Written by Jekonia Tarigan
After the decision of the Constitutional Court No.97/PUU-XIV/2016 related to the inclusion of indigenous beliefs as part of the religion column on the national identity card (KTP), as it concerns the rights of followers of indigenous religions, ideally there should no longer be discrimination in terms of having an equal position before the law and acquiring domicile documents equivalent to other citizens. [[i]] But, has the decision been properly implemented in people’s lives, especially in relation to public treatment and services to indigenous communities? This was the main question at the Kamisan Daring Forum (FKD) on August 18, 2022. This forum was held by several institutions including the Indonesian Consortium for Religious Studies (ICRS), the Center for Religious and Cross-cultural Studies (CRCS), and the National Commission on Violence Against Women (Komnas Perempuan).
On this occasion, two presenters and one responder were present. The first speaker was Sonia Sintia who represented Puanhayati, Bandung Regency. In her presentation, Sintia said that Article 28A-J of the Constitution of the Republic of Indonesia has regulated many aspects of the rights of citizens, one of which is the right to embrace religion and worship according to their religion, as written in Article 28 E. Indigenous communities in Indonesia struggle with the recognition of their religious identity. However, according to Sintia, indigenous people in Indonesia are grateful that there is a Constitutional Court Decision No.97/PUU-XIV/2016 to recognize and include their belief system as a part of the identity card. Unfortunately, even though the decision was made in 2016, the implementation of the decision still encounters many problems in the community. First, adherents of indigenous religions still face many difficulties, even to include their identity as adherents of indigenous religions, because they are asked to write a statement of conversion of religion first. Furthermore, according to Sintia, even though indigenous people have listed their identity as believers in God Almighty on their identity cards, they are discriminated against when dealing with educational services and applying for jobs in government. This is because in the application for jobs in government agencies there is no religious identity column for adherents of indigenous religions. A similar issue occurs in schools as students who are indigenous believers cannot have their religious identity recognized because there is no indigenous religion identity column in student biographies and recording student grades or learning outcomes. Further, compulsory religious education aligned with these students’ beliefs is rare.
These problems, according to Sintia, draw from several root causes. First, there are still weak regulations concerning the rights of indigenous believers to obtain public services. Second, there are quite a lot of unscrupulous employees in government institutions who do not understand the position and equality of the rights of indigenous groups, resulting in unfair services. Third, human resources, knowledge, and awareness of the group of believers themselves are still weak so they have not been able to fight for their rights. Fourth, the lack of coordination and common perception among state institutions, related to the decision of the constitutional court that indigenous religions are equal to religion and must receive the same recognition and treatment, as a result, adherents experience discrimination in terms of recognition of their religion, as well as in matters of accessing public services.
However, Sintia also realizes that the various obstacles in implementing the decision of the Constitutional Court No.97/PUU-XIV/2016 are also a good opportunity for the indigenous religion community to continue learning, especially learning about advocacy so that they can fight for their rights. Furthermore, these indigenous religious communities also need to establish good communication and cooperation with various stakeholders, both local governments and various agencies that intersect with their interests, such as the population and civil registration office, the education office, and even the Supreme Council of Trustees Indonesia (Majelis Luhur Kepercayaan Indonesia /MLKI) and the central government to support each other in fighting for the aspirations and interests of adherents of indigenous religions. Therefore, Sintia emphasized that as citizens, adherents of indigenous religions must not always only demand their rights, but also fulfill their obligations.
In line with that, Prof. Dr. Willa Ch. Supriadi, SH, a lecturer at Parahyangan University in Bandung who is also an adherent of an indigenous religion, said that there is no perfect law. Conceptually (das sollen) the law can be formulated ideally. However, in practice or in its implementation, of course, it must go through a process so that in reality (das sein) the implementation of the law is not always ideal. However, according to Supriadi, the law on population administration is the basis of all other regulations, and the decision of the Constitutional Court No.97/PUU-XIV/2016 is actually sufficient to realize good recognition and services to all citizens regardless of religion. One issue that has become Supriadi’s concern is education for adherents of indigenous religions. This is due to the lack of concepts and teaching staff of indigenous religion, considering that indigenous religion itself is very diverse. Therefore, according to Supriyadi, this needs to be a concern for all stakeholders, both the government through the Ministry of education and the indigenous religion community itself.
Responding to the two presentations was Dr. Ir. David Yama, M.SC, MA as Director of Population Registration, Ministry of Home Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia. First, Yama admits that there are many challenges that are quite complex in fulfilling the principles of good public service from the government side to the people or society, in the context of a very diverse Indonesian society with a very large number (275 million people). Second, specifically related to the journey of recognition for adherents of a belief or belief in God Almighty, Yama argues that this has also gone through a fairly long process. According to Yama, at least important steps related to this process have taken place since 1955. At that time, the first congress of adherents of faith was held by the Indonesian Mystical Coordination Board. Then in 1965 the government issued the PNPS Law 1/1965 on Blasphemy of Religion to protect religion and religious beliefs. In 1973, TAP MPR 4/1973 was published, which explained that religion and belief are expressions of God Almighty. Both are legal and equal. Furthermore, in 1978 TAP MPR 4/1978 was also issued concerning the Outline of State Policy (GBHN) concerning nonreligious beliefs, but beliefs and required the religion column to be filled with five religions in civil registration. Then in 2006, Law 23/2006 concerning Population Administration was issued which stated that indigenous beliefs were not included in the religion column on the Kartu Keluarga (family card) and KTP, but were still served and recorded in the population database. In 2016, there was a judicial review of Articles 61 and 64 of the Population Administration Law at the Constitutional Court because the emptying of the religion column for indigenous believers was considered to cause discrimination. Finally, in 2017 Constitutional Court decision No. 97/PUU-XIV/2016 in which the Constitutional Court granted a judicial review for adherents of an indigenous belief so that they have the same legal standing as the followers of the six religions that have been recognized by the government and the status of indigenous believers can be listed in the religion column of family cards and electronic ID cards without elaborating the beliefs held. At the end of 2018, Presidential Regulation No. 96/2018 was also issued, which regulates the registration of marriages and the recording of child recognition for believers in God Almighty, and in 2019 Law No. 40/2019 concerning the implementation of the Population Administration Law, which regulates the procedure for registering marriages for adherent of indigenous religion.
In the end, Yama argues that in fact the government continues to try to provide the best public services for indigenous groups, but admits that there are several obstacles that need to be considered, namely that not all groups have recorded their data in the population database. Then there are still those whose data records in the population database are recorded as embracing one of the six major religions and the mechanism of religious conversion is still in the state of being processed. Several service innovations provided by the government include pick-up service for believers in various regions, integrated services for each population, and a joint program with the Ministry of Education and Culture to accelerate the granting of rights for believers and affirmative policies to include unregistered marital status for believers
- Sukirno Sukirno and Nur Adhim, “Implementasi Putusan Mahkamah Konstitusi No. 97/PUU-XIV/2016 Pada Masyarakat Adat Karuhun Urang Di Cigugur,” Jurnal Penelitian Hukum De Jure 20, no. 1 (2020): 11–24. p. 13, https://ejournal.balitbangham.go.id/index.php/dejure/article/view/666/pdf