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Jakarta Post

Rights group welcomes landmark court ruling on native faiths

  • Moses Ompusunggu

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Tue, November 7, 2017   /   05:53 pm
Rights group welcomes landmark court ruling on native faiths Constitutional Court justices stand on a podium in front of the court building during a ceremony to mark its 13th anniversary in Jakarta on Aug. 15. (mahkamahkonstitusi.go.od/Ifa)

Jakarta-based rights group Setara Institute has lauded a Constitutional Court ruling that paves the way for native faith followers to declare their faiths on their ID cards, saying the ruling could end long-standing discrimination against minority groups.

Setara said in a statement that the court's ruling, issued on Tuesday, should be followed by efforts to acknowledge the rights of all citizens.

The Constitutional Court ruled on Tuesday in favor of native faith followers who had challenged provisions on religion within the 2006 Law on population administration that prevented them from obtaining ID cards. 

The court concluded the provisions were discriminatory and unconstitutional, thus allowing the country's native belief followers to state their native faith on civil documents, instead of leaving them blank as stipulated by the law.  

The 1965 blasphemy law only recognizes six religions: Islam, Protestantism, Catholicism, Buddhism, Hinduism and Confucianism. 

"Ideally the state would not discriminate against its citizens when they declare their religious identity on the population administration register," Setara said. 

Home Minister Tjahjo Kumolo, who manages population administration, said on Tuesday that the ministry would abide by the ruling, adding it would coordinate with related agencies to compile data on native faiths in Indonesia. 

"The Home Ministry, through the Directorate General for Population and Civil Administration, will combine those local beliefs with the existing population administration system," Tjahjo said in a statement. (ahw)