UCA News

President's words are empty, say activists

Yudhoyono told to take real action on minorities
President's words are empty, say activists
Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (left) at a recent ASEAN meeting (Photo: www.presidenri.go.id)
Published: November 26, 2012 09:57 AM GMT
Updated: November 25, 2012 10:56 PM GMT

Rights activists say President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono needs to back his words with solid action after a speech at an international forum yesterday in which he called for society to respect religious differences and minority groups.

President Yudhoyono was speaking at the 4th World Peace Forum in Bogor, West Java, an event attended by 200 international delegates. he  told the gathering that although the views of the religious majority must be accepted, “we must, however, not ignore the views of religious minority groups.

“Every party must promote a culture in which all differences should be addressed peacefully and must also prevent uncivilized actions such as violence [in dealing with differences],” he said.

"In democracy all parties must accept all differences. Rights and freedoms must not be used to harm religious values or symbols. For the sake of the nation, let us think of mutual interest.”

But rights activists challenged the president to act on what they say are merely hollow words.

“What he says doesn’t portray the reality. The legal process regarding cases involving religious violence doesn’t work well. Worse, it criminalizes those who are the victims,” Choirul Anam from the Human Rights Working Group told ucanews.com.

He cited a case involving people from the minority Shia Muslim community in East Java.  Most people in Indonesia are Sunni Muslims.

In August, two members of the community were killed and 10 others injured in anti-Shia violence in Sampang district of Madura. The community’s village was also attacked by a mob which set dozens of homes ablaze, forcing hundreds of people to flee.

More than 100 of members of the community are still staying at a refuge shelter.

“They are victims of the state’s failure to respect differences,” Anam said.

Help UCA News to be independent
Dear reader,
Trafficking is one of the largest criminal industries in the world, only outdone by drugs and arms trafficking, and is the fastest-growing crime today.
Victims come from every continent and are trafficked within and to every continent. Asia is notorious as a hotbed of trafficking.
In this series, UCA News introduces our readers to this problem, its victims, and the efforts of those who shine the light of the Gospel on what the Vatican calls “these varied and brutal denials of human dignity.”
Help us with your donations to bring such stories of faith that make a difference in the Church and society.
A small contribution of US$5 will support us continue our mission…
William J. Grimm
UCA News
Asian Bishops
Latest News
UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia
UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia
UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia