Budi Sutrisno, Jakarta – The recent closure of a tomb built by Sunda Wiwitan, an indigenous faith group in West Java, is a violation of human rights, the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) has said following reports by the group's followers that the tomb was forcibly sealed off.
Komnas HAM commissioner Beka Ulung Hapsara said the tomb's closure conflicted with the principles of human rights contained in Article 28 of the 1945 Constitution, which guarantees freedom of worship.
"It should be noted that every citizen has the right to adhere to [their own] beliefs as part of civil and political rights," Beka said in a statement on Monday.
Last week, the West Java administration closed off the Sunda Wiwitan tomb – built for the group's elders in Cisantana village in Cigugur district, Kuningan regency – on the grounds that it was an unlicensed "monument".
Sunda Wiwitan said it had applied for a building permit with the West Java Capital Investment and One-Stop Services Agency (DPMPTSP) earlier this month, but the application was rejected.
Komnas HAM said the group had also proposed the establishment of the Akur Sunda Wiwitan Cigugur community to the Kuningan regent, but the request was rejected.
Beka accused the Kuningan administration of violating Article 6 of Law No. 39/1999 on human rights, which states the government must uphold the rights of indigenous communities.
Another document that guaranteed civil and political rights was Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, he added.
"Komnas HAM will follow up on the report by requesting information from all parties, conducting field monitoring and investigations and holding a dialogue with the relevant stakeholders," Beka said.
Furthermore, Komnas HAM called on the Kuningan administration to reopen the tomb and called on the central government to protect the constitutional rights of the Sunda Wiwitan community.
The commission urged all parties to promote peaceful dialogue and asked the local police to prevent violence and expressions of hatred in the region, as well as act decisively on actions that went against the law.