Indonesia’s Democracy

Readers of last Friday’s edition of The Australian may have been struck by the juxtaposition between an opinion piece by Foreign Minister, Kevin Rudd, in which he described Indonesia’s democracy as going ‘from strength to strength’, and the headline on the very next page: ‘SBY urged to back UN on religious violence.’

In the article on Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Peter Alford reported that UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navanethem Pillay had written a ‘firmly worded letter’ to the Indonesian foreign minister expressing concern about violence and discrimination against Indonesian religious minorities. Pillay called for a ‘complete review of national and local laws to ensure they complied with Indonesia’s national constitution.’

For many observers of Indonesian politics, the disturbing trend toward greater religious intolerance—culminating both horribly and publicly in the beating to death of three Ahmadiyah members in Cikeusik, West Java in February—represents a retrograde development for Indonesian democracy. Read more

Categories: Indonesia

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