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European Parliament resolution of 7 July 2011 on Indonesia, including attacks on minorities

Posted by Human Rights in Islamic Countries on July 18, 2011


European Parliament resolution of 7 July 2011 on Indonesia, including attacks on minorities

Thursday, 7 July 2011 – Strasbourg

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to its resolution of 16 December 2010 on the Annual Report on Human Rights in the World 2009 and the European Union’s policy on the matter(1) ,

–  having regard to Indonesia’s election to the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in May 2011; whereas UNHRC members are required to uphold the highest standards regarding the promotion and protection of human rights,

–  having regard to Indonesia’s chairmanship of ASEAN in 2011, the ASEAN Charter, which entered into force on 15 December 2008, and the creation of the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights on 23 October 2009,

–  having regard to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which Indonesia ratified in 2006,

–  having regard to Chapter 29 of the Indonesian Constitution, which guarantees freedom of religion,

–  having regard to Articles 156 and 156(a) of the Indonesian Criminal Code prohibiting blasphemy, heresy and religious defamation,

–  having regard to Presidential Decree No 1/PNPS/1965 on the prevention of blasphemy and abuse of religions,

–  having regard to the EU statement of 8 February 2011 on the recent attacks on and killings of Ahmadis in Banten province,

–  having regard to the EU-Indonesia Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) and the first round of the Human Rights Dialogue held in that framework, which took place in June 2010 in Jakarta,

–  having regard to Rule 122(5) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas Indonesia is the world’s largest predominantly Muslim nation, and whereas Indonesia’s tradition of pluralism, cultural harmony, religious freedom and social justice is enshrined in the national ideology of ‘Pancasila’,

B.  whereas there has been a significant increase in the incidence of attacks against religious minorities, particularly Ahmadis, who consider themselves Muslims, but also against Christians, Buddhists and progressive civil society organisations,

C.  whereas, following the ban on the dissemination of Ahmadi Muslim teachings in 2008, the Indonesian Minister for Religious Affairs has repeatedly called for the imposition of a total ban on the Ahmadiyya Muslim community, a step which has already been taken by three provinces, West Java, South Sulawesi and West Sumatra; whereas on 6 February 2011 a mob of at least 1500 people attacked 20 Ahmadi Muslims in Cikeusik, in Banten province, killing three of them and severely injuring several others, prompting a condemnation and a call for an investigation by the President of Indonesia,

D.  whereas, following this attack, on 8 February 2011 hundreds of people set fire to three churches and attacked a priest in the Central Java city of Temanggung after a Christian charged with insulting Islam was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment, instead of being condemned to death as expected by the attackers, and whereas the Communion of Churches in Indonesia has recorded 430 attacks against Christian churches over the past six years,

E.  whereas over 150 individuals have already been arrested or detained under Articles 156 and 156(a) of the Indonesian Criminal Code, and whereas there is evidence to show that local blasphemy, heresy and religious defamation by-laws are being used by extremists to clamp down on religious freedom and to stir up intercommunity tensions and violence,

F.  whereas on 19 April 2010 the Indonesian Constitutional Court upheld the blasphemy and heresy laws and rejected the request for their repeal which had been submitted by four prominent Islamic scholars and at least seven Indonesian civil society and human rights organisations and supported by at least 40 other organisations,

G.  whereas there are credible reports, namely by the National Commission on Human Rights, of human rights violations by members of the security forces in Indonesia, including torture and other forms of ill-treatment and the unnecessary and excessive use of force, in particular on Papua and Maluku Islands; whereas those responsible are rarely brought to account before an independent court,

1.  Welcomes the joint statement issued on 24 May 2011 by the President, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Speaker of the Regional Representatives’ Council, the Speaker of the People’s Consultative Assembly, the Chief Justices of the Supreme Court and Constitutional Court and other senior officials calling for ‘Pancasila’ to be upheld and for the protection of pluralism;

2.  Underlines the progress Indonesia has made in the area of the implementation of democracy and the rule of law in recent years, and attaches great importance to maintaining and deepening harmonious relations between the European Union and Indonesia in many areas, as reflected in the EU-Indonesia PCA;

3.  Applauds the pledges given by Indonesia ahead of its election to the UNHRC on 20 May 2011, including that of ratifying all major human rights instruments, in particular the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance;

4.  Express grave concern at the incidents of violence against religious minorities, particularly Ahmadi Muslims, Christians, Baha’ís and Buddhists; is concerned that violations of religious freedom undermine the human rights guaranteed in the Indonesian Constitution, including the prohibition of discrimination and freedom of expression, opinion and peaceful assembly;

5.  Calls on the Indonesian Government, namely the Minister of Religious Affairs, and the Indonesian judiciary to guarantee that the rule of law is implemented and upheld and that the perpetrators of religious violence and hatred are brought to justice;

6.  Express deep concern at the local blasphemy, heresy and religious defamation by-laws, which are open to misuse, and at the 2008 Joint Ministerial Decree prohibiting the dissemination of Ahmadiyya Muslim teachings, and calls on the Indonesian authorities to repeal or revise them;

7.  Applauds the work of Indonesian civil society, including Muslim, Christian and secular think tanks, human rights organisations and counter-extremism organisations, in promoting pluralism, religious freedom, religious harmony and human rights;

8.  Urges the Indonesian Government to follow the recommendations made by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and, in particular, to invite the UN Special Rapporteur for freedom of religion and belief to visit the country;

9.  Welcomes the investigation conducted into the deadly February 2011 attacks on the Ahmadiyya community in Western Java, which has led to the regional and provincial police chiefs being replaced, charges being brought against nine police officers for neglecting their duties and 14 other people being brought to trial for the crimes committed, and calls for independent monitoring of the trials of those charged in order to ensure that justice is done for all parties involved;

10.  Calls on the Indonesian authorities to investigate allegations of human rights violations by members of the security forces and to prosecute those found responsible, including persons with command responsibility;

11.  Calls for the immediate and unconditional release of all prisoners of conscience who have been arrested and charged merely on the basis of their involvement in peaceful political protest, which is contrary to the spirit of the 2001 Special Autonomy Law that granted Papuans, Maluku and other ethnic and religious minorities the right to express their cultural identity;

12.  Calls on the EU delegation and Member States’ diplomatic missions to continue to closely monitor the human rights situation, in particularly in sensitive regions such as Papua, the Moluccas and Aceh;

13.  Emphasises the importance of including a human rights dimension, with a special focus on religious freedom and respect for minorities, in the political dialogue in the framework of the EU-Indonesia PCA;

14.  Call on the Member States and the Commission to support Indonesian civil society and human rights organisations which are actively promoting democracy, tolerance and peaceful co-existence between different ethnic and religious groups;

15.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Government and Parliament of Indonesia, the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the Commission, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights and the UN Human Rights Council.

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