UN human rights chief slams violence towards Christians in Indonesia

November 23, 2012 by  
Filed under newsletter-world

The United Nations human rights chief has called on Indonesia to take “firm action” against increasing violence towards religious minorities and “narrow and extremist interpretations of Islam”.

Navi Pillay, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

Navi Pillay, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

Indonesia, November 19, 2012: Navi Pillay, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, met with representatives of the Christian, Ahmadiyya, Shia and traditional belief communities on a visit to the country. She said on 13 November:

I was distressed to hear accounts of violent attacks, forced displacement, denial of identification cards and other forms of discrimination and harassment against them. I was also concerned to hear that the police have been failing to provide adequate protection in these cases.

Ms Pillay said that she was “particularly concerned to hear about the arbitrary and discriminatory enforcement of sharia law in Aceh”, where the “brutal punishments of stoning and caning” are being implemented. She said raids on places where people gather were “creating an environment of intimidation and fear”.

The plight of female victims of violence was also highlighted; Ms Pillay said that she was shocked to hear about the level of discrimination and injustices that they suffered.

Indonesia’s high rate of ratification of international human rights treaties was commended, but the human rights chief said that these commitments needed to be translated into domestic law.

She said that the country “has a rich culture and history of diversity and tolerance” but risked losing this if it does not take action to address growing violence and hatred towards religious minorities, and narrow and extremist interpretations of Islam.

Rights groups say that violence against minorities has been escalating since 2008.

Two churches in particular have suffered intense and prolonged persecution from both the authorities and Islamic hard-liners.The Mayor of Bogor has refused to comply with a Supreme Court ruling that GKI Yasmin’schurch building, which has been illegally sealed off since 2008, be re-opened.

The congregation has been holding services on the street or in private homes and has faced much harassment from local Muslims.

Filadelfia Batak Christian Protestant Church (HKBP) is going through a similar ordeal. Its building was sealed off by the authorities in January 2010 following three years of legal wrangling over a permit.

The church’s outdoors services have come under attack by Islamist mobs. In a particularly egregious episode, bags of urine, sewage, oil, rotten eggs and stones were thrown at the congregation.

In Aceh, the only Indonesian province where sharia law is officially permitted, Islamist pressure is resulting in the closure of numerous churches. We reported earlier this month that nine had been shut down.

In April, the authorities ordered 20 churches in Aceh to tear down their buildings; this followed the closure of 16 smaller Christian places of worship.

– barnabas team

Enter Google AdSense Code Here

Comments are closed.