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Jakarta Post

'A form of betrayal': Disability rights activists criticize 'discriminatory' jobs law

  • Tri Indah Oktavianti

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Mon, October 12, 2020   /   07:53 pm
'A form of betrayal': Disability rights activists criticize 'discriminatory' jobs law As part of a revision to the 2002 Labor Law, the Job Creation Law also stipulates that workers who are sick for a long period or become disabled due to an accident — thus making them unable to carry out their jobs after 12 months — may be laid off. (Shutterstock/PhuShutter)

A coalition of disability rights activists and groups across the country raised their call on the government to repeal the newly passed Job Creation Law, arguing that it violates the rights of disabled workers.

“Disability groups were never involved in the deliberation process. It’s a pity, considering the relevance of the Job Creation Law, which will affect the lives of disabled people, too," said Fajri Nursyamsi from the Center for Indonesian Law and Policy Studies (PSHK), who represented the coalition in a webinar on Monday.

The coalition also claimed the omnibus law embodied an "epistemic crime" by using the term cacat (handicapped) to describe people with disabilities, a step back in the efforts to foster respect and equality for them.

“The term cacat is against the spirit of the Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities, which was ratified through Law No. 19 in 2011,” they argued.

Furthermore, the coalition said the law scrapped Article 27 (2) of Law No 28/2002 on buildings, which stipulated requirements of accessibility for disabled people and the elderly.

“The article is a form of state protection for disabled people to get accessibility inside buildings [...] The removal of Article 27 also indicates that the Job Creation Law does not support the rights of disabled people in the workplace,” the group added.

Read also: Problems in jobs law not only about labor sector: What we know so far

As part of a revision to the 2002 Labor Law, the Job Creation Law also stipulates that workers who are sick for a long period or become disabled due to an accident — thus making them unable to carry out their jobs after 12 months — may be laid off.

"Such conditions for work termination is discriminatory and will badly affect disabled people," said Nurul Saadah from the Disabled Women and Children Advocacy Center (Sapda). "Someone who becomes disabled in the workplace should be placed in a back-to-work program, and the company should provide the proper accessibility and proper accommodation for them to keep working without obstacles.

“The omnibus law is not only a form of neglect, but it is also a betrayal of the disabled community.”

The coalition also noted that the newly passed law still used the term “physically and mentally healthy” as requirements for jobs and certain positions, limiting the chance for disabled people to enter the workforce.

Among their demands was for the government to immediately release the official copy of the law, both in audio and written form, to make it accessible for the disabled community.

They also urged President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo to issue a regulation in lieu of law (Perppu) to replace the Job Creation Law within 14 days, as they planned to file a judicial review petition to the Constitutional Court to challenge the controversial law.