By: Pan Mohamad Faiz, New DelhiThis article was published on the Jakarta Post (01/11/07)
One of the important developments in our constitutional structure was the establishment of the Constitutional Court as a response to the demand for a strengthening of the checks and balances in the system of state administration.
The improvement in the constitutional situation post the amendment has been very fast. Recently, Indonesian society entered a new stage of constitutional practice as regards the fight for the basic right of freedom of religion.This basic right is clearly stated in Article 28B(1), Article 28I(1), and Article 29 of the Constitution, as well as in international human rights instruments, particularly Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).
Until today, the main problems regarding the protection of freedom of religion have never entered the arena of constitutional review. The Constitutional Court’s decision No. 12/PUU-V/2007 on the Marriage Law, especially the articles on polygamy, has opened the gate to constitutional activism for the protection of freedom of religion as a fundamental right of every Indonesian citizen.
A constitution as the supreme law of the land sets out the basic structure of the governmental system in every nation. The constitution of every country, however, has different characteristics that can influence the form of the state. As regards the freedom of religion, we often hear about the different concepts of a religious state, secular state and other types of state.