World Council of Churches

A worldwide fellowship of churches seeking unity, a common witness and Christian service

Minute on Indonesia

06 February 2001

Adopted by the Central Committee, Potsdam, Germany, 29 January - 6 February 2001.

The Central Committee of the World Council of Churches notes with great pain and sorrow that the inter-communal violence in the Malukus region which began in January 1999 has left over 5,000 people dead, some 500,000 displaced, and property worth billions of rupiah destroyed. Trust between the Muslim and Christian communities has seriously eroded. Though cease-fires and moratoriums on killings have periodically been agreed between the two communities, these have all been of short duration and fighting has been renewed with a vengeance. The Indonesian security forces have often been irresponsible and inept in the carrying out of their responsibilities, and have repeatedly failed to stop or control the violence and bring the perpetrators to justice. In fact there is clear evidence that members of the Indonesian army and police forces have participated directly in some of these attacks. National authorities have to date failed to take any disciplinary action against such offenders.

The situation has been further compounded by the organized entry of the Java-based radical Islamic group called "Lashkar Jihad," thousands of whose members have indulged in systematic "religious cleansing" of Christians and acts of forced religious conversions. This group has been provided arms and training by a section of the Indonesian armed forces and has also received support and encouragement from Jakarta-based politicians.

The Central Committee:

reiterates the WCC's expressions of solidarity and continuing prayers for the people and churches in Indonesia in this trying time;

reiterates the WCC's call upon religious, political and military leaders in Indonesia to spare no effort in pursuing a peaceful resolution of the conflict, the disarming of militias on all sides, and the restoration of law and order;

calls upon the WCC to continue to monitor developments here and to support and encourage the efforts of the Communion of Churches in Indonesia to engage the Islamic Community in dialogue to promote a just and lasting peace;

asks the WCC, as a matter of priority, to explore further avenues of cooperation amongst the world faith communities to address together the underlying causes of inter-religious violence in the Malukus and Poso, and the situation in Aceh, particularly the victimization of women;

calls to the attention of the member churches and related agencies the large-scale displacement of people; the rehabilitation needs of large numbers of persons injured or maimed in the fighting, and other humanitarian needs and urges them to respond generously through Action by Churches Together (ACT).