The smartphone application known as 'Smart Pakem,' features a list of groups, including Ahmadiyya, as well as Gafatar, which the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) considers a deviant sect. (Antara Photo/Akbar Nugroho Gumay)

Discrimination Against Minority Groups Rampant: Komnas HAM


APRIL 06, 2016

Jakarta. Discrimination against religious minority groups remains rampant across Indonesia, according to the National Commission of Human Rights, or Komnas HAM, in its first quarterly report released on Tuesday (05/04).

Jayadi Damanik, coordinator for religious freedom affairs at Komnas HAM, said discriminatory regulations which attack minority groups and the blocking of house of worship construction dominated the first three months of 2016.

In West Java, the commission identified at least 33 discriminatory policies and regulations implemented by regional administrations.

Bekasi topped the list with 12 discriminatory policies, followed by Bogor at second place with 10.

“The most-prone group is Indonesian Ahmadiyah Congregation because the Bekasi administration implemented some regulations to ban their activities,” Jayadi told a press conference in Jakarta.

In Bogor, the GKI Yasmin Protestant congregation faces discriminatory policies, with the local government continuing to seal off its church despite a Supreme Court ruling which found the move unlawful.

Komnas HAM also noted intolerance in Papua, after the Jayawijaya Church Alliance (PGGJ) rejected the building application of Baiturahaman Mosque in Wamena, Papua, on Feb. 26. PGGJ called on the Jayawijaya district administration to revoke the building permit and to impose a ban on women wearing hijab in the district.

In Bangka Belitung, the local government of Bangka district issued a circulating letter on Jan. 5, demanding the Ahmadiyah community either convert to Sunni Islam or face expulsion from Bangka.

Jayadi said the Ahmadis moved to a safe location for several days before returning to their homes after police guaranteed the Ahmadis' safety.

The commission called on President Joko Widodo to help educate local administrations about human rights and religious tolerance issues.

“Religious freedom must be an indicator of the public service implementation in this country. The government should increase its authorities to help regional administrations to solve the religious freedom issues,” Jayadi said.