OPINIONA | CADEMIA | Indonesia should lead by example on freedom of religion and belief in ASEAN

Members of the embattled Protestant Christian church GKI Yasmin congregation make a Christmas tree from dried wooden sticks to celebrate Christmas in front of the State Palace in Central Jakarta on Dec. 26, 2018. The Christmas service added to the total 185 biweekly church services that have been held at the same spot to protest the government’s inaction. Their church building has been sealed by the Bogor administration since 2008. (The Jakarta Post/Wendra Ajistyatama)



We Indonesians like to take pride in the national motto of Bhinneka Tunggal Ika (unity in diversity).

We like to boast that we are a nation of tolerant pluralists, especially at a time when intolerance and exclusivism are on the rise globally

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Yet President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s recent remarks about the importance of safeguarding freedom of religion and worship during a meeting of regional leaders are a timely reminder that Indonesia still has a long way to go on this front.

Moreover, our country, as the current ASEAN chair and its biggest democracy should play a role in promoting human rights in the region, including freedom of religion and belief.


And Indonesia should lead first by setting an example for other countries to follow.

Eva Kusuma Sundari
The Jakarta Post
Jakarta   ●
Thu, January 26, 2023

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