Blank Religion Column for the Indigenous Faith Believers: Unconstitutional ?

ELSAM, Jakarta – Discrimination to the indigenous faith believers in Indonesia still continues until this current time. Even, the discrimination is strengthened by Law No 23 Year 2006 on Civil Administration, which states that the indigenous faiths groups must leave the religion column on the family card and e-ID blank.

The regulation has resulted in the continuing violations against human rights of the indigenous faith believers. For instance, a follower of Sapto Darmo in Brebes cannot bury his family in the public cemetery because there is no religion in the ID. Meanwhile, the marriages of indigenous faith believers in Marapu, Sumba are never registered in the state civil record so that their children do not have birth certificates. Further, those children should have a baptism letter previously to go to school. Another is, the groups of Parmalim and Ugamo Bangso Batak until now are difficult to find jobs because they don’t state their religion in their ID.

Other than that, the bureaucracy officers also apply the different civil administration service to the indigenous faiths believers. In several regions, when the indigenous faiths believers manage their ID and family cards, they are often forced to fill the religion column with one of six official religions by the Civil Administration Record officers.

Due to the above obstacles, four indigenous faith believers, by the Civil Defender Team, filed the judicial review to the Civil Administration Law to Constitutional Court on Wednesday (28/9). The articles to be reviewed are, among others, Article 61 paragraph (1) jo. Paragraph (2) and Article 64 paragraph (1) jo. Paragraph (5) of Civil Administration Law.

Those articles are considered as violating the legal certainty principle; equality of the citizens before the law; and free from any discrimination as guaranteed by constitution and international human rights instruments. Through filing the judicial review, the Civil Defender Team expects that state will be able to give protection and acknowledgement to the private status and legal status of all citizens. State should give freedom to the citizens to state their religion in any citizens’ identity documents in order to prevent the discrimination practices in the future.