Press Jakarta on growing religious intolerance, rights group tells Clinton

PUBLISHED : Monday, 03 September, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 03 September, 2012, 4:40am


Human Rights Watch yesterday called on US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to pressure Jakarta to address rising religious intolerance, a day ahead of her visit to Indonesia.

Indonesian authorities have failed to adequately address increasing incidents of mob violence by militant Islamist groups against religious minorities, including the Ahmadiyah Muslim sect, Christians, and Shiites, the New York-based rights watchdog said.

"Secretary Clinton should press the Indonesian government to take concrete steps to address rising religious intolerance," John Sifton, HRW's Asia advocacy director, said.

"Indonesia needs to recognise that oppressive laws and policies against religious minorities fuel violence and discrimination."

Clinton is set to visit Jakarta today as part of an 11-day visit to Asia.

Indonesia's constitution guarantees freedom of religion, but rights groups say violence against minorities has been escalating since 2008.

In February last year a 1,500-strong mob of Muslims set two churches alight and ransacked a third in the town of Temanggung, on the island of Java, as they demanded that a Christian man be sentenced to death for insulting Islam.