Press Release
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The Continuing Discrimination of Race and Religion, Harrasment and Intimidation against Governor of DKI Jakarta Province of Indonesia by Islamic Defenders Front

The Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of Violence (KontraS) – a human rights non-governmental organization based in Jakarta – would like to provide you certain updates on the case of Racial Discrimination committed by Islamic Defenders Front [FPI] against Vice Governmor of Jakarta namely Mr.Basuki Tjahaja Purnama [called Ahok] who now is on the process to become a Governor of Jakarta.

As what we wrote in our previous letter [Ref.No: 787/SK-KontraS/X/2014 sent on October 17th 2014], Islamic Defenders Front [FPI] is rejecting Mr. Basuki Tjahaja Purnama [called Ahok] to become a Governor of Jakarta. They refused Ahok because Ahok is a non-Muslim guy and originated from Chinese ethnic [a Chinese descent]. The Chairman of the Advisory Board of FPI, Mr. Misbahul Anam, explained the reason for his refusal: "First, there is never a proposition that said a heathen can be a fair leader and protects Muslims. Second, Ahok is arrogant, cocky, and even often using the harsh words while talking. Third, the various elements of Jakarta’s citizens are fed up and refuse Ahok’s leadership. Fourth, Ahok always shout about democracy, and fifth, is because the majority of Jakarta’s citizens are Muslim and Non-Chinese while Ahok is not." [More complete explanation can be found in the lecture of Rizieq Shihab at –  “FPI Not Refuse Ahok, But Reject a Heathen Leader” – the video was uploaded by FPI on 20 September 2014, accessed on October 16, 2014 at 15:40].

Few days ago, on 10th of November, thousands of FPI members returned to City Hall in Central Jakarta to protest the planned inauguration of Ahok as governor. Thousands of protesters from several Islamic organizations, including the FPI, who claimed to represent the majority of Jakarta’s residents, staged a demonstration in front of City Hall and yelled insults at Ahok, such as “Ahok is the devil’s spawn!” and “Arrogant Ahok must be ousted!”. FPI also add that Ahok must not be sworn in as governor because Ahok has a bad reputation, not just in the eyes of city councilors but also the Jakarta public, Ahok is the source of all problems, FPI also condemn Ahok as an enemy of Islam.

Two days after the demonstration, on 12th of November, FPI members came to Jakarta Metropolitan Police in order to reported Ahok on the issue of defamation and unpleasant acts. FPI claimed that Ahok is committed to numbers of defamation related to his statement in various media that stated FPI members are ‘paid-masses’, racist, and spreading hatred.

We believe that FPI’s act is a form of Discrimination against Racial and Ethnic as set forth in Article 1 Paragraph 1 of the National Law No. 40 of 2008 on the Elimination of Racial and Ethnic Discrimination which states: "The act of Racial and Ethnic Discrimination is the act relating to any distinction, exclusion, restriction, or selection based on race and ethnicity, which resulted in the removal or reduction of the recognition, acquisition or exercise of human rights and fundamental freedoms in an equality in the political, economic, social and cultural.” In addition, Law No. 32 of 2004 on Regional Government does not require certain religious or ethnic background to become a leader in certain area. If this discriminatory action still left unchecked and occurred in the absence of punishment, it can trigger another discriminatory actions to become wider as well as eliminating the spirit of diversity in the society.

Government of Indonesia tend to not be able to take firm action against what FPI does. We are concerned that political interests could rape logics and rule of law. Just because a group of political elites disagree with Basuki Tjahaja Purnama [Ahok], they demanded that Ahok must not be sworn for the sake of the unconstitutional and unreasonable reasons.

We urge Government of Indonesia to immediately taking action in order to upholding Human Rights and commit to rule of law. What FPI does is clearly a violation of the Law No. 40/2008 on the Elimination of Racial and Ethnic Discrimination. These violations related actions show hatred for racial and ethnic differences in speech or express certain words in a public place [Article 4 Letter B Number 2] so that the offense could be criminalized by the punishment of five years imprisonment and a fine [Article 16].

We also would like to call upon to you to demand and urge our Government to abide international obligations and assure the restoration of a democratic government based on human rights as what Indonesia has stated in its position as the ASEAN countries which both on the TOR and on the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration (AHRD) mentioned that ASEAN member states should always uphold the principles of impartiality, objectivity, non-selectivity, non-discrimination, non-confrontation and avoidance of double standards and politicization in the realization of the human rights and freedoms contained in the declaration.


Jakarta, November 13, 2014


Haris Azhar
Executive Coordinator of KontraS