ASIA/INDONESIA - New law to counteract and dissolve radical groups: "A step for the common good"

Friday, 27 October 2017 human rights   religious minorities   violence   islam   political islam   extremism   common good   civil society  

Jakarta (Agenzia Fides) - Indonesia has approved a new law that authorizes the government to dissolve mass organizations that threaten Pancasila's ideology (the five principles at the basis of the nation) and the national Constitution. The measure was promoted and strongly wanted by President Joko Widono's government to stem the presence and action of radical Islamic groups that in recent months have made their voices and their influence in society heard, propagating ideas (such as promoting the Sharia, and Caliphate) contrary to the architecture of the Indonesian nation.
While thousands of Muslims from various extremist groups have organized a demonstration of protest outside the Parliament of Jakarta, Indonesian lawmakers passed the law on October 24th. Seven political parties out of ten voted in favor of the measure, while three rejected or requested further revision.
According to the new provisions, the executive will have the power to intervene, ban and dissolve "mass organizations" directly, without going through legal proceedings before a court. In the past it was up to a judge to dissolve a group of civil society. The executive used this provision, in the previous version, in July to denounce and demand the dissolution of the "Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia" (HTI) radical Islamic group, accused of threatening the country's national unity, as supporter of the Islamic Caliphate.
Fr. Benny Susetyo, a Catholic priest engaged as National Secretary of the National Council of the "Setara Institute", a well-known Human Rights Promotion Center, on welcoming Parliament's decision, tells Fides "mass organizations, which go against Pancasila, must be automatically dissolved because they are not compliant with the rules governing the coexistence in our nation", Susetyo, who is among the members of the Special Presidential Committee for the development of the Pancasila, states that "in any nation an organization that opposes the "ideology foundation of the state would be dissolved as it would be subversive. This measure is not against human rights and freedom of association since human rights cannot reduce or harm the common good". According to the priest "one must bear in mind the need to maintain the integrity of the nation" in public debate.
Fr. Benny Susetyo concludes. "Now one has to obey the law. I do not see an attack or harm to human rights or freedom of association in this measure". (PCP-PA) (Agenzia Fides, 27/10/2017)