Written question HL337: The Lord Bishop of Coventry 03-07-2017

Asked on: 03 July 2017
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the government of Indonesia that Indonesia's blasphemy laws will not be applied in a discriminatory manner, including against those who do not practise one of the six religions recognised under Indonesian law.
Answered by: Baroness Goldie
Answered on: 17 July 2017

We raise these issues regularly and appropriately with the Indonesian government. We supported the EU statement, issued following the conviction of the former governor of Jakarta, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama (known as 'Ahok') on blasphemy charges. This called on the Indonesian government, its institutions and its people to continue the long standing tradition of tolerance and pluralism in Indonesia and stated that laws criminalising blasphemy when applied in a discriminatory manner can have a serious inhibiting effect on freedom of expression and freedom of religion. Our Ambassador to Indonesia also publicly expressed concern about the blasphemy verdict against 'Ahok' on social media. More generally, and in meetings with political and religious leaders, the Ambassador and Embassy officials have actively cautioned against mixing issues of race, ethnicity and religion with politics.

In addition, we are also supporting the Indonesian parliament in their ongoing revision of the Indonesian Penal Code to encourage respect for human rights, including freedom of religion.

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