Key Points

An examination of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Indonesia across three cycles (2008, 2012 and 2017) reveals:

  • Serious challenges to freedom of religion and belief (FoRB) in Indonesia amidst efforts by the Government to bring Indonesian law and practices in line with international standards;

  • Indonesia has seen an upswing in religious intolerance and violence in the past few years; and

  • Indonesia continues to experience discrimination against minority religions, in particular against Ahmadis and Christians, despite constitutional guarantees and the Pancasila ideology that together stipulate the right to FoRB as one of the fundamental human rights.

Key UPR Recommendations on FoRB

The following recommendations were made consistently on FoRB across the three cycles, and supported by Indonesia:

  • Review existing laws that restrict FoRB and make them compatible with freedom of religion and belief. Specific recommendations related to a review of blasphemy laws and elimination of blasphemy from the criminal code;

  • Take further measures through legislation and bills;

  • Accept a visit from the special rapporteur as a way of improving the human rights situation for religious groups;

  • Continue in efforts to protect religious rights; and

  • Investigate allegations of discrimination and prosecute violators.

Follow-up Action for Parliamentarians

Whereas the Indonesian Government has noted its efforts to bring FoRB related legislation in compliance with international standards, Parliamentarians must follow-up in order to:

  • Ensure that laws on blasphemy and the Criminal Code are properly reviewed and updated in accordance with international standards;

  • Ensure that investigations of violations are launched by the authorities and national human rights institutions on allegations of violations of FoRB, especially in relation to minority groups such as Ahmadi and Christians; and

  • Facilitate visits and fact-finding by the Special Rapporteur.

Source: Country Briefing on Freedom of Religion or Belief produced by Asia Centre and IPPFoRB

Mohammad Mujeeb