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Jakarta Post

Court lets witness take oath under Sunda Wiwitan faith

  • Ina Parlina

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Thu, February 2, 2017   /  08:54 pm
Court lets witness take oath under Sunda Wiwitan faith A police officer secures the Constitutional Court building in Central Jakarta in this file photo. (JP/Dhoni Setiawan)

It was an uncommon scene in a country that officially recognizes only six religions when a court allowed on Thursday a witness to take the oath in a native faith before a hearing.

The oath was pledged by Dewi Kanti, an adherent of Sunda Wiwitan in West Java, just before she took the witness stand at the Constitutional Court, in favor of the petitioners, who are challenging provisions they feel undermine the civil rights of followers of indigenous faiths.

Another witness, Shidarta, a legal philosophy scholar, said the Sunda Wiwitan oath-taking was a precedent. "The oath was based on a native faith, not a mainstream religion. If the bench recognizes such an oath, then there is no reason for other institutions to reject [their identity as native faith followers], including in terms of civil administration matters," he told the bench.

The petition was filed by four followers of indigenous faiths, including Sunda Wiwitan. They are challenging several provisions in the Civil Administration Law that prevent them from obtaining ID and family cards.

(Read also: Government demands MK settles religious column plight)

They are seeking to alter the provisions to allow them to state their faiths on civil documents that require them to fill in the religion column.

The Civil Administration Law was amended in 2013, but the revision maintained the "discriminatory" provisions in question, but allows people of indigenous faiths to leave the column blank.

Dewi told the bench that "discrimination is not justifiable on any grounds, including religious or cultural”. (evi)

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