Civil Society Coalition for Freedom of Religion of Belief (KBB)
On Wednesday, March 30, 2022, the Civil Society Coalition for Freedom of Religion (KBB) has sent a joint report for the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Indonesia Fourth Cycle, 41st Session in 2022 on the condition of freedom of religion and belief in Indonesia, to the UN Human Rights Council. . In the previous UPR period (2017), Indonesia received 20 recommendations related to guarantees for the protection of rights to KBB. However, not all recommendations received by the Indonesian government at that time were well implemented by the Indonesian government.
In the report that has been prepared by referring to the results of monitoring the condition of KBB in Indonesia, as well as recalling the recommendations in the previous period, we divide the report into three (3) main issues and problems related to the condition of freedom of religion and belief in Indonesia, especially in the period 2017-2021, namely the problems of regulation on KBB, implementation of KBB protection, and gender perspective in KBB.
Regulation Issues Regarding The Freedom of Religion or Belief in Indonesia
There are still national regulations that contradict the norms of freedom of religion or belief guaranteed in human rights law. Among them is the article on blasphemy which is regulated in article 156a of the Criminal Code; In the digital realm, there is Article 28 paragraph 2 of the ITE Law. Article 45A paragraph 2 UU ITE; and Joint Regulations of the Minister of Religion and the Minister of Home Affairs Numbers 9 and 8 of 2006 concerning Guidelines for the Implementation of Duties of Regional Heads/Deputy Regional Heads in Maintaining Religious Harmony, Empowering Religious Harmony Forums, and Establishing Houses of Worship (hereinafter referred to as PBM 2006). These regulations are often used to criminalize communities or groups that are not in line with mainstream understanding, even become a means of limiting KBB, especially regarding the construction of houses of worship.
Good regulations on hate speech and on handling social conflicts are often used incorrectly and discriminatory by law enforcement officials. In principle, regulations related to the handling of hate speech in article 156 of the Criminal Code and article 28 paragraph 2 of the ITE Law regarding hate speech are in accordance with human rights principles (articles 19 and 20 of the ICCPR), but in practice they are still used incorrectly to persecute individuals and religious groups deemed to be have religious views that are different from the majority. Another good rule is related to handling social conflicts, as regulated in Law no. 7 of 2012 concerning the Handling of Social Conflicts, (better known as the PKS Law), which is not used and has not become a reference in handling religion-based social conflicts properly. Even the government has an Action Plan
National Protection and Empowerment of Women and Children in Social Conflict (RAN P3AKS) 2020-2024 as a guideline for various stakeholders to protect women and children in social conflicts based on religion or belief, but in its implementation, women have not been involved in resolving KBB cases because of a gender perspective which is still weak.
Joint Decree of the Minister of Religion, the Attorney General, and the Minister of Home Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia No. 3 of 2008, KEP-033/A/JA/6/2008, and No. 199 of 2008 concerning Warnings and Orders to Adherents and/or Members of the Management of the Indonesian Ahmadiyya Congregation (JAI) and Community Members, which is a discriminatory regulation, especially against the Ahmadiyah group, is still maintained and is often a source of discriminatory treatment and triggers acts of violence against the Ahmadiyah congregation. The Ministerial Decree 3 is also often used as a basis for legitimacy by certain religious groups who act on behalf of the majority to discriminate and persecute JAI.
At the local or regional level, there are still many regulations that contradict human rights principles, especially regional regulations that have certain religious nuances which often target religious or belief minority groups; prohibiting acts that are considered disgraceful; or arrange dress code. In 2018, The National Commission on Human Rights of Women (Komnas Perempuan) noted that there were at least 421 regulations at the regional level (in the form of regional regulations and circulars) that were discriminatory in nature. At least 151 of these regulations have the nuances of a certain religion, such as nuances of Islam, Christian or Hindu law, which do not take into account religious traditions and teachings or local norms, such as East Java Governor Regulation (Pergub) No. 55 year 2012 regarding the Guidance of Religious Activities and Supervision of Heresies in East Java, West Java Governor Regulation (Pergub) No. 12 of 2011 concerning the Prohibition of Activities of the Indonesian Ahmadiyya Congregation in West Java; circular letter Number: 300/ 1321-Kesbangpol regarding the call for the ban on Ashura celebrations (Commemoration of the Day of Condolences for Sayidina Husain bin Ali bin Abi Talib AS) in the city of Bogor, etc.
