Evictions typically take place in highly charged circumstances. Clashes between a communitys residents and the police and public order officials during forced evictions are common. Residents and observers explained to Human Rights Watch that they felt compelled to resist the efforts to evict them and that there was often physical resistance to police, public order officials, and the irregular thugs. This resistance would take the form of brandishing sharpened sticks, throwing rocks, physically blocking access to their homes, and setting tires on fire. The Deputy Chief of Jakartas public order officials, Jornal Effendi Siahaan, also alleged that residents have used knives in defense of their homes.148 Human Rights Watch found no evidence or allegations that any residents had resorted to or had possession of firearms. The police and public order officials who come to enforce the evictions carry firearms, knives, or baton sticks, and have access to tear gas and water-cannons. Police and public order officials also wear protective helmets with faceguards and protective padding, and have riot shields for protection.
Given the limited threat which the residents resistance offers and the equipment and numbers available to the police and public order officials, it is striking how consistently residents reported excessive force by the police in responding to unrest or potential unrest. The resort to force is compounded by the fact that it is largely due to the failings of the Jakarta administrationsuch as its failure to consult with residents, negotiate in good faith, and provide adequate compensation to those who are uprootedthat evictions take place in highly charged circumstances.
Agus Adil recounted for us the mayhem of the eviction of his community in Pondok Kopi, East Jakarta:
Fellow community member, Pramana Prihatin, shared his experiences:
Human Rights Watch interviewed a number of other people beaten by public order officials during the same Pondok Kopi eviction. One woman we spoke with, Kalarensi Aries, was badly beaten when she tried to intervene in the arrest and beating of her younger brother:
Kalarensis brother had to receive stitches above his right eye and on his head, and also lost one of his teeth.153
Pramana Prihatin, quoted above, was also beaten:
The government forces appeared to resort to firearms in an offensive, rather than a defensive, manner during the eviction at a site in Cengkareng Timur. Fifty-three year old Rini Rumasilan told us what she saw that day:
Human Rights Watch interviewed a number of people displaced by an eviction from a site on Cakung Cilnicing Road in East Jakarta in September 2005. Hariadi Tadji explained what he experienced:
Kersen Saptono, another former resident of the site on Cakung Cilincing Road, offered this account of the same eviction:
Herman Haryani described the conflict broke out during an eviction at another site, Jembatan Besi, in West Jakarta:
Fifty-one-year-old Lusiana Angga, told us about what happened to her son during the eviction: Another one of my sons was shot in the buttocks. I think it was a [non-lethal] bullet. It hit his behind while he was running.159
On occasion, police and public order officials destroy structures with complete disregard to the safety risks caused to residents. Ani Fatah, a forty-three-year-old woman who tried to protect a group of children during the eviction at Cengkareng Timur told us: I collected the children and put them in the church. I put them in the church, and then the police came and burned the top of the church, so I pulled out the children and ran.160 Wawan Muliadi, who is seventeen years old, related a similarly close call during another eviction: I was asleep, and when [the public order officials] arrived I started gathering up our things, so they wouldnt be burned .The public order officials just destroyed the houses. Straight away burned them. They threw oil on the house and then set it alight. I was inside the house, theyd already poured oil on the house and set it alight, and then I came out.161
Human Rights Watch asked the Deputy Chief of Jakartas public order officials, Jornal Effendi Siahaan, to respond to these allegations of excessive use of force. He told Human Rights Watch: Usually, it is that we are attacked first. People spit on us, attack us. Because of the provocateurs and the land speculators. Its law enforcement. We have to enforce the law and clear the land.162 The Deputy Chief also rolled up his sleeve to show a seven-inch scar on his left forearm he says was caused by a knife wielded by a resident during an eviction.163
Under international standards, the government must ensure that prior to carrying out any evictions, all feasible alternatives are explored in consultation with the affected community, with a view to avoiding, or at least minimizing, the need to use force.164 The Jakarta administration claims that it does pursue alternatives prior to evictions. The Deputy Chief of the public order officials told Human Rights Watch: What you see in the media, it only concerns the last stage, the law enforcement forcing people to move. Usually we take preemptive precautions, negotiation, offering compensation in the form of money or another program of transmigrationhelping them to move to places outside Java island, or help to go back to their original region.165 The repeated occurrence of excessive use of force during evictions, and the failure to negotiate and offer compensation as detailed elsewhere in this report, indicates that the government is in fact failing to take sufficient preemptive precautions to avoid clashes.
