Friday, December 28, 2012

Confronting Fundamentalism, Raising Awareness on Minorities Rights in Indonesia

This paper is presented by Dwi Rubiyanti Kholifah in The UN Fifth Minority Forum, Geneva 26th -28th  November 2012

Indonesia Context: Situation of Religious Minority 

Rukun agawe sentosa, trah agawe bubrah” (unified lead to welfare, split lead to separation), is values rooted among people of Wiladeg village, Gunung Kidul, Yogyakarta. To create common understanding this values, some religious and community leaders create a metaphor called “mata air” (the spring), to describe relationships among multi ethnicities, religions and beliefs in the village. Mr. Koco, head of village, illustrate that the existence of the spring, naturally requires the contribution of some elements such as soil, trees, animals, which bind into the life cycle. In other words, the spring as source of life cannot stand alone, however must be connected with all elements of life. Similarly, the life of one person in the village interconnectedness with other elements such as culture, philosophy of life, values, belief, religion, education, and social status that can be derived from each of one in the village. So, united is the only way to keep “harmony”, which each uniqueness should be accepted as part of whole picture of community." 

My first exposure on March 2011 to Wiladeg has drown me a lot of attention on how people in the village get inspiration to use a culture mechanism to confront fundamentalism promoting exclusiveness, moral superiority over different culture and religion, gender and religious. To generate people awareness on accepting diversities, the leader enable environment of acceptance by generating different village forum to let exchange experience and knowledge among villager happening, such as Bersih Desa (village cleaning), securing worship places, people gathering to discuss about challenges faced by people and find the best solution to preserve “harmony”. In the level of family, understanding genealogist family is used by parents to familiarize children with diversities within family. Hence, feeling of acceptance of differences can be planted since early age. Moreover, children learn about culture of respecting the senior. It is important part of teaching in the family, because when children can respect the elder then they will easily respect everyone regardless religion, social class, ethnicity and gender.
The above story, I believe not the only success story from community preserve culture of tolerance to other religions, beliefs and ethnicities in Indonesia. Another village called Banuroja[1] is located in, district of Pohuwato, Gorontalo Province, which is litigious, tolerance and able to manage differences on culture, and religions. There are other two villages called Balun (known well as Desa Pancasila) in district of Lamongan-East Java, Desa Mopuya, district of Bolaang Mongondow – North Sulawesi[2], and perhaps many more, which we never been exposed by media. 

In area of handling violent conflict, we have regulation No. 7 year 2012 regarding handling social conflict as tools to response violent conflict, completing previous regulation No.24 year 2007 regarding disaster management. Currently, working group facilitated by the UN Women preparing for National Action Plan on Protection and Empowerment of Women and Children in handling conflict, as responding UN resolution 1325, to response the condition and situation of women and children before, when and post conflict. In 2008, government has ratified two international covenants are the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), along with Universal Declaration of Human rights and The Indonesia Constitution 1945, certainly enough as reference to response violation against minority rights in Indonesia. 

Ironically, the numbers of regulations discriminating minorities groups are increasing after the New Order fell down, which reflect to attitude and approach used by the government in responding case of violence against minority. KOMNAS Perempuan reported that until August 2012, 282 policies discriminating religious minorities, mostly published on provincial (28 regulations) and district levels (235 regulations). The increasing number of discriminative regulation seemingly has strong correlation to intolerance behavior of people and government officer. In 2011, Wahid Institute remarks on its monitoring report highlighting 49 cases of violation of the rights of freedom for religion and beliefs in different form such as 20 cases involved state actors on intimidation, threat and terror, 11 cases of ignorance by state, violence and imposition of belief about 9 cases, sealing churches and banning of houses of worship are about 9 cases, and 4 cases of victimization and criminal against belief. 

The state’s inconsistency in responding the discriminative policies exposes to its negation and insensitivity to response the impact of the policies. For instance, the constitution court rejected to put regulation UU No.1/PNPS/1965 regarding prevention of blasphemy to judicial review because this regulation has been used by some groups of perpetrator of violence to justify their acts. Similarly, without considering the constitution 1945, PMB (Joint decree of ministry of religious affair and internal affair) No. 9 year 2006 and No. 8 year 2006 regarding technical guidelines on tolerance, forum for tolerance, and building permits, and regulation to ban Ahmadiyah faith minority were drown on the public. 

