SOREC UGM and Humanity First : Peace Symposium The Discourses and Practices of Multiculturalism and Peace in Indonesia

October 8, 2014 09.00 - 16.00


In 2015 the United Nations pushes another development program named the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). SDGs is the continuation of the already established Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), hence it will carry out the momentum that was paved by MDGs. This is shown by the global acceptance of MDGs, which has been adopted by 189 countries including Indonesia.  In the same respect however, SDGs also marked the end of  the MDGs program.

Currently SDGs are still in its final preparation, meaning that the substances of SDGs have been well formulated but not yet ratified. SDGs negotiation processes have made public through the current publication by Outcome Document, there are 17 major goals that must be met by countries worldwide. One of the cutting edge goals of SDGs is the goal 16 which:

“Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels”

This objective was further developed into a concrete ten target points, and 2 measurable successful indicators of those ten points. One of the important factors that influence the initation of this goal emerge from the understanding that development programs in any given country cannot be achieved fully under unstable political condition and conflict. Therefore it is important to emphasize on issues such as: peace, inclusivity, justice and accountability.

With the formulation of goal 16, it also indicates that state is responsible to uphold citizen’s rights and resolve conflict matters. However, conflicts that often occur within a state are usually more complex and acute. Conflict phenomenon is not limited between the state versus civil society only. Conflict may occur as well between a one social group with the other. Henceforth, it is critical to ask why such conflict occurs between civilized society and when does the conflict occur?

On one hand there is a popular view that conflicts unfolds as one group feels that its wellbeing are being threatened by the presence other groups. On the other hand, conflicts may also occur due to low social solidarity among different groups in the society. Another point view attempts to explore that conflicts manifest because of high poverty level and a perceive sentiment of injustice in the society.

Amidst the variation of concepts above, one most convincing hypothesis states that conflicts happen because there is a discrepancy of being seen as oppositional difference rather that relational difference (Bauman, 1999; Lister, 1997). This view resulted from conceptualization of plethora of studies of conflicts among different ethnics and races (e.g. Asian-Hindu, Christian-Caribbean, Catholic-White) regard that at the end all religions taught the same fundamental cores which is virtue, in this respect conflict cases are much lower that other areas in the UK (Alexander et. al, 2007).

In Indonesia, a few society movements have indicated that differences can be seen as relational. For example a community development activity that is a carried out by Father Carolus and Sosial Bina Sejahtera foundation have expanded physical infrastructure and social services (e.g. road, health and education buildings) in Kampung Laut, Cilcacap. Additionaly, the access to this infrastructure is not limited to a particular group of religion, ethnicity age and education. Another best practice of humanitarian activities is exemplified by Humanity First Indonesia, who built health centers in a remote area of Gunung Kidul and opened its access to any visitors disregard their social background.

From the discussion above, the critical question then is: what lesson can be learned tfrom these social movements above in regard to embracing differences? Could values that inspire these movements be an alternative foundation for pluralism in Indonesia? What are the challenges that lie ahead for transforming this sporadic movements into a sustainable movement?


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