Public order officials wielding baton sticks, lighting fires, or directing bulldozers also destroy or steal residents personal property, including furniture, household appliances, and clothing. This arbitrary destruction and confiscation of residents personal belongings violates Indonesian law, and is completely punitive as it serves no legitimate government purpose.167 In the aftermath of evictions, residents also face the problem of losing their possessions to scavengers who descend on eviction sites to collect anything with resale value. We were told that police and public order officials sometimes fail to protect residents from these scavengers, even when the officials are still at an eviction site.
Sri Suharti, who was evicted from her home in early 2005, told Human Rights Watch about how she lost not only all of her personal belongings but also the goods that she sells in the shop next to her house: My house and my shop were totally gone. Everything, all of my belongings, were all gone. All that was left were the clothes on my body. I came back, it was empty, everything was gone.177
Kersen Saptono told Human Rights Watch that he was only able to remove some of his belongings: Its only the things that we had the opportunity to move out of the houses that were saved. Everything else we lost: our fridge, our TV, our wardrobe. We also lost some money. There was no opportunity to do anything. We were panicking.178
Jullieta Indriyantis belongings were all destroyed by fire during an eviction carried out just days before she met with Human Rights Watch: All of my things were burned. Some of my things had been secured by friends, but everything else has been burned. Everything was burned, all my clothes, all my cooking stuff, only the clothes I was wearing were saved.179
A community visited by Human Rights Watch that lives under a railway flyover bridge in Cikini, Central Jakarta, complained that when the public order officials came to evict them, they came with trucks which they used to carry off the communitys belongings.180 Arti Sudewo, told us how [the public order officials] were taking the triplex [wood board] that was good. They put it in their truck, and they left the bad.181
Photo 4: A sign posted by a member of the community at Pisangan Timur warns Scavengers Enter and DIE!!! (c) 2006 Bede Sheppard/Human Rights Watch
Budi Santoso, a tailor in his forties, told Human Rights Watch that his community had to contend with scavengers stealing from them during the confusion and destruction of the eviction and its aftermath: There were other people who came who were reclaiming the wood and metal. People were scavenging through the debris and stealing things.182 When Human Rights Watch attended an eviction at Pisangan Timur while it was still in progress, we observed that despite the presence of hundreds of public order officials and police, it was the residents themselves who were taking precautions against theft by posting warning signs and threatening people trying to steal other peoples belongings.183 (Photo 4 above shows a sign posted by the community to deter scavengers.)
In at least seven of the fourteen incidents investigated by Human Rights Watch, gangs of thugs (preman) assisted the government authorities in the physical process of carrying out the eviction and destruction of communities. These thugs threatened residents, destroyed homes and personal property, and sometimes stole valuable belongings. These gangs routinely carried sticks, long knives, iron poles, sticks with balls on the end, and occasionally guns. As the testimony from Eddie Hariyanti above indicates, the government security forces sometimes accepted and welcomed the presence of these groups during the evictions. Human Rights Watch was told of incidents where the thugs would arrive at an eviction site around the same time as the government forces, that the thugs talked with the government forces, that the thugs carried out the physical aspect of an eviction either alongside the government forces or while the government forces were watching, and one incident where the eviction notice was first delivered by a gang and then official forces turned up to carry out the eviction. Human Rights Watch also received reports of such gangs intimidating residents prior to some evictions.
The use of untrained and unaccountable civilian groups to carry out government policies puts civilians at considerable extra risk of violence and violations of their rights. International legal standards require the government to ensure that legislative and other measures are adequate to prevent and punish forced evictions carried out by private persons without appropriate safeguards.186 Moreover, all persons carrying out evictions must be properly identified.187 Under international law, the Indonesian government remains responsible for the actions of these gangs of thugs when the government has delegated what is essentially a function of the statecarrying out evictionsto these private actors. This responsibility remains even when these gangs break the law while carrying out the eviction, through the destruction of property or violence against residents.
