8 May 2013

Human rights group says freedom of religion eroding in Papua

6:57 pm on 8 May 2013

A human rights representative in the Indonesian province of Papua says freedom of religion is under threat.

The Secretary of the Jayapura branch of Indonesia's National Commission on Human Rights Paul Mambrasar says many workers are resentful of conditions that favour Islamic believers.

A recent Fairfax report alleged children in Papua were removed and taken to Islamic 're-education' centres in Jakarta.

A US religious freedom report released last week says there were 264 cases of attacks against religious minorities in Indonesia last year and extremist groups operate with impunity.

Mr Mambrasar says Papuans are very tolerant and the rise in the number of mosques in the region shows a growing dominance of Islam.

"We could see that there is an Islamisation process, and the facts that mosques were being built everywhere we might see that there is a some serious effort to dominate, I think."

Mr Mambrasar says freedom of expression and the breakdown of the rule of law are other major issues in Papua.