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Blasphemy Law as a Structural Violence: A Challenge for Maintaining Sustainable Peace

Cekli Setya Pratiwi ORCID logo and Sidik Sunaryo ORCID logo


Blasphemy law (BL) has become a central issue for the international community in various parts of the world in the last three decades. In almost every case involving the BL, especially in Muslim countries, such as Pakistan, Malaysia, and Indonesia, they are always responded with violence or threats of attack that cause many victims, loss of homes, damage to places of worship, evictions, stigma of being heretical, severe punishments, or extra-judicial killings. When international human rights law (IHLR) and declaration of the right to peace are adopted by the international community, at the same time, the number of violence related to the application of BL continues to increase. This paper aims to examine the ambiguity of the concept of the BL in Pakistan, Indonesia, and Malaysia, and how its lead to the weak of enforcement that creates social injustice and inequality. Then, referring to Galtung’s theory of structural violence and other experts of peace studies, this paper argues that blasphemy law should be included as a form of structural violence. Therefore its challenges these States to reform their BL in which its provisions accommodate the state’s neutrality and content high legal standards. Thus, through guarantee the fully enjoyment of human rights for everyone may support the States to achieve sustainable peace.

Corresponding author: Cekli Setya Pratiwi, PhD Candidate, Institute of Human Rights and Peace Studies, Mahidol University, Salaya, Thailand; and Senior Lecturer Faculty of Law, University of Muhammadiyah Malang, Malang, Indonesia, E-mail:


We thank to Dr. Eakpant Pindhavanija for reviewing the first draft of this manuscript and anonymous reviewer who’s provided helpful comments on the earlier drafts. All remaining errors are mine.


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Published Online: 2021-01-26
Published in Print: 2021-09-27

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