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State accused of allowing intolerance

Authorities flout the law, says Human Rights Working Group

Rafendi Djamin at the discussion session in Jakarta Rafendi Djamin at the discussion session in Jakarta
  • Ryan Dagur, Jakarta
  • Indonesia
  • October 5, 2012
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Religious intolerance has been growing because the government does not take firm action against violations of religious freedom, according to the executive director of the Human Rights Working Group (HRWG).

“How can violations of religious freedom be resolved if the government chooses to side with a certain party and refuses to obey the existing law?” Rafendi Djamin said during a discussion session held today at the Legal Aid Institute (LBH)’s office in Jakarta.

The existing law guarantees religious freedom, but the government  ignores it, said Djamin, who is also a representative to AICHR, the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights.

He gave several examples of governmental negligence in religious cases, including the case of the Christian Church in Indonesia in Taman Yasmin in Bogor, where the congregation has been blocked from using their church because of alleged irregularities in a 2006 building application.

The Supreme Court, backed by the ombudsman, has ruled that the congregation has the right to worship in the church, but the judgment has been ignored by the local mayor.

“This case is absurd. How can a mayor disobey the Supreme Court’s edict? It surely disgraces the government’s dignity and law enforcement as well,” Djamin said.

According to Muhammad Anshor from the Directorate General of Human Rights of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the government has tried to find a win-win solution to violations of religious freedom.

“The government wants to deal with every violation without hurting any parties. It will accommodate solutions which are good for every party,” he said.

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