Rahel Narda Chaterine, Jakarta – The Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation (YLBHI) says that the Bogor city municipal government's (Pemkot) move to grant land to the Yasmin Indonesian Christian Church (GKI Yasmin) to build a new church sets a bad example in resolving such conflicts.
YLBHI advocacy division head Muhammad Isnur is of the view that the resolution offered by the Bogor government disrespects a Supreme Court ruling and the recommendation of the Ombudsman.
"So this is a bad example of how to resolve things by not using the approach regulated under the constitution, namely respecting a court verdict, respecting the Ombudsman's recommendation and respecting the wishes of the victims", said Isnur during a virtual press conference on Tuesday June 15.
According to Isnur, the offer to relocate the church is not a new in efforts to resolve the polemic. He also believes that this solution will in fact give rise to other problems.
"Now this is the result, right, relocation. So this is a resolution but it gives rise to a new problem, not resolving a problem where there is already a very clear ruling by the Supreme Court and the Ombudsman's recommendation on the location", he said.
Isnur believes that the resolution offered by the Bogor government is a narrative of those in power. He also believes that the Bogor Mayor Arya Bima is ignoring the voices of the victims.
"What's happening is a narrative of those in power, a narrative of how the mayor is ignoring all this and looking for another way out, so I worry that this is just putting on airs. The mayor not wanting to listen to the victims", he said.
For Isnur, the Bogor government's actions could potentially violate the law. He also said that the YLBHI is ready to provide legal assistance if the victims want to submit a legal challenge.
"The YLBHI and the LBH Jakarta [Jakarta Legal Aid Foundation] will of course give consideration to preparing a counter challenge if indeed the victims convey their willingness and readiness to do so", he said.
As reported earlier, the Bogor government has granted 1,668 square metres of land for the construction of a new Yasmin GKI church. The land is located in Jalan Abdullah Bin Nuh in West Cilendek.
Bima hopes that with the land grant the conflict is over and the label of intolerance will no longer be attached to Bogor city residents.
"For 15 years we have jointly expended energy and concentration on efforts to resolve a conflict which has continued to be a thorn in the side of tolerance", said Bima after handing over the land transfer document at the GKI Yasmin's umbrella church GKI Pengadilan on Sunday June 13.
"Today this is evidence of the Bogor Pemkot's commitment to ensure the right to worship. A commitment and pledge by the Bogor Pemkot to fully resolve the place of worship issue for our sisters and brothers", he said.
The polemic over the GKI Yasmin case has been going on since 2010. The source of the problem was opposition by some local community members to the presence of the church.
The mayor of Bogor at the time, Diani Budiarto, ordered the Bogor city Public Order Agency (Satpol PP) officials to seal off the GKI Yasmin church.
However the Bandung State Administrative Court (PTUN), the State Administrative High Court (PTTUN) and the Supreme Court all ruled in favour of the GKI Yasmin being able to use the church.
Despite this, on March 11, 2011, Budiarto instead issued Directive Number 645.45-137/2011 on revoking the GKI Yasmin's building permit.
The GKI Yasmin church has since rejected the Bogor mayor's offer saying on June 15 that local authorities had ignored court orders calling on them to allow the church to reopen and that the congregation wanted to stay at the original location.
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Pemkot Bogor Hibahkan Lahan ke GKI Yasmin, YLBHI: Contoh Buruk, Tak Hormati Putusan MA".]