ICC Note: The assessment of Human Rights Watch is on the mark. ICC has previously noted that unless the government of Indonesia is willing to confront Islamic militants in their abuse of religious minorities in Indonesia, the situation will only get worse.
By staff reporter
08/04/2015 Indonesia (Jakarta Post)
Human Rights Watch (HRW) deputy Asia director Phelim Kine has said Indonesia’s religious minorities will continue to live in fear unless President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s administration prioritizes their protection and implements a zero-tolerance policy toward abuses by Islamic militants.
Kine praised President Jokowi’s measures on Sunday, during which he publicly recognized that Indonesia had a problem of rising religious intolerance and called on Nahdlatul Ulama, the country’s largest Muslim organization, to promote “moderate Islamic values” as a means to counter often-violent militant Islamists.
He said President Jokowi’s recognition of Indonesia’s rising religious intolerance was a contrast to that of his predecessor, former President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, whom he said had turned a blind eye to religious intolerance problems during the decade of his presidency.
Kine said President Jokowi’s call for NU’s greater involvement in addressing religious intolerance was recognition that both NU and Muhammadiyah, Indonesia’s second-largest Muslim organization, were passively complicit in the problem of worsening religious intolerance.
“President Jokowi is fooling himself if he thinks that he can outsource the solving of Indonesia’s religious intolerance problem to NU and Muhammadiyah. His first order of business should be putting an end to the Indonesian government’s well-documented role in victimizing religious minorities,” said Kine.
He further said the President could start this by pursuing the swift punishment of police and government officials who were too often passively or actively complicit in incidents of harassment, intimidation or violence against religious minorities.
“He should also order a review of existing laws, regulations and decrees on religion to identify provisions at odds with freedom of religion and freedom of conscience, and create a timetable for revising or repealing the offending provisions,” said Kine.