Herman Haryani talked to Human Rights Watch about the day of his eviction from Jembatan Besi and illustrated for us the coordinated nature of these thugs: Im pretty certain there were five hundred thugs .The thugs wore ribbons. Yellow ribbons. They wore them [on their wrists and upper arms]. Besides the ribbons, they wore just regular clothing. They brought bamboo sticks and wood sticks.188
An organized gang was involved in an eviction in Pondok Kopi, East Jakarta. As Pramana Prihatin recalled:
These urban gangs destroy not only homes but also arbitrarily destroy residents personal property. Eva Sugiharto told Human Rights Watch about the courageous actions of her fourteen-year-old daughter when a gang carried out the eviction of their housing complex in Pasar Baru, Central Jakarta, under the watchful eye of the local authorities:
Gangs of thugs may also be involved in the intimidation of a community prior to an eviction. Setiono Muang, a fifty-year-old employee of the railway company, told us about the threats made on his community in Kampung Melayu where the government is attempting to acquire land so as to expand the existing railway tracks as part of the Double-Double Track infrastructure project:
A gang was involved from the outset in the 2005 eviction of a community on Cakung Cilincing Road, in East Jakarta. Human Rights Watch asked Hariadi Tadji, a thirty-three-year-old who sells gasoline on the side of the road, whether his community had received any official notification that they were going to be evicted. He replied: We had notification letters for the eviction. The first was from [this gang], and the second came from the sub-district office.192 As Riduan Budiarti, a twenty-six-year-old salvager of waste metal, further explained, The letter came directly from the [gang]. The letter was from the people who claimed to own the land [a group of businessmen], but it came through the [gang]; they delivered it.193
Kersen Saptono told Human Rights Watch about the involvement of a gang known as Forum Betawi Rempung (FBR; Betawi Brotherhood Forum) following the eviction at Cakung Cilincing: FBR erected the fence [around the site] five days before the Idul Fitri [holiday in October after Ramadan]. They were wearing FBR uniforms .They didnt explain why they put up the fence.194
One of the residents of Cakung Cilincing told Human Rights Watch how he was intimidated into accepting compensation at a level that he was unhappy with because of his fear of assault by FBR members:
Members of the Indonesian security apparatus have been involved in intimidating and using unnecessary force against members of groups who protest evictions, or who oppose legislation aimed at making it easier for the government to acquire land. Because these activists working with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) play a role in mobilizing concerted public opposition to forced evictions, government harassment of them, including the arbitrary arrest and detention of advocates or physical violence against them, infringes upon the rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly, and association, which are fundamental rights enshrined in Indonesian and international law.196
Berkah Gamulyan works as an advocate at a Jakarta NGO called the Urban Poor Consortium which promotes the rights of the citys poorest residents. In a lengthy interview with Human Rights Watch he detailed his experiences being arbitrarily arrested and physically ill-treated by the police because of his role leading a demonstration opposing the new Presidential Decree intended to ease the ability of the government to acquire and clear land:
According to Gamulyan, the police arrested eight NGO members:
Human Rights Watch spoke with an Indonesian lawyer who confirmed that the protestors had indeed conformed with the legal requirements, as the Law on Freedom of Expression only requires that protestors give police notice prior to their demonstration and does not require a letter of confirmation from the police.199 Arresting people without grounds established in law is a violation of Indonesian and international law.200
Gamulyan went on to describe the physical and verbal abuse that the police inflicted on two of the NGO activists once they were all already detained at the police station:
Gamulyan also shared his own treatment at the police station:
International law requires that except in exceptional circumstances the government must segregate accused persons from convicted persons.204
A second case of intimidation of NGO activists that Human Rights Watch investigated involved a community organizer visited at night by two individuals who he believed were members of the government security forces who verbally intimidated him because of his efforts organizing opposition to an upcoming eviction. Irwan Naibaho heads a small community group that is advocating for better compensation for land being acquired for the East Canal Project. At an anniversary celebration for the organization, Irwan Naibaho gave a speech to the community members and local government officials in attendance:
Human Rights Watch spoke to another NGO advocate beaten by public order officials while attempting to rally community residents to resist an eviction that was in progress and denouncing the eviction as illegal over a loudspeaker. Nurkholis Hidayat, a lawyer, recounted what happened at the eviction at Cakung Cilincing, on September 15, 2005:
Nurkholis filed a complaint with the police about this treatment, but has not received any official response from the authorities.
Photo 6: The eviction at Pisangan Timur cleared land approximately 250 meters from the train track scheduled for widening. The government claimed that the houses were to be demolished because they were built without permission. The eviction letters, however, came from the government office of the Double-Double Track project.
147 Human Rights Watch interview with Rini Rumasilan (not her real name), interviewed January 20, 2006. Rini Rumasilans home in Cengkareng Timur was destroyed on September 17, 2003. Before the eviction she worked as a farmer, but after the eviction she does small trading.
148 Human Rights Watch interview with Jornal Effendi Siahaan, Deputy Head of Department for Public Order and Community Protection, January 26, 2006.
