INDONESIA: Impunity for Militia leader who publicly threatened and allegedly organised attacks on human rights defenders
We are forwarding an appeal from Eviction Watch and the Urban Poor Consortium (UPC) for your further action to protect Indonesian human rights defenders. After the second attack on UPC by the FBR (Betawi Brotherhood Forum) which caused many of you to write protest letters, 7 of the attackers have been arrested.
Notably, however, the FBR chairman, Al Fadloli El-Muhir – who publicly stated in front of government officials that he planned to beat up UPC chair Wardah Hafidz – has not been arrested. Police have said that because he is a member of the National Advisory Council, he cannot be arrested without the formal permission of the woman he advises: President Megawati Soekarnoputri. Hence we are asking you to respond to the request of Wardah to call for him to be removed from the National Advisory Council and arrested for his public threats and for his alleged involvement in two violent attacks on UPC on March 13 and March 29.
Below we provide an introduction by Ted Anana of Eviction Watch, and an update letter by Wardah Hafidz of Urban Poor Consortium (Jakarta), which also address the deeper issue of the struggle of the urban poor against evictions and destruction of means of livelihood at the hands of Governor Sutiyoso. Eviction Watch have also supplied a sample letter, which you can use as a basis for your own letter to the President of Indonesia to call for an end to protection for militia leaders trying to destroy civil society in Indonesia.
Thanks for your continued action,
Urgent Appeals Desk
Asian Human Rights Commission
INTRODUCTION BY TED ANANA, EVICTION WATCH
16 April 2002
I am sending you the latest update from Jakarta. There are two main issues:
1. While seven (7) of the militia attackers have been arrested, civil society organizations want the removal of the chair of the militias from the National Advisory Council in which he sits as member. The Council gives advise to President Megawati Sukarnoputri herself.
2. Jakarta City Governor Sutiyoso, the police and military continue to disregard the 21 March 2002 decision of the Jakarta Central Court ordering them to stop confiscating the means of livelihood of the poor people such as pedicabs, arresting them and streetchildren, and forcibly evicting urban poor communities and facilities.
The exhilarating news of urban poor people acting as lawyers and winning their case in court should be an occasion of joy, something one rarely hears taking place in other Asian cities.
The Indonesian people have courageously broken the authoritarian shackles of the Suharto regime. They deserve all of our support in their efforts to remove the powerful and deeply entrenched vestiges of authoritarianism and to institute pro-people and pro-poor reforms in their society.
So please write to President Megawati and other Indonesian authorities and international bodies such as the UN Commission on Human Rights which is presently meeting until 20 April. Other actions could protest visits to the Indonesian embassy in your country/city.
Below is a sample letter you may find useful.
In solidarity with the poor of Jakarta,
Eviction Watch, Asian Coalition for Housing Rights
UPDATE LETTER FROM WARDAH HAFIDZ, URBAN POOR CONSORTIUM
16 April 2002
In light of the eviction issue, the urban poor took the matter to the court, the court session started on 10 October 2001. The court decision was issued on 21 March, among the verdict of which are: (1) the court decides that the governor, the chief police of Jakarta and the chief military of Jakarta have violated the law by forcibly evicting and confiscating the means of living of the urban poor and arresting them; (2) the court rules that the governor should stop the confiscation of becak, the eviction of squatters and poor communities and facilities of side street economic activities, and the arrest of street children.
The lawyers of the urban poor are paralegals from among themselves: Mr. Jhon Silaban (an eviction victim), Mrs. Musimah (a vegetable vendor and becak coordinator), Mr. J. Simorangkir (an evicition victim), Mr. Fx. Wilaki (becak driver), Mr. Nasro Haris (becak driver), Mrs. Rohimah (a housewife, wife of a becak driver), Mr. Rasdullah (becak driver), Mrs. Siti Sopiah (an eviction victim), Mrs. Wanipah (food vendor), Mr. Sadar (becak driver). The judges are Mr. I Nengah Suriada, Mr. Nuhammad Daming Sanusi, Mr. Iskandar Tjakke. Despite the court ruling, the governor continues, until today, to confiscate becak and evict poor settlements.
In light of the attack on 28 March 2002, seven (7) of the attackers are now in police custody as the accused. The NGOs and the media are pushing hard to get the chair of the Forum Betawi Rempug arrested, but due to his status as a member of the National Advisory Council, a national body that gives advice to the president, his arrest will need a formal permission from the president. We are trying to get him sacked from the Council. Fifteen of the urban poor become witnesses and are giving testimonies to the police.
[For more info see UPC website: www.urbanpoor.or.id/index_tpf1.htm ]
SAMPLE LETTER (BY EVICTION WATCH)
Mrs. Megawati Sukarnoputri
President, Republic of Indonesia
Presidential Palace, Jakarta
Istana Negara, Indonesia.
Fax: (62 21) 345 7782
Dear Madam President,
Our organization has learned that twice – 13 March and 28 March – armed militias of the United Betawi Front attacked urban poor people asserting their rights of statement and assembly. The first attack took place in front of Jakarta City hall, while the second took place in front of the Indonesian Human Rights Commission in full view of television cameras. In both cases the militias armed with knives, swords, stones and wooden clubs assaulted the peaceful rallies indiscriminately. Many of those hurt were women and children. In both instances they wanted to harm the leaders, including Ms. Wardah Hafidz, the head of Urban Poor Consortium. They destroyed property such as the sound system of the rallyists and a van, and smashed the windows of the Commission.
What makes the second militia attack doubly significant is the fact that the poor people were at the Commission on Human Rights to ask how the 21 March 2002 decision of the Jakarta Central Court is to be implemented in the face of its non-compliance by the Jakarta City government, the police and the military. The said court decision ordered them to stop confiscating the means of economic activities of the poor, arresting them and the streetchildren and forcibly evicting them from their settlements and other facilities.
We also learned that the chair of the United Betawi Front is a member of the National Advisory Council that provides you advice.
While the arrest of seven of the armed militias is a positive development, we sincerely urge your Excellency to take measures that will end the rampages of the armed militias, to punish those found guilty and to remove any impression that the militias have links to or influence with government.
We also sincerely urge your Excellency to ensure that the 21 March 2002 court decision should be complied with by the regional government of Jakarta, the police and military. Courts, as you well know, are an essential part of the democratic system and should be accorded full respect.
YOU MAY ALSO WISH TO SEND COPIES OF YOUR LETTER TO:
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
Kejaksaan Agung (Attorney General)
Jl. Sultan Hasanuddin 1
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
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
Ph: (62 21) 721 8000 or 8001 or 7422978 or 7207277
Fax: (62 21) 348537 or 7207277 or 7260306 or 72014021
Mr. Asmara Nababan
Komnas HAM (National Commission for Human Rights)
Jl. Latuharhary No. 4B Menteng
Jakarta Pusat INDONESIA
FAX: (62 21) 392 5227
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
PLEASE MARK: ATT – SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE HINA JILANI
*** Please send a copy of your letter to AHRC Urgent Appeals:
Fax: +(852) – 26986367
Please contact the Urgent Appeals coordinator if you require more
information or wish to report human rights violations.
AHRC Urgent Appeals Programme
Asian Human Rights Commission
Unit D, 7th Floor, Mongkok Commercial Centre,
16 – 16B Argyle Street, Kowloon, HONGKONG
Tel: +(852) – 2698-6339
Fax: +(852) – 2698-6367
Please contact the AHRC Urgent Appeals Coordinator if you require
further information or to make requests for further appeals.
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