Strengthening Democracy and Respect of Pluralism
Diversity and pluralism are Indonesia’s core strength, embodied in the state ideology and Constitution. Indonesia’s pluralism is given, but it must be nurtured. For the past 20 years, Indonesia has been continuing the reform to advance democratic values and respect human rights.
In Indonesia today, democracy and pluralism become the driver to achieve social justice.
In the past 4 years, President Joko Widodo has placed the state’s presence in achieving such goal. Numerous economic development, poverty alleviation and disparity reduction are implemented to create better infrastructures for connecting thousand islands and millions of people.
The democratic landscape in Indonesia continues to be enhanced. The 2018 simultaneous local elections were successfully held in 171 provinces and municipalities/cities across Indonesia. Next year, presidential and legislative elections will also be held simultaneously. With all these progress, Indonesia managed to get the highest democracy index in ASEAN for 2014-2016.
Strengthening election process alone is not enough. For that reason, Indonesia has been pursuing bureaucratic reform and good governance. This creates an effective and accountable bureaucracy for better public services. It increases the legal development and the corruption eradication indexes of Indonesia.
Respect for human rights and diversity are nurtured systematically and progressively all across Indonesia. The human rights agenda are being mainstreamed, including through Human Rights Cities program in more than 225 municipalities/cities and implementation of National Action Plan on Human Rights covering all 513 municipalities/cities. The coherent work of Indonesia National Commission on Human Rights, other thematic National Human Rights Institutions, as well as related state’s Commission or Agencies are strengthened.
As of February 2019, the government of Indonesia has established community-based “Forum of Inter-religious Harmony” in all 34 provinces of Indonesia. Another way to nurture respect of diversity is through creating broader access for cultural activities and education.
This positive human rights development can only be sustained if it finds a regional milieu that is conducive. Therefore, the continued leadership in advancing democratic values, human rights, and rule of law in ASEAN regional cooperation will be taken. Indonesia continues strengthen the work of the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights as well as the operationalization of the ASEAN Institute for Peace and Reconciliation. Such leadership also applies in the advancement of political rights of persons with disabilities and the protection of the rights of migrant workers.
Indonesia continues to hold a strategic platform to promote dialogue and share best practices through the Bali Democracy Forum. The Forum advances democracy as a strategic agenda in the Asia Pacific region and beyond.
What Indonesia has been undertaking in promoting democracy and respect to pluralism shows that different backgrounds and faiths could live side-by-side in harmony. Indeed these efforts are not without challenges, but all countries should use every opportunity to embrace and manifest pluralism and democracy into a positive energy, for the greater peace, stability, and prosperity.