149 Human Rights Watch interview with Agus Adil (not his real name), interviewed January 11, 2006. Law enforcement officials may only use firearms against people when less extreme means are insufficient for self-defense, or for the defense of others against an imminent threat of death or serious injury, to prevent a particularly serious crime involving grave threat to life, or to arrest a person presenting such a danger who is resisting arrest. United Nations Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials, Adopted by the Eighth United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders, August 27 to September 7, 1990, U.N. Doc. A/CONF.144/28/Rev.1 at 112 (1990), art. 9.
150 Non-lethal bullet is used to refer to metal pellets or plastic and rubber bullets which are substituted for live ammunition. Although they are sometimes referred to as non-lethal bullets in fact the large number of fatalities which have occurred when police forces have used such bullets has led to a number of police forces deciding not to use them.
151 Human Rights Watch interview with Pramana Prihatin (not his real name), Pondok Kopi, January 12, 2006.
152 Human Rights Watch interview with Kalarensi Aries (not her real name), a forty-four-year-old woman who runs a small food store, who was interviewed in the rebuilt community of Pondok Kopi on January 12, 2006. Kalarensi Ariess home in Pondok Kopi was destroyed on October 29, 2001.
153 Human Rights Watch interview with Kalarensi Aries (not her real name), January 12, 2006.
154 Human Rights Watch interview with Pramana Prihatin (not his real name), Pondok Kopi, January 12, 2006.
155 Human Rights Watch interview with Rini Rumasilan (not her real name), January 20, 2006.
156 Human Rights Watch interview with Hariadi Tadji (not his real name), a thirty-three-year-old who sells gasoline on the side of the road, interviewed across the road from his demolished home on January 8, 2006.
157 Human Rights Watch interview with Kersen Saptono (not his real name), Cakung Cilincing, January 8, 2006.
158 Human Rights Watch interview with Herman Haryani (not his real name), a fifty-two-year-old unemployed Bajai driver, interviewed beside the tarpaulin shelter where he lives on January 22, 2006.
159 Human Rights Watch interview with Lusiana Angga (not her real name), interviewed on January 22, 2006. Before the eviction, she used to work teaching the Koran, but now is a housewife. Lusiana Anggas home in Jembatan Besi was destroyed on August 26, 2003.
160 Human Rights Watch interview with Ani Fatah (not her real name), interviewed January 20, 2006. Ani Fatahs home in Cengkareng Timur was destroyed on September 17, 2003. Before the eviction, she worked as a part time farmer and a part time tailor, but now shes generally unemployed.
161 Human Rights Watch interview with Wawan Muliadi (not his real name), a seventeen-year-old who salvages for waste plastic in the river, interviewed January 14, 2006. Wawan Muliadi has been evicted from his home in Teluk Gong on numerous occasions between November 13, 2001 and January 4, 2006.
162 Human Rights Watch interview with Jornal Effendi Siahaan, Deputy Head of Department for Public Order and Community Protection, January 26, 2006.
164 Committee on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, General Comment 7, para. 13.
165 Human Rights Watch interview with Jornal Effendi Siahaan, Deputy Head of Department for Public Order and Community Protection, January 26, 2006.
166 Human Rights Watch interview with Rini Rumasilan (not her real name), West Jakarta, January 20, 2006.
167 Constitution of the Republic of Indonesia, Art. 28H(4), reads: Every person shall have the right to own personal property, and such property may not be unjustly held possession of by any party. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, widely regarded as customary international law, also provides that Everyone has the right to own property and that No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property (Art. 17).
168 Urban Poor Consortium, Kampung Rawadas, Pondok Kopi, East Jakarta, information sheet produced by Jakarta-based NGO, date unknown, given to Human Rights Watch, January 31, 2006.
169 Human Rights Watch interview with M. Berkah Gamulyan, advocate for the Pondok Kopi community, Urban Poor Consortium, January 17, 2006; Hundred might lose their houses, Jakarta Post, October 30, 2001.
170 Urban Poor Consortium, Kampung Rawadas, Pondok Kopi, East Jakarta; Human Rights Watch interview with Pramana Prihatin (not his real name), January 12, 2006.
171 Human Rights Watch interviews with Pramana Prihatin and Agus Adil (not their real names), January 12, 2006.
172 Ibid.; and Urban Poor Consortium, Kampung Rawadas, Pondok Kopi, East Jakarta.
173 Urban Poor Consortium, Kampung Rawadas, Pondok Kopi, East Jakarta.
174 Throughout this report, all figures quoted in rupiah have been converted into United States dollars using the exchange rate at the relevant date, and thus may vary throughout.
175 Human Rights Watch interview with M. Berkah Gamulya, advocate for the Pondok Kopi community, Urban Poor Consortium, January 17, 2006.
