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2013 Freedom of Thought Report: Indonesia Chapter

December 13, 2013

http://freethoughtreport.com/download-the-report/

International Humanist and Ethical Union

Freedom of Thought 2013: A Global Report on the Rights, Legal Status, and Discrimination Against Humanists, Atheists, and the Non-religious was created by the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU). The Lead Author is Matt Cherry, the Editor is Bob Churchill.

Indonesia

The constitution and other laws and policies protect freedom or thought, conscience and religion, as well as freedom of expression, assembly and association. However, in practice these rights are often severely restricted and they are non-existent for non-religious citizens or anyone who does not believe in a god.

Indonesia recognizes only six official religions—Islam, Catholicism, Protestantism, Confucianism, Buddhism, and Hinduism—and requires its citizens to adhere to one of these. Persons who do not identify with one of the six official religions, including people with no religion, continue to experience official discrimination. This discrimination occurs often in the context of civil registration of marriages and births and other situation involving family law.

Official ID cards must list one of the six official religions; therefore “atheism” or “Humanism” are not permitted options. However, since 2006 "-" has been a permitted option under the category of religion. The minus "-" category covers all other non-recognized religions, sects, and local traditional beliefs. It could, at least in theory, be used by atheists, although its actual use may depend on the attitude of the bureaucrat processing the application for an ID card.

Applicants for government jobs must also identify as belonging to one of the six official religions.

To register an organization in Indonesia, the organizers must declare their allegiance to the Basic Ideology of the State (called Pancasila); the first principle of Pancasila is ‘Belief in the one and only God’. That means no atheist group can legally register itself.

The country’s blasphemy law makes it illegal to promote other faiths, or atheism. Article 156(a) of the country’s criminal code also punishes “disseminating information aimed at inciting religious hatred or hostility” with up to five years in prison.

Although the constitution guarantees freedom of expression, criticism of religion is severely restricted and support for atheism is effectively banned.

Freedom of expression is generally upheld, though censorship and self-censorship of books and films for allegedly obscene or blasphemous content is fairly common. Since 2011, authorities in Aceh have cracked down on “punks” for supposedly insulting Islam. Those rounded up by police are subjected to “reeducation,” which includes the forcible shaving of their punk-rock hairstyles and a traditional cleansing ceremony.

Wider issues on thought and expression and other human rights

Indonesia has quite diverse media, but press freedom is hampered by a number of legal and regulatory restrictions. Strict but unevenly enforced licensing rules mean that thousands of television and radio stations operate illegally. Foreign journalists are not authorized to travel to the restive provinces of Papua and West Papua without special permission. Reporters often practice selfcensorship to avoid running afoul of civil and criminal libel laws.

In addition to legal obstacles, reporters sometimes face violence and intimidation, which in many cases goes unpunished. The Alliance of Independent Journalists recorded 56 cases of violence against journalists in 2012, in addition to 12 separate incidents against journalists in Papua. In January 2012, the Supreme Court reversed the 2011 acquittal of three men in the killing of journalist Ridwan Salamun in 2010. However, the convicted men escaped due to prosecutors’ failure to act promptly on the new ruling. In October 2012, five journalists were apparently attacked by soldiers while covering a plane crash; a video recording of the incident was posted on the video-sharing website YouTube.

The 2008 Law on Electronic Information and Transactions (ITE) extended libel and other restrictions to the internet and online media, criminalizing the distribution or accessibility of information or documents that are “contrary to the moral norms of Indonesia” or related to gambling, blackmail, or defamation.

Cases of discrimination:

In January 2012, Alexander Aan, an Indonesian civil servant in the province of West Sumatra, was arrested after being attacked by a mob of Muslim militants. The mob was reacting to statements Aan made on Facebook which criticized Islam and said he had left Islam and become an atheist. The police charged Aan on three separate counts: insulting religion (which has a maximum sentence of five years jail), the electronic transmission of defamatory comments (six years jail), and false reporting on an official form (six years jail). The charges of blasphemy and defamation related to his criticism of Islam on Facebook. The final charge claimed that his application for his civil service job falsely stated he was Muslim when he was in fact an atheist.

On June 14, 2012, a district court sentenced atheist Alexander Aan to two years and six months in prison for “spreading information inciting religious hatred and animosity.” Aan was also reportedly fined 100 million rupiah (US $10,600). As of December 2013, he remains in prison. He is due to be released in 2014.

Gave Violations

EXPRESSION OF CORE HUMANIST PRINCIPLES ON DEMOCRACY, FREEDOM AND HUMAN RIGHTS IS BRUTALLY SUPPRESSED

IT IS ILLEGAL OR UNRECOGNISED TO IDENTIFY AS AN ATHEIST OR AS NON-RELIGIOUS

THE NON-RELIGIOUS ARE BARRED FROM GOVERNMENT OFFICE

IT IS ILLEGAL TO ADVOCATE SECULARISM OR CHURCH-STATE SEPARATION, OR SUCH ADVOCACY IS SUPPRESSED

IT IS ILLEGAL TO REGISTER AN EXPLICITLY HUMANIST, ATHEIST, SECULARIST OR OTHER NON-RELIGIOUS NGO OR OTHER HUMAN RIGHTS ORGANIZATION, OR SUCH GROUPS ARE PERSECUTED BY AUTHORITIES

SYSTEMATIC RELIGIOUS PRIVILEGE RESULTS IN SIGNIFICANT SOCIAL DISCRIMINATION

STATE LEGISLATION IS PARTLY DERIVED FROM RELIGIOUS LAW OR BY RELIGIOUS AUTHORITIES

RELIGIOUS CONTROL OVER FAMILY LAW OR LEGISLATION ON MORAL MATTERS

‘BLASPHEMY’ IS OUTLAWED OR CRITICISM OF RELIGION IS RESTRICTED AND PUNISHABLE WITH A PRISON SENTENCE

RELIGIOUS INSTRUCTION IS MANDATORY IN AT LEAST SOME PUBLIC SCHOOLS WITHOUT
SECULAR ALTERNATIVES

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