Jakarta (Antara) – Freedom of religion and belief is the fundamental right of every human being, Indonesian representative for the ASEAN Intergovernment Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) Yuyun Wahyuningrum said.
"As universal human rights, freedom of religion and belief safeguard the sense of respect to diversity," Wahyuningrum said in a written statement released Friday.
She made these remarks while opening the AICHR consultations on the implementation of Article 22 of the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration on Freedom of Religion and Belief in Nusa Dua, Bali, Friday.
In practice, freedom of religion directly contributes to democracy, development, legal supremacy, peace and stability, he said.
"ASEAN is located in a very diverse area in terms of language, culture, politics, legal system, religion and history," she said.
From the standpoint of a political system, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines, Cambodia and Thailand formally adopt a democratic administrative system, while Vietnam and Laos are socialist republics with a single party, she said.
On the other hand, Brunei Darussalam is an absolute monarchy, and Myanmar is still in the process of transition from military government to a democracy, she said.
The various political systems influence the method of how the countries get involved in the practice of religious services, state commitment to freedom of religion and belief and human rights in general, she said.
When it comes to different religions in the region, all major religions in the world are represented in ASEAN, such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Islam, Christianity, and Catholicism (including Rome Catholics), he said.
These religions were present in the Southeast Asian region, along with animism and dynamism. Hence, the diverse religions and beliefs in the region cannot be ignored, she said.
There is a big difference in the way each ASEAN member state controls relations between state and religion, she said.