Tsarina Maharani, Jakarta – A report by the National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) shows that there are an increasing number of violations against the right to freedom of religion and belief every year.
Komnas HAM Chairperson Ahmad Taufan Damanik predicts that that actual number of cases that occurred on the ground is more than the reports received by Komnas HAM.
"Over the last few years, cases of violations against freedom of religion and belief in Indonesia have experienced an increase", said Damanik during a virtual press conference on Friday November 6.
Damanik said that Komnas HAM received 23 complaints in 2019 compared with an average of 21 complaints between 2015 and 2018. According to Damanik, many cases were not reported to Komnas HAM or were resolved at the local level.
"The [actual] total is more than this, because of course there are many cases which are not reported to Komnas HAM or cases which are resolved at a local level by government agencies and or other social organisations at the local level", he said.
Damanik said that two of the cases recorded by Komnas HAM in 2019 involved the halting the religious activities of the Ahmadiyah Islamic sect in Banjarnegara regency, Central Java, and the construction of a Tlogosari Baptist Church in Semarang, also in Central Java.
Damanik believes that several of the cases recorded by Komnas HAM have given rise to concerns about the right to freedom of religion and belief in Indonesia.
According to Damanik, cases such as this must be given serious attention and be handled carefully.
"If we don't handle them due prudence and care, and of course seriously with systematic and measured steps, then it's not impossible that they could trigger broader social and political conflicts in society", said Damanik.
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Komnas HAM: Kasus Pelanggaran Hak Kebebasan Beragama Meningkat Tiap Tahun".]