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Jakarta Post

Amnesty discusses intolerance in Yogyakarta with Sri Sultan

  • Bambang Muryanto

    The Jakarta Post

Yogyakarta   /   Sat, March 25, 2017   /   07:51 pm
Amnesty discusses intolerance in Yogyakarta with Sri Sultan Members of Islamic groups rally against the holding of a Christmas service at the Sasana Budaya Ganesha Park in Bandung, West Java, recently. (JP/Arya Dipa)

Salil Shetty, the secretary general of UK-based human rights organization Amnesty International, has asked Yogyakarta’s Sultan Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono X to continue promoting diversity and pluralism following a recent series of intolerant incidents in the province.

Salil said he had directly appealed to the de facto governor of Yogyakarta during their meeting to use his power as regional leader to ensure that the rule of law was upheld in handling such incidents.

“Indonesia’s Constitution is based on human rights. Every group should be treated equally,” Salil said after the two-hour meeting at the Kepatihan compound in Yogyakarta on Friday.

(Read also: Yogyakarta becoming more intolerant: Study)

A study by rights group the Setara Institute recently revealed that the state of freedom of religion in Yogyakarta was in continuous decline, with at least 53 cases of religious rights violations recorded in the province between 2007 and 2016.

In December, last year, the Muslim People’s Forum (FUI) of Yogyakarta forced Duta Wacana Christian University (UKDW) to take down billboards depicting three female students, one of whom was wearing a hijab, studying in a library. The hard-line group claimed the billboards “insulted Islam.”

(Read also: Bigotry haunts nation)

Intolerance: A billboard featuring a female student wearing a hijab is erected at the corner of Sanata Dharma Catholic University in Yogyakarta. The Muslim People's Forum (FUI) in the city has forced another university, Duta Wacana Christian University, to take down a similar billboard, claiming it will mislead Muslim students.(JP/Tarko Sudiarno)

Usman Hamid, Amnesty’s Indonesia representative who also attended the meeting, said that during the meeting Sri Sultan had also raised concerns about the rising number of such hard-line groups. “These groups use pressure to gain economic benefit,” Usman said.

Yogyakarta Unity and Community Protection Agency head Agung Supriyono brushed off allegations that the administration had succumbed to intolerant groups. (bbs)