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Rights commission 'must be brave'

Lack of action has encouraged attacks against members of Ahmadiyah

A religious leader (right) handed group statement to Komnas HAM A religious leader (right) handed group statement to Komnas HAM
  • Konradus Epa, Jakarta
  • Indonesia
  • March 9, 2011
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Indonesia’s National Commission on Human Rights must show courage and react quickly in dealing with violent acts against minority groups, according to a group of religious leaders and rights activists.

The group, representing 14 NGOs, issued the demands in a statement delivered to the national commission’s office in Jakarta yesterday.

“We came here to urge this commission to act faster,” said Jesuit Father Yohanes Nikolaus Haryanto, secretary-general of the Indonesian Conference on Religion and Peace.

He was addressing the commission’s deputy chief, Nurcholis, who accepted the document.

The priest said lack of action that has encouraged attacks against members of the Ahmadiyah sect has become the group’s main concern.

“Attacks against the sect’s members have the potential to lead to genocide since there is growing hatred [against sect members] nowadays,” the group said in the statement.

Following a deadly attack on February 6 in Banten in central Java, several governors and district heads issued by-laws banning the sect which doesn’t recognize Mohammed as the last Muslim prophet.

There is a systematic plan to get rid of the sect, said Bhatara Ibnu Reza from the Indonesian Human Rights Monitor.

“I am afraid this will also happen to other minority groups,” he warned.

Usman Hamid from the Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of Violence said the national commission should be brave in dealing with such issues.

He said the national commission’s reluctance to tackle these issues head on threatened its credibility.

Nurcholis acknowledged the group’s concerns and admitted attacks were a problem which needed to be addressed.

“We have met with police and urged them to act decisively,” he said.

IJ13585.1644

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