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Indonesia - Protest of travel ban imposed on Central Committee member

03 September 1999

Letter to H.E. M. N. Hassan Wirajuda, Ambassador of Indonesia to the United Nations in Geneva, 3 September 1999.

Your Excellency,

The World Council of Churches has learned with deep concern that a six-month travel ban, effective 23 June 1999, has been imposed on Mr Welly Mandowen, a member of the WCC Central Committee from the Evangelical Christian Church in Irian Jaya. Mr Mandowen was elected by the WCC Assembly in Harare, Zimbabwe, last December. This ban has prevented him from attending the first meeting of the Central Committee held here in Geneva over the past ten days. He was not made aware of the ban, apparently issued two months earlier, until he arrived in Jakarta in late August when he was scheduled to depart for Geneva.

According to our information, the notification of the ban issued to Mr Mandowen does not specify any clear reason for this action by the Indonesian authorities. We believe that such an action is wholly unwarranted, and constitutes an infringement of the fundamental right of all Indonesian citizens to the right to leave and return to their home country.

The news of this ban troubled the 158-member Central Committee, made up of persons from churches in every region of the world, and reflected badly on your Government. We would be grateful if you would convey our concern to the appropriate government ministry, along with the expression of our hope that corrective action will be taken forthwith to remedy this injustice.

                                                                                                                                                                  Respectfully yours,

                                                                                                                                                                  Dwain C. Epps
                                                                                                                                                                  Commission of the Churches on
                                                                                                                                                                  International Affairs