176 Human Rights Watch interview with Agus Adil (not his real name), Pondok Kopi, January 11, 2006.
177 Human Rights Watch interview with Sri Suharti (not her real name), a forty-three-year-old woman who runs her own small shop next to her house, interviewed under the railway tracks flyover where she still lives in Cikini, January 9, 2006. Sri Suhartis home under the railway tracks flyover in Cikini was destroyed on March 12, 2005.
178 Human Rights Watch interview with Kersen Saptono (not his real name), Cakung Cilincing, January 8, 2006.
179 Human Rights Watch interview with Jullieta Indriyanti (not her real name), a forty-year-old salvager of second-hand materials, interviewed beside the blue tarpaulin tent she had recently erected for shelter, January 14, 2006. Jullieta Indriyanti has been evicted from his home in Teluk Gong on numerous occasions between November 13, 2001 and January 4, 2006.
180 Human Rights Watch interview with Soleh Atmaji (not his real name), Cikini, January 9, 2006.
181 Human Rights Watch interview with Arti Sudewo (not her real name), Cikini, January 9, 2006.
182 Human Rights Watch interview with Budi Santoso (not his real name), Pisangan Timur, January 7, 2006.
183 Human Rights Watch visit to Pisangan Timur during the course of an eviction, on January 12, 2006.
184 Human Rights Watch interview with Fajri Husen, Personal Assistant to FBR Central Management, January 29, 2006. The Indonesian expression was Bagi mereka yang kurang ajar, mari kita hajar.
185 Human Rights Watch interview with Eddie Hariyanti (not his real name), forty-eight years old and unemployed, interviewed while living in the courtyard of the National Commission on Human Rights, January 6, 2006. Eddie Hariyanti was evicted from his home in Siliwangi housing complex, in Pasar Baru, on December 21, 2005.
186 Committee on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, General Comment 7, para. 9.
187 Committee on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, General Comment 7, para. 15.
188 Human Rights Watch interview with Herman Haryani (not his real name), Jembatan Besi, January 22, 2006.
189 Human Rights Watch interview with Pramana Prihatin (not his real name), Pondok Kopi, January 12, 2006.
190 Human Rights Watch interview with Eva Sugiharto (not her real name), forty-three years old, interviewed while living in the courtyard of the National Commission on Human Rights, January 6, 2006. Eva Sugiharto was evicted from her home in Siliwangi, in Pasar Baru, on December 21, 2005.
191 Human Rights Watch interview with Setiono Muang, a fifty-year-old employee of the state railway company, interviewed among the rubble of his demolished community, January 16, 2006. Setiono Muangs home in Kampung Melayu was destroyed on January 11, 2006.
192 Human Rights Watch interview with Hariadi Tadji (not his real name), Calung Cilincing, January 8, 2006.
193 Human Rights Watch interview with Riduan Budiarti (not his real name), a twenty-six-year-old salvager of waste metal, interviewed across the road from his demolished home on January 8, 2006. Riduan Budiartis home in Cakung Cilincing was destroyed on September 15, 2005.
194 Human Rights Watch interview with Kersen Saptono (not his real name), Cakung Cilincing, January 8, 2006.
196 Constitution of the Republic of Indonesia, Art. 28E(3) reads: Every person shall have the right to the freedom to associate, to assemble and to express opinions; ICCPR, Arts. 19, 21, and 22.
197 Human Rights Watch interview with Berkah Gamulyan, advocate at Urban Poor Consortium, January 17, 2006.
199 Human Rights Watch interview with Taufik Basari of Jakarta Legal Aid Institute (LBH Jakarta), January 28, 2006.
200 ICCPR, Art. 9(1) reads: Everyone has the right to liberty and security of person. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest or detention. No one shall be deprived of his liberty except on such grounds and in accordance with such procedure as are established by law.
201 Because Human Rights Watch was unable to meet with these individuals, we have chosen to use pseudonyms for them.
202 Human Rights Watch interview with Berkah Gamulyan, January 17, 2006.
203 Human Rights Watch interview with Berkah Gamulyan, January 17, 2006.
204 ICCPR Art. 10(2)(a).
205 Human Rights Watch interview with Irwan Naibaho (not his real name), a sixty-one-year-old unemployed man, interviewed January 29, 2006. Irwan Naibaho will be evicted as part of the land acquisition process for the East Canal Project.
206 Human Rights Watch interview with Nurkholis Hidayat, lawyer at Jakarta Legal Aid Institute, January 16, 2006.