Jun 24, 2024 Last Updated 5:50 AM, Jun 24, 2024

Peace on the net

Published: Jul 29, 2007

Jane McGrory

Peace movements find a natural ally in the internet. The global reach of the world wide web provides a clear advantage in rallying public opinion. The Nobel Prize-winning coalition for the ban on anti-personnel landmines, for example, relied heavily on the internet to create a global 'virtual' network of organisations. The East Timorese solidarity movement also made extensive use of the internet.

But when it comes to using the internet as a tool for peace in Indonesia, a 'digital divide' is soon evident. International organisations take the lead. Local Indonesian initiatives to exploit the potential of the internet are only slowing taking shape.

The prize internet site in the field of conflict prevention in Indonesia is a portal operated by the Harvard Peace Initiative (www.preventconflict.org/portal/main/portalhome.php). It includes daily news highlights, as well as links to in-depth articles and the Initiative's own background analysis. Its broad perspective of conflict-related issues - or 'human security precursors'- makes a valuable contribution in promoting understanding of the causes and potential for conflict and peace in Indonesia.

A number of useful sites track developments in conflict situations. Among them are the UN's ReliefWeb news service (http://www.reliefweb.int/w/rwb.nsf), and the country reports produced by USAID's Office of Transitional Initiatives (www.usaid.gov/hum_response/oti/country/indones/index.html).

Excellent monthly newsletters compiling international reporting on conflict issues and threats to ethnic/ religious minorities can be found on the Prevent Genocide International site (www.preventgenocide.org). While largely pulling material from mainstream international media sources, the broad perspective of the screening process guarantees interesting reading. Another initiative highlighting the plight of threatened minority groups is the Minorities at Risk Project (www.bsos.umd.edu/cidcm/mar www.bsos.umd.edu/cidcm/mar). Its Indonesian section looks at the situation facing ethnic Chinese, East Timorese, Papuans and Acehnese.

If you are looking for information on the work of international organisations to build peace in Indonesia, try the Indonesian sections of sites for Search for Common Ground (www.searchforcommonground.org/locations.cfm?locus=Indonesia), Mercy Corp (www.mercycorps.org), www.mercycorps.org/) Catholic Relief Services www.catholicrelief.org/what/overseas/peace/index.cfm), Pact Worldwide (pactworld.org/Global/Indonesia_Discuss.html) and the British Council (http://www.britishcouncil.or.id/governance/index.htm). Or, visit the UNDP's unit for conflict prevention and recovery (//www.undp.or.id/cdu/index.html).

The Asia Pacific Center for Justice and Peace (www.apcjp.org/) introduces research on conflict-related issues in Indonesia and the region. A good set of links can be found in the country guide on Ulster University's Incore site (//www.incore.ulst.ac.uk/cds/countries/indonesia.html) - as well as a wealth of information on peace practice worldwide. Another good links page is the Canadian Peacebuilding Coordinating Committee (//www.cpcc.ottawa.on.ca/links-e.htm). The Conflict Resolution Information Service (www.crinfo.org/) also offers broad range of resources on conflict and conflict transition. A search for Indonesian material produces a number of interesting links - and the other theme-based sections provide countless opportunities for good browsing.

The Forum on Early Warning and Early Response (www.fewer.org) site provides links to current conflict research and a risk assessment for Indonesia. The Indonesia project site of the International Crisis Group (www.crisisweb.org/projects/project.cfm?subtypeid=7) highlights relevant news items and offers high-quality research reports of key security issues. A keyword search on the Carnegie Commission on Preventing Deadly Conflict (www.ccpdc.org/) will also turn up some interesting material.

Indonesian groups

To find Indonesian groups working for conflict prevention, try the listing at the Asia-Pacific Directory site of the Japan Centre for Preventative Diplomacy (www.conflict-prevention.org). Or visit http://www.lsm.or.id //www.lsm.or.id, an excellent Indonesian non-government organisations (NGOs) networking site. The latter does not have a specific category for groups working on conflict issues, but the advocacy section should provide some leads to organisations working on issues of peace, justice, anti-discrimination, among others.

In addition to those listed on the LSM site, try Aksara (www.aksara.org) and Yappika (www.yappika.org). Also, Gadjah Mada University's Centre for Security and Peace Studies (//www.csps-ugm.or.id/) maintains a good site introducing its research and programming work. Or visit the site of Pusat Studi dan Pengembangan Perdamaian at Duta Wacana University (//www.ukdw.ac.id/lpip/pspp/index.html) and its sister-site on peacebuilding (www.empoweringforreconciliation.org). All of these Indonesian sites are bi-lingual.

Looking for something more interactive? The Dialogue Webpage for Conflicts Worldwide (www.dwcw.org) hosts an on-line forum on conflict in various global hot-spots - including Indonesia. The Conflict Prevention Initiative runs an under-utilised on-line forum on Papua (www.preventconflict.org/portal/main/portalhome.php). And to stay up-to-date, you can join the Indonesian peacebuilding listserve by sending an email (with 'subscribe' in the subject line) to peacebuilding-subscribe@topica.com.

Jane McGrory (janemcgr@telkom.net) is a consultant with Catholic Relief Service in Yogya

Inside Indonesia 70: Apr - Jun 2002

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