Foreign and Commonwealth Office written question – answered on 9th December 2014.

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Photo of Nigel Dodds Nigel Dodds Shadow Spokesperson (Justice), Shadow Spokesperson (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs), DUP Westminster Leader

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what reports he has received of protests against the election of a Christian as Governor of Jakarta; and what steps he is taking to promote freedoms of religion and speech in Indonesia.

Photo of Hugo Swire Hugo Swire The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Following the inauguration of Basuki (Ahok) Tjahaja Purnama, as Governor of Jakarta in November, there were some small-scale protests. However, there was also a significant counter movement on social media and public demonstrations of support from a campaign called ‘Muslims in support of Ahok’. Governor Purnama is the first Chinese-Indonesian and second Christian to become Governor of Jakarta, and it is testament to Indonesia’s traditions of religious tolerance and respect for diversity that the great majority are supportive of him taking up the position of governor.

Our Ambassador designate met the Indonesian Minister for Law, Justice & Human Rights on 18 November and raised the rights of religious minorities and freedom of expression. We also maintain a regular dialogue with religious leaders, civil society and government officials on freedom of religion or belief. The third EU-Indonesia Human Rights Dialogue was held on 12 November and in response to concerns we raised the new Indonesian government underlined the importance they attach to tackling discrimination against religious minorities.

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