Indonesia introduced a new criminal code in December 2022, which will have consequences for freedom of religion and religious minorities (The Conversation, 8 December 2022).
World Watch Research analyst Thomas Muller comments: “While the rules on cohabitation received an inordinate level of attention, even triggering a reaction from the tourist industry, the rules concerning freedom of religion remained under the media’s radar. In a positive development and in line with a constitutional court ruling from 2017, the term ‘belief’ was introduced into the law, arguably broadening its application. Concerning blasphemy and apostasy, the new rules seem to align better with international guarantees on freedom of religion and belief, however, it remains to be seen how the courts will apply the laws in practice (Indonesia at Melbourne, 17 January 2023). The notorious regulations concerning building permits for places of worship have not been touched. In this respect, religious minorities (such as Christians) will continue to face the long-term effects of growing Islamic conservatism in society: Regions and even whole provinces like West Sumatra have been signing off laws basing their culture and tradition on Sharia law and the Quran (Indonesia at Melbourne, 24 January 2023).”