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05/11/2021 Indonesia (International Christian Concern) – According to the Union of Catholic Asian News (UCAN), on May 7, 2021, the Indonesian Supreme Court overturned a recent ministerial decree banning state schools from restricting the different religious beliefs of teachers and students.

The decree initially intended to prevent religious discrimination and intolerance after an Indonesian state high school in West Sumatra ordered all females to wear a hijab, despite different religious identities in the school. 

However, UCAN said the Supreme Court overturned the decree because it “contravened existing laws on the jurisdiction of local governments, child protection, and the national education system.” The Indonesian Child Protection Commission (KPAI) questioned how the decree contravened child protection “since its motive was to help protect the rights of children.” 

KPAI commissioner, Retno Listyari, told UCAN in an interview, “Schools must be a safe place for study, where religious differences should not be used as a tool to disrespect others. Schools should be teaching students to respect the rights of others and celebrate diversity.” 

The Catholic Church and religious rights activists say the ruling will further encourage discrimination and remove classmates from learning to respect each other.  

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