On May 21, members of the Indonesia Christian Church (GKI) visited the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to report that local officials had stopped construction of the GKI’s building in Bogor City, Indonesia, and sealed the building, according to the Indonesian news site kompas.com and The Voice of the Martyrs contacts.
Church members told the NHRC that local government officials had banned their Christian activities, sealed their building and revoked their building license in February 2008. The Christians met with Johny Nelson Simanjuntak, the Investigation and Observation Commissioner of the National Human Rights Commission.
“There is an effort of hindering and forbidding people to do their religious activities and building their building of prayer,” Simanjuntak told kompas.com and members of the press following the meeting. “All the building procedures were already fulfilled by the church. They had received the license from the local government, and they applied the license based on the right procedures,” Simanjuntak said. He added that the NHRC had followed up with local officials but had not yet received a reply.
General Secretary of the Indonesia Church Association, Pastor Gomar, said the church is also pursuing a legal resolution to their church closure. “Since the local government has been holding over the building license …, the church is already using law efforts,” he said. “It is taken because the church believed that the law is on their side. They have their approved license for their … church building.”
Local government officials in Bogor City have ignored the September 2008 Administrative Bandung Court ruling that revoked their ban on the church. “It caused the believers [to not] carry out their religious activities in that building,” Pastor Gomar said.
The NHRC has committed to investigating this church closing and the intimidation of believers in this area. The Voice of the Martyrs encourages you to pray for a speedy resolution of this issue. Pray that believers will remain faithful and committed to Christ during this challenging time.