(Matius Ho, Executive Director of the Leimena Institute with the United States Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom, Sam Brownback)

IL News 020/2019
Bangkok, Thailand. November 4-5th, 2019.

The Southeast Asia Freedom of Religion or Belief (SEAFORB) Conference was held in Bangkok, Thailand on November 4-5th, 2019. Matius Ho, Executive Director of Leimena Institute, was one of the speakers who gave the situation overview of freedom of religion or belief in Indonesia.

He explained how this country with 269 million people, 1,340 tribes and total area 1,905 million km2, has its own complexities and challenges in managing their citizen’s freedom of religion or belief, despite the successes that have been well achieved. The difference between Indonesia and other countries is that human rights guarantees in Indonesia have been included in our Constitution, since the amendments of the 1945 Constitution. The emergence of discourse of amendments to 1945 Constitution and revive the Broad Guidelines of State Policy (GBHN), conveyed as an urgency contains the potential to threaten human rights in Indonesia as happened in the new order era.

Other speakers at the event included Sam Brownback, US Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom, and Jan Figel, EU Special Envoy for Promotion of Freedom of Religion or Belief. For two days, participants consisted of ASEAN countries, Europe and the United States discussed issues related to freedom of religion or belief in each country and developed the action plan as well. Besides being one of the speakers, the Leimena Institute also invited Budi H. Setiamarga and Yans Penina Daphne from Global Humanity and Johan Hasan from Ciputra University as participants at the event.