Mapping out The Problem of Disturbance against Christian Churches toward its Permanent Resolution in Indonesia is the newest study of SETARA Institute that portrays 4 areas in Indonesia (the City of Bogor, City of Depok, City of Bekasi in West Java and the Regent of Gunungkidul in the Province of D.I. Yogyakarta), which is intended to comprehend the issue related to the establishment of places of worship in Indonesia on three main dimensions: regulation, social that is manifested on the forms of disturbances against places of worship and support provided and dimension of local political leadership. The research is also supported by the best and bad practices related of the establishment of places of worship.
The research is also intended to deepen the finding of SETARA Institute since 2007-2018 that notes there are 398 times disturbance against places of worship. The biggest disturbance is against churches that is 199 cases. In performing the research, SETARA Institute uses data collection methods: desk review, sites visit and observation, in-depth interview toward 37 interviewees, expert meeting, and focus group discussion (FGD) in national level as a process of triangulation data.
The research concludes:
- The constitutional and legal guarantees of freedom of religion / belief including the freedom to establish houses of worship for followers of any religion in Indonesia are still limited as normative guarantees that have not been operated to bestow justice for citizens. The guarantee as stipulated in Article 28E and Article 29 of the 1945 Republic of Indonesia Constitution is included in Law No. 12 of 2005 concerning Ratification of the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and other international instruments, was precisely reduced by Joint Ministerial Decree (PBM) Minister of Religion and Minister of Home Affairs No. 8 and No. 9 of 2006 concerning Guidelines for Implementing Duties of Regional Heads in the Maintenance of Religious Harmony, Empowerment of Religious Harmony Forums, and Establishing Worship Houses.
- This Joint Decree of the two Ministers contains 9 locus of discrimination both direct discrimination (in intent and purpose) and indirect discrimination (as an impact) which is contrary to the constitutional and legal guarantees in the 1945 Constitution of the Republic of Indonesia and Law 12/2005. The requirement for the support of 60 local residents and 90 members of the congregation is a form of direct discrimination targeting religious minority groups, especially Christian congregations. This discriminatory provision is still reduced in its implementation because of the limited understanding of local government administrators, making it even more difficult to establish places of worship.
- In the past 12 years, 199 churches have experienced varied disruption in various forms, such as sealing, demolition, blocking of access, revocation of permits, forced efforts, terror, and omission by the state. These forms of interference center on the church that has not yet been established and the church that has been established but has been questioned about its legality. The high number of disturbances to the church is an iceberg phenomenon because there are actually more events taking place. As an illustration, in the city of Bogor alone, where the Mayor of Bogor claims to have granted licenses for 2 churches in 2019, the number is not proportional to 81 other Construction Permit applications that have not yet obtained a permit.
- Actors involved in acts of violating the right to freedom to establish places of worship are state and non-state actors. The state actor, in addition to carrying out sealing actions, revoked licenses as happened at the Indonesian Christian Church Taman Yasmin, Bogor City, also carried out omission of criminal acts committed by intolerant community organizations. Meanwhile, non-state actors’ groups are religious organizations such as the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI), Islamic Reformist Movement (GARIS), Islamic Community Forum (FUI), Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia (HTI), Indonesian Islamic Propagation Institute (LDII), and so on, which in the treasury studies religious organizations, including intolerant groups.
- This intolerant group is increasingly aggressive in carrying out its actions due to the reality of intolerantdiscriminatory legal products that justify acts of persecution. This environment is also supported by a number of regional heads, who play identity politicization using religious issues in every political event.