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Jakarta Post

Elephant in the room: Racism in Indonesia

  • Ghina Ghaliya and Fadli

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta/Batam   /   Mon, August 26 2019   /  12:54 am

Fueled by a viral video that appeared to show alleged security personnel using the derogatory slur “monkey” against Papuan students in Surabaya, East Java, longstanding racial prejudice against residents of Papua and West Papua boiled over during recent tensions in the two least developed provinces in the country.The 2010 census conducted by Statistics Indonesia (BPS) found that the country had 1,340 ethnicities, with the Javanese forming the majority at about 40 percent and Papuans comprising only 1.14 percent. Soeharto’s New Order repressed sectarian tensions, including anti-Chinese and anti-Islam sentiments, by banning individuals from public expression of tribal affiliations, religion, race and societal groups (SARA).Enacted during the New Order, Article 156 of the Criminal Code bans all SARA-based prejudice and carries a maximum sentence of four years in prison. Two additional...