Jakarta – National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) Commissioner Choirul Anam says that the move by Yogyakarta (DIY) Governor Sri Sultan Hamengku Buwono X to restrict demonstrations at several key locations in the Central Java city is a setback for democracy.
The restrictions are stipulated under Gubernatorial Regulation Number 1/2021 on the Control of Expressing Views in Public in Open Spaces.
"If bylaws [like this] are made, many places could issue such bylaws, this would be a setback for our democracy", said Anam at the Komnas HAM offices in Jakarta on Thursday February 18.
Anam explained that restrictions on human rights can only be done through the mechanism of a law as regulated under Indonesia's constitution. He emphasised that regulations which are at a level below laws such as gubernatorial regulations or bylaws cannot be used to restrict social rights.
"In the context of the constitution, remember, our constitution, the constitution of the Indonesian Republic says that restrictions on human rights can only be done through laws", he said.
In addition to this, Anam said that there are indeed regulations which ban demonstrations in certain places, including among others at hospitals and nuclear reactors. But this does not mean restricting demonstrations at all locations.
Anam pledged to follow up on a report submitted to Komnas HAM on the regulation.
As has been reported, the Yogyakarta People's Alliance for Democracy (ARDY) reported the Sultan to Komnas HAM on Tuesday February 16. "[The report] will be processed, yes", said Anam.
Earlier, the Sultan justified issuing the regulation by referring to a Tourism and Creative Economy Decree.
Demonstrations are not allowed at several strategic locations in Yogyakarta including the State Palace Agung Building, the Ngayogyakarta Hadiningrat Sultanate Royal Palace (Keraton), the Kadipaten Pakualaman Royal Palace, the Kotagede district and the Malioboro shopping district in the centre of the city.
"If I revoke (the regulation), the tourism minister will reprimand me, because the [decree] wasn't implemented. I'll be blamed again", said the Sultan. (rzr/ain)
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Komnas HAM Sebut Pergub Demo Jogja 'Set Back' Demokrasi".]