Indonesia has shown a steady increase in violations of religious freedom over the past year, according to the country’s National Commission for Human Rights (Komnas HAM).
In 2016, Komnas HAM received 97 reports of violations, compared to 87 in 2015 and 74 in 2014, according to the organisation’s faith freedom desk coordinator Jayadi Damanik.
“The number, of course, doesn’t necessarily reflect the actual circumstance because there were cases that went unreported,” Damanik told the Jakarta Post.
West Java had the highest number of reported cases, with 21, while Jakarta came second with 19. The most frequent reports related to “prohibition and vandalism against houses of worship” (44) and “prohibiting religious followers to practise their religions” (19).
Indonesia also features on Christian charity Open Doors’ 2017 World Watch List, which ranks the 50 countries in which it is most difficult to live as a Christian. Indonesia is No. 46 on the 2017 list.
Two high-profile blasphemy cases are currently ongoing in Indonesia – the first against the Christian Governor of Jakarta for allegedly “misusing” a verse from the Qur’an; the second against a Muslim cleric alleged to have mocked Christianity.