Regulations that foster hatred against minority groups continue to emerge, especially against the Ahmadiyah group, even at the regional level which spreads, both at the provincial and district/city levels. Often, local stakeholders argue that the regulation is a follow-up or a derivative rule from the Three Ministerial Decree on Ahmadiyah. However, the substance of the regulation in the regional level regulation actually exceeds the substance regulated in the Three Ministerial Decree, for example the prohibition of the Ahmadiyya Community from worshiping in places of worship or building their own places of worship. The JAI Legal Committee noted that as of March 2022, 47 regional regulations had been issued to prohibit their group activities. Good intentions from the Government of Indonesia through the Ministry of Education and Culture and the Ministry of Home Affairs, which issued good regulations on dress code (school uniforms) that respect diversity and freedom of religion and belief, instead it was cancelled. The regulation is considered a form of state responsibility for the protection of minority rights in Indonesia, especially in the world of education. However,
there are parties who do not agree with this arrangement, because they consider it an autonomous authority of the regional government and schools. Not long after the regulation took effect, a decision emerged from the Supreme Court to cancel the 3 Ministerial Decree regarding the school uniform because it was considered contrary to a higher law. The local government's non-compliance with legal decisions that are final and binding still continues. An example is the settlement of the Yasmin GKI case. Even though the Bogor City Government has made a decision to settle the congregation's worship rights GKI Yasmin in the city of Bogor, however, the solutions carried out were not complete and left a number of problems that could arise at any time in the future. The decision to relocate the church construction to another place was made by Bogor City government is not in line with the decision of the Supreme Court which has permanent legal force. The decision is feared to be a future trend in dealing with conflicts over places of worship in Indonesia in the future. Good regulation related to religious groups, in the Constitutional Court Decision No.97/PUU-XIV/2016 (MK Decision 97/2016), its implementation is still problematic and still perpetuates discriminatory practices. For example, in terms of managing administrative needs or getting social assistance and public services
The Implementation of Freedom and Protection of Religion and Belief in Indonesia
Implementation of the fulfillment of freedom of religion or belief in Indonesia is still often experiencing problems. The right to KBB in Indonesia is often violated, at least in the last 5 years (2017-2021) it has fluctuated, in which the practice of religious intolerance has developed and has become a fairly serious problem in society. Intolerance practices that occur have various forms and purposes, such as to hurt, intimidate or exclude other people, especially members of minority groups from enjoying their rights on the basis of differences in religion, belief, or identity attached to them.
Based on the monitoring conducted by the Setara Institute, during 2017-2021 there were 866 incidents of violations of freedom of religion and belief with a total of 1,472 acts. During this period, there were at least 213 cases of restriction of space/places of worship, and there were 243 acts of criminalizing religious expression, including cases of hate speech and reporting on accusations of blasphemy.
The issue of respect, protection, and fulfillment of the right to KBB in Indonesia is still very concerning and has not yet become a serious concern for the State. In terms of law enforcement carried out by the apparatus against parties who violate the KBB it is considered not optimal, there is omission, practices that tend to be unfair, and there is still impunity that does not cause a deterrent effect.
Regarding the implementation of policies in the field, it still shows that there is a practice of discriminating public services against certain groups that continues to occur, and at a certain point it actually occurs
a number of violations towards fundamental liberties. There are at least 236 discriminatory policies and behaviors carried out by the government. Meanwhile, there were at least 238 acts of intolerance done by civilians.
As for several practices of violations of the rights to KBB that occurred in the period 2017-2021 that we are trying to classify, among others; Discrimination in licensing the construction of places of worship that still occurs in several areas; The issue of administrative recognition which is limited to groups living with local beliefs and religions; Practices of violence and bullying against religious or religious minority groups; There is discrimination in education services; and Discrimination of population administration public services.
In addition, we note that there are still various acts of religion-based violence that befall certain individuals or groups, resulting in material and immaterial losses. During the last 5 years, there have been at least 2 cases of violence against the JAI group, namely the persecution of the JAI group in East Lombok (West Nusa Tenggara) in 2018 and the persecution of the JAI group in Sintang (West Kalimantan) in 2021. At the individual level, discrimination and acts of violence also happened to Meiliana, a female citizen of Chinese descent who is Buddhist in Tanjung Balai Selatan, Medan City, North Sumatra, who was named a suspect on charges of blasphemy against religion, which in the legal process was very visible in the presence of discriminatory treatment and Law enforcement officers are considered incapable of anticipating and preventing acts of persecution and intimidation.
