Thursday, November 17, 2011

HRW calls on Obama to tackle Indonesian abuses

The Human Rights Watch is encouraging President Barack Obama to tackle Indonesia’s leader during his visit this week. President Obama should be meeting with President Soil Bambang Yudhoyono during this week’s East Asia Summit. In Indonesia, the light sentencing that was given to members of a religious lynch mob aggravated the local and international media. This mob was accused of killing three members of the Ahmadiyah minority sect. The same court had jailed one of the Ahmadiyah survivors of the attack in August for six months, who had lost his hand in the violence for defending himself and his friends.

In Indonesia, Christians and the Ahmadiyah Islamic sects are minorities and have experienced persecution based on their religious affiliations. The Indonesian constitution guarantees freedom of religion; however, the persecution of minority religious groups have escalated since 2008. In February, a 1,500-strong mob of Muslims set two churches alight and ransacked a third in the town of Twanging, on Java island, as they demanded that a Christian man be sentenced to death for insulting Islam. More than 80 per cent of Indonesia's estimated 240 million people are Muslim. Five per cent are Protestants and three per cent Catholic.

The Human Rights Watch is encouraging President Obama to persuade President Yudhoyono to take serious action to prevent persecution of religious minority group to provide security and to end discriminatory laws.

I think the United States have the right to step in and encourage President Yudhoyono about this current situation in Indonesia. This country stands to protect and respect human rights. It is disturbing that the president of Indonesia hasn’t taken action to prevent more persecutions onto these minority groups. It is shameful that is all over the media, and it is making the Indonesian government lacking legitimacy especially that majority of the population are Muslims.

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