Human Rights and Faith in Focus: Indonesia and the EU explore the role of religion in realising rights (24/10/2011)

Jakarta, 24 October 2011
Ref: D(2011)2142 EN

Human Rights and Faith in Focus: Indonesia and the EU explore the role of religion in realising rights

The European Union (EU), in partnership with Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), is convening a two-day conference on Human Rights and Faith in Focus at the Hotel JW Marriott in Jakarta from 24th to 25th October 2011.

The conference will be attended by 150 representatives of civil society, government and diplomatic missions from Indonesia and the EU and will adopt recommendations for the next EU-Indonesia Human Rights Dialogue in 2012. It is rooted in the mutual commitment to human rights included in the 2009 EU-Indonesia Partnership and Co-operation Agreement. The event will explore the contribution made by faith organisations to the fulfilment of human rights and the challenges in balancing respect for freedom of religion with other human rights, including the freedom of expression. Following recent incidents in the EU and Indonesia, it will also examine how the rights of minorities can better be protected. Participants will also undertake a field visit to a pesantren (an Indonesian boarding school).

Eminent speakers at the event include: NU Chairman, Prof. Dr Said Aqil Siroj; Siti Musdah Mulia of the Indonesian Conference on Religion and Peace; Yenni Wahid of the Wahid Institute; Dr Justo Lacunza Balda, Rector Emeritus of the Pontifical Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, Maqsood Ahmed O.B.E. Senior Adviser to the UK Government on Faith Communities; Ulil Abshar Abdalla of the Freedom Institute; Dr Theodor Rathgeber of the German Forum Human Rights and University of Kassel; Prof. Dr Franz Magnis Suseno; Dr Irmgard Marboe of the University of Vienna and Indri Saptaningrum of ELSAM.

H.E. Julian Wilson, Head of Delegation of the European Union to Indonesia, Brunei Darussalam and ASEAN remarked: “This conference is a timely opportunity to explore a complex and compelling theme: the relationship between religious faith and human rights. Whilst religious pluralism is protected in both Indonesia and the EU, we must pay attention to the challenges we face in ensuring that all faiths can be followed without fear and discrimination, and that the legitimate assertion of religious belief is reconciled with broader human rights concerns.”

For further information, please contact Charles Whiteley, Head of the Political, Press and Information Section of the EU Delegation (; mobile: +62 811 850 0835).