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2 JSEAHR 236 (2018)
When Human Rights Are Not Enough: A Failure of Multiculturalism in Indonesia: (A Preliminary Hypothesis)

handle is hein.journals/jseahr2 and id is 33 raw text is: 



                                                                                    236
journal of Southeast Asian Human Rights, Vol. 2 No. 1 June 2018. pp. 236-247
doi: 10. 1914/seahrv2i15322
0  University offember & Indonesian Consortium for Human Rights Lecturers


When Human Rights are not Enough: A Failure of

Multiculturalism in Indonesia?

(A Preliminary Hypothesis)



Joeni A. Kurniawan,  PhD  Candidate,  University of Pisa, Italy and Lecturer at University
of Airlangga, Indonesia

Abstract
As  far as the judiciary is concerned, there have been quite a number of legal instruments
created in Indonesia for the protection of human rights. These legal instruments include the
Indonesian Constitution, which possess special articles pertaining to human rights: the Human
Rights Act  (the Law Number  39 of 1999), the National Commission for Human  Rights, etc.
Thus, normatively, all of these legal instruments should be adequate to protect human rights in
Indonesia, including the protection of the minority groups. However, the reality does not seem
in line with these expectations. There have been a number of cases in Indonesia that have
brought  into serious question the county's ability to protect the rights of minority groups. The
persecution of the Ahmadiyah and Shia sects, the rejection of the establishment of non-Muslim
places of worship, and, the most recent case, the imprisonment of Jakarta's governor Basuki
Tjahaja Purnama, are just a few of the distressing incidences which show how Indonesia's poor
performance  in the protection of minority groups. Identity politics, and even a sentiment of
racism, are re-emerging in Indonesia, a fact which seems to be  affirmed by the findings
presented by  the Wahid  Foundation, which show  that 59.9% of 1520 respondents from 34
provinces in Indonesia said that they harbor hatred towards some groups of their fellow citizens,
such  as those who  are non-Muslims, of  Chinese-descent, communists, etc. (Hakim 2016).
Among   this 59,9%, 92,2% of them reported that they are strongly opposed to a person from one
of  the aforementioned groups taking office as a leader in the government, and 82,4% even
reported that they don't want to have a neighbor who belongs to one of those groups (Hakim
2016). Such re-emergence of identity politics and racism, as well as the frightening degree of
hatred displayed among the population, give rise to questions about why all of the human rights
instruments which already exist within Indonesia's legal framework seem to fail in preventing
the prevailing modem  sentiment and incidences of abuses. In this article I will present my
hypothesis that all that the tragedies regarding the mistreatment of and negative sentiments
towards minority groups in Indonesian are due to the failure of the 'multiculturalist' approach
implemented   in Indonesia so far. I will also propose that an 'interculturalist' approach be
implemented  in Indonesia as means to critique and refine the failed multiculturalist approach in
dealing with Indonesia's multicultural society, and in dealing with the protection of minority
groups in particular.

Keywords:   Multiculturalism, Interculturalism, Human Rights, Indonesia

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