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Jakarta Post

Amnesty dubs new Omnibus Law 'catastrophic', petition urges no confidence motion

  • Nina A. Loasana

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Tue, October 6, 2020   /   01:32 pm
Amnesty dubs new Omnibus Law 'catastrophic', petition urges no confidence motion Thousands of people join a protest on July 16, 2020 at the House of Representatives in Jakarta to urge lawmakers to stop deliberating the omnibus bill on job creation. (JP/Wendra Ajistyatama)

Amnesty International Indonesia has lambasted the newly passed Omnibus Law on Job Creation, calling it a threat to human rights that could harm labor rights and exploit workers in the country.

Amnesty International Indonesia executive director Usman Hamid called the law “catastrophic”.

“This is a catastrophic law. It will harm workers’ wallets, job security and their human rights as a whole,” he said in a statement on Monday.

Usman also underlined that the deliberation of the controversial bill did not involve meaningful consultation, as labor unions and civil society groups were not fully involved in the process from the beginning.

He said that the new law might also breach the prohibition of retrogression principle in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), especially because the law’s unclear provisions on minimum wage and working hours did not meet ICESCR requirements.

Read also: Indonesia passes jobs bill as recession looms

Indonesia has since 2006 been a participant of the ICESCR, which was adopted by the United Nations in 1966.

“The law threatens human rights and will have a regressive effect on human rights in Indonesia, [in particular] on the right to work and rights at work,” said Usmar. "The law will give employers dangerous leeway to massively exploit workers across the country.”

Usman expressed hope that the House of Representatives would revisit the law as soon as possible to ensure that it was compliant with international labor laws.

The House and the government on Monday passed into law the contentious omnibus bill on job creation, sooner than its original plan to enact the bill on Thursday. Despite mounting objections over fears it would negatively impact the environment and labor rights, the government continued to insist that the law was necessary to improve bureaucratic efficiency in order to boost business and investment.

Meanwhile, labor unions and civil society organizations had persisted in their rejection of the bill and planned to stage a nationwide protest from Tuesday to Thursday to oppose it. The Confederation of Indonesian Trade Unions (KSPI) said that around 2 million workers representing 32 labor unions would take part in mass rallies across the archipelago

"Workers from various sectors, such as the textile, mining, electronics, pharmaceutical, tourism, logistics and other sectors, will stage protests in Jakarta, Bogor, Depok, Cilegon, Purwakarta, Semarang, Surabaya, Yogyakarta, Aceh, Medan, Deli Serdang, Batam, Pekanbaru, Palembang, and other cities," KSPI president Said Iqbal said in a statement on Monday.

An online petition to "Reject the omnibus law on job creation and [lodge] a motion of no confidence in President [Joko Widodo] and the House” has been launched on change.org to demand the resignation of the President and House Speaker Puan Maharani for failing the aspirations of the Indonesian people.

The petition had garnered more than 24,000 signatures out of its 25,000 target at the time of publishing.