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Jakarta Post

Eviction of street vendors, squatters sparks strong protest

  • The Jakarta Post

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Sat, August 16, 2014   /  11:21 am

The recent eviction of street vendors and squatters in Tanah Abang, Central Jakarta has sparked a public outcry, with the Jakarta Legal Aid Institute (LBH Jakarta) demanding the city administration provide livable housing and vending places for the evictees.

LBH Jakarta public advocate Handika Febrian said that Jakarta Governor Joko '€œJokowi'€ Widodo and Deputy Governor Basuki '€œAhok'€ Tjahaja Purnama had to take responsibility for the evictions, which were against the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which has already been ratified by Indonesia in Law No. 11/2005 that stipulates people'€™s rights for humane housing.

'€œJokowi and Ahok must be responsible for letting the people get evicted. If we don'€™t find a solution to this situation there will be fatal effects on the education, health and well-being of these people,'€ Handika told The Jakarta Post on Thursday. According to their observations, Handika said, the evictions ran from Aug. 4 to 10 with the help of the Public Order Agency (Satpol PP), Indonesian Military (TNI) officers and Jakarta police'€™s Mobile Brigade (Brimob) officers.

The city administration conducted the first eviction of around 500 scavengers living on the edge of railways on Jl. Inspeksi near Tanah Abang Station in Central Jakarta on Aug. 4.

Meanwhile, the second eviction was conducted by PT KAI with the help of the police in the Bongkaran area in Tanah Abang. Around 1,000 people were forced out of their homes.

According to Handika, the sudden eviction went against the ratified international covenant which requires the government to hold discussions with communities that will be effected by raids, that the government should give adequate notice to the communities and that it must also ensure that the evictees do not remain homeless.

Furthermore, Handika said, the evictions were uncharacteristic of both Jokowi and Ahok who were known to communicate with their local communities and defend their people when they were still Surakarta mayor and lawmaker respectively.

Currently, he added, LBH Jakarta was registering all the people who were forced from their homes in order to determine the actual number evicted and how long they have lived in the area.

Some of the data they have gathered concluded that several of those evicted had actually been living in the Jl. Inspeksi and Bongkaran areas since 1976. This means that a majority had Jakarta resident identity cards (KTP) and family cards (KK), but lived in the area because they did not have the finances to live elsewhere.

'€œOnce we'€™ve gathered all the data and the communities feel they are ready, we will ask for an audience with the city administration. The people have asked us to help them ask the administration to relocate them. They don'€™t mind being evicted, but they don'€™t know where to go and they don'€™t have the money to move,'€ he said.

Last year, the city administration also evicted street vendors from Jl. Kebon Jati in Tanah Abang to the Blok G market in an attempt to clean up the busy streets. However, almost one year after the relocation many vendors returned to the streets because few customers visited them on the third floor.

Separately, Ahok told reporters at City Hall in Central Jakarta on Friday that the city administration would provide low-cost apartments, or rusunawa, for those whose houses were demolished during the city'€™s operation to demolish illegal buildings in the past few weeks.

'€œNo need to worry. The city will relocate them to rusunawa. It'€™s better for them to live in rusunawa, rather than on the edge of railways,'€ he said.

Ahok said further that the demolition was part of the city administration'€™s policy to clear the city of slum areas. (fss)

'€” Dewanti A. Wardhani
contributed to this story

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