Why Governance Matters: Preventing Deadly Conflict in Indonesia and Burma

Speaker(s)

Gareth Evans,

Date and Time

February 27, 2002 12:00 PM - 1:15 PM

Availability

Open to the public.

No RSVP required

Location

Daniel and Nancy Okimoto Conference Room

Indonesia has seen no respite from its turbulent politics, faltering economy, and simmering conflicts since mass pressure forced President Soeharto from office in 1998 after decades of authoritarian rule. The International Crisis Group (ICG) has focused its Indonesian research on separatist conflicts in Aceh and Papua, communal violence in Maluku and Kalimantan, and the ongoing economic crisis, and has recommended specific military and judicial reforms. In Burma, which has known near-constant conflict since its independence in 1948, the Group has focused on ethnic antagonisms, regime policies, and needed reforms. ICG has also assessed the efficacy of foreign sanctions and engagements as alternative ways of inducing change, and suggested how the international community might help lower the potential for violent strife in a future political transition. Gareth Evans, during his long tenure as Australia's foreign minister (1988-1996), played key roles in bringing peace to Cambodia, founding the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, and promoting forms of regionalism reflecting his country's proximity to Asia. For his Cambodian work he was awarded the ANZAC Peace Prize in 1994. Writing of Evans' record as foreign minister, ex-Hong Kong Governor Chris Patten has observed: "High intelligence and principle added to a razor-sharp wit ensured that he was a controversial figure, but one who left the world better than he found it." Foreign affairs, human rights, and legal reform are among the topics explored by Evans in his many publications. Most recently he co-chaired the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty. A long-time former member of Australia's parliament (1978-1999), Evans holds degrees in law from Melbourne University and in politics, economics, and philosophy from Oxford University.