JAKARTA, Indonesia -- The watchdog group Human Rights Watch (HRW) is urging the Indonesian government to do more to protect religious minorities. In a report issued on Thursday (February 28th), it cited a recent uptick in the number of violent incidents.
The report called on President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to take decisive action and punish the perpetrators of attacks against religious minorities, including Christians, Buddhists, and Muslim minorities like Shiites and Ahmadis. HRW said many of the attacks were carried out by Islamist militants.
In the report, titled "In Religion's Name", HRW criticised the government for what it described as its "complicit" approach to religious conflict. It said failures in government leadership and law enforcement are fuelling a surge of religious violence and have rendered religious minorities vulnerable to attack.
"If the government does not expressly address cases of violence and religious intolerance, we may see the Indonesian people become less tolerant," said Phelim Kine, HRW's deputy director for Asia, adding such violence could impact investment in Indonesia.