Indonesia is observing an increase in the number of cases of religious intolerance, in which a major role has been played by regional administrations, a recent report indicates.
According to the annual report released by the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) on Tuesday (10/01), the number of cases recorded in 2016 has increased to 97 from 87 a year earlier, and 76 in 2014.
Almost half of the cases were related to “restriction, prohibition and destruction” of houses of worship, mostly mosques. “Restriction and prohibition” of prayers was reported 19 times, while the remaining 12 incidents were classified as “threats and intimidation” against religious groups.
The three most intolerant provinces were West Java (21 cases), Jakarta (19) and North Sulawesi (11). In more than half of the incidents regional administrations were implicated.
Komnas HAM commissioners said the report shows there is still a “serious problem” with regard to the regional authorities’ commitment to human rights and the capability to uphold them.
“The high number of abuses committed by regional administrations was due to their weak understanding of human rights principles,” Komnas HAM coordinator for religious freedom Jayadi Damanik told the press in Jakarta.
“This situation has also been caused by the existence of many national regulations that stand in contradiction to the rights. Administrations have also been overwhelmed by the pressure of intolerant groups,” he added.
The state-run commission said the report can serve as a “warning” for the central government, which has been unable to oversee regional policies related to religious freedom.