PRESS RELEASE: UK human rights activists travel to Indonesia to address sectarianism


An IHRC delegation of human rights activists are on their way to Indonesia amid concerns of sectarian disunity and violence emerging in the historically tolerant country.  There have recently even been scenes of inter-Muslim sectarian violence.  An Indonesian Shia community were attacked and their houses burnt down by villagers in East Java. Two people were killed as a result of the violence, and sectarian rhetoric has escalated. 
The villagers were attacked simply because of the recent prevalence of sectarian rhetoric that their teachings are heretical – a belief that is not shared by the majority of the 1.6 billion Muslims worldwide.
274 villagers are currently taking refuge in a local sports centre because the threat of violence is still too great for them to be able to return to their village.  They desperately need aid as they have run out of money and cannot return to their farmland to work.             
IHRC will be delivering aid donated by UK donors as well as meeting with government officials, human rights activists and religious leaders to discuss the worrying implications of the emergence of this type of sectarianism, particularly when Indonesia has been making efforts to address human rights concerns for its different peoples.
Chair of IHRC, Massoud Shadjareh said, “This kind of sectarianism is an imported ideology not native to the region. We need to stop all violence against any religious group, whether Muslim or not.  We will be encouraging the Indonesian government to do more to tackle the issue.”
Notes to editors

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1)      IHRC will be working with an international network of human rights group call United Justice Network (UJN)