Mr. Joko Widodo
Mr. Joko Widodo
Mr. Joko Widodo

Mr. Joko Widodo
President of the Republic of Indonesia
Jl. Veteran No. 16
Jakarta Pusat
Tel: +62 21 3458 595
Fax: +62 21 3484 4759
E-mail: [email protected]

Dear President of the Republic of Indonesia,

I am William Nicholas Gomes, Human rights defender and Freelance journalist.

I am writing to voice my deep concern regarding a vigilante group sealing off the Santa Clara Church in Bekasi, West Java province, Indonesia. Despite the congregation having fulfilled all legal requirements to build a Church, the vigilante group has demanded the Bekasi Mayor cancel the Church’s official permit. The police have taken no action against the vigilantes, leaving the Santa Clara congregants in fear and uncertainty.

On 7 March 2016, the Santa Clara church was established on 5,000 m2 of land in Harapan Baru, Bekasi city. After the establishment of the Church, intolerant vigilantes, who call themselves the Islamic Forum Community (FUI), demanded the Bekasi Mayor to cancel the permit given to the Church. The group declared that the Church is established in North Bekasi city, where the majority of the community is Muslim, and where Islamic Boarding Schools (pesantren) also exist. The vigilantes thus destroyed the signboard of the church and sealed off the Church in front of the North Bekasi police commander (Kapolsek).

Earlier, the Bekasi city mayor emphasized that he will not annul the permit given to the Church, which has fulfilled all legal requirements. The minister of religion also supported the mayor’s decision.

Despite this, law enforcement agencies have failed to protect the Santa Clara Church congregants; in fact, it seems the agencies have no will or policy to enforce the law against vigilantes. As a result, the Church congregation lives under pressure and intimidation. The FUI also accused that the Bekasi city officials falsified local community identity cards, which are one of the requirements to issue a permit. The accusation cannot be proved as the local community voluntary gave their identity cards to the Bekasi mayor in order to issue permit to the Church.

Therefore, I respectfully request you to ensure that law enforcement agencies, in particular the police, take a strong stance against the vigilante group. Moreover, I also call upon you to ensure that the government guarantees protection to the Santa Clara congregation to practice their religion.

Furthermore, the government should revise the law on the establishment of the worship place without any discrimination among the various religions and beliefs that exist in Indonesia.

I look forward to your prompt action in this matter.

Yours sincerely,

William Nicholas Gomes

Human Rights Defender &  Freelance Journalist

Twitter @wnicholasgomes

Email: [email protected]

Note: The letter has been modified but adopted from the drafted and published letter  by the Hong Kong Based Human Rights watchdog Asian Human Rights Comission (AHRC). It should be noted that although the letter has been modified for this purpose but the facts and figures remains unchanged. AHRC should be given credit for the information used on this letter . Please do  contact them for further updates.


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