Gender Perspective in Freedom of Religion and Belief
In many cases of violations of the right to KBB, women and children are the most vulnerable groups as victims in cases of intolerance, discrimination and violence based on religion. In a gender perspective, the existence of forms of gender-based violence in the context of violations of the right to KBB is experienced by women in different forms. As a result, victims of women and children will lose their sense of security, trauma and fear of repeated threats of attacks. In 2020 as the beginning of the year of the Covid-19 pandemic, out of a total of 180 KBB violations that occurred in Indonesia, at least 12 of them happened to women as victims. In this context, the failure of the state to identify the specifics of the situation, vulnerabilities, and specific impacts experienced by women and children in the event of KBB violations triggers discriminatory treatment against women.
Departing from the various problems above, the Civil Society Coalition for Freedom of Religion and Belief provides several points of recommendation addressed to the UN Human Rights Agency to encourage the Government of Indonesia to:
- Removing or revising the legal rules (articles) regarding blasphemy, especially Law no. 1/ PNPS/1965 concerning Prevention of Abuse and or Blasphemy of Religion, Article 156a of the Criminal Code, Article 28 paragraph 2 jo. Article 45A paragraph 2 of Law no. 11 of 2008 concerning Information and Electronic Transactions (ITE).
- Revoke the Joint Decree of the Minister of Religion, the Attorney General, and the Minister of Home Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia No. 3 of 2008, KEP-033/A/JA/6/2008, and No. 199 of 2008 concerning Warnings and Orders to Adherents and/or Members of the Management of the Indonesian Ahmadiyya Congregation (JAI) and Community Members or better known as the "Three Ministerial Decree on Ahmadiyah".
- Evaluate and revoke all regulations at the regional level in Indonesia that are contrary to human rights principles, especially regional regulations that have certain religious nuances that are contrary to the norms of freedom of religion and belief.
- Repeal 47 regulations at the regional level that prohibit the activities of the Ahmadiyya group because they contradict the law and exceed the regulatory authority in the Three Ministerial Decree on Ahmadiyah.
- Revised Law No. 20 of 2003 on the National Education System (UU Sisdiknas) to regulate school uniforms that respect the rights of religious minority students.
- Urging the Bogor city government to comply with the final and binding legal decision from the Supreme Court (MA) to issue a Building Permit (IMB) for GKI Yasmin at the place specified in the Supreme Court's decision
- Training law enforcement officers, particularly the police, prosecutors and judicial bodies to increase their capacity to take legal action from a human rights perspective.
- Conducting training for state civil servants (ASN) to increase their capacity in providing public services with a human rights perspective, especially services for religious or belief minorities in accordance with the principle of freedom of religion or belief.
- Mainstreaming of human rights, especially freedom of religion or belief, to party politicians, both those serving as regional heads and legislative/parliamentary heads.
- In the context of handling cases of violence against minority groups, law enforcement officers must act by prioritizing justice and ensuring the protection of victims, applying the principles and standards set out in the National Police Chief Regulation Number 7 of 2006 concerning the Police Professional Code of Ethics as a reference in carrying out police duties in responding to discrimination and persecution.
- The state must find a firm and permanent solution in order to guarantee the protection of freedom of religion or belief, including access to permits for the establishment of places of worship, access to public facilities and government assistance for JAI.
- The central government through the Ministry of Home Affairs must supervise and take firm action against local governments that issue discriminatory regulations and restrict the rights of minority groups.
- Involving women's participation substantially in decision-making in resolving conflicts and cases of violations of freedom of religion and belief.
- Ensuring that there is no double victimization of women and children in the resolution of religious-based conflicts by forming policies related to handling conflicts based on religion or belief.
- Ensure the recovery of victims, both physically and psychologically, as well as the restoration of the rights of victims of conflicts based on religion or belief, especially against women and children.
Jakarta, April 14th, 2022
Civil Society Coalition for Freedom of Religious Belief[Indonesian Ahlulbait, BASOLIA, LBH Masyarakat, Fahmina Institute, Fatayat Nahdlatul 'Ulama Bandung, Gusdurian, HRWG, IMPARSIAL, YLBHI, INCLUSIVE, LK3 Banjarmasin, JAKATARUB, KontraS, Supreme Council of Belief in God Almighty Indonesia, Mosintuwu Institute, Peace Generation Indonesia, Percik Institute, PBHI, Puanhayati, SETARA Institute, AMAN Indonesia, PUSAD Paramadina, PUSHAM UII, PGI, IJABI, Institut DIAN/Interfidei, The LBH Jakarta , SEJUK, JAI Legal Committee, Peace Inscription Foundation, and One Justice Foundation]