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More on blasphemy law

Saturday, January 19, 2008

I wrote an article on how the law on blasphemy and the abuse of religion could contravene the constitution. There, I conclude that the Indonesian Constitution contains no specific reference to any religions and that Article 29(2) of the constitution was meant to protect not only major religions but also all beliefs. Any attempt to prohibit certain religious interpretation such as done through Articles 1 and 3 of Presidential Enactment number 1/PNPS/1965 on the Prevention of Blasphemy and Abuse of Religions would therefore infringe the constitution.

In another recent article, I explained that Article 4 of Presidential Enactment 1/PNPS/1965 which contained a provision of 5 years of imprisonment for those “who deliberately, in public, which in essence sparked hostility, insulting or abusive views towards religions with the purpose of preventing others from adhering to any religion based on God” could be in conflict with human rights (HR) norms.

Blasphemy laws could be permitted by HR only when it is intended to prevent harm to others. I wrote:
Thus, a Human Rights-compliant blasphemy law should contain very restrictive conditions, namely that it is applicable only when it is “…necessary to protect public safety, order, health or morals, or the fundamental rights and freedoms of others”. And, not only that the restriction must be “necessary” in order to prevent harm, it must also be “proportional” to the goal.

The Presidential Enactment (vis a vis Article 156a of the Criminal Code) has other purpose than preventing harm. Thus, it may be inconsistent with international human rights instrument.

Read more here.

My other article discussing Prophet Muhammad Cartoon.