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Growing dissatisfaction with democracy stems from many arbitrary arrests: YLBHI

Katadata - September 26, 2021

Lavinda – The national survey pollster Indonesia Political Indicator (IPI) has reported that the public's dissatisfaction with the state of democracy in Indonesia has grown in September compared with earlier in the year.

Based on the results of the survey by the IPI, as many as 47.6 percent of respondents said they were quite or very satisfied with the state of democracy in Indonesia. Meanwhile 44.1 percent of respondents were less then or very dissatisfied with national democratic practices.

Nevertheless, based on the trend of surveys since the beginning of the year, the number of respondents who stated they were dissatisfied with the state of democracy has risen sharply from 32 percent to 44 percent. Meanwhile the number of respondents who are satisfied has dropped from 60.7 percent to 47.6 percent.

"Public trust in democracy as a system is still high, but trust in the mechanisms of implementing democracy is low", said IPI Executive Director Burhanuddin Muhtadi in presenting a virtual explanation of the results of the survey on Sunday September 26.

Responding to the IPI's survey results, Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation (YLBHI) Chairperson Asfinawati said she was not surprised that the level of satisfaction with democracy has declined.

According to Asfinawati, one of the reasons for this is the many cases of arbitrary arrests by the police.

"Why has democracy declined, the arbitrary arrests in 2019 of as many as 1,144 people. Meanwhile in 2020, when the pandemic was here, this increased to 3,539. And this was only in 17 provinces", said Asfinawati.

In addition to this, Asfinawati said that the people who have been arbitrarily arrested found it difficult to access legal aid. Thus democracy was seen as inadequate.

"Most people who were arrested, they couldn't get access to legal aid. As many as 1,265 were unable to get legal aid", continued Asfinawati.

Responding to the state of democracy during the Covid-19 pandemic, Asfinawati said that from the start Indonesia violated the norms of democracy.

"The handling of the pandemic violated democratic norms, the example being direct cash assistance (BLT) was distributed through the TNI-Polri [Indonesian military and police]. This was well outside the TNI-Polri's function", she said.

Asfinawati also believes there was discrimination in the enforcement of health protocols saying that there were differences in how the government acted against health protocol violators.

"In Jakarta province there were 90 office clusters, meanwhile demonstrating students were treated [much] more harshly. This is discrimination in the enforcement of health protocols which is linked to democracy", she said in conclusion.– Akbar Malik contributed to this article

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Ketidakpuasan Demokrasi Naik, YLBHI: Banyak Tangkap Sewenang-wenang".]

Source: https://katadata.co.id/lavinda/berita/615042c50fa65/ketidakpuasan-demokrasi-naik-ylbhi-banyak-tangkap-sewenang-wenan