INDONESIA: Jakarta Governor forcibly evicts and attacks thousands of Kampung Pulo residents

Asia Human Rights
September 23, 2015
Reproduced with Permission
Asian Human Rights Commission

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information regarding the forced eviction and viscious attack on residents in Kampung Pulo, Jakarta, Indonesia, conducted by the Jakarta Governor, and supported by the police, the military, and the civil service police unit (Satpol PP). The Governor ignored due process of law and did not provide adequate compensation to victims and family of victims, in lieu of low-cost apartments (rusunawa). The residents have to pay the rental cost of the apartments while their property has been damaged and grabbed by the Jakarta government.

Case Narrative:

On Thursday, 20 August 2015, the Jakarta Governor, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama (known as Ahok) conducted forced eviction and in the process attacked residents of Kampung Pulo, Jakarta. As a result, thirteen people got serious injured, 10 motorcycles were damaged, and twenty-seven residents were illegally arrest. Due to the government's insistence on conducting the forced eviction, residents burned down one of heavy equipment machines belonging to the government.AHRC-UAC-115-2015

Previously, in 2012, the Jakarta Governor had conducted peaceful dialogue with the residents, and one of the results of this was that the government expressed its commitment not to destroy the economic activities of the residents. Rather than conduct forced eviction, the government agreed to digging up the river without conducted force eviction.

However, in August 2015, without further dialogue and without consensus, the Jakarta Governor suddenly changed his decision to forcibly evict all residents living along the Ciliwung River Bank and move them to low-cost apartments (rusunawa) provided by the government.

The residents of Kampung Pulo have been living in the area since 1930. Law No. 5 of 1960 on Basic Agrarian Principles (UU Pokok Agraria) guarantees that the government must give land certificate to the residents who have lived in an area more than 20 years. However, due to the difficulties of procedure, many of the residents do not have the land certificate, even though they have paid tax every year, electricity monthly, and also have identity cards, as well as family cards issued by the Jakarta government. Field investigation conducted by the Commission for Disappearances and Victims of Violence (KontraS), a prominent human rights organization based in Jakarta, Indonesia, has provided several important facts related to this incident of forced eviction.

It was the civil service police unit (Satpol PP) and military personnel who conducted violence during the eviction. They brought and used water cannons and fire-fighter trucks. As a result, thirteen people were wounded. The injured people were not only local residents of Kampung Pulo, but also people who were doing their normal activities near the conflict area. These included the employees of Hermina Hospital, students of Balimester Elementary School, and a pedestrian who was walking near the scene.

The police officers also conducted sweeping operation in the houses in Kampung Pulo. The police illegally arrested twenty-seven people who were accused as provocateurs of the clash, without considering the due process of law.

The Jakarta Governor, Basuki Tjahja Purnama, did not show willingness to compromise with the affected communities. Instead of reopening dialogue with the Kampung Pulo residents, the Jakarta Provincial government forced the relocation by deploying security forces in the conflict area, which led to clashes between the local residents and security forces.

The total population in Kampung Pulo affected by force eviction is three thousands eight hundreds and nine (3,809), of which 16% refuse to leave their lands and houses. A day before the forced eviction occurred, the residents decided to stay in their homes and ignored the process of relocation. This is because the rental fee of the relocated apartments is as much as 300,000 IDR ($ USD 25) per month, and this sum is burdensome for most of the families.

Mr. Kamaludin, the head of community units (known as Rukun Warga / RW) has stated that most of the residents of Kampung Pulo are also afraid to move to the relocation area because they do not have a legal certificate of their land in Kampung Pulo. The legal certificate is needed if they demand compensation from the local government.

Additional Information:

Brutal forced eviction remains a serious problem in Indonesia, despite the State having ratified the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights. Such cases have not only occurred in Jakarta, but also in many provinces of Indonesia, not only in the big cities, but also even in the remote areas, such as mining and plantation areas. Ironically, Indonesia has yet to promulgate a law that specifically governs adequate compensation for land / property losers.

Furthermore, in order to support forces eviction on behalf of development and public interest, the Parliament has issued Law No. 2 of 2012 on Land Procurement for Public Facilities Construction. The law regulates that the entitled party is obliged to relinquish the land at the time of the land procurement for Public Interest, after the granting of compensation or based on a final and binding court decision.

Suggested Action:

Please write to the authorities listed below, asking them to ensure that the forced eviction and brutal attack against Kampung Pulo residents is investigated fully under the standard of fair trial. The Jakarta Governor must provide adequate compensation for the victims and family of victims. Those responsible in the State apparatus for conducting this brutal attack must be held accountable without undue delay.

The AHRC is writing a separate letter to the UN Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing as a Component of the Right to an Adequate Standard of Living, and on the Right to Non-Discrimination in this context.

See Sample Letter: