Religion and Land Rights in Indonesian Indigenous – State Relations (Case Study of Orang Rimba in Jambi)


This paper will examine the contestation between religion and land rights in state and indigenous people’s relations in Indonesia from the perspective of national and International Laws. This paper will depart from the recent development of state recognition of customary law based on the Constitutional Court (MK) decision No. 35/2012 that state customary forest is not under the state forest. This paper will explain the significance of advocating Freedom of Religion or Belief for forest conflict and resonsidering to encompassing the land rights as part of Religious Rights for Indigenous People in Indonesia. To build the argument, this paper initially discuss on the discourse on the land rights in Indonesia, which is divided into two main sub topic, namely, a brief discussion on human rights for indigenous peoples from the perspective of national and international law. Furthermore, this paper will describe case studies of Orang Rimba in Jambi that will be consist of the belief of their indigenous religion and the particular problem of conflict of land and forest. The paper argues that land and religion constitute a unity for indigenous peoples who adhere to belief. This means that if buildings and lands as spiritual and worship place disappear then indigenous peoples will lose the right to worship according to the beliefs they believe. In fact, worship is a right attached to every citizen who cannot be reduced (non derogable rights) and should be protected and respected by the state. In conclusion, this paper will offers customary management in Indonesia through advocacy of freedom of religion or belief (FORB).