Hizbut Tahrir ban undermines freedom of association: HRW
The Jakarta Post
Rights group Human Rights Watch (HRW) has criticized President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo for signing on a regulation in lieu of law (Perppu) to ban Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia (HTI), an Islamic organization that aims to establish a global Islamic caliphate.
In a statement released on Wednesday, the group called the move “a troubling violation of universal rights to freedom of association and expression.”
HRW researcher Andreas Harsono wrote that the government was only able to take legal actions against groups suspected of committing legal violations.
“However, banning any organization strictly on ideological grounds is a draconian action that undermines freedom of association and expression, rights that Indonesians have fought hard to establish since the Soeharto dictatorship,” Andreas said.
(Read also: Govt now allowed to disband mass groups)
The decision to ban HTI comes about amid worsening sectarian tension in the country, particularly during the course of the Jakarta gubernatorial election that saw a Christian incumbent governor of Chinese descent face off against a Muslim challenger.
The Office of the Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister announced in March that the government would ban HTI from operating in the country on the grounds that its vision of establishing an Islamic caliphate contradicted the pluralistic values of Pancasila. (kuk/ebf)
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