UPDATE (INDONESIA): NGOs condemn latest attack on human rights defenders at Komnas HAM

(RE: UA-11-2002: Attacks on human rights defenders, destruction of property, public use of weapons with impunity) 

UPDATE (INDONESIA): Further attacks on human rights defenders, public threats made with impunity 

Dear Friends 

We are including here a joint statement by 48 Indonesian NGOs in response to another attack by the FBR (Betawi Brotherhood Forum) on the UPC (Urban Poor Consortium) – this time on the actual premises of the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM). During the attack, UPC Chairperson Wardah Hafidz was captured and held with a machete at her neck before being released. 

Please read the statement and use their demands included at the end to write to the authorities in Indonesia to demand swift action to stop the attacks on human rights defenders. The corrected contact details for the authorities are provided at the end of this email. Also included here is further information about the latest attack and some more background information. 

Urgent Appeals Desk 
Asian Human Rights Commission 


UPC were protesting peacefully against illegal forced evictions carried out by the City Public Order Agency on behalf of Jakarta Governor Sutiyoso in defiance of a Central Jakarta District Court ruling. During the protest, seven buses packed with FBR members arrived and they proceeded to viciously attack people inside the compound, in spite of the presence of some 10 police officers. Some of them, wielding wooden sticks and swords, struck the urban poor protesters on their heads, while others kicked women and children. 

“Where is Wardah?” they shouted at their cowering victims, who were trying to fend off the blows. One of the attackers saw Wardah fall to the ground. He ran up to her and put his machete to her neck. Some Komnas HAM and security personnel rushed to her rescue. Ten of the protestors, including a four-year-old boy were seriously injured by the FBR attack, and 37 others were also injured. 


A great deal of international attention has been drawn to the recent spate of attacks on civil society groups Kontras (Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence) and UPC (Urban Poor Consortium). However, this attention has so far not translated into effective action by the police to prevent further abuses. Al Fadloli El-Muhir, chairman of the Betawi Brotherhood Forum (FBR) – which was responsible for the both this and the March 13 on UPC – publicly threatened to beat Wardah Hafidz on a number of occasions, including once during a meeting with councillors Edy Waluyo, Hasan Ishak and Abdul Aziz Mat’ Nur on March 21. Shockingly, Edy — the council chairman — did not response to the members’ vindictive plan. He even added fuel to their comments by saying that Wardah did not represent the real poor people in the city. 

Separately, chairman of the Social Movement of Betawi Culture, H. Sofyan Mutardo, said that the FBR was an illegal Betawi organization, as they were not a member of the Betawi Forum; an authorized body that oversees all of Betawi’s organization. “We are greatly humiliated and enraged by their actions — they have hurt the reputation of the Betawi people,” said Sofyan, who was also a subdistrict chief of Srengseng Sawah, South Jakarta. Clearly the authorities are trying to cynically promote horizontal conflict between groups of urban poor to take attention away from their resopnsibility for the devastating floods and evictions destroying the lives of the impoverished millions of Jakarta. 


Seven persons have been detained by the police for the attack at Komnas HAM, but Fadloli refused a summons to the Jakarta Police Headquarters on April 4 for questioning over violence committed by his group’ members. It is astounding that he has not been arrested, since the threats he made directly pointed to organisation of the attack at Komnas HAM, and regardless, Article 368 of the Criminal Code stipulates that someone who issues a threat can be sentenced to a nine year jail sentence. There appears to have been no progress in convicting the perpetrators of the March 13 violent attack on Kontras by a separate civilian militia group. 

[Sources: interviews, Jakarta Post, UPC, Watch Indonesia, Indonesia NGOs] 



The brutal attack of the civilian militia against members of the Urban Poor Consortium (UPC) on March 29, 2002 in front of the office of the National Commission of Human Rights (KOMNAS HAM) is again another a physical assault against human rights defenders of the civil society. In Jakarta alone three similar incidents had to recorded in March 2002: the destruction of the office and the attack against the members of KONTRAS (13.3.2002), the attack against members of the UPC during their protests in front of the City Hall of Greater Jakarta (DKI Jakarta) and now the incident at the office of KOMNAS HAM. The National Commission of Human Rights itself, as national institution of Human Rights and set up the government, has frequently been the target and victim of attacks and destruction. Similar pattern of physical attacks and violence become also visible now in various other places and regions in Indonesia. 

In all three incidents the police as the responsible security force was not able either to prevent the violence or to protect the citizens from the aggression of the attackers after the violence broke out. Several policemen and some auxiliary forces were present at the incident at the City Hall on March 13, however they just looked on when the militia of the FBR (Forum Betawi Rempug) tore down the posters of the UPC group. At the event in the court of the KOMNAS HAM office the security forces should have anticipated the possibility of violent attacks, since the FBR had publicly announced its action before they actually attacked the protesters of UPC. 

