The question of the listing of religious affiliation national identity cards (KTP).
The Minister of Religion says that the national identity cards of citizens must still carry sign of their religious affiliation.
The minister, Maftuh Basyuni, views the stamping of identity cards, Kartu Tanda Penduduk (KTP), with the name of one of the five, or perhaps now six, official religions of the country as vital to ensuring good harmony between religious groups as well as being of use in more practical matters such as marriage and burial. He said: detik
It's very important to maintain it. Identity has to be as complete as possible. Also to maintain harmony.
(Justru sangat penting untu dipertahankan. Identitas itu perlu selengkap mungkin. Juga untuk mempertahankan kerukunan.)
He added that if someone died, and nothing was known about him, people would not know how to bury him if his religion were not clearly stated on his ID. In a more sinister tone he said that it could be made sure that a person was observing his "correct" religion and had not deviated from the path made for him by his parents.
The government is presently reviewing the matter of ID cards and religion. Voices have been raised to the effect that the elimination of the religion category on the KTP would lessen the personal danger felt by individuals in sectarian conflict areas.
Its elimination is because if we live in an area experiencing sectarian conflict or if there is "sweeping" carried out against members of a religion, then people don't need to worry.
(Penghapusan itu dikarenakan jika kita di satu daerah yang mengalami konflik agama atau suatu hari nanti terjadi "sweeping" agama, maka masyarakat tidak perlu khawatir dengan hal ini.)
said Progo Nurdjaman, secretary general of the Department of Internal Affairs.
It is one of the themes of this site that if Indonesia is to progress it must downplay differences between religious groups and push outward displays of religion well into the background. The removal of religious identification on ID cards would be one important step in the right direction.
2nd October 2006.
The soon-to-be-enacted demography bill still requires religious adherence to be displayed on citizens' identity cards.
The bill, currently being debated by the House of Representatives' Commission II on political and domestic affairs, does succeed in cleaning up a lot of confusing and archaic provisions. For example it removes any indication of a person's religious and ethnic group on birth or marriage certificates, hitherto indicated by the use of certain code numbers.
However on KTP, or the national identity cards, religious affiliation is still meant to be shown, according to the draft law. Previously there had been some hope that this requirement would be removed. One reason given for the need to remove it was that it would hinder efforts at "sweeping" of, or the committing of violence against, people based on their religion in conflict areas such as Sulawesi and Ambon, like poor Mr Jelin in Poso yesterday.
However, the bill still obliges every citizen and every family to include their religion on their identity cards, as seen in in Article 68, and only official religions, - Islam, Protestantism, Catholicism, Hinduism and Buddhism, and probably Confucianism (although the Jakarta Post says not adnki) - are acceptable.
18th November 2006.
Despite past hopes that the religion category on national identity cards, (Kartu Tanda Penduduk (KTP)), would be discarded parliamentarians are reported by the Jakarta Post to have decided, with little debate, that religion will remain listed on national identity cards. All political parties represented in the special commission that discussed the issue are said to have agreed.
Sayuti Asyathri of the National Mandate Party (PAN), who chaired the committee on the civil registry/demography bill, said, perhaps sheepishly, that the decision may not be quranically kosher.
We are all aware that compulsion in religion is a bad way to promote God, but we have come to terms with political reality.
Citizens who belong to one of the six recognised faiths, Islam, Protestantism, Catholicism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Confucianism, will still be required to have it listed on their KTP but those who belong to other, non-official religions, like animism, can now choose to have the religion section left blank. The government will however list the person's religion for its own records (and it will be interesting to see, eventually, by how much the official figures for Muslims in Indonesia declines because of this, and Christians).
A Catholic, evidently.
While some complain that listing religion is discriminative towards those of minority, non-recognised, faiths the director general for civil registration at the Home Affairs Ministry, Rasyid Saleh, said it was none of his business:
There is not much that we can do about religions. We only record them for our population database. To recognize or not to recognize religions is not within our jurisdiction.
Engkus Ruswana, a Sundanese leader who follows an indigenous Sundanese belief, said the current democratic government was no better than the previous authoritarian regime.
The obligation to state one of the six official religions or leave it blank for people like us is a telling indication that we are still considered second-class citizens.
The former chairman of the Indonesian Communion of Churches, Reverend Nathan Setiabudi, said the bill was unconstitutional.
Article 28 of the Constitution clearly states that the government must recognize all religions and faiths.
Prevent Genocide International says Prevent Genocide International that the listing of such details as a person's religion on ID cards can facilitate efforts at ethnic and religious cleansing. There have been occasions in the recent past, such as in Makassar Kompas, where young Muslim militants have accosted people on the street and demanded to see their KTP, to see if they were non-Muslim.
28th November 2006.
The bill in question, RUU Admintrasi Kependudukan (Adminduk), has drawn criticism from Nursyahbani Katjasungkana, a member of Komisi III in the parliament, from the Partai Kebangkitan Bangsa (PKB). She says the bill is discriminative and will likely end up running afoul of the High Court, if it is challenged on constitutional grounds.
Nursyahbani Katjasungkana says that poor people who live in slum areas, or are homeless, are not recognised and will not be counted because the onus is on them to get themselves registered. This will likely contribute to their further marginalisation. She is quoted by the Jakarta Post:
The bill could cause discrimination against minority groups and poor families, especially the homeless, as many people embracing traditional beliefs will not be registered because they can not list their faiths on identity cards, while those having no identity cards will be ignored.
