Amnesty International: There are Indications of Human Rights Violations at May 21-22 Riot

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May 22, People Movement action. (photo: IO/Yoga)

IO, Jakarta – Amnesty International Indonesia called on the Police and National Human Rights Commission to immediately carry out an independent and comprehensive investigation into all forms of potential human rights violations that occurred in riots that took place in the 22 May 2019 action in Jakarta.

A series of acts of violence broke out after a demonstration on May 22, 2019, with an attack on the Brimob dormitory in Petamburan, a death toll which reached eight people, some of which were caused by gunshot wounds and excessive use of force by the authorities.  This happened while arresting of one of the residents in Kampung Bali, Central Jakarta.

The perpetrators of violence, whether from the police or from outside parties who trigger riots, must be investigated and brought before the law to be tried.  Based on data from the Indonesian Child Protection Commission (KPAI), there were three children who died after the May 22 rally.

“There must be a thorough investigation to uncover the actual facts and immediately punish the perpetrators,” said Amnesty International Indonesia Executive Director Usman Hamid, Sunday, May 26, 2019.

Usman Hamid pointed out indications of human rights violations in the form of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment by the authorities in arresting someone suspected of being a ‘rioter’ in Kampung Bali, as seen in the video that went viral on social media and confirmed by the police, showing that the police failed to implement human rights principles in carrying out their duties.  This is a serious violation.

“This is a serious violation of the police SOP itself because whatever the legal status of a person, the apparatus must not treat him cruelly and inhumanly, degrading him as a human being. The apparatus must be tried and executed based on the prevailing laws and regulations.  “Usman said.

Regarding the post-May 22 riots, Amnesty International Indonesia was aware that the Brimob dormitory had been attacked by a group of people a few hours after the mass protest ended on Tuesday night, but the police response to such attacks still had to be proportionate.

Although it is a difficult task, especially when there are a number of people who have committed acts that violate the law and do violence, it is important that the police ranks respect the rules of human rights law.

This rule must not be forgotten.  Officials are justified in being able to use force, but that is only if it is really needed and must be proportional.

“It is clear that there are indications of human rights violations that occurred after the May 22 demonstration; therefore it is important to ensure that the National Human Rights Commission is actively involved in conducting investigations to gather evidence,” said Usman Hamid.

Amnesty International Indonesia also regretted that the Indonesian government took steps to implement restrictions on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Twitter for several days after the May 22 action.

Although the restrictions were revoked by the government on May 25, 2019, Amnesty International reminded the government that these careless steps were a violation of the right of people to obtain information.  Even greater is a violation of freedom of opinion. (Raihan)