Amnesty International: Indonesia must end religious discrimination

Amnesty International has called on Indonesia to end discrimination against religious minorities in the country and guarantee the safe return of Shia Muslims to their homes.
(Ahlul Bayt News Agency) - “The Indonesian authorities must guarantee the safe, voluntary and dignified return of the Shia community to their homes, according to their wishes,” said Isabelle Arradon of Amnesty International's Asia Pacific program in a recent report.

She added that Jakarta should also help the community to “rebuild the homes that were damaged or destroyed.”

In August 2012, Shia Muslims from Karang Gayam village in the Sampang district were displaced after an anti-Shia mob of around 500 people attacked the community with weapons and stones, killing two of them.

The mob set fire to 35 houses belonging to the Shia Muslims.

Since then, the displaced Shia Muslims have been living in inadequate conditions at a sports complex in the district on Madura Island, off Indonesia’s eastern coast of Java.

The Indonesian government also cut the free food and water supplies for the Shias in November, while religious and village leaders demanded the group convert to Sunni Islam, which is the religion of the majority in Indonesia, or be expelled from the district.

Arradon further said, “They (officials) must also end discrimination against religious minorities in the country and investigate reports that the local and provincial authorities are coercing Shia followers to renounce their faith before they are allowed to return to their homes.”

“Those involved in the attack on the Shia community in August must also be brought to justice in proceedings which meet international standards of fairness,” she added.

During its Universal Periodic Review at the United Nations Human Rights Council in May 2012, Indonesia reaffirmed its commitment to freedom of religion and to address cases of religious intolerance.

However, religious minorities in the country continue to face harassment and those who commit acts of violence against them are rarely brought to justice.


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