The PROTECT project launched in July 2021 by Search for Common Ground in collaboration with Yayasan Satu Keadilan (YSK), Jaringan Kerjasama Antar Umat Beragama (Jakatarub), and the KAKAK Foundation. This 30-month project seeks to empower minority groups and allies to address barriers to rights and freedoms of minority groups in Indonesia while broadening ‘whole of community’ collaboration and raising awareness at the public and government levels around the importance of protecting the rights of minorities.
Despite its reputation as a diverse country, in recent years Indonesia has experienced an increase in instances of intolerance towards minority groups, which especially exacerbated during the COVID-19 pandemic that ensued a digital surge due to the physical distancing norms and lockdowns. The flooding online misinformation has also sparked a rise in intolerant discourse targeting minority groups, as much the pandemic has been limiting room for dialogues and positive interactions between people. To overcome these challenges, there is a great need to support existing advocates for tolerance and to mobilize additional support, with the aim of including and advancing the voices of marginalized and ‘hard to reach’ groups within civil society and decision-making processes and government policies.
The project builds on the key lessons learned and final evaluations from Search’s recent projects in Indonesia, including the ongoing Building Resilience through Multi-Stakeholder Collaboration to Prevent Violent Extremism in Indonesia project, USAID-funded Harmoni project, and Promoting Peaceful Narratives to Youth in Indonesia project. Search seeks to advance minority rights by supporting civil society through interreligious dialogues, engagement with religious leaders and influencers, and multi-stakeholder collaboration.
Theory of Change
“IF religious and other minorities are better connected with their communities and civil society actors AND religious leaders and media actors are able to advocate for religious tolerance and rights protection, THEN the protection of human rights of religious minorities will be better enforced.”
Core Objectives and Activities
To advance minority rights, Search seeks to promote a collaborative and non-adversarial approach that brings together a diverse array of actors in Indonesia to work together around shared interests. It engages directly with members of the “hard to reach” minority groups that face additional social barriers, including Ahmadi, Syiah, and Sunda Wiwitan, that are mobilized through interfaith dialogues and CSO-led community initiatives. Search also works with 60 local CSO representatives, 30 young journalists, and 20 religious leaders to strengthen their capacity on engaging with minority groups, detecting and responding to dangerous misinformation on minorities, and advocating for religious tolerance and protection of minority rights through training, interfaith dialogues, and advocacy campaigns. Finally, the project works with government officials, including representatives of local government agencies, the Ministry of Religious Affairs, and national Parliamentarians, to coordinate efforts to mitigate and reduce intolerance. Search targets Greater Jakarta, Greater Bandung, and Greater Solo, where issues related to religious freedom, minority inclusion, and rights violations have the potential to cause significant upheaval and conflict, including a rise in extremist ideologies and related violence.
Search’s expected results are to empower local actors to:
- Recognize the value of tolerance and the need to protect minority rights, including religious freedom
- Engage ‘hard to reach’ minority groups on issues related to tolerance and minority rights
- Develop local initiatives and dialogues are inclusive of minorities, including ‘hard to reach’ minority groups
- Promote narratives and stories fostering religious tolerance and respect for human rights, particularly focused on ‘hard to reach’ minority groups
- Employ non-adversarial advocacy techniques to protect minority rights, including religious freedom
- Access relevant information on local needs and local examples of initiatives supporting religious freedom, the rights of minority groups, and human rights