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Back Activities Alerts Action Alert: Indonesia – Refugees denied food and water

Action Alert: Indonesia – Refugees denied food and water

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The Indonesian government must immediately repatriate and provide protection for Indonesian refugees from sectarian violence

Contents

1. Summary

2. Background

3. Action Required

4. Sample Letter

1. Summary

East Java’s Shia community continues to be denied food and water and faces continual persecution following the East Java Indonesian Council of Ulema division’s announcement declaring the Shia a deviant and heretic sect. The Jakarta Globe newspaper and other local sources have claimed that two people were killed, dozens injured and hundreds have been forcefully displaced in the targeted attacks on the Shia residing in the Karang Gayam village in the Sampang district.

2. Background

Followers of various Muslim schools of thought have historically coexisted in peace and harmony in Indonesia. However, in recent years and in particular the last few months there has been a surge of sectarianism, in particular against old and new communities of Muslims following the Jafari school of thought, also known as Shias.

The Indonesian Council of Ulema (MUI) has never declared the Shia sect deviant and heretical. Furthemore, the Shia school of thought was endorsed by over 500 leading scholars in the ‘Three Points of the Amman Message’ (http://ujnweb.com/resources/unity/) including the Chairman of Muhammadiyah, the President of Al-Shafi’i Islamic University, and the Minister of Religious Affairs from the Republic of Indonesia.

In 2007, the East Java division of MUI issued a religious decree against Shias which has led to their persecution and mass displacement.

In August 2012, following an attack by around 500 people on residents of the Karang Gayam village in the Sampang District, one person was killed, dozens injured, and the community of some 175 members was moved to temporary shelter at the Wijaya Kusuma Sports Center in Sampang. 

The  local authorities have halted both food and water supplies and no medicine or facilities for women and children have been provided since 22 November 2012. Thereafter, the local Kyais (Islamic experts) gave the Shia community comprised of many women and children, an ultimatum to either ‘convert’ to Sunni Islam or face the consequence of having their homes set ablaze and being denied the right to return to their villages. A 15 year old, Muhaimin Hamama, was killed in Sampang on 25 August 2012 following threats of murder from Kyais backed by local government officials.  Under this pressure, the Surabaya office of the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) reported that 26 Shias from 9 families were forced to sign an agreement to convert to Sunni Islam on 01 November 2012.

A small group left their refuge in Sampang to meet with members of the House of Representatives’ commission on religion, social and other issues asking for help with their plight.  They claim they were rudely dismissed with insults. One woman Umi Kulsum, was detained by the East java High Court for blasphemy and is still imprisoned, called on the United Nations High Commissioner on Human Rights Navanethem Pillay to address their plight and pressure the Indonesian government to comply with universal human rights standards. On visiting the victims of religious persecution in Indonesia, Navanethem Pillay  expressed her distress ‘to hear accounts of violence, attacks, forced disappearances and other discrimination and harassment, as well as the police’s failure to provide protection’.

3. Action Required

IHRC urges all its supporters and campaigners to urge the Indonesian government to take action to prevent these abuses in the name of Islam.

4. Sample Letters

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Sample letters are given below for your convenience. Please note that model letters can be sent directly or adjusted as necessary to include further details. If you receive a reply to the letter you send, we request you to send a copy of the letter you send and the reply you received, to IHRC. This is very important as it helps IHRC to monitor the situation with regards to our campaigns and to improve upon the current model letters.

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a. Minister of foreign affairs in your country (UK campaigners can write using the address supplied below, fax: +44 (0)20 7839 2417 )

[Your name]

[Your address]

[Date]

Rt. Hon. William Hague

Foreign & Commonwealth Office

King Charles Street

London, SW1A 2AH

Dear Mr. Hague,

Re:  Sectarian persecution and displacement of Muslims in East Java, Indonesia

I am deeply concerned over the ongoing violence, harassment, and denial of access to essential services such as food and clean drinking water against the Shia Muslims in East Java, Indonesia. 

I urge you to call on the UN and your counterparts in Indonesia to investigate reports that the local government authorities in Sampang District have been involved in the intimidation of these Muslims to renounce their faith, put an end to such shameful acts and ensure that all those involved in these attacks are brought to justice in accordance to international human rights standards. . This ongoing oppression of individuals which is a clear violation of human rights standards must not be tolerated by the British government who claims to stand for justice. 

I look forward to hearing back from you regarding this urgent matter.

Yours sincerely,

[Your signature]

[Your name]

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b. Amir Syamsuddin, Minister of Justice and Human Rights

[Your name]

[Your address]

[Date]

Amir Syamsuddin

Jl. H. R. Rasuna said Kav No. 4-5

Kuningan, Jakarta Selatan 12950

Indonesia

Dear Minister,

Re:  Persecution and displacement of the Shia Muslims in East Java, Indonesia

I am deeply concerned over the ongoing violence, harassment, and denial of access to essential services such as food and clean drinking water against the Muslims who have been forcefully displaced from their homes and are currently seeking refuge in the Wijaya Kusuma Sports Center in Sampang. 

I urge you to denounce the statement by the East Java branch of the MUI which declared these Muslims to be heretical. I further demand that you do all that you can to immediately repatriate the Sampang refugees from the Sampang Sports Center and start complying with universal human rights standards.

The intimidation of Muslims on any basis, let alone on sectarian grounds is unacceptable is indeed in violation of international human rights laws. This ongoing oppression of individuals which is a clear violation of human rights law must not be tolerated by your government which claims to stand for justice. 

I look forward to hearing back from you regarding this urgent matter.

Yours sincerely,

[Your signature]

[Your name]

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You may also wish to write to the following:

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Noer Tjahja (Sampang District Head (Bupati))

Jl. Jamaluddin No.1A, Sampang,

Madura, East Java, Indonesia 69241

Fax: + 62 323 321017

Mr. Otto Nur Abdullah (Chairperson National Human Rights)

Commission (Komnas HAM) Jl Latuharhary, No.4 Menteng

Jakarta Pusat 10310, Indonesia

Fax: +62 21 39 25 227

YBhg. Tan Sri Mohd Radzi bin Abdul Rahman, Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Malaysia)

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Malaysia

Wisma Putra Complex, No. 1, Jalan Wisma Putra, Precint 2, 

Federal Government Administrative Centre, 62602 Putrajaya, Malaysia

Fax : 603-8889 1717/2816

Senator the Hon Bob Carr, Minister for Foreign Affairs (Australia) 

PO Box 6100

Senate

Parliament House

Canberra ACT 2600 

Fax: (02) 6273 4112

Salman Khurshid (Minister of External Affairs, India)

Fax: 23011463, 23013254

eam@mea.gov.in

Yang Jiechi, Minister of Foreign Affairs (China)

No. 2, Chaoyangmen Nandajie, 

Chaoyang District

Beijing, 100701 

Tel: 86-10-65961114

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For more information, please contact the office on the numbers or email below

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IHRC is an NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.

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For more information, please contact the office on the numbers or email below.

"And what reason have you that you should not fight in the way of Allah and of the weak among the men and the women and the children, (of) those who say: Our Lord! Cause us to go forth from this town, whose people are oppressors, and give us from Thee a guardian and give us from Thee a helper." 


Holy Qur'an: Chapter 4, Verse 75

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