As it is evident from similar occurrences of violent attacks in various regions of the country, the pattern of these attacks shows a new strategy to playing off groups of the population against each other. If this strategy is not halted, more violent incidents of horizontal conflicts will spread, manipulating and misusing ethnic and religious identities and other primordial orientations. The underlying conflict, made visible by these incidents and the events in Poso, Maluku, Sanggau (West Kalimantan), East Timor and elsewhere is the competition and power struggle within the political and economic elite to secure the access to natural and economic resources and political key positions. In a cruel and unfair manner these groups use their power and money to whip up parts of the same poor population against each other and make them victims. Without the efficent action of the security forces to prevent this kind of incidents and to protect the citizens from such attacks even more people will become the victims of violence. 

The practice described above is a far step back from any effort to strengthen the process of democratisation and to honour and to protect the principles of human rights and people’s sovereignty in the life of this society and nation. 

Based on the above facts and considerations, we urge: 

1. The police to investigate and find the actors behind the attacks on citizens and human rights activists, and to reveal their network which has conducted practice of provocation, playing off one against another, and payment in the field. 
2. The police as a civilian security apparatus, namely the Chief of 
the National Police (Kapolri) and Regional Police Chief (Kapolda) and their officers, must exercise their authority to its fullest extent. They must take concrete actions to disclose the case. This means bringing the actors to the court and giving harsh sanctions to officers proven to have failed in preventing and taking the safety measures on the three incidents mentioned above. 
3. The police as the state security apparatus should be independent 
from all forms of outside intervention and political and financial pressures. This is a mandate from the people and a role they must take up seriously in solving the above incidents. 

Jakarta, 3 April 2002 

On behalf of the civil society groups: 

Bakti Pertiwi, Berantas, BPSDM Surakarta, CCDE Banda Aceh, Forum Pemerhati Masalah Perempuan Sulsel, Elsam, Fakta, FKGMNU, FNPBI, FPPI, Gerakan Anti Mobil Mewah (GAMM), Gerakan Sayang Siswa Sulsel, ICEL, ICW, INFID, INSIST Yogyakarta, ISJ, JARI Indonesia, Jaringan Kerja Lembaga Pelayanan Kristen (JKLPK), Kalyanamitra, Kelompok Konsumen Antang dan Banta-bantaeng Sulsel, Kembang Pala, Koalisi Perempuan Indonesia untuk Keadilan dan Demokrasi, Koalisi Perempuan Wilayah Sulsel, KM IAIN Jakarta, Komnas Perempuan, Komnas Perlindungan Anak, KONTRAS, Seknas-KOPBUMI, KPP PRD, LBH APIK, LBH APIK Makasar, LBH Jakarta, LBH Rakyat, LMND, PBHI, Pelangi Indonesia, Sanggar Ciliwung, Serikat Becak Jakarta (Sebaja), Serikat Buruh Jabotabek (SBJ), SHMI, SIKAP, Solidaritas Perempuan Angin Mamiri, Tri Giri Asih, UPC, Watch Indonesia, WALHI Jakarta, WALHI Nasional, YLKI, WALHI Sulawesi Tengah, Yayasan Air Kalimantan Selatan, YLK Sulsel, Yayasan KOS Sulsel, individu-individu peduli dari berbagai wilayah Indonesia. 

[English translation prepared by INFID European Liaison Office] 



Governor Sutiyoso 
Gedung Balaikota, 
21st Floor, Jl. Medan Merdeka 
Selatan No. 8-9, Jakarta 10110 
PH: (62-21) 344-7005 or 345-6058 
FAX: (62-21) 384-8653 
SALUTATION: Dear Governor Sutiyoso 

Mrs. Megawati Sukarnoputri 
President, Republic of Indonesia 
Presidential Palace, Jakarta 
Istana Negara, Indonesia. 
Fax: (62 21) 345 7782 
SALUTATION: Your Excellency 

Kejaksaan Agung (Attorney General)
Muhamad Abdurrachman
Jl. Sultan Hasanuddin 1 
Kebayoran Baru
Jakarta 12130
phone: 0062/21/773557 or 7208557
fax: 0062/21/7250166 or 7208557
Yusril Ihza Mahendra 
Menteri Hukum dan Hak Asasi Manusia (Minister of Law and Human Rights)
Jl. HR Rasuna Said Kav. 6-7 
Jakarta-Selatan 12950 
phone: 0062/21/5253004 
fax: 0062/21/3141625 or 513095 or 5253095 

Gen Da´i Bachtiar 
National Chief of Police 
Kepala Polri – Markas Besar Kepolisian RI 
Kapolri (Mabes POLRI) 
Jl. Trunojoyo 13 
Kebayoran Baru 
Jakarta-Selatan 12110 
Ph: (62 21) 721 8000 or 8001 or 7422978 or 7207277 
Fax: (62 21) 348537 or 7207277 or 7260306 or 72014021 
EMAIL: kapolri@polri.go.id 


Mr. Asmara Nababan 
Secretary General 
Komnas HAM (National Commission for Human Rights) 
Jl. Latuharhary No. 4B Menteng 
Jakarta Pusat INDONESIA 
FAX: (62 21) 392 5227 
EMAIL: info@komnas.go.id 
SALUTATION: Dear Mr. Nababan 

Ms. Hina Jilani 
Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the situation of human rights defenders 
c/o OHCHR-UNOG, 1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland 
Fax: (41 22) 917 9006