The country’s leading legal and human rights organisations have teamed up as the Anti-Persecution Coalition to warn against increasing acts of persecution and harassment violating freedom of expression across Indonesia.
“With the tremendous amount of fear spreading, it will be a terror that paralyses the function of society as a space for mutual speech. Peaceful debate (is necessary) so as to become a mature society in addressing the debate. In order to do that, freedom of opinion is the condition,” the Anti-Persecution Coalition said in a statement issued Thursday, June 1.
The Coalition reviewed a series of cases of individuals who were deemed to have insulted a religion or cleric by online mobs and found that while incidents have occurred in the past, since the start of the year it has become critical.
The group calls on the government to act and put an end to the arbitrary targeting and harassment of minority groups and individuals who hold values and views different to the online mobs.
“The state — in this case, the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) and the police — have conducted a serious investigation into the persecution that occurred and disclosed the facts and the actors behind this persecution,” the Coalition of Anti Persecution’s statement said.
The coalition has called for authorities to uphold the law to better prevent future cases of persecution.
“The public must also refrain from engaging in hate speech because hate speech can be the beginning of genocide and the breakup of a nation,” the statement said.
According to the Anti-Persecution Coalition, there are 59 confirmed cases of persecution found in Indonesia in recent months. In addition, the coalition uncovered many cases of ‘doxxing,’ in which an individual’s identity, including contact information, is posted to the internet in retribution for their opinions.
Persecution is often accompanied by threats or actual violence, as well as reports to authorities over allegations of violations of the controversial Electronic Transactions and Information (ITE) Law. Some victims have been forced to publicly apologise.
A victim of an imitation account also came forward to the coalition, saying a social media account had been impersonating the victim and comments insulting a religion were posted.
“’People hunting’ is a systematic or widespread act, as evidenced by the rapid process of reaching the vastness of the territory (covered). For example, in one day there can be a similar pattern in six regions in Indonesia that are far apart,” the Anti-Persecution Coalition found.
The Anti-Persecution Coalition consists of many high profile non-government organisations, including Jakarta Legal Aid, Indonesia Legal Aid Foundation, Legal Aid Press, the Alliance of Independent Journalists, Gusdurian, Imparsial, SAFEnet, Pulih Foundation, the Purple Code Collective, Anarkonesia, Mafindo, One Justice Foundation, KontraS, Elsam, the Institute for Criminal Justice Reform, Yappika, Arus Pelangi, the Indonesian Centre for Law and Policy Studies, Our Voice, Society’s Legal Aid, KontraS Foundation and the Journalist Union for Diversity.