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Marking 4 years in office, rights groups give Jokowi red report card on human rights

CNN Indonesia - October 20, 2023

Jakarta – The Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) and Amnesty International Indonesia (AII) have given a red report card on the human rights situation in the fourth year of President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo and Vice President Ma'ruf Amin's administration. They highlighted violence based on investment.

Kontras Coordinator Dimas Bagus Arya said there were at least 211 projects and 13 priority programs that the Indonesian government is concerned with that have an estimated investment value of 5,746 trillion rupiah.

According to Arya, the size of this figure has implications for various aspects of public life, not excluding human rights, community living space and environmental damage.

"The government's lofty ambitions to be able to carry out development in several parts of Indonesia are in fact not balanced against the spirit of respect for human rights and guarantees of community living space," Arya said during a press conference titled "Four-year report on Jokowi-Ma'ruf Amin" at the Kontras office in Kwitang, Central Jakarta, on Friday October 20.

Arya said that Widodo's orientation, in which he has tried to focus on the completion of national strategic program (PSN) in 2023 and 2024, has been accompanied with various forms of human rights violations against the ordinary people.

He explained that human rights violations based on development did not only occur in projects under the national strategic program, but also in other projects, especially those related to natural resources.

"At least based on the monitoring that we have done, over the four year period of the Joko Widodo-Ma'ruf Amin leadership, there were 964 incidents of human rights violations that occurred in the natural resource and development sectors", he added.

The three regions with the highest level of violations were in North Sumatra with 84 incidents, Riau with 81 incidents and West Java with 80 incidents.

Meanwhile the dominant perpetrators of human rights violations in the natural resource and development sectors was the private sector with 732 incidents, the police with 178 incidents, followed by the government with 113 incidents and the TNI (Indonesian military) with 20 incidents.

Arya believes that the politics of openly siding with owners of capital by the Widodo-Amin administration has ignored the rights of communities.

"The government should, in this case the president, be able to pay attention to the principle of the universality of human rights in the pursuit of every development project that is a priority for the government", Arya said.

Development sacrificing human rights

Amnesty International meanwhile, went further saying that economic development over the nine years of Widodo's leadership has been carried out by sacrificing human rights and causing suffering in the lives of the ordinary people.

"Indigenous and local communities are evicted in order to fulfill the interests of investment. The right of people to participate in public affairs is deliberately silenced for the sake of policies to accelerate investment", said Amnesty Executive Director Usman Hamid in a written statements.

Based on Amnesty's data, over the period January 2019 to May 2023, at least 44 physical and digital attacks occurred resulting in at least 202 human rights defenders, environmental and indigenous community activists falling victim.

Hamid gave several examples of human rights violations related to development projects. First, he cited the case experienced by residents of Nagari Air Bangis. Hamid explained that local residents opposed an oil refinery and petrochemical national strategic project that would cover a concession area of 30,000 hectares because it would take over residents' land.

"However, the protests were responded to repressively with the deployment of force by security personnel who forcibly repatriated the protesters, accompanied by the arrest of 18 residents, students and activists as well as intimidation and violence against at least four journalists covering the action", said Hamid.

The second incident related to Rempang Island in Batam. On September 7, explained Hamid, the Riau Islands regional police committed violence and intimidation against the people of Rempang and Galang islands, simply because they refused to be relocated to make way for the "Rempang Eco City" strategic national project, which required the eviction of residents from their villages.

"The police violence resulted in the arrest of six residents and scores of other residents were injured. Hundreds of school children even had to flee to safety because of teargas fired at their school by police", said Hamid.

He stated that the two cases were examples of the practice of violence by the state against its own people. He also criticised the Job Creation Law, which has played a big part in violence in Indonesia.

"This red report card must be corrected immediately", concluded Hamid.

CNN Indonesia has contacted Presidential Chief of Staff (KSP) Deputy V Jaleswari Pramodhawardani, KSP Deputy II Abetnego Tarigan and State Secretary Ministry Special Staffer Faldo Maldini to request a response to the assessment by Kontras and Amnesty.

As of this report being published however, they have not responded.

Aside from the above issues, President Widodo has acknowledged and expressed his regret over 12 cases of past gross human rights incidents that have occurred in Indonesia.

"With a sincere heart, I as the head of the Republic of Indonesia acknowledge that various incidents of gross human rights violations did occur", Widodo said at a press conference at the Merdeka Palace on Wednesday January 11. (ryn/pmg)

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Rapor Merah HAM untuk Jokowi Jelang Lengser 2024".]

Source: https://www.cnnindonesia.com/nasional/20231020153840-12-1013880/rapor-merah-ham-untuk-jokowi-jelang-lengser-202