Riani Sanusi Putri, Jakarta – The Civil Society Coalition, which comprises several human rights watchdogs, responded to the alleged violence and oppression law enforcers enacted against demonstrations that recently protested the passing of the Job Creation Law. The coalition urged President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo to issue a stern warning to the National Police Chief over the incident.
"We urge the President to give a strong warning to the National Police Chief and his staff who have tolerated repressive actions against demonstrators," as stated in the Civil Society Coalition statement on Friday, March 31.
Members of this coalition are the YLBHI, Walhi, Centra Initiative, National PBHI, Public Virtue, Amnesty International Indonesia, HRWG, ELSAM, IMPARSIAL, and SETARA Institute.
Based on the coalition's records, on March 30th, law enforcers forcefully disbanded hundreds of student protesters in Lampung and Bengkulu. The protesters, which consisted primarily of college students, had allegedly been arbitrarily arrested and left dozens injured due to the police's physical repressions. As of Thursday evening, there were 48 student protesters in Lampung and 4 in Bengkulu who have yet to be released.
The civil society coalition has strongly condemned the police's act of violence and reminded them that it is a blatant violation of basic human rights toward freedom of expression and freedom of speech guaranteed by the constitution and law. The coalition assesses that this incident reaffirms the general notion that the National Police had never really improved and instead adds to the institution's atrocious record.
The controversial journey of the Job Creation Act (UU Cipta Kerja)
The Indonesian House of Representatives (DPR) ratified the Job Creation regulation in lieu of law (Perpu) on March 21, which only added to the controversial situation as this same law had previously been legally annulled by the Constitutional Court (MK).
The Constitutional Court verdict back in 2021 deemed the Job Creation act to be unconstitutional for how it was formulated, which was seen to lack public participation. The court had even ordered the government and House legislators to fix the formulation process of the law.
However, instead of adhering to the court verdict, President Jokowi signed the Job Creation Perpu on December 30, 2022, which was seen by experts to be problematic as the Perpu's issuance does not meet the aspect of urgency as mandated by the 1945 Constitution.
The House had also failed to ratify the Perpu during the House's first period of sessions in 2023. This made experts call out that the Perpu had been legally deemed expired as the 1945 Constitution mandates Perpu's to be passed during this House session period.However, legislators remained adamant to pass the Job Creation Perpu into an official Law two weeks ago. House legislators claim the Perpu had not expired as it previously obtained consent from the House's legislative body (Baleg) to be presented in the plenary meeting.