APHR members join the call for Indonesia to protect religious minorities
APHR members joined with parliamentarians from across the world this week in urging the government of Indonesia to protect religious minorities and address rising religious intolerance.
The International Panel of Parliamentarians for Freedom of Religion and Belief (IPPFoRB) sent a letter on Monday, 22 June to Indonesian President Joko Widodo, calling on him to ensure that all Indonesians are able to fully enjoy the freedom of religion without fear of discrimination, intimidation, or attacks.
APHR members Shwe Maung, an MP from Myanmar, and Kasthuri Patto, an MP from Malaysia, signed the letter as founding members of IPPFoRB.
While praising steps taken to allow adherents of non-officially recognized faiths to note their religious affiliation on national ID cards, the letter highlighted concerns about trumped-up blasphemy charges against individuals perceived to have insulted Islam, the closure of certain religious sites, and violence perpetrated against worshipers. It also identified discriminatory statutes that contravene international standards, including the 2008 anti-Ahmadiyya Joint Decree and the 2006 Joint Regulation on Houses of Worship.
The parliamentarians expressed hope that the legislative process would result in improvements to current draft legislation aimed at protecting religious minorities, and noted that they were encouraged by President Widodo’s inclusive and forward-looking tone on these issues.
The letter concluded:
“We, as parliamentarians from different jurisdictions and faiths, respectfully urge you to seize this moment and chart a path that respects and protects freedom of religion or belief and promotes peaceful co-existence between all faith communities as well as those who profess no faith.”