Friday, March 8, 2013
Indonesia: Religious Minorities Targets of Rising Violence
Article Link: http://www.hrw.org/news/2013/02/28/indonesia-religious-minorities-targets-rising-violence
For the past few years, there have been increasing amounts of persecution and discrimination against religious minorities in Indonesia. People have been targets of unfair treatment and violence by militant groups and by the government as a whole. The main groups that are targeted are Christians, Shia Muslims, and Ahmadiyahs. The Indonesian national government has been passive and indifferent in protecting the rights of its citizens. Officials in the local government have particularly gone out of their way to make laws that almost encourage persecution of religious minorities. In cases of violence and discrimination, the local officials blame the victims rather than the perpetrators. Although the Indonesian constitution guarantees the right of freedom of religion, the local governments have not been following the laws. For example, they have denied permission for religious minorities to build houses of worship. Also, some officials say discriminatory statements, encourage injustices against religious groups, and support militant groups. There are also written laws that promote religious intolerance, such as the house of worship decrees and a blasphemy law. These laws make the majority Sunni Muslims dominant over the other religious groups. Some government institutions and organizations are taking steps to decrease the amount of religious freedom in the country by making decrees. These decrees are specifically made to persecute minorities and "blasphemers."
The national government needs to recognize the widespread injustices in its country, particularly involving religious persecution. The officials should take more aggressive actions towards protecting the rights of their citizens as defined in their national constitution. Also, the discriminatory laws that limit religious freedom should be reevaluated and removed from the law.