ANU event to explore the treatment of minority groups in Indonesia

Indonesia’s treatment of minority groups will be the focus of the 2018 Indonesia Update.  Leading scholars, activists and policymakers will explore Indonesia’s shifting attitudes towards minority communities, including people of diversity in religion, gender, sexuality, disability and the law.

Indonesia Update co-convenor Associate Professor Greg Fealy from ANU Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs said Indonesia’s treatment of minorities over the past decade has become increasingly controversial. While successive Indonesian governments have projected an image of a tolerant and harmonious nation, human rights groups have criticized what they see as worsening attacks on the status and freedom of minorities.

Associate Professor Fealy said two of the topics the event would focus on is the treatment of religious minorities and the LGBTQI community in Indonesia.

“More than 200 cases of abuse of religious rights were recorded last year in Indonesia and survey data shows that intolerance of religious minorities is rising, particularly in the influential Muslim middle classes,” Associate Professor Fealy said.

“Anti-gay and transgender sentiment has become commonplace in mainstream discourse over the past three years, accompanied by efforts to criminalise homosexual behaviour.

“So far, only a handful of cases have involved police action, with the most notorious being the public caning of two gay men in Aceh under that province’s sharia law code earlier this year. 

“But gay and transgender Indonesians now feel vulnerable to community disapproval or ‘outing’ and fear ostracism or worse for their sexual orientation.”

Media are invited to attend and more information is available here:

Interviews with speakers are available by contacting the ANU Media Team on 02 6125 7979 or

Keynote Address

Professor Robert CribbANU School of Culture, History and Language

Professor Cribb will outline the history of minorities in modern Indonesia since independence in 1945, contrasting the experiences of different ethnic, religious, cultural and other minorities.

He argues that racial discrimination is giving way to discrimination based on religion.

Professor Cribb’s research interests focus on Indonesia, particularly the themes of mass violence and crime, national identity, environmental politics and historical geography.

Professor Saskia Wieringa  – Amsterdam University

Is the recent wave of homophobia in Indonesia unexpected?

Professor Wieringa  is a leading authority on gender and sexuality and has written extensively on Indonesia’s hardening attitudes towards homosexual and transgender communities.

Since the late 1970s she has done research on women’s movements, sexual politics and same-sex relations in many parts of the world, particularly in Indonesia.

She chairs the Foundation International People’s Tribunal on the 1965 Crimes Against Humanity in Indonesia and has written and edited more than 30 books and over 200 articles.

Sidney Jones - Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict

Before founding IPAC in 2013, Sidney Jones was based was based in Jakarta with the International Crisis Group, first as Southeast Asia director, then as senior adviser to the Asia program.

She is a recognised authority on terrorism in Southeast Asia and has also written extensively on ethnic, communal and separatist conflicts elsewhere in the region, including in Aceh and Papua.

She was the Asia Director of Human Rights Watch (1989-2002) and briefly served as chief of the Human Rights Unit of the UN Transitional Administration in East Timor in 1999-2000.



Aaron Walker
ANU Media
T: 02 6125 7979
M: 0418 307 213

WHAT:  2018 Indonesia Update - Contentious belonging: the place of minorities in Indonesia
WHERE: HC Coombs Building, Cnr Fellows Road and Garran Road
WHEN: Friday 14 - Saturday 15 September 2018

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