The Course on Human Rights for District Judges: Past Archipelago Wisdom as Tolerance Paradigm

Monday, February 23rd, 2015

ELSAM, Tuban – In judicial system, judicial institution and judges have essential roles in enforcing the law and providing justice, including to the victim of attack on religious or belief freedom minorities.

“Therefore it is important for judges to have tolerance’s perspective for a diversity,” said humanist and interfaith observer Dr. Bambang Noorsena, S.H., M.H., during the course on human rights for district judges in Tuban, Bali on Monday (02/23).

In order to build that perspective, he argued, one cannot separate the learning from past archipelago wisdom as foundation itself. “Indonesia in the thousand years’ historical trajectory recorded as flexible, tolerant and open nation,” he said during the course held by ELSAM, in cooperation with the Supreme Court Institute for Research, Training and Judicial Practice (“Balitbang Diklat Kumdil MA”).

In his presentation, when he was providing religious beliefs toleration materials in the context of the Republic of Indonesia, Bambang Noorsena explained that before outside religious standards entered into Indonesia, Indonesia had already established a godly society and had one supreme deity. The religions that came from outside, received and reflected in a more universal divine Principle.

“Recognizing a supreme deity as the first principle of Pancasila clearly reaffirms the nation a path forward that Indonesia did not choose theocracy─which is only based on one religion’s law─because it is contrary to the fact of human plurality in Indonesia as a historical legacy for centuries,” Bambang said.

He also reminded, the point of study of religions (religionswissenschaft) also classifies “Supreme Deity” as religion. In the comparative study of religion, cults often included in the clumps of “indigenous religions” or “tribal religions”, which distinguished from “world religions” because the major religions embraced by many people and evenly distributed throughout the world.

According to him, the definition of “Religion in Indonesia” which is used as benchmarks in assessing whether a cult may deviate from the Law No. 1/PNPS/1965, seems to refer to the “world religions”. In fact freedom of belief is reaffirmed in Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966) as well as freedom of religion, which has been formally ratified by Indonesia’s Government through Law No. 12/2005 of the Ratification of International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. This Article is expressly stated to protect “outside religious belief”; where the term “belief” is equivalent to “religion”.

Until now, the recognition and protection of local religious practices in Indonesia have not been implemented. The followers still have many problems stem from non-recognition of religion or belief they belong to. Sunda Wiwitan, Sedulur Sikep, Kaharingan, Sapto Darmo, Parmalim, Aboge and others, are some examples of Indonesian indigenous religions which still exist today.

By recognizing history, and traditional indigenous religions, it is expected that judges can increase capabilities on religious or belief tolerance in the context of the Republic of Indonesia.

Author: Adiani Viviana
Editor: Ari Yurino