Jakarta – The Indonesian Child Protection Commission (KPAI) has urged regional administrations across the country to refrain from infringing on young people's rights as an alleged form of punishment against students found to have participated in protests against the Job Creation Law.
KPAI commissioner Retno Listyarti said she was concerned by reports of "threats" made by several heads of education agencies against student protesters.
"[Student protesters] were warned they would be expelled, moved to Paket C [high school equivalent program] and transferred to schools [in remote areas]," Retno said on Wednesday as quoted by tempo.co.
She went on to say that students who protested peacefully without committing any crimes must not be subjected to threats or punishments by authorities as they were merely exercising their right to free speech.
"A child's right to an education must still be fulfilled by regional administrations [...] in accordance with the Constitution."
Retno called on every stakeholder in the sector to provide counseling to student protesters with the support and consent of their parents and teachers, instead of threatening them with expulsion.
"The involvement of parents and teachers is crucial to hold a healthy dialogue," she said.
Reports previously circulated of regional administrations cracking down on student protests against the omnibus law.
Tangerang municipality and regency administrations had listed the names of student protesters on official police records with the intent of deterring their participation in future demonstrations.
"[Students] will keep carrying their records. When they apply for jobs or continue their studies, [the police] will bring up their records," Tangerang Police chief Sr. Comr. Ade Ary Syam Indradi said on Tuesday as quoted by kompas.com.
Tangerang Police chief Sr. Comr. Sugeng Hariyanto asked that parents discourage their children from joining the demonstrations against the omnibus law, noting that the administration would take strict measures against student protesters.
"Parents must understand that students' participation in the protests will complicate their graduation," Sugeng said, adding that Tangerang municipality and regency had secured a total of 115 student protesters. (rfa)