Christian Group Says Cikeusik Verdicts Give Extremists Green Light to Continue Hatred
July 30, 2011
Christian Solidarity Worldwide has expressed renewed concern about continuing violations of religious freedom in Indonesia following the sentencing of the perpetrators of violence against the Ahmadiyah community, new threats to Christians and developing tensions in West Papua.
CSW, in a news release, says it “regards these sentences as astonishingly lenient, and believes it calls into question the integrity of Indonesia’s judicial system.”
The organization met with survivors of the violence that claimed three lives in may.
One man told CSW, “When the attackers caught me, they stripped me naked on the road, dragged me through a river, beat me with sticks and machetes and tried to cut off my penis. They bashed stones on my head, and dragged me around the village. One man used a bamboo spear to hit my eye. They shouted that I was an ‘infidel’ and should be killed. I lost consciousness.”
In addition, the World Evangelical Alliance’s Religious Liberty Commission on Friday warned that the GKI Yasmin Church in Bogor, West Java, may face mass violence if continuing tensions are not addressed.
In a separate development, the Chairman of the Fellowship of Baptist Churches of Papua, Rev. Socratez Sofyan Yoman, has issued an “urgent report” claiming that churches in West Papua are coming under increasing threat from the Indonesian Military (TNI), the statement said.
On April 30, 2011 the Regional Military Commander, Maj. Gen.Erfi Triassunu, accused the Church of Papua Gospel Tent (KINGMI) of supporting the Free Papua movement, the statement continues.
“The churches claim that since 2004, military operations in Puncak Jaya have resulted in the destruction of churches and homes, and killing of civilians, including at least one pastor.”
Rev. Socratez describes these as “humanitarian crimes” making Puncak Jaya “the most cruel and inhuman place.”
He made an appeal to the international community to encourage the Indonesian government to stop the violence.
“We call and plead with governments, members of Parliament, … churches, non-governmental organizations … to support peaceful unconditional dialogue between the government of Indonesia and the Papuans, mediated by a neutral third party.”
CSW’s Advocacy Director Andrew Johnston says he was concerned by the developments in Indonesia, which has a proud tradition of pluralism, tolerance, and religious freedom and harmony.
“The shockingly lenient sentences imposed on the perpetrators of some of the worst anti-minority violence in recent years raises serious questions about the integrity of Indonesia’s justice system, and gives the extremists a green light to continue their campaign of hatred. It leaves religious minorities throughout Indonesia, not only in West Java, and not only the Ahmadiyah community, vulnerable and defenseless,” he said.
“Indonesia’s President, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, and his government must now take meaningful action to uphold the rule of law, strengthen the independence of the judiciary, provide protection to religious minorities, enter into dialogue with the Papuan people, and ensure that justice and human rights are protected for all.”