GKI Yasmin seeks permanent

The congregation of the Indonesian Christian Church (GKI) Yasmin in Bogor, West Java is still being forced to worship in a haphazard fashion and is becoming restless to be allowed to freely hold services at their church.

“We regret the fact that none of the recommendations made by several authorities have been heeded by the Bogor administration,” a member of the beleaguered church’s legal team, Jayadi Damanik, said in Jakarta on Friday.

Bogor Mayor Diani Budiarto, who sealed the church in 2010, defied a Supreme Court ruling ordering him to reopen the house of worship. Diani’s stance is supported by a group of intolerant locals.

The mayor also ignored solutions brokered by the National Defense Council and the Presidential Advisory Board, which suggested the establishment of another house of worship, such as a mosque, adjacent to the church.

Meanwhile, executive director of the Human Rights Working Group (HRWG), Rafendi Djamin, said the central government had the power and legal basis to bring an end to the Yasmin saga once and for all.

“However, it seems our government is reluctant to do so,” Rafendi said.

Indonesia, he said, had ratified various international laws that legally bound the government to guarantee its people’s religious freedom. These laws include the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which was ratified by Indonesia in 2005.

He added that the central government also had the power to cancel policies administered by local administrations, if necessary.

“The government is probably afraid that if they favor the minority, they will lose political support among the majority,” he said.

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