Jakarta Policy Dialogue on Freedom of Religion or Belief
INDONESIA — Parliamentarians, faith leaders, civil society organizations, and other key stakeholders from across Southeast Asia and beyond joined together in Jakarta from 13 to 14 March for a conference aimed at engaging parliamentarians and activists in advancing freedom of religion or belief (FoRB) in Southeast Asia.
Jointly organized by ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR) and the National Democratic Institute (NDI), the two-day “Conference on Developing a More Cohesive Approach to Mitigating Religious Tensions” provided participants an opportunity to discuss the roles of parliamentarians, media, and interfaith dialogues, as well as the importance of building inclusive coalitions in combatting religious intolerance for the advancement of FoRB.
During the discussions, participants examined specific case studies from the region and Pakistan, providing MPs from Indonesia with examples helpful in developing joint recommendations, guidance, and commitments that could be undertaken in their own country.
The event also saw participants explore various strategies and tools useful to counter religious hatred during political campaigns, and shared effective methods to promote messages of pluralism, interfaith harmony, and gender-sensitive approaches across all legislative, political, and media initiatives.
Among the many outcomes of the event, participants agreed that there was a need to counter online hate speech through increased community awareness and education, including through the further dissemination of positive content on social media and banning of posts that seek to promote intolerance. Other key recommendations included having more engagement with government representatives and local officials on existing discriminatory laws, and to continue developing and enhancing the knowledge of political party members on salient FoRB issues.