Consequently, now 193 internally displaced people from Shiite faith minority follower in Sampang are still staying at GOR stadium since the attack on 26th August 2012, which resulted 1 person dies, 6 people injured, and 246 Syiah people had to flee from their homeland and stay at Indoor Stadium of Sampang that gradually transformed as an Internally displaced people camp. In 29th December 2011, the same attacker also burned a mosque, school, and some houses belong to the Shiite leader, Tajul Muluk at the same village. Intimidation, terror, treat, sexual harassment were intensively used by attacker to suppress Shiite followers, so they will convert to majority beliefs soon. Data reported by AMAN’s emergency team on 4th September 2012 shows that total damaged buildings are 220 contains of 48 houses, 33 mosques, 43 outhouse kitchens , and 28 animal cotes. 

In Aceh, 20 worship houses located in Singkil district were closed down accusing lack of administrative document supports. Barongsai and Liong (traditional Chinese art) were banned because it was considered to distract Ramadan month. In 2010, there were 75 cases of discrimination and violation against minority, which 50 cases relate to Ahmadi faith minorities. Meanwhile, the previous attack to this group in Lombok, remains  40 families of Ahmadi follower settling in refugee camp at Transito, Nusa Tenggara as a result of insensitive solution on relocation option offered to Ahmadi follower, when mass attacked them in 2006. Moreover, it has been many years, traditional beliefs followers such as Sunda Wiwitan cannot access public service as consequences of unwritten religious identity on the ID Card. According to regulation No. 23 year 2006, regarding population administration, traditional religions should associate with 6 religions recognized by Indonesia government such as Islam, Christian, Catholic, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Confucianism. In some part of Indonesia, rejection to family planning, female circumcision promotion, and early marriage are used to against the progressive group. Likewise, abuse of authority also occurs in the district level, in which contradictory attitude between national government and local authority often remain with ignorance of the cases, or otherwise the victim arrested and put in to jail. 

If we use conflict analysis framework, we will see that besides, discriminative regulation against women and minority groups, which used legitimating violent acts, fundamentalism exceedingly underlying those incident, because argumentation of rejection of minorities rights employing from hatred speech, which mobilize the public support. 

Confronting Fundamentalism: Strategy Used and Feminist Response 

Economically speaking, fundamentalism rises because gab between the rich and the poor is so wide, on the other hand the failure of state institutions and services are visible. Neo-liberalism and global capital become spirit of development, in which privatization of state service such as education, health and transportation, have given an opportunity for religious fundamentalist, who own capital, to take over the responsibility and introduce conservative thinking. Furthermore, the absence of political alternative and authoritarianism has flourished fundamentalist group, because the authoritarianism government create a lot of diseases, on the other hand, religious fundamentalist offer the truth from the Qur’an, which is the only remedy of moral crisis. In addition, the rapid pace of globalization and the upending social relation has increased a social and psychological need for certainty, which fundamentalist believes that religions can offer strictly choice between paradise or heaven. While, progressive groups like women rights activist, are likely to avoid doctrine the right and the wrong in such away. 

Though fundamentalist groups in Indonesia are vary, but they has a common goal, Islamic State. This make them slowly consolidating to against what so called “agent of the west”. To gain the goal, there are four important areas must be resiliently occupied; young people as main target of recruitment and doctrine as new cadre, politics, organized grass root, and media. In line with these phenomena, Association of Women in Development (AWID)[3] has conducted survey on strategy of fundamentalist highlighting three messages always used by this group are family, gender roles and morality as a vital tool used to secure and increase their power. Applying in the Indonesia context, disintegration of family often used to counter homosexuality, which is considered against the notion of family. Heteronormative family is the best model to reproduction, and women’s sexuality is for the purpose of reproduction not recreation. 

