Religious freedom in Indonesia
in tatters: Amnesty

The fatal Sunday attack on Ahmadis in Banten has captured the concern of not only local, but also international human rights organizations, including Amnesty International, which condemned the violence.

During the attack on Sunday, the Ahmadiyah congregation in Cikeusik, Banten, were mobbed by a group of locals, and three Ahmadis died in the raid after being beaten or stabbed to death.

According to Amnesty International Asia-Pacific deputy director Donna Guest, the "brutal attack" on the Ahmadis reflected the Indonesian government's "continued failure" to protect "religious minorities from harassment and attacks and to hold the perpetrators accountable".

The Cikeusik incident was the latest in a string of attacks on Ahmadis, a disputed religious sect whose practice has been criticized by hard line and intolerant religious groups including the Islam Defenders Front (FPI).

Earlier, Ahmadiyah settlements were attacked in Manis Lor village, Kuningan regency.

Guest added that Indonesia should repeal all laws and regulations that restrict the right to freedom of religion, which is guaranteed under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

"Indonesia must develop a concrete strategy to strengthen respect for freedom of religion and religious tolerance, which has clearly deteriorated in recent years," she said, adding that the perpetrators of violence must receive punishment.

"The Indonesian police must initiate a prompt, thorough and effective investigation into the violence and ensure that those suspected of involvement are prosecuted in fair trials," she said.

On Tuesday, another string of violence against religious minority groups broke out in Temanggung, Central Java. Three churches were reportedly vandalized by mobs.

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