Kontras calls for protection for minority shiite community

... embarrassing. The government has been powerless in facing the case... "
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - An outspoken non-governmental organization (NGO) urges the government to provide protection for the minority Shiite community who has been forced to flee their villages to live in refugee camps after a bloody conflict with non Shiite Muslim community in Sampang, Madura, East Java Province.

The Commission for Missing People and Victims of Violence (Kontras) said in a news release here on Wednesday, the people have been forced to live in a refugee camps in Sidoarjo since June 20, 2013.

Currently, there are 224 people of 64 families of the Shiite community accommodated at cheap apartment houses including children and people of advanced age in Sidoarjo, East Java.

Kontras, therefore, urged the government to provide decent food and education for the people especially for the children.

Kontras also asked the government to discuss with the Shiite community leader ways to restore the rights of the people.

Kontras said it appreciated the initiative of East Java Governor Soekarwo to form a forum of reconciliation to stop conflict between the Shiite community and the majority non Shiite Muslim community in Sampang.

The forum should promote greater religious tolerance and guarantee peace, protection and restoration of the right of the Shiite community, Kontras said.

Earlier, KH Said Aqil Sirod, the general chairman of Nahdatul Ulama, the country`s largest Islamic organization, said, the country's good name had been badly smeared by the forced eviction of the Shiite community from their village in Madura,

"This case is embarrassing. The government has been powerless in facing the case," Said Aqil Sirod said on Monday.

He said he regretted the forced eviction and blamed the government for being weak in dealing with perpetrators.

(H-ASG/F001)

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