Call for Bandung to be stripped of human rights award after violent evictions

CNN Indonesia – December 13, 2019
Police secure area after clash with residents in Tamansari – December 12, 2019 (Antara)
Police secure area after clash with residents in Tamansari – December 12, 2019 (Antara)

Jakarta – A civil society coalition calling themselves the People’s Front for Human Rights Bandung (Bara Hamba) is urging the Minister for Human Rights and Justice (Kemenkumham) to revoke the Human Rights Friendly City award which was recently given to the West Java provincial capital of Bandung.

Bara Hamba believes that the award is inappropriate following the forced eviction of residents in Tamansari ward in Bandung yesterday. On Thursday December 12 hundreds of Bandung city public order agency officials demolished a number of houses at the Tamansari ward community unit (RW) 11 in order to make way for a terraced housing project in the area.

As has been reported, on the 71st commemoration of International Human Rights Day on Tuesday December 11, the Kemenkumham gave Bandung the Human Rights Friendly City award.

“Bara Hamba states that the evictions were an arbitrary act by the authorities. The notification on the evictions by the Bandung Pemkot [municipal government] was issued on December 9 but was only given to residents on December 11, 2019”, said Bara Hamba spokesperson Willy Hanafi in a press release in Bandung on Friday December 13.

Furthermore, said Hanafi, the Bandung municipal government deployed an excessive number of security personnel during the eviction. State officials, who should protect residents, said Hanafi, instead acted excessively even releasing five rounds of teargas in order to disperse people protesting in solidarity with the residents.

He also said that the evictions resulted in the 33 families losing their homes. Included among the victims, he said, were children and elderly people. Currently the residents have been forced to seek shelter at the Al-Islam Mosque, where accommodation is limited and is the only structure left standing in the Tamansari RW 11 area.

“Help has in fact flowed in from various Bandung city social organisations. The financial losses a consequence of this eviction are not just the loss of residents’ homes but also their belongings and valuables, and it has also resulted in residents being injured”, he asserted.

Hanafi added that the group is also urging the state to act firmly against acts of violence by Bandung city public order agency officials, the police and TNI (Indonesian military) personnel against Tamansari residents during the clearing of the land.

Bara Hamba is an alliance of civil society organisations made up of the Bandung Legal Aid Foundation (LBH), the West Java Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi), the Indonesian People’s Movement Confederation (KPRI), the Initiative Gathering, the Bandung city Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI), Kalyana Mandira, the Agrarian Resources Center (ARC) and the West Java Indonesian Legal Aid and Human Rights Association (PBHI). (hyg/ain)

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “Kasus Tamansari, Penghargaan HAM Kota Bandung Diminta Dicabut”.]