Madam President, Indonesia is a beautiful country with deep traditions of pluralism, cultural harmony, religious freedom and social justice, but regrettably we are seeing an increase in extremist attacks against religious minorities, including against the Ahmadis, who consider themselves Muslim but who are not recognised as such by everyone. We see attacks on Christians, Buddhists and against progressive civil society organisations. On video clips placed on the Internet we have seen well-documented human rights violations when an angry mob set fire to churches, killing a number of people.
It is important that the rule of law be upheld and that the perpetrators are held accountable, including when they belong to the security forces. The abusive blasphemy and religious defamation laws must end. Initiatives by civil society organisations, as well as the government and the judiciary, are welcome steps. Political support for the protection of pluralism is important, and the progress on the implementation of democracy and the rule of law in recent years should be deepened and strengthened. We encourage the Government of Indonesia to take up recommendations made by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and to invite the UN Special Rapporteur for freedom and religion and belief to visit the country.