Feminist group are judged as destroyer. The movement of gender equality and equity in Indonesia systematically is seen by fundamentalist group as efforts to demolish division of labor in family, that causes moral degradation among young people. In term of issue morality, discourse of heresy is vastly effective to gain wide support from ordinary people and able to hypnotically mobilize mass to attack minority groups. Hence, inconsistency attitude of government interplay with weak law enforcement, assemble case of violation of faith minority groups as well as sexual minority are difficult to get support from public. 

To response spreading of fundamentalist thinking, Indonesia feminist apply three major strategies; (1) reinterpretation of religious text with women friendly approach, which publish through online and offline publication, yet compete with thousand publication made by fundamentalist groups; (2) capacity building of religious leaders, who can speak about pluralism, gender justice and equality in the perspective of religion. Training, exchange program, recruitment of young scholars, and other related activity to produce more connectors are necessary. The alumni must bravely challenge hatred speech spreading in the school, housing residence, public gathering etc; (3) strengthen women organization at grass root level, so community will have both good analytical thinking and management, which can prevent from fundamentalist influences. 

Within strong inconsistency inside government, we still have a little candle shining in the dark bringing back the truth to people. To counter fundamentalism spreading in Yogyakarta, The governor, Sri Sultan Hamengkubowono X has distributed the circular regarding preserving local culture to prevent the spreading fundamentalist teaching. We have some progressive city mayor and governor, who commit to value of justice and improve public service. For instance, Risma, the city mayor of Surabaya, create more public parks in order to facilitate dialogue between the poor and the rich, the eldest and the youngest etc through public park, so the gab among people narrow down. In DKI Jakarta, the new governor and the vice governor, Joko widodo and Basuki Cahaya Purnama, have started the revolutionary change on the public services and clean governance to create public trust and indirectly to reclaim the state responsibility, which may be undertaken by some religious fundamentalism. Increasing number of alliances of civil societies who confronting fundamentalism on freedom for religion across the islands have gained a lot of success, not only spreading tolerance message to public, but also to pressure president to invite special rapporteur of United Nation to come to Indonesia, and also defend the rights of minority in the international levels. 

Awareness Raising: A Framework of Confronting Fundamentalisms 

In responding issue of violation of religious minority rights in Indonesia, we have to work in four different levels of change. The first level is an individual change among more people. In this level, we need to involve more people to change their perspective on looking at minority rights and skill on diversity management. Progressive interpretation of religious text and knowledge on human women rights need to introduce among different groups, as well as story of impact of violence against minority. At the same time, we need to influence key people, as second level of change, who are against or support the issue, by enhancing progressive perspective of leaders of community, religion, ethnicity, women leaders as well as combatant, radical groups, etc, who has potentials to be connectors or dividers. Since fundamentalist group bring religious text as the main source to counter feminist, hence bringing up progressive interpretation from different scholars who support minority rights and gender justice are necessarily. So, people will have more alternative reference in looking at problem of minority in Indonesia. In this case, the role of media to blow up progressive scholars are significant. 

To create socio political change, furthermore, changing perspective and attitude among more people and key people must be organized and institutionalized into organization and policy. When more people are changed, it needs to be organized to into a collective movement. The agenda of change need to be adopted into organization agenda, so this will not become an individual concern, but this should be an agenda of community, where both minority and majority groups are met as subject of change in the community. On the other hand, media can take a part in shaping perspective of people. This two important strategies are used by the fundamentalist groups; both grass root organization and media coverage. If we would like to confront them, then intensive grounded working is necessary, and publishing progressive views in offline and online media are strongly recommended. 

In the structure level, we need to see minority-sensitive policy and representation in the decision making bodies. For this purpose, we would like to see the enlightened key people work deliberately on criticizing discriminative regulation against minority and do advocacy to change it. After Soeharto fell down in 1998, fundamentalist people formed political party and some of them inserting to existing political parties. As a result, there is significant number of fundamentalist important figure influencing the policy in Indonesia. Furthermore, the fundamentalist groups are very active in advocating some regulation, which are considered as having “The West Agenda”. For instance, Equality and Justice Bill, Tolerance Bill, Bill of mass organization, etc. They are organized well to reject those Bills, which are considered as agenda of liberalism. While, among progressive movement, the number are not much expanded and a bit fragmented internally, because people divided by sectors of work. To challenge expansion of fundamentalist group to occupy the house of people representative, synergy among progressive groups are a must to do simultaneously advocacy in four levels of framework. 

