On Wednesday, September 8th, 2021, in the early hours of the morning, a fire broke out at the Tangerang Class I Penitentiary (Tangerang Prison). In this incident, at least 49 people have been killed. Almost a month after the incident occurred, the government has taken actions after the Tangerang prison fire, such as identifying the victims who died, treating the injured victims, burying the dead and giving some money to the families of the victims who died.
After the fire incident, the Fire Victims Advocacy Team (TAKK) consisting of the Community LBH (LBH), Jakarta LBH, Imparsial, and Tangerang NU LPBH initiated the opening of a complaint post to the families of the victims who wanted to sue the government before the law for the Tangerang prison fire. There were at least 9 complainants who made complaints to the coalition and from the 9 complainants there were 7 families of victims who requested legal assistance from the coalition.
The families of the victims provided information to the coalition regarding the identification process carried out by the government for the victims of the Tangerang prison fire. From the statement of the victim's family, there were at least seven findings that were found from the post-fire response process at the Tangerang Prison which was submitted to the National Human Rights Commission of the Republic of Indonesia (Komnas Ham).
First, the unclear process of identifying the body of the deceased. That the process of identifying the victim's body is not clear and transparent. In fact, until the last time the deceased was buried, there was no accurate information showing on what basis the victim's body could really be identified.
Secondly, the non-disclosure of the delivery of the bodies of the deceased. That at the time of handing over the victim's body to the family, the body was put in a coffin that had been tightly closed so that it was not possible for the family to open it themselves. When the victim's family asked for the coffin to be opened so they could see the victim's body, instead of being allowed to see the victim's body, the family seemed to be given a suggestion that they would experience trauma if they saw the condition of the victim's body. Even so, the family still wanted to see the victim's body, but it was still not allowed and in the end still couldn't see the condition of the victim's body for the last time.
Third, the undeserving of the victim's coffin. That based on the statement of the victim's family who took the victim's body, the body was put into a coffin with the names of each victim written on it with paper affixed to the coffin. The coffin is made of ordinary plywood which is not suitable for use as a coffin. Therefore, there are families of victims who even buy their own coffin so that it can be placed in a proper coffin.
Fourth, there was intimidation during the signing of administrative documents and taking the bodies of the victims. That at the time of signing the documents, the location of the signatory and the location of the placement of the bodies in different locations. The location of the bodies on the first floor, while the signing on the second floor. The victim's family was then taken up the stairs to the second floor to enter a room that the victim's family felt was not suitable for signing documents. At the time of the signing, the victim's family was asked to sign in a hurry and was surrounded by many people.
Fifth, there is an attempt to silence the victim's family so that the victim's family does not sue any party for the Tangerang Prison fire incident. At the time of signing the documents during the handover of the victim's body with conditions indicating intimidation, a statement was given to the victim's family to signed, which contains a statement that there will be no demands to the prison and other parties in the future.
Sixth, there is no ongoing psychological assistance to the victim's family after the handover of the victim's body. That the Tangerang prison fire has left a never ending sorrow for the victim's family. However, after the handover of the bodies, the government seemed to let go and did not provide psychological assistance to the victim's family who at least needed medical assistance from the trauma after the Tangerang prison fire incident.
Seventh, the government's giving of 30 million IDR does not help the victim's family at all. That, based on the information of the families of the victims, the government gave at least 30 million IDR. The money is said to be a form of “love money” from the government for the Tangerang prison fire. Instead of being a form of love or assistance to the bereaved family, the money is only used for consolation or prayers for the deceased.
The seven findings show four basic problems in the response process after the Tangerang prison fire incident. First, the non-disclosure of information on identifying the bodies of the deceased; secondly, the inadequacy of burial of the bodies of the deceased; third, there was an abuse of circumstances during the process of handing over the victim's body which had an impact on allegations of human rights violations experienced by the victim's family; fourth, the absence of accountability for compensation given to the victim's family.
Besides this, the commissioner of Komnas HAM, Mohammad Choirul Anam, also conveyed the importance of paying attention to the restoration of the status of the deceased to eliminate the stigma attached to the prisoners who died. Because someone who undergoes the criminal justice process in a correctional institution to undergo coaching and after undergoing the coaching will come out as a whole person. However, in the Tangerang prison fire incident, the victim who died held the status of "convict" until the end of his life due to negligence caused by the government. Therefore, it is also important to pay attention to the restoration of the status of the deceased.
That the events and findings of the post-Tangerang prison fire response process have at least had an impact on the recognition, reduction, enjoyment and use of the victim's family's human rights as guaranteed in Article 28A, Article 28G paragraph (1)) of the 1945 Constitution of the Republic of Indonesia and Article 17 of Law no. 39 of 1999 concerning Human Rights, namely, the right to defend life and livelihood, the right to personal protection, family, honor, dignity and property under his control, and the right to obtain justice by submitting requests, complaints, and lawsuits either in criminal, civil and administrative cases.
Based on the above matters, the Advocacy Team for Fire Victims (TAKK) demands the Government and asks the National Human Rights Commission of the Republic of Indonesia to:
- Demand that the government restore the status of the dead by granting mass amnesty to the dead.
- Demanding the Government with good intentions to provide appropriate compensation according to the needs of each victim's family;
- Requesting the National Human Rights Commission of the Republic of Indonesia to follow up on reports of alleged human rights violations over the Tangerang prison fire.
Jakarta, October 28th, 2021
The Advocacy Team for Burning Victims (TAKK)
LBH Masyarakat (LBH Society) (LBHM); IMPARSIAL, the Indonesian Human Rights Monitor; LBH Jakarta; LPBH NAHDLATUL ULAMA TANGERANG