For a half-century prior to the Acehnese campaign, the Indonesian government had ruled Aceh, located at the northwestern end of the island of Sumatra. The Acehnese suffered a high level of human rights abuses at the hands of the Indonesian government. From the 1950s until 1998, an Acehnese group resisted using violence. But in the late 1990’s, their resistance, led by student activists, took the form of nonviolence in a series of rallies, boycotts and strikes.
East Timor, a portion of the Indonesian archipelago, was colonized by Portugal in the 16th century. It was not until 1975 that Portugal decolonized the area, at which point East Timor declared independence. Shortly after this, however, the Indonesian army, under the orders of Indonesian President Suharto, invaded and annexed East Timor. 60,000 East Timorese were killed or died of starvation during the invasion.