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Stop Impunity in Violence against Religious Minorities in Indonesia

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(9 February 2011, Bangkok) A regional human rights organization today condemned the brutal 6 February attack against members of the Ahmadiyah community in Banten, Indoenesia which killed three members of the said community.

The Bangkok-based Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA) called on the Indonesian Government to bring the mob that committed crime to justice and revoke the ministerial decree in 2008 that bans the activities of Ahmadiyah.

On 6 February 2011, around twenty Ahmadiyah followers in Cikeusik village in Banten who were holding a peaceful religious ritual were attacked by a thousand-strong mob. As a result of this incident, three persons were killed and six were severely injured.

Ahmadiyah followers are considered as “heretics” in Indonesia as they believe that Muhammad was not the “final” prophet of Islam. A 2008 decree by the Religious Affairs ministry banned practically all forms of proselytizing by the Ahmadiyahs in Indonesia. Another 2006 decree prohibited the use of homes for conducting religious services without permission from the state.

FORUM-ASIA noted that attacks against religious minorities have been “on an upward trend in Indonesia.” The group cited two recent attacks, one on 28 January against another Ahmadiyah community in South Sulawesi and the other in December 2010 against a Batak Christian community.

Yap Swee Seng, FORUM-ASIA executive director expressed “alarm that the Indonesian police repeatedly failed to prevent such crimes,” noting that religious extremists groups have frequently taken the law into their own hands.

“As a democracy that respects the rule of law, Indonesian government should not tolerate such violent acts,” Yap added. He called on the Indonesian government to effectively stop this “culture of impunity”.

“These attacks must be investigated without fear or favor and the perpetrators must be brought to justice,” said Yap.

FORUM-ASIA also urged the Indonesian government to take concrete measures to protect religious minorities in the country in line with the Indonesian Constitution and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which provides for the protection of the right to freedom of religion.

“The 2008 and 2006 decrees must be revoked as these are in contradiction with the ICCPR that Indonesia ratified in 2006 and the country’s own constitution,” Yap said.


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