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KontraS records 622 police brutality cases in Indonesia in the past year

Tempo - July 4, 2023

Eka Yudha Saputra, Najla Nur Fauziyah (Translator), Jakarta – The Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence or KontraS recorded 622 cases of violence involving police members in the July 2022-June 2023 period. They issued a report on the 77th anniversary of The National Police as a form of criticism towards the police's performance regarding human rights.

Fatia Maulidiyanti, KontraS Coordinator, stated that this report is a form of KontraS participation in the Security Sector Reform, especially the police reform. "This is in line with the mandate of reformation, as well as an effort to urge the National Police (Polri) to improve the institution in accordance with the standard of human rights and democracy," said Fatia in a written statement, on Tuesday, July 4, 2023.

The 622 recorded cases include 58 cases of police violence, 46 cases of arbitrary arrest, and 13 cases of tear gas incidents, some of which with casualties, as was the Kanjuruhan Incident back in October 2022. "It is an irony that the supposed protectors of civilians became the perpetrators," she said.

KontraS also noted 29 cases of extrajudicial killing which killed 41 people. Most of the recorded cases were of shootings. KontraS saw the authorization of the police to use firearms caused a violation of the right to life. They also recorded wrongful arrests along with torture that happened for the past year. "It needs to be underlined that the right to life and right not to be tortured are non-derogable rights," Fatia emphasized.

Fatia added that extrajudicial killings and torture are proof that the police are actors in human rights violations in Indonesia. From July 2020 until June 2023, various repressions towards civilians also occurred. At least 52 recorded cases of violence against protestors happened and injured 126 people with 207 arrested.

Civil repression is also specifically experienced by those who are struggling to protect their living space against the exploration and exploitation by corporations. Fatia said that the police who were supposed to protect these people instead turned their back on them. The native Papuans are amongst them. The significant numbers of police deployed to Papua throughout July 2020-June 2023 were in line with the number of repressions and human rights violations in Papua. "The Police seem to fail in appearing friendly and instead 'contributes' to the violence happening in Papua," Fatia added.

At the end of 2022, the public was shocked by some "viral" incidents involving the police, causing a decline in the public trust in the institution. Apart from the murder of Brigadier Yosua Hutabarat by Ferdy Sambo and others, the cases include the Kanjuruhan incident which killed 135 people, and the involvement of some high-ranked police officials in the narcotics scheme.

National Police Ethics Panel tribunal even failed to put a stop to these violations. According to KontraS, this proves how normalized the culture of violence and deviation is by some of the members of the institution.

Fatia stated that this anniversary could be a momentum to wake up the institution, reminding the police there is a lot to be evaluated and fixed. "The civilians want their democratic police institution back," she added. KontraS stressed that a concrete and comprehensive improvement is immediately needed. Along with that, law enforcement, maintaining security, and public service by the national police need to improve in accordance with human rights standards.

Source: https://en.tempo.co/read/1744453/kontras-records-622-police-brutality-cases-in-indonesia-in-the-past-yea