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Despite election pledge, Jakarta Governor Baswedan still evicting the poor

Detik News - October 14, 2018

Arief Ikhsanudin, Jakarta – The Jakarta Legal Aid Foundation (LBH) says that Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan is still carrying out forced evictions one year after his campaign promise not to do so. The evictions were carried out by force without prior consultation with communities.

Jakarta LBH data shows that there have been 91 cases of forced evictions since Baswedan took office. Twelve cases occurred in 2017 and 79 took place in 2018.

"In 2017, 80 percent of the evictions were carried out unilaterally. In 2018 meanwhile, between January and September, 81 percent of evictions were carried out unilaterally without prior consolation or [alternative] solutions [being offered to] affected residents", LBH Jakarta public defender Charlie Al Bajili told journalists at the LBH office on Jl. Diponegoro on Sunday October 14.

Meanwhile LBH Jakarta City and Urban Community Affairs head Nelson Nikodemus Simamora explained that the evictions were not just carried out by the Jakarta government. The Jakarta administration however has been asked to protect communities from forced evictions.

"Ensure there are no more forced evictions, because [Baswedan] signed a political contract with several urban kampongs [residential areas] such as the Fish Market. There was a political pledge not to evict them. So they must ensure that there are no more evictions and there will be no forced evictions by anyone else", said Nelson.

Nelson citied several other parties which have carried out forced evictions such as the TNI (Indonesian military), Polri (Indonesian police) and private companies. There are three locations in the city were evictions are planned which are the current focus of LBH Jakarta's attention.

"We can see that Kodam (Jaya) [the Jakarta Military Command] is evicting [communities]. Then there is a company in Ciracas, then there is a company in Cilincing, and then there is the Kapuk Poglar community that Polda (Metro Jaya) [police] want to evict", said Nelson.

Nelson said the thing that is similar in these three locations is that they were not a base of support for Baswedan and his former running mate Sandiaga Uno during the Jakarta gubernatorial election.

Baswedan must prove that he will behave justly towards residents even if they did not vote for him in the election.

"Political affiliations are not the same as being governor, there's been a lack of attention. Ciracas is still happening, and there's been a summons from Bareskrim Polri [police criminal investigation bureau], the governor must intervene", said Nelson. (aik/rvk)


One of the reasons former Jakarta Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama alienated many of Jakarta's poor was his forced eviction of slum dwellers which the administration argued was necessary to clear river banks and prevent flooding. During the religiously and ethnically divisive gubernatorial election in 2017, Baswedan took advantage of this resentment by pledging to end forced evictions.

[Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service. The original title of the article was 1 Tahun Anies, LBH Jakarta Nilai Masih Ada Penggusuran Paksa.]

Source: https://news.detik.com/berita/d-4256083/1-tahun-anies-lbh-jakarta-nilai-masih-ada-penggusuran-paksa.

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