Meanwhile, Suma Mihardja, of a group called LBH Rakyat, complains that those belonging to non-recognised religions such as animism will not be able to have vital documents issued to them, such as marriage, birth, death, and residency certificates. He claims that under the administration of former president Megawati a "Rencana Aksi Nasional (RAN) HAM) 2004-2009", a national human rights action plan, was formulated which specified that civil servants must provide recognition for animist people.
Jon Edi, an adherent of a West Javanese indigenous religion, gave an example of some discrimination experienced by his co-religionists. He said fourteen animists in Wanareja, Subang, were called to appear before the main Muslim clerical body, the Majelis Ulama Indonesia (MUI), and a local government body, the Musyawarah Pimpinan Daerah (Muspida), at which time they were ordered to provide a written statement proclaiming their willingness to cease practising their religion.
29th November 2006.
Jakarta Post says a coalition of groups grouped under the organisation of the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM), and including the Indonesian Conference of Bishops and non-governmental organizations such as Ahlul Bait Indonesia, the People's Legal Aid Institute, the Coordinating Board of Traditional Beliefs and the Indonesian Legal Aid and Human Rights Association (PBHI), are calling for the Adminduk bill to be scrapped or totally revised again.
Komnas HAM member Chandra Setiawan said that if passed into law, the bill would mean followers of traditional beliefs would be discriminated against by the state.
The bill's products will be identity cards and birth certificates which are based on the six official religions. Like before, the government will not list the faiths of traditional believers on their identity cards.
He appears to have claimed that children born to couples who practise a non-recognised religion will be registered but the identity and religion of their parents will not be listed on their birth certificates.
Father Benny Sutrisno, from the Indonesian Conference of Bishops, urged the government to drop the bill because it contained flaws that could cause conflict among religious groups.
The government is obliged to register all citizens no matter what their religion or belief is. With the bill, the nation has been trapped by the politics of identity and the House lacks wisdom in responding to the people's aspirations.
Ahlul Bait Indonesia leader Adi Gunardi said the government and the House should accept traditional beliefs just as they did the six official religions -- Islam, Protestant Christianity, Catholic Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism and Confucianism. The rejection of traditional beliefs was a serious violation of the Constitution, which guarantees freedom of religion, he said.
Salvation is found not only in the six religions but also in traditional beliefs. The rejection of registering traditional belief followers is really discrimination and the government should not interfere deeper in religious affairs.
He said he had suspicions that Islamic influences were dominant in deliberating the bill.
5th December 2006.
The Jakarta Post says that the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) have decided to oppose the bill. PDI-P House secretary, Jacobus Mayongpadang, told a news conference that his party would not vote for the bill. The bill is due to be voted on on December 7th.
Mayongpandang said the PDI-P did not want the civil registration bill to deal with religious matters.
Identity cards should mention only numbers and the names of citizens and of their parents and not their religions because the latter is their personal right that has no substantial relation to civil registration.
If the government insists on registering citizens' religions, it should also register traditional beliefs and their marriages, and their children with their beliefs should be also listed in the civil registration book.
The Post claims that "unnamed sources" have said that Islamic parties are opposed to the idea of giving any sort of recognition to traditional religions.
9th December 2006.
The bill was passed into law. It still requires citizens to state one of the six religions recognized by the government on their identity cards.
The debate over whether minority, unrecognised religions should be included was spirited, with three parties, the secular Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), the Christian Prosperous Peace Party (PDS) and the Muslim United Development Party (PPP), rejecting the final draft. One PDI-P member, Permadi, who practises a Javanese religion, said:
I am a living proof of the discrimination against believers in minority faiths. The civil registrations office declined to record the marriage of my daughter simply because her father adhered to an indigenous belief.
However in the end the three dissenting parties endorsed the bill with some reservations. Article 105 was reworded to allow for the recording of marriages of people from minority faiths. This would require the government to record people's religions for census data, however, it is not clear whether this would mean believers of minority religions would be allowed to have their correct religion displayed on their identity cards.
1st March 2007.
One Maya Safira Muchtar of the National Integration Movement (NIM) said at a press conference at the Jakarta Media Center today that the religion category must be removed to prevent discrimination, like at job interviews.
He also said that in Poso, Central Sulawesi many people have been killed in recent years because their religion was identified from their KTP. In Lebanon, he said, religion was not listed on I.D. cards, and another speaker, Anand Khrisna, said almost no middle eastern countries had the practice. tempo
11th March 2007.
Thoha Abdurrahman, the head of the Yogyakarta branch of the Majelis Ulama Indonesia (MUI), urges against omitting the religion category. People could easily change their religion, back and forth, and this could create conflict in some areas, he said. Sectarian violence as did occur was provoked by foreigners who sought to destroy Indonesia and so omitting the religion category on I.D. cards would have no effect. If people followed their religion properly there would be no conflict, he added, minorities were protected under Islamic law. mediaindo
March 27th 2007.
A video by the National Integration Movement, featuring Anand Krishna (the founder of NIM), Maya Safira Muchtar (Chief of NIM), Mona Darwich (a Lebanese person) and Yudanegara (a victim).