International Day of Tolerance: Constructive Synergy between Government and Civil Society in Enhancing and Maintaining Tolerance in Society

Imparsial Media Release
No.030/Siaran-Pers/IMP/XI/2021

November 16th is commemorated annually by people around the world as the International Day of Tolerance. This year is the 25th anniversary since it was first inaugurated in 1996 by the United Nations, a year since UNESCO's Declaration on the Principles of Tolerance was issued. The International Day of Tolerance was declared as a form of response to the rampant practices of intolerance, discrimination, violence, and injustice, which occurred in many parts of the world.

Imparsial views that Indonesia still has a number of red records regarding cases of intolerance and violations of freedom of religion or belief, such as the construction of places of worship, celebrations of worship for certain religious or belief groups, discrimination in public services against religious minorities or beliefs. Based on Imparsial's monitoring, cases of intolerance that are rife are cases related to the fulfillment of the right to worship and the right to a place of worship. Certain religious/belief groups are often difficult and even rejected, in order to fulfill their right to a place of worship. Some examples are the sealing and dismantling of the Miftahul Huda mosque belonging to the Ahmadiyah Congregation in Balai Harapan Village, Sintang Regency, West Kalimantan, the refusal to build a Muhammadiyah-owned mosque in Banyuwangi, the refusal to build the Bethany Church in Ponorogo, and other intolerant actions. These cases are only a few which can be seen from the many cases of intolerance that occur in Indonesia.

Imparsial sees how educational institutions that are supposed to be places to foster the values of tolerance and peace often become places for the practice of intolerance itself. Several cases that were included in Imparsial's monitoring were an appeal not to elect a Students' Council (OSIS) chairman who was of a different religion from the religion of the majority of students at the school. This appeal came from a teacher at National Senior High School (SMAN) 58 East Jakarta. In addition, intolerance and stigma are also experienced by belief groups/religious adherents, so that even though they can fill in the religion column on their ID cards according to their beliefs, there are still many believers who choose not to do so for fear of being discriminated against in obtaining/accessing public services.

Imparsial assesses that cases of intolerance that continue to recur every year show the state's indecisiveness in law enforcement. The state also often ignores intolerance in society. Whereas as a country built on diversity, the spirit of diversity requires Indonesia to maintain and implement the principles of tolerance. Without this, Indonesia will find it difficult to maintain its diversity. Therefore, the state must be present to protect human rights citizens regardless of their religious background and beliefs, right? even in some cases, become perpetrators who discriminate and participate in the persecution minority group. The government must actively maintain tolerance and peace through published policies. In this context, it refers to action discrimination to violent incidents that occur in minority groups because the manifestation of intolerant ideas, the government at every level is expected not to being permissive towards intolerant behavior and actions that tend to be carried out by majority group. The government must firmly enforce the law and human rights, and provide protection to its citizens.

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Imparsial also considers that the role of civil society to participate in strengthening and promoting peace values ​​is important and significant. Intolerance practices that occur in the community, schools, state institutions, can be avoided if all parties together to build a constructive synergy for strengthening and mainstreaming the values ​​of unity. There are three levels of challenges faced by Indonesia in guaranteeing the right to freedom of religion or belief, namely at the conceptual, social and legal levels. Responding to these challenges at various levels requires the role of all parties and groups, the government and the community. Intolerance practices if left unchecked will thrive and in the end threatens diversity and diversity in society. Intolerance is a ladder beginnings that can develop into violent extremism. For that all layers people in this country, must realize that tolerance must be upheld and applied in life so that ideas containing violent extremism It is not easy to influence people's daily attitudes, the result of which will strengthen Indonesia's diversity.

Congratulations on celebrating the international day of tolerance, may the people be more tolerant of all existing differences, and hopefully the government can be more present and also have the courage to take a stand against the practice of intolerance for a better fulfillment of human rights.

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Jakarta, November 16th, 2021


Gufron Mabruri
Director of Imparsial

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