Friday, August 28, 2020

Indonesia: Freedom of Religion or Belief

A Gafatar farm house burned in Mempawah, Kalimantan, 2016
A Gafatar religious group farm house was burned down in Kalimantan, 2016.

JAKARTA -- In January 1965, President Sukarno wrote the blasphemy law, declaring “six protected religions” –Islam, Protestantism, Catholicism, Hinduism, Buddhism and Confucianism— in Indonesia and to punish anyone who is defame one of those religions with a jail term, maximum five years. His administration never used that toxic law. President Suharto administration, which ruled between 1965 and 1998, used that law only 10 times. 

In 2004, when President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono came to power, his administration was to use the law frequently, jailing 125 individuals during his decade in power. In 2006, Yudhoyono also introduced the “religious harmony regulation," starting another set of discrimination against religious minorities in Indonesia in building or renovating their houses of worship. 

In 2008, I joined Human Rights Watch, putting attention on these rising discrimination against religious minorities. Here're several of my writing and interviews.

Interviewing an Ahmadiyah Muslim on Lombok Island in 2009.

Blasphemy law puts religious minorities at risk.
Human Rights Watch, April 19, 2010

The New York Times, May 21, 2012 

Abuses against Religious Minorities in Indonesia
Human Rights Watch, February 28, 2013 

The Jakarta Globe, August 15, 2013

Human Rights Watch researcher Andreas Harsono sits down with Steve Paikin to discuss the spiritual makeup of Indonesia, its government, the violence committed against groups, and how the outside world can lend a helping hand.
The Agenda with Steve Paikin, TVO April 15, 2014

New Mandala, May 13, 2014 

New York University, February 23, 2016

Thousands were forcibly evicted from their farms in Kalimantan, relocated, detained.
Human Rights Watch, March 29, 2016

Carnegie Council, May 11, 2016

Jakarta Globe, 2016

Jakarta Governor Basuki T. Purnama.

By jailing the Jakarta governor Ahok for blasphemy, judges have sent a chilling message to moderates and non-Muslims 
The Guardian, May 10, 2017

NPR: All Things Considered, May 9, 2017

Indonesia at Melbourne, October 25, 2018 

The Jakarta Post, May 6, 2019

Reporters in the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country are navigating — and too often abetting — a rising trend of reactionary Islamism.
Foreign Policy in Focus, August 21, 2019

Catholics celebrated their Sunday mass in a temporary church in 2016.

Remove provisions harmful to women, minorities, free speech
Human Rights Watch, September 18, 2019

Suzethe Margaret brings dog and faces 5 years in prison
Human Rights Watch, October 11, 2019

Human Rights Watch, October 31, 2019

The Jakarta Post, April 11, 2020 

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