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5/17/11 Indonesia (JakartaGlobe) – The United Nations has written to the Indonesian government expressing “concern” about the increasing number of reports about violence committed against religious minorities.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, however, says it is yet to receive a copy of the letter, dated April 26, 2011, from UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navanethem Pillay. The letter was also copied to the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) and a number of other Indonesia institutions.

Pillay also reveals a proposed visit by the UN’s special rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief to visit Indonesia this year to investigate the allegations.

In the letter, a copy of which was obtained by the Jakarta Globe on Sunday, Pillay says he is writing to the Indonesian government to “express my concern over the large number of letters and reports I have received in recent months concerning violence against members of religious minorities in Indonesia.”

Pillay said the office had also mentioned a number of other reported incidences of religious intolerance, including the ongoing wrangle between the Bogor government and the Indonesian Christian Church (GKI) Yasmin.

“Christian groups have reportedly been attacked and Christian churches have reportedly been burned in Gebyog, Klaten and Tegal in Central Java. In North Sumatra, a Buddhist community was ordered to dismantle a Buddha statue at a temple that was considered by some to be a challenge to Islam in that area.”

The commissioner said the incidents put at risk the human rights guaranteed in the Constitution and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Indonesia is a signatory.

“The General Assembly and Human Rights Council have repeatedly urges States to take all necessary and appropriate actions, in conformity with international human rights standards, to combat hatred, discrimination, intolerance and acts of violence, intimidation and coercion motivated by intolerance based on religion or belief, as well as incitement to hostility and violence, with particular regard to members of religious minorities.”

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