Stop Handling Demonstrations in Repressive Ways!

Imparsial Live Press

Responding to the Video Handling Demonstration in Tangerang

On October 13th, 2021, a video circulated of a police officer slamming a student who was holding a demonstration in Tangerang. It also shows other police officers dragging demonstrators. As reported by many media, dozens of students who are members of the Tangerang Student Association (HIMATA) Banten Raya held a demonstration in front of the Tangerang Regent's Office. The demonstration held by HIMATA Banten Raya in commemoration of the 389th Anniversary of Tangerang was handled repressively by the police.

We view that the actions of police officers who slam and injure students who are conducting demonstrations constitute a violation of human rights in the form of torture or at least cruel and inhumane treatment or punishment. This action is absolutely not justified for any reason, especially if it is carried out by law enforcement officials. Law enforcement officials should use a persuasive approach and avoid repressive ways in handling demonstrations considering that this is a citizen's right which guaranteed by the constitution.

Although the perpetrators have provided clarifications and apologies, this does not remove the responsibility of the perpetrators. In this context, the Regional Police must continue to process both ethically and criminally. The legal process against the perpetrators is very important not only to provide justice for the victims but also to break the chain of impunity while ensuring that similar incidents do not happen again.

We consider that the handling of demonstrations in brutal ways by the police is not the first time this has happened. Previously, criticism of the brutal methods used by the police in handling demonstrations also occurred in other cases, for example when handling large-scale student protests in 2019 and 2020. This shows that this problem is not only a matter of individual members, but also a systemic problem, namely the culture of violence that is still strong within the police. If this issue is not immediately resolved by the ranks of the Indonesian National Police, then similar incidents will continue to repeat itself and will tarnish the good name of the National Police institution as well as reduce the level of public trust in the Police.

In prioritizing human rights in the police, a number of internal regulations related to human rights have been established by the police, such as The Police Chief's Human Rights rule No. 8 of 2009 concerning the Implementation of Human Rights in Police Duties, and rule No.1 of 2009 concerning the Use of Force in Police Actions. However, the various brutalities carried out by the police in handling demonstrations show that these internal regulations are not sufficient to ensure that police actions are in line with human rights principles and standards and break the chain of police brutality against citizens.

Based on the foregoing, Imparsial urges the Indonesian National Police to:

  1. Processing ethical and criminal accountability for perpetrators of torture or at least cruel and inhumane treatment or punishment of students in Tangerang Regency.
  2. Evaluate internal rules. The Police Chief's Human Rights rule Number 1 of 2009 concerning the Use of Force in Police Actions as a standard rule for securing demonstrations needs to be revised by including strict sanctions arrangements and the obligation of the police to process crimes for members who are proven to have violated the rules and regulations. In addition, rule No. 8 of 2009 concerning the Implementation of Human Rights Standards in Police Duties needs to be revised to include attachments to technical SOPs related to policing tasks.
  3. Improving the education process to end the culture of violence that is still strong in the police force. Police officers have had to leave the old way of looking at themselves as "punishers". Members of the National Police must realize that they are an instrument of the state to enforce the law, protect, protect, and serve the community. Therefore, it is not permissible for members of the police to give punishment, especially by means of violence, to members of the community.

Jakarta, October 14th 2021

Gufron Mabruri

Contact person:
Ardi Manto (0812 6194 4069)
Hussein Ahmad (0812 5966 8926)
Amalia Suri (0823 6783 2141)

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