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Sula Islands regency government bans leftist student group Pembebasan

Tempo - April 4, 2018

Ternate – The Sula Islands regency government in North Maluku has banned the leftist Student Struggle Centre for National Liberation (Pembebasan) from conducting organisational activities in any form whatsoever within the legal jurisdiction of Sula regency.

The banning was issued in a letter dated April 2 which was signed by Sula Islands regency National Unity and Politics Agency (Kesbangpol) head Kamaludin Sangaji.

In the letter it states that the ban on activities for the social or mass organisation (ormas) Pembebasan in Sula regency was issued because the organisation is deemed to not have been registered with the national or regional government. An ormas can only be active in Sula regency if it is in accordance with Law Number 16/2017 and Home Affairs regulations 56 and 57 of 2017.

"It is therefore conveyed to all officials of the organisation not to carry out activities in any form whatsoever within the legal jurisdiction of the Sula Regency Regional Government as of Monday April 2, 2018", said Sangaji in the letter.

According to Sangaji, the ormas Pembebasan will be allowed to carry out organisational activities again if it fulfills the requirements in accordance with prevailing legal stipulations.

Sula regent Hendrata Thes declined to respond to the ban because the decision was taken under the authority of the Sula Kesbangpol.

There was no answer from Kamaludin Sangaji meanwhile when Tempo tried to contact him by phone. There was also no response to an SMS message.

Sula legal practitioner Rasman Boamona said that the Sula regency government's move to ban Pembebasan's activities is a reflection of the government fear of public criticism.

The Sula regency government should not all of a sudden ban the activities of any organisation without a final legal ruling or legal sanctions as a consequence of violations such as hostility based on race, religion or ethnicity, blasphemy or desecration of religion, misuse of the organisation's name, symbol and flag or having an organisational symbol that resembles a separatist movement or banned organisation.

"So I see the ban on organisational activities is based on erroneous legal logic and [I] am concerned that the current Sula government is opposed to public criticism. They [Pembebasan] should received guidance and assistance, not be banned outright", said Boamona.

Pembebasan is an off-campus student organisation which often holds protest actions against the Sula government's policies which they believe fail to side with the interests of the ordinary people.

Pembebasan Sula has held actions in solidarity with Galela farmers in North Halmahera and assisted street traders in protests demanding that the Sula government provide decent retail space for street traders at the Basanohi market in Fogi Village, Sanana.

[Slightly abridged translation by James Balowski for the Indoleft news service. The original title of the report was "Pemkab Kepulauan Sula Bekukan Ormas Pembebasan".]

Source: https://nasional.tempo.co/amp/1076083/pemkab-kepulauan-sula-bekukan-ormas-pembebasan