George Junus Aditjondro, an Indonesian anti-corruption researcher, academic, dissident, human rights defender and environmentalist, died in Palu, Central Sulawesi, this morning.
He was born in Pekalongan, Central Java on May 27, 1946. His father, Harjono Aditjondro, was a Javanese judge who met his wife while studying at a law school in Leiden, the Netherlands. Aditjondro senior had an adopted son, Ali Moertopo, later becoming an Indonesian Army general and a close aide to President Soeharto.
George grew up in various cities due to his father's job --Pekalongan, Pontianak, Banyuwangi and Makassar-- never finished his colleges --in Salatiga and Semarang-- but took his Ph.D from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, writing his thesis on the anti-Kedung Ombo dam movement in Central Java.
In 1987, President Suharto gave him the Kalpataru environment award for his works to prevent environmental degradation in Indonesia. A decade later he returned the award as a protest against human rights abuses and environmental destruction by the Suharto regime.
In 1995, he moved to Australia due to his Suharto corruption research. He taught at Newcastle University in New South Wales. He returned to Indonesia in 2002 after the fall of Suharto in 1998, teaching at Sanata Dharma University in Yogyakarta.
He is one of very few Indonesian intellectuals who write about almost every corner of this vast archipelago i.e. Aceh, North Sumatra, Poso, the Malukus Islands, East Timor, West Papua.