From the Worldwide Faith News archives

WCC alerts UNHCHR to increasing sectarian violence in

From "Sheila Mesa" <>
Date Tue, 11 Dec 2001 15:19:54 +0100


World Council of Churches
Update, Up-01-44
For Immediate Use
11 December 2001

WCC alerts UNHCHR to increasing sectarian violence in Indonesia

cf. WCC Press Release, PR-01-09, of 16 March 2001
cf. WCC Press Update, Up-01-09, of 2 April 2001

In a letter sent today to Mary Robinson, United Nations High
Commissioner for Human Rights, World Council of Churches (WCC)
general secretary Rev. Dr Konrad Raiser raised concerns about
increasing sectarian violence in Central Sulawesi, Indonesia. 
Reporting on the destruction of homes and churches and
displacement of people, the WCC urges Mrs Robinson to call upon
the government of Indonesia "to pay serious attention to the
sectarian violence taking place in Sulawesi before it degenerates
into another situation such as that of the Mulukas".  

The text of the letter follows:

The World Council of Churches has received with concern reports
from its member churches in Indonesia as well as from other parts
of the world about the increase in the level of sectarian
violence in Central Sulawesi and Indonesia.  This has resulted in
grave and serious human rights violations.  The violence is
likely to further increase if immediate steps are not taken to
bring the situation under control.  

In Poso during the last week of November 2001, 600 houses and 6
churches were burned; 1500 Christians were forced to flee the
city in search of security.  Since the beginning of December,
another 21 Christian villages and 5 churches have been destroyed
in Poso.  The Christians living in the area have fled Poso and
sought shelter in Tentena - the headquarters of the Christian
Church in Central Sulawesi (GKST).  

The attacks resulting in destruction of property and
displacement of people were carried out by the forces of the
Laskar Jihad that came largely from East Java.  The groups were
armed with rocket launchers and automatic weapons.  They have
presently surrounded Tentena, cutting off essential supplies to
the region.  

The church leaders in Sulawesi have repeatedly appealed to the
central government in Jakarta to save them from these attacks
that are being organized and carried out by the Laskar Jihad.  To
this date the government has not responded to their appeals, nor
has it taken adequate measures to ensure their security and
prevent further violations of human rights.  

We therefore urge you to call upon the Indonesian government: to
pay serious attention to the sectarian violence taking place in
Sulawesi before it degenerates into another situation such as
that of the Mulukas; to ensure the safety of the people of
Sulawesi; to ensure that perpetrators responsible for the acts of
violence are brought to justice; and further to take necessary
steps to disarm private armed groups such as the Laskar Jihad. 

For further information, please contact Karin Achtelstetter,
Media Relations Officer           Tel:  (+41.22) 791.61.53 

The World Council of Churches (WCC) is a fellowship of churches,
now 342, in more than 100 countries in all continents from
virtually all Christian traditions. The Roman Catholic Church is
not a member church but works cooperatively with the WCC. The
highest governing body is the assembly, which meets approximately
every seven years. The WCC was formally inaugurated in 1948 in
Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Its staff is headed by general
secretary Konrad Raiser from the Evangelical Church in Germany.

World Council of Churches
Media Relations Office
Tel: (41 22) 791 6153 / 791 6421
Fax: (41 22) 798 1346

PO Box 2100
1211 Geneva 2, Switzerland

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