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Attorney General's Office bans five books

(SEAPA/IFEX) - The Attorney General's Office of Indonesia banned five books in December 2009. These books are the following:

- "Pretext for Mass Murder: The September 30th Movement and Soeharto's Coup d'Etat in Indonesia" by John Roosa
- "Six Paths to God" by Darmawan M. M
- "Resolving the Mystery of Religious Diversity" by Syahrudin Ahmad
- "The Voice of Churches for Suppressed People, Blood and God's Tears in West Papua" by Cocrateze Sofyan Yoman
- and "Lekra Never Burns Books" by Roma Dwi Aria Yuliantri and Muhidin M. Dahlan.

Twenty more books are being evaluated by the government.

The Institute for the Studies on Free Flow of Information (ISAI), a SEAPA member in Indonesia, gathered together lawyers, scientists, human rights activists, artists, members of the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI), another SEAPA member, and other professionals to discuss the issue on 6 January 2010 .

They agreed to release the following statement:

Statement on the Banning of Books in Indonesia

1. We are disappointed and concerned, after 11 years of the Reformasi movement, that the Attorney General's Office is still banning certain books. Even now, the Minister of Law and Human Rights proudly stated that he will ban more books. This is a denial of the essence of human rights in Indonesia;

2. Banning a book is a violation of the basic rights guaranteed by our 1945 Constitution, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the Human Rights Law. When the government starts to ban books, it evokes fear among people in expressing their opinions and exchanging ideas in their exploration to find new possibilities of artistic and intellectual values. Banning books will block efforts to educate people, the mandate given by the Preamble of our Constitution;

3. Human rights violations, including the banning of books, will smear Indonesia's image as a successful and reputable democratic society;

4. In a democratic state, the restriction of books can only be permitted if the contents of the book clearly advocate racial, religious and group hatred and serve as a propaganda for war and violence. But such restrictions can only be balanced by an honest, free and impartial judicial process;

5. In this era of the Internet and digitalization, the banning of books will not stop their contents from reaching the readers;

6. We strongly insist that the SBY-Boediono government admonish its apparatus which is still practicing the behavior of the ancient anti-democratic regime.

Jakarta, 8 January 2010

Signed

1. ABDUH AZIS, Documentary film maker/lecturer member of the Jakarta Cultural Academy.
2. ABDUL MOQHSITH GAZALI, Scientist, Liberal Islam Network
3. ADE ROSTINA SITOMPUL, Human rights woman activist
4. ADE TANESIA, Journalist, Yogyakarta
5. ADNAN BUYUNG NASUTION, Senior lawyer, Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation
6. I GUSTI AGUNG AYU RATIH, Institute of Social History Indonesia
7. I GUSTI AGUNG PUTRI ASTRID ASTIKA, ELSAM Human Rights Group
8. ALIF AIRLAMBANG, Indonesian Human Rights group, PBHI
9. AMIRUDDIN AL-RAHAB, Historian, ELSAM Human Rights Group
10. ANDI WIJAYANTO, Lecturer, University of Indonesia
11. ANICK HT, ICRP
12. ANTONIO PRAJASTO, Director, DEMOS Human Rights group
13. ARISTIDES KATOPPO, Senior journalist
14. ASFINAWATI, Public Defender, Kontras human rights group
15. ASVI WARMAN ADAM, Historian, Indonesian Institute of Science (LIPI)
16. ATMAKUSUMAH ASTRAATMADJA, Senior journalist, LPDS
17. AYU UTAMI, Novelist, ISAI
18. BONNIE TRIYANA, Historian
19. DOLOROSA SINAGA, Woman sculptor
20. ENI MULIA, Journalist, PPRM
21. ERI SUTRISNO, TempoTV
22. ERMA SURYANI RANIK, Woman Indonesian senator (DPD)
23. ESTER JUSUF, Woman Lawyer, National Solidarity Group (SNB)
24. EZKI SUYANTO, Alliance of Independent Journalists
25. FARAH WARDANI, Indonesian Visual Art Archives
26. GARDA SEMBIRING, Human rights activist, PEC
27. GOENAWAN MOHAMAD, Senior journalist, Salihara Cultural Centre
28. HENDARDI, Human rights activist, Setara Institute
29. HENDRIK SIRAIT, Indonesian Human Rights group, PBHI
30. HENNY SUPOLO, Education activist
31. HERSRI, Writer
32. HERU HENDRATMOKO, Journalist, Radio News Agency 68H
33. HILMAR FARID, Historian, Institute of Social History Indonesia
34. IKRAR NUSA BHAKTI, Military scientist, Indonesian Institute of Science (LIPI)
35. IRAWAN SAPTONO, ISAI
36. IRINA DAYASIH, Human Rights activist
37. ITA FATHIA NADIA, Woman activist
38. JALESWARI PRAMODHAWARDHANI, Military scientist, Indonesian Institute of Science
39. JOHNSON PANJAITAN, Lawyer, Indonesian Bar Association (AAI)
40. LAKSMI PAMUNTJAK, Writer, poet
41. LANNY OCTAVIA, Liberal Islam Network
42. LEXY RAMBADETA, Documentary film maker
43. LINDA CHRISTANTY, Writer
44. LUTHFIE ASSYAUKANI, Freedom Institute
45. MARCO KUSUMAWIJAYA, Architect, member of the Jakarta Cultural Academy
46. MAS ACHMAD SANTOSA, Lawyer, Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation
47. MIRANDA HARLAN, Novelist
48. MUDJI SUTRISNO, S.J., Lecturer, Pastor, College of Philosophy
49. MUSDAH MULIA, Researcher, ICRP
50. MYRA DIARSI, Commissioner, Institute for the Protection of Witnesses (LPSK)
51. NEZAR PATRIA, Alliance of Independent Journalists
52. NIRWAN DEWANTO, Salihara Cultural Centre
53. NONG DAROL MAHMADA, Researcher, Freedom Institute
54. NOVRIANTONI KAHAR, Liberal Islam Network
55. NURSYAHBANI KATJASUNGKANA, Lawyer, woman activist, APIK Federation
56. OSLAN PURBA, Human Rights activist, Kontras
57. PATRA M. ZEN, Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation
58. PUTU OKA SUKANTA, Writer, poet
59. QOMARULAELY, ISAI
60. RAFENDI DJAMIN, Member of ASEAN Human Rights Commission
61. RATRIKALA BHRE ADITYA, Documentary film maker
62. RIRI RIZA, Film Director
63. RUDY GUNAWAN, Journalist
64. SAIDIMAN, Liberal Islam Network
65. SAMUEL, Artist
66. SANTU WIRONO, Artist
67. SIJO SUDARSONO, ISAI
68. SITOK SRENGENGE, Poet, Salihara Cultural Centre
69. SVETLANA DAYANI, Human Rights activist
70. TEDJABAYU, ISAI
71. TINO SAROENGGALO, Documentary film maker
72. TODUNG MULYA LUBIS, Senior lawyer, Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation
73. TORIQ HADAD, Journalist, Tempo Magazine
74. TOSCA SANTOSO, Journalist, Radio News Agency 68H
75. TRISNO SUTANTO, ICRP
76. USMAN HAMID, Human rights activist, Kontras
77. VEVEN SP WARDHANA, Media researcher
78. VICTOR DA COSTA, Human rights activist, Kontras
79. WASITO JATI PRIBADI, Businessman
80. WILSON, Historian
81. WIRATMO PROBO, ISAI
82. YOSEP ADI PRASETYO, Commissioner, National Commission on Human Rights

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