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UN High Commissioner urges for Special Rapporteur visit
The Jakarta Post, Jakarta
The United Nations’ High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navanethem Pillay, has urged the government to accept the request of the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief to visit the country this year.
The call came in a letter sent to Foreign Affairs Minister Marty Natalegawa, a copy of which was obtained by The Jakarta Post on Wednesday.
In the letter, dated April 26, Pillay expressed his concern over reports of violence against members of religious minorities in Indonesia.
He said he had received reports of widespread violence and discrimination against the Ahmadiyah community in Indonesia, including the issuance of several decrees banning their activities in certain regions.
He had also received reports concerning harassment and violence against members of other religious minorities, he said.
“In Bogor, West Java, I am informed that local authorities have closed off the Indonesian Christian Church of Taman Yasmin and prevented them from conducting religious services,” Pillay wrote in his letter.
There were also reports of Christian groups being attacked and Christian churches being burned in several regions. He further mentioned reports that a Buddhist community in North Sumatra was ordered to dismantle a Buddha statue at a temple that was considered by some to be a challenge to Islam in that area.
Pillay said he hoped that his office “might be able to contribute in some meaningful and constructive way to the discussion and law reform efforts taking place within Indonesia and would welcome the opportunity to discuss this further” with the Indonesian government.
“In this regard, I strongly encourage the Government of Indonesia to accept the request of the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief to undertake a visit to the country later this year,” he added.