Bali Island, Indonesia – US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton should use her visit to Indonesia this week to press Jakarta to address human rights abuses, Human Rights Watch said Wednesday.
The United States last year lifted a ban on cooperation with Indonesia’s army special forces, known as Kopassus, which was imposed over alleged abuses.
‘Closer US military ties with Indonesia were a reward for better behaviour by Indonesian soldiers, yet one year later, atrocities by the military still go unpunished,’ said Elaine Pearson, deputy Asia director at the human rights group.
It also said Clinton should call for the release of more than 100 political prisoners and withdraw a 2008 decree restricting the freedom of the Ahmadiyya minority Muslim sect.
‘Laws stifling dissent are used against peaceful critics, and violent attacks on religious minorities are getting worse,’ Pearson said.
Attacks on members of the Ahmadiyya sect by radical Muslim groups have been increasing in recent years. In February, three Ahmadis were killed and five wounded when hardline Muslims attacked their house in West Java province with machetes.