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Executive Summary

Résumé exécutif

Résumé exécutif: Indonésie

L’Indonésie est passée avec succès d’un régime autoritaire à un régime démocratique en 1998, mais elle peine encore à corriger les inégalités.


Global Centre for Pluralism

Overall Score: 7

This assessment was completed in 2022.

Often described as a bastion of tolerance in the Islamic world, Indonesia, which successfully transitioned from authoritarianism to democracy in1998, is facing new challenges of intolerance, exclusion and marginalization. The Global Pluralism Monitor: Indonesia report demonstrates how polarization has become more fervent, and how the growing role of Islam in Indonesian politics has resulted in escalated tensions between different religious and ethnic groups. The Monitor report discusses the dynamics of exclusion and inclusion in Indonesia by analysing racial-ethnic groups (e.g., Javanese, Sudanese, non-native ethnicities, among others), faith affiliations and beliefs, and rural-urban areas.

Indonesia boasts inclusive policies and social protections towards racial-ethnic and religious minorities. However, in practice, majority Muslim groups often dominate and dictate the public space. While this report points to a strong sense of belonging within Indonesian society, it also sheds light on recurring inter-group violence. This violence derives from international migration, perceptions of who is a ‘guest’ or a ‘host’ in different districts, and discrimination against religious minorities.

Legal Commitments

Indonesia’s commitment to human rights, dignity and equality has intensified since the beginning of the Reformation Era in 1977. This commitment is showcased through the ratification of international human rights instruments and active engagement with their respective monitoring mechanisms. Likewise, the country has become a leader within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) when it comes to promoting and protecting the rights of women and children. Its commitment to pluralism is also showcased through inclusive citizenship policies, such as providing stateless individuals of diverse backgrounds the opportunity to become Indonesian.


However, a lack of regulation related to how the state guarantees and fulfills religious freedom is an obstacle to realizing pluralism.

Practices and Leadership

National policy exists regarding the ratified international covenants but there is a gap in their implementation. This implementation gap negatively and disproportionately impacts women, religious and ethnic minorities across Indonesia. Although the Constitution does not make any distinction regarding the majority group, the Javanese are the largest ethnic group in Indonesia and they maintain major political status. Likewise, the religious majority often determines the results of political elections since citizens of a religious majority in a province or district are more likely to vote for a candidate of the same religious group. This leads to political parties often being more concerned with voters’ faiths than their ethno-racial diversity or the rural-urban divide. The experiences of Javanese and Muslim majoritarianism extends past political issues, with most news media representing Java- and Islam-centric interests over minority group interests.

Group-based Inequalities, Inter-group Relations and Belonging

Although Indonesia’s broad access to citizenship enables most of its inhabitants to exercise their political rights and access public goods and social services, many are hindered by the lack of a national identity card or a Kartu Tanda Penduduk (KTP). Indigenous groups and rural communities, which are typically in isolated areas, are more likely to face challenges in obtaining their KTPs. Consequently, they can lose their political rights, their ability to enroll in public schools, and their access to healthcare and face limited employment opportunities. Unequal access to public goods and social services has perpetuated economic inequalities. Among respondents from the Global Centre for Pluralism’s Pluralism Perceptions Survey, 91 percent identified income distribution as fairly or deeply unequal.

Indonesia’s national ideology has allowed for cultural identities to be dynamically shared and displayed at the national and regional levels. While a strong sense of belonging has developed across the country, with 98 percent of the Centre’s Pluralism Perceptions Survey respondents being glad to be Indonesian, unequal treatment of ethnic and religious groups remains a concern. Religious tolerance and diversity are undermined by increasing trends of Islamization across Indonesian life. This is reflected in school dress codes and the increased violence against non-Muslim and Indigenous communities, who are often perceived as adversarial for practicing their own beliefs.


Indonesia’s national ideology has allowed for cultural identities to be dynamically shared and displayed at the national and regional levels.

Monitor Takeaways

Indonesia demonstrates a successful transition from the authoritarian New Order regime into the democratic Reformation Era, which has allowed for the adoption of inclusive and pluralist policies that celebrate the national motto of ‘Unity in Diversity’. This broad-based acceptance allows for all cultural, ethnic and religious groups to participate in celebrations and demonstrations of their different faiths. Likewise, this strength in diversity and tolerance is showcased through the consistent high scores Indonesia receives throughout the Monitor report.

However, progress in strengthening pluralism in Indonesia is consistently tested. While the federal government pushes for the implementation of pluralist policies, the implementation of these policies at the provincial or district levels has proven to be detrimental to minority communities. For example, the Monitor report discusses federal regulations for establishing places of worship, which requires approval from community members. While this appears to be an inclusive participatory process, members of religious minorities often face obstacles in obtaining these permissions. This discrimination is underscored by the unofficial majoritarianism towards the Javanese. Although cases looking to combat some of these regulations can make it to the Constitutional Court, they are rarely able to create change. Thus, the Monitor report makes apparent the lack of coherence between Indonesia’s commitment to pluralism and provincial implementation.

As the Monitor report demonstrates,

Indonesia’s disjoint between pluralism and provincial implementation exacerbates barriers to social inclusion for members of ethnic or religious minorities, particularly for those living in remote areas.

For example, remote areas often experience tensions over the control of local resources, which can lead to violence. While the Reformation Era regime has focused on celebrating and strengthening ethno-religious identities, the opposite has occurred. Instead, across all levels of society, there is a rise in conflicts between racial-ethnic and religious groups. A shift towards recognizing the unequal realities lived in Indonesia offers the possibility of strengthening pluralism and honouring the motto ‘Unity in Diversity’.

Call to action fallback image


The Monitor’s recommendations reinforce what experts, activists and stakeholders have long called for in Sri Lanka and provide several pathways to pluralism for the country.

  • By fostering collaboration and partnerships between the government and civil society organizations focused on the development of inclusive policies and legislation, pluralism can be enhanced across Indonesia.


  • By facilitating access to civil registries and government services that provide national identity cards, Kartu Tanda Penduduk (KTPs), particularly in rural areas and remote locations populated by communities, more inclusive citizenship and an increased sense of belonging across minority groups can result.


  • Implementing the Constitutional Court’s decision No. 35 of 2012 and awarding full recognition to Indigenous peoples has the potential to decrease displacement of Indigenous groups and promote the enforcement of the right to free, prior and informed consent in adat forests.


  • Since minority religious and Indigenous beliefs are disproportionately impacted by violence and discrimination, developing and improving legislation regarding cultural expression in accordance with the national state ideology of Pancasila can help reduce intergroup violence and increase trust and a sense of belonging across minority groups in Indonesia.



Documents supplémentaires

Évaluation Nationale du Moniteur: Indonésie

L'écart entre les politiques pluralistes et leur mise en œuvre crée des obstacles à l'inclusion sociale des membres des minorités ethno-religieuses.

Profil du Pays: Indonésie

En Indonésie, la polarisation est très prononcée, ce qui entraîne des dynamiques d'exclusion et d'inclusion différentes selon les differentes groupes.

Indonesia: References

To access more information that supported the development of the Indonesia report, you can access the references below.