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Jakarta Post

Don't declare civil emergency, civil society group tells government

  • News Desk

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Tue, March 31, 2020   /   11:14 am
Don't declare civil emergency, civil society group tells government Police officers ask a shopper to wear a face mask in an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19 at Tiara Dewata shopping center in Denpasar, Bali, on Sunday. (JP/Zul Trio Anggono)

The Civil Society Coalition for Reform on the Security Sector is calling on the government to refrain from declaring a civil emergency or martial law as part of its efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19.

The coalition, comprising at least nine advocacy groups, said the government should optimize the tools based on Law No. 24/2007 on disaster mitigation and Law No. 6/2018 on health quarantine. Article 51 (2) of the Disaster Mitigation Law stipulates that the president must declare a disaster emergency before a national emergency.

The president, therefore, must issue a decree to declare a disaster emergency that “will provide a legal basis for a social restriction policy”, the coalition said in a statement released on Monday.

Read also: Jokowi considers civil emergency policies

“Large-scale social restrictions should be issued according to the Health Quarantine Law to avoid the unnecessary securitization of health issues.”

The coalition also called for better-coordinated measures to handle the rapid spread of COVID-19 by establishing a clear chain of command. 

Like many other countries, Indonesia has been struggling to curb the spread of COVID-19 since its first two confirmed cases were reported in early March.

The contagious respiratory disease has infected 1,414 people and led to 122 deaths as of Monday in Indonesia. Of them, 75 people have recovered.

To step up the country's efforts in handling the outbreak, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo said the government will issue a policy of “large-scale social restriction” and a tightened physical distancing policy.

According to Article 59 (3) of the health quarantine law, large-scale social restriction comprises temporary closure of schools, offices, religious activities and activities at public places.

“As I said earlier, a policy for a civil emergency is necessary,” Jokowi said after a meeting on Monday.

However, the declaration of a civil emergency would “prepare us if the situation gets very concerning”, said presidential spokesperson Fadjroel Rachman.

“For this stage, it is still a large-scale social restriction in line with Law No. 6/2018 and a legal discipline according to the National Police chief edict issued on March 19,” Fadjroel said in a statement released on Monday. (dfr)