State and Non State Response 

This section will highlight how state and non state actors response to the case of violation of religious minority rights in Indonesia. To give good lesson from the experiences of state and non state actor to work on freedom for religion in Indonesia, it is fair to highlight some positive progress and point needs to be improved. I only can speak on my perspective as activist working on this issue and been experience working closely with government. I just would like to highlight some achievement and critics to response state and non state response. 

· Emergency Response V.S Sustainable Responsibility 

One significant improvement of the state to response violation of religious minority rights is providing support at the state of emergency, where survivors do not have a place to stay. Under coordination of the National Disaster Management Agency, local government put significant effort to provide foods, clean water etc. However, the responsibility should lengthen until process of reconciliation among people happen and victims can return home with safety guarantee from the police. In case of Shiite in Sampang Madura and Ahmadiyah case in Transito-Nusa Tenggara, government seems still using the approach towards natural disaster survivor, who do not have problem of prejudice and distrust. 

It is also expected for UN to mobilize support from UN Agency on relief to help minority, because in many situation, it is not easy to gather fund for relief when prejudice, distrust, and behavior blasphemy are strongly addressed to public. Quick Fund from the UN Agency at national level should be available to response the emergency case. 

· Tolerance Bill v.s Awareness raising 

Tolerance Bill seems to be the answer of protects religious harmony, but in the case of Indonesia, the more important is the socialization of regulation and coherence inside government sectors to protect minority. At the same time, it is urgent to strengthen people aware and government agency awareness towards freedom for religions and beliefs as well as regulation related to protect minority groups. But the most important out of this work is the role of international agency such as UN to not only speak directly and assist the state to be able to implement declaration of people belonging to religious, linguistic and ethnic minority as well as other international covenants related to freedom for religions and beliefs. Technical efforts on publication of materials regarding the issues is urgent and should be widely circulated at grass root, because in many cases NGOs publication often uncirculated well, especially among ordinary people. In addition, synergy among progressive groups is indispensable because fundamentalist group has created three common issues “family, gender role and morality” to increase their power and support from outside the groups. Hence, progressive groups must be united and challenge public with issue of Bhinneka Tunggal Ika as expression of diversities in Indonesia. 

· Law Enforcement V.S Culture of Peace 

Law enforcement is a must. The constitution 1945, Universal Declaration of human rights, declaration of minority rights, ICCPR, ICESCR and other related regulation must be visible, accessible for public. Those regulations must underline the other national regulation. Hence, any regulations which are not in line with the highest source of law must be removed. On the other hand, to bring down the regulation into people life, it is important to integrate all regulations be part of education curriculum, so children can learn about the rights of minority since earlier stage. Moreover, it is significant to strengthen the family to start teaching culture of peace. Human women rights bodies at ASEAN and UN, should be consistently monitoring the progress of law enforcement in Indonesia. 

In some cases, the victim often is criminalized by the police, because he or she provokes other to act violence. He is against regulation no. 1/PNPS/1965 regarding blasphemy. Tajul Muluk, the leader of Shiite in Sampang had to stay in jail for months after the attack, as compensation of detaining Rois, one of actor of Sampang attack. 

· Relocation v.s Reconciliation 

Relocation seems the only alternative solution from government, when violation of minority rights is taken place. Instead of pushing reconciliation on the ground, and facilitate dialogue between two conflicting parties, government likely to take a short cut by removal the minority to other place without preparing the comprehensive concept of new settlement. In the case where hatred speech used to mobilize people, it needs to reconcile people feeling, before recovery and rehabilitation steps are taken place. *** 



[3] See towards a future without fundamentalism: analyzing religious fundamentalist strategies and feminist responses, AWID, February 2012, Canada

No comments:

Post a Comment