indonesia is a deeply unequal country with the gap between the richest and the poorest growing rapidly. The richest one per cent of Indonesians earn nearly a tenth of all income and own nearly a fourth of the country’s wealth.
Indonesia was historically seen as an exemplar of moderate Islam, tolerance and pluralism. In recent decades, however, there has been a rise in religious fundamentalism and attacks on Catholics, other Christians and groups of women accused of not being “good Muslims.”
Development and Peace ― Caritas Canada played a key role in supporting the justice and democracy movement in East Timor while it was a province of Indonesia. Following its independence in 2002, we chose to sustain our programming in Indonesia, recognizing the country’s importance as a regional power and its capacity to influence other countries like Malaysia and Burma. The fall of the Suharto regime in 1998 created many opportunities to build a future of justice, democracy and peace.
We work with a variety of local organizations, mainly on the themes of democracy and citizen participation, and ecological justice. Our partners are:
Development and Peace ― Caritas Canada will continue working with women in Indonesia to support their empowerment by collaborating with organizations that promote gender justice and democracy and that combat poverty and religious fundamentalism.