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UN tells RI to review laws restricting religious freedom
The Jakarta Post, Jakarta
The United Nations’ High Commissioner for Human Rights Navanethem Pillay has urged Indonesia to review its laws restricting religious expression and practice.
In a letter sent to Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa, a copy of which was obtained by The Jakarta Post on Wednesday, Pillay expressed his concern over reports of violence against members of religious minorities in Indonesia.
“I have been particularly disturbed by the widespread violence and discrimination reported against the Ahmadiyya community which has included the state-sanctioned closing of Ahmadi mosques, the burning of homes and places of worship, and even physical violence and murder,” Pillay wrote in his letter dated April 26.
Three Ahmadis were killed when Islamic hard-liners attacked a small Ahmadiyah community in Cikeusik, West Java, on Feb. 6 this year. Several local and provincial administrations have since issued decrees banning Ahmadiyah activities in their respective regions.
Pillay said reports had said that since the new regulations were issued, “further acts of harassment and violence have taken place”.
He pointed out that Indonesia had ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which guarantees the right to freedom of religion.
“Government at both national and provincial levels should comply with the guarantees contained in the Indonesian Constitution and in the international treaties in which Indonesia is a party. All laws, particularly those restricting religious expression and practice, should be reviewed to ensure they comply with these standards,” he said.
He also urged the Indonesian government to ensure the legal accountability of all perpetrators, including the imposition of penalties.