"Hate Politics" Raise Human Rights Violations; Report

By | February 22, 2018 Leave a Comment

By The Indonesianist

The development of hate politics in Indonesia and various countries during 2017 has spawned new human rights violations sponsored by state and non-state actors, based on a report by Amnesty International issued on Thursday.

The right group annual report, entitled The State of the World's Human Rights, analyzes the human rights situation in 159 countries in the world during 2017, including Indonesia.

According to the report, hate politics in Indonesia is a series of global phenomena in the form of the birth of the right populist leader who exploits hate rhetoric like Donald Trump in the United States, Rodrigo Duterte in the Philippines, Narendra Modi in India, Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Turkey and Vladimir Putin in Russia to legitimize the discriminatory and anti-human policies they expend.

"In Indonesia itself, the politics of hatred exploit the sentiments of religious morality and narrow nationalism by state and non-state actors who invite their followers and the wider community to hate those who are considered "different", among others groups or individuals accused of "anti-Islam" or "deviate from Islam," "anti-nationalist" or "radical Islamist", "anti-Indonesia and separatist", to "anti-development" or "communist"," said Amnesty International Indonesia Executive Director Usman Hamid.


Hate politics is used by state and non-state actors to divide the community in order to achieve certain goals as it did in the 2017 Jakarta elections. This division policy brought about a long-lasting social and political impact.

A two-year jail sentence for former Jakarta Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama, a Chinese Christian, on May 9, 2017 for insulting Islam is one of the hate political products to be recorded in the history of Indonesian human rights. Ahok's political opponents use the "anti-Islamic" sentiment to gather hundreds of thousands of masses in Jakarta and pressure law enforcers to imprison Ahok.

"Leaders of groups such as FPI [Islamic Defenders Front] Rizieq Shihab use hate rhetoric to mobilize the masses to press the police to prosecute Ahok's law on religious accusations," Hamid said.

"It can be concluded that the hate narrative of Ahok is based on his status which is part of religious and ethnic minority groups," he added.

In addition to Ahok's case, the guilty verdict in the case of blasphemy against the three leaders of Gerakan Fajar Nusantara (Gafatar), Ahmad Mushaddeq, Mahful Muis Tumanurung and Andry Cahya, in the case of Islamic blasphemy exacerbate the situation of religious protection in Indonesia in 2017.

During 2017, there were a total of 11 people convicted of using religious blasphemy articles, which is often used to target individuals who are part of religious or minority beliefs.

"Islamist anti-nationalist"

President Joko Widodo's administration also capitalized on the sentiment of "radicalism" to justify the decision to issue a Government Regulation in Lieu of Law (Perppu) on the dissolution of social organizations in July 2017, and then passed by the house of reprecentatives in October 2017.

The Perppu threatens freedom of expression and assembly because the government can immediately dissolve social organizations if it is indicated "anti-pancasila" or refuse five country's principles.

Nine days after issued the law, the government dissolved the Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia (HTI) mass organization, which accused of "anti-pancasila" for campaigning for the Caliphate. The dissolution was carried out although HTI promoted the concept of khilafah in a peaceful way.

"The Perppu invites people especially from moderates to hate those who are considered 'radical' even if they do not commit criminal acts set out in law,"

"This is a form of hatred sponsored by the state that shelter with alibis prevent the spread of radicalism in Indonesia. This regulation limits the right to freedom of association, opinion, religion and belief," said Usman Hamid.


Amnesty International Indonesia also notes that at least 30 people have been jailed or detained for peaceful expression of political, faith or religious beliefs.

Authorities continue to arrest and prosecute those who voice peaceful political aspirations especially in areas that have a record of pro-independence movements such as Papua.


The apparatus also uses the article of communism to ensnare those who voiced their criticism of development. The development doctrine campaigned by the government of Joko Widodo raise the new forms of human rights violations.

On September 4, 2017, farmers and environmental activists Heri Budiawan or Budi Pego were arrested on charges of spreading the "communism" doctrine, although he only tried to protest the great business interests in his hometown, Banyuwangi.

An anti-communist mass from various social organizations came to the Banyuwangi District Court to support prosecutor to punish Pego.

"This is one form of state-sponsored hate politics in which the state apparatus impose ideological allegiance and unite mass to silence activists through the chapter of communism," said Hamid.

In other cases, the police even took a subjective legal action by banning a scientific limited seminar on behalf of a protest by a group of anti-communists and by reason of a legal ban on communism. On September 16, 2017, the police dispersed the seminar at Jakarta Legal Aid office attended by victims of the 1965 human rights violations.

While by reason of the legal prohibition on communism, the police did not take legal action in the case of an anti-communist mass attack against activists and 1965 victims.

On the night of 17 September, LBH Jakarta held an art event to criticize the dissolution. Shortly after the art event, about 1,000 people who claimed to be "anti-communist" surrounded the office so that artists and activists were trapped inside the building. In the early morning, the mob threw stones at the office and damaged the fence. Hundreds of police officers took to the scene and used tear gas to disperse the crowd.


Resentment against sexual minority groups also increases in 2017 where law enforcers conduct raids and arrests of people who are considered Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT).

By 2016, state officials have only issued statements that have cornered LGBTI groups in the name of morality, but these statements are translated into concrete actions by the authorities in 2017.

On May 25, 141 people were arrested in North Jakarta by local police after attending what the police described as a "gay sex party". The next day police released 126 men, but 10 of them were charged with violating Pornography law.

On October 6, 51 people, including seven foreigners, were arrested in a sauna in Central Jakarta. Most customers are released the next day; five permanent employees were detained at the end of the year. Police charged six people with pornography and prostitution services.

Except in Aceh, same-sex relations is not prohibited under the Criminal Code. At least 317 people were flogged in Aceh during 2017 for committing adultery, gambling, and selling or consuming alcohol, as well as same-sex relations.

In May, two men were each whipped 83 times publicly after being found guilty by the Shariah Court of Banda Aceh on charges of having same-sex as stipulated under Sharia law.

Although Sharia law has been in effect since the enactment of the Special Autonomy Law in 2001 and upheld by Islamic courts, it is the first time homosexual men have been flogged under Sharia law in the province.

"This hatred politics has the potential to be capitalized in the 2018 political year, especially in 2019 ahead of presidential and vice presidential elections. Minority groups will be the target of hatred in the